Coinbase Wallet Review (2021)

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Coinbase Wallet is a non-custodial hot wallet that you can use to manage your cryptoassets. The wallet offers a sleek interface and a user-friendly design that makes it popular among both new and experienced crypto investors.

But is Coinbase Wallet the best storage option for your crypto needs? Is it secure enough to trust with your private keys?

In this Coinbase wallet review, I’m going to give you a first-hand look at what it’s like to use this wallet. I’ll discuss its features and highlight its pros and cons so you can decide if it’s worth your time.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Free non-custodial wallet with a user-friendly interface.
  • Supports most major crypto networks, including all ERC-20 tokens.
  • Allows for in-wallet trading via a built-in DEX and your Coinbase account.
  • Features an integrated DApp browser.
  • Can send and receive crypto using a Coinbase Wallet username.

Disadvantages

  • No support for Binance Chain and Binance Smart Chain assets.
  • Built-in DEX only supports the Ethereum network.
  • Doesn’t let you choose your transaction speed for non-ERC-20 transactions.
  • No desktop app available.

How the Coinbase Wallet Works

Coinbase Wallet is a non-custodial hot wallet that you can use to store the private keys to your cryptocurrencies and NFTs. It was created by Coinbase, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges. However, this wallet is a separate service that’s free to use.

To use Coinbase Wallet, you first need to download the app (iOS or Android). Then, you’ll do the following:

  • Pick a Username: This lets your friends quickly send you crypto without the need to type in your public address.
  • Back-Up Your Seed Phrase: Your Seed Phrase is a list of 12 words that serves as your backup if you lose access to your wallet. Store this in a secure place so that no one else has access to your crypto.
  • Choose A Password: Before you can access your wallet, you need to create a wallet password or enable Touch ID.

Once all of that’s sorted, you can start using your Coinbase Wallet.

Coinbase Wallet works like pretty much any other software wallet that’s accessible via a mobile app. In the wallet, you can send and receive supported cryptocurrencies. You can also use the wallet’s built-in DApp browser, trade on DEXes, and manage all of your digital assets.

Main Features

  • Crypto Storage: Coinbase Wallet’s primary purpose is to serve as a storage system for your crypto’s private keys.
  • NFT & Digital Asset Storage: In addition to crypto, you can also store the private keys to NFTs and other digital assets on Coinbase Wallet.
  • Send & Receive Crypto: With Coinbase Wallet, you can send and receive crypto using a public address or a custom username.
  • In-Wallet Coinbase Crypto Purchases: Although Coinbase Wallet is separate from Coinbase, you can purchase crypto in the wallet by linking your exchange account.
  • Crypto Trading on DEXes: Coinbase Wallet supports crypto trades using its built-in DEX (decentralised exchange), which is run on the Ethereum Network.
  • Built-in DApp Browser: The Coinbase Wallet gives you access to decentralised apps (DApps) using its integrated DApp browser.
  • Chrome Browser Extension: One of the wallet’s newest features is its Chrome browser extension. This extension lets you access DApps and DeFi tools on your web browser while maintaining control of your private keys on the Coinbase Wallet mobile app.

Supported Coins

The Coinbase Wallet supports hundreds of coins and tokens on a number of different cryptocurrency networks including:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Polygon
  • Dogecoin
  • Litecoin
  • Stellar Lumens
  • Ripple

However, only Ethereum-based tokens are available for exchange on Coinbase Wallet’s built-in DEX.

Does Coinbase Wallet support ERC-20 tokens?

Yes, Coinbase Wallet supports all ERC-20 tokens, including DAI and USDC. Even if an ERC-20 token isn’t explicitly listed in Coinbase Wallet, you can add it using the ‘Receive’ function in the app.

Does Coinbase Wallet support Binance Chain or Binance Smart Chain?

No, Coinbase wallet doesn’t currently support Binance Chain (BEP-2) or Binance Smart Chain (BEP-20) assets. If you want a wallet that supports both BEP-2 and BEP-20 assets, consider Trust Wallet, instead.

Interface

Like most of Coinbase’s services, the Coinbase Wallet boasts a sleek, user-friendly interface. The wallet gets decently high reviews in both the Apple App and Google Play stores for its intuitive layout and ease of use.

But the only interface available for the Coinbase Wallet is a mobile app or a Chrome browser extension. There is no option for a desktop app.

The Coinbase Wallet mobile app doesn’t have too many extra bells and whistles, but it’s easy to navigate right from the get-go.

In the app, you have access to all of your coins, NFTs, and digital assets. You can send and receive cryptoassets by manually typing in a public address or by scanning a QR code. Alternatively, you can send and receive funds from other Coinbase Wallets by typing in someone’s username.

The in-wallet DApp browser is also fairly easy to use. You can search for any DApp using the browser and you can bookmark your favourite DApps for quicker access.

Additionally, the Coinbase Wallet’s integrated DEX is straightforward and convenient. You can convert any ERC-20 token with the push of a button. However, you need Ethereum (ETH) in your wallet to pay for any gas fees associated with your trades.

Security

Coinbase Wallet gives you full control over your private keys. Even though the wallet was designed by Coinbase, it’s a separate service and Coinbase doesn’t have control over your crypto. In fact, you don’t even need a Coinbase exchange account to use the wallet.

Security-wise, Coinbase Wallet protects your private keys using Secure Enclave. You can also secure your Coinbase Wallet app using biometrics like Touch ID or a passcode.

As an added layer of security, you can also change your wallet settings to require Touch ID or a passcode for every transaction you make.

Recovery Seeds & Coinbase Wallet

One issue that you’ll hear about in a lot of reviews of the Coinbase Wallet on the Apple App and Google Play stores is that people have “lost access to their wallet” and coins after getting a new phone or resetting their mobile device.

This might sound horrifying, but there’s more to this issue than meets the eye.

Coinbase Wallet provides you with a recovery seed when you create a new wallet. This is a list of 12 words that serves as a backup if you somehow lose access to your account. In this situation, if you don’t have your recovery seed, you will lose access to your crypto forever.

Here’s where things get a bit tricky.

Coinbase Wallet gives you the opportunity to “automatically backup” your recovery seed onto iCloud or Google Drive. Alternatively, you can “manually backup” your recovery seed by writing it down. Some people have said that they’ve lost access to their recovery seed after backing it up to iCloud.

It’s unclear how this happens, but the key point here is that you should write down your recovery seed when making a new Coinbase Wallet and store it in a secure place. This will save you a lot of headache if you ever get a new phone or have problems with the app.

Customer Support

If you need support with your Coinbase Wallet, you can contact Coinbase’s customer service team via email. That said, Coinbase’s customer support is notoriously slow, so you may not get a response right away.

However, there’s only so much support that Coinbase’s customer service team can provide because Coinbase Wallet is non-custodial. They cannot help you recover your wallet if you’ve lost your recovery seed. Coinbase also can’t help you if you send your coins to an incorrect address.

This is true of any non-custodial wallet service—not just Coinbase. But, it’s often a source of stress and frustration among new crypto traders, so it’s important to know what you’re signing up for when you use a non-custodial service like Coinbase Wallet.

Fees

Coinbase Wallet is completely free to download and use. However, certain functions on Coinbase Wallet require payment to cover the cost of network fees or trading commissions.

In-Wallet Crypto Purchases

Coinbase charges fees when you make an in-wallet crypto purchase through your Coinbase account.

In these situations, you’ll pay fees based on the company’s Instant Buy fee schedule. Keep in mind that these fees can be pretty high, especially for smaller transactions made with credit cards.

Sending & Receiving Crypto

When it comes to sending and receiving cryptoassets in your Coinbase Wallet, Coinbase does not directly charge any fees. However, you will pay any network fees associated with your transaction. You will also need to have Ethereum (ETH) in your wallet to pay the fees for ERC-20 token transfers.

This includes transfers from your Coinbase exchange account, as these are processed as on-chain transactions.

Depending on network congestion, these fees can also be sizable, but these are not determined by Coinbase.

With regards to network fees, one downside to Coinbase Wallet is that you can’t control how much gas you pay when you make a transaction for non-ERC-20 transactions.

This can result in transactions getting “stuck” as pending during busy times on the network if you underpay your miner’s fees. Other wallets, like Trust Wallet, let you “speed up” your transaction by paying a higher miner’s fee.

DEX Fees

The only other major fee to keep in mind is the cost of converting crypto on the Coinbase Wallet in-app DEX. Coinbase charges a 0.50% fee on all in-wallet conversions.

Additionally, this DEX operates on the Ethereum network and all gas fees must be paid in Ethereum (ETH). So, you’ll need to have ETH in your wallet to use the in-app DEX.

Alternatives

Coinbase Wallet isn’t right for everyone, but there are plenty of other software wallets you can check out, instead.

If you want a mobile wallet that gives access to a wider range of cryptoassets, consider Trust Wallet.

Trust Wallet is a non-custodial wallet designed by Binance that can store both crypto and NFTs. It supports assets on 53 different blockchains, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Chain, and Binance Smart Chain.

Trust Wallet also has a DApp browser, integrated staking, the ability to choose your transaction speeds, and support for in-wallet crypto purchases with a credit card.

Or, if you’re looking for a hot wallet that you can also use on your computer, consider Exodus Wallet.

Exodus Wallet is a free software wallet that’s available as both a mobile and desktop app. It supports hundreds of assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), and all ERC-20 and BEP-20 tokens.

Plus, Exodus Wallet integrates with Trezor hardware wallets if you’re looking for another layer of security for your digital assets.

The Bottom Line

Coinbase Wallet is a solid software wallet that gets the job done for crypto investors that primarily want to get their coins off of an exchange.

It has a number of useful features that I appreciate, including:

  • Coinbase Exchange Integration: You can purchase crypto on Coinbase and have your funds transferred directly to your personal wallet without ever leaving the Coinbase Wallet app.
  • Built-in DEX: You can swap ERC-20 tokens with the push of a button in Coinbase Wallet using the integrated DEX.
  • DApp Browser: Coinbase Wallet’s DApp Browser is easy to use and gives you quick access to the world of decentralised applications.

However, when compared to some other top software wallets, there are a few areas where Coinbase Wallet comes up short.

Coinbase Wallet’s lack of a desktop app might be a non-starter for anyone that prefers to manage their assets on a computer (but the wallet’s Chrome extension is a nice bonus feature).

Additionally, Coinbase Wallet doesn’t let you adjust how much you pay in miner’s fees for non-ERC-20 transactions. This can leave your transactions stuck in limbo during periods of network congestion.

Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for checking out this Coinbase Wallet review!

But what do you think? Is Coinbase Wallet your software wallet of choice? Would you trust it with your crypto?

Let me know in the comments below!

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