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Uphold vs. Coinbase: What Works Better For Canadians in 2024

Oleg Galeev

Last updated December 27, 2023

Let’s compare Uphold and Coinbase, two crypto exchange titans that are well-known in Canada. Both platforms offer a wide array of services but differ significantly in terms of their asset offerings and fee structures.

Description

Uphold is a multi-asset platform that allows you to trade more than 66 cryptocurrencies, 50 US stocks and four precious metals. You can trade crypto for stocks or stocks for crypto, instantly.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase Canada is a cryptocurrency exchange with a simple interface making it a popular choice for Canadians looking to start their crypto journey. However, more Canadians are starting using local exchanges e.g. Bitbuy. Coinbase has 56 million users and became the first cryptocurrency exchange to have an Initial Public Offering.

Coins

70+

50+ including BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC

Fees

  • 1.8% spread on crypto for Canadians
  • 3% spread for precious metals
  • 1% spread for US equities
  • 3.99% credit card fee
  • $3.99 withdrawal fee to US/EU/UK banks
  • Free deposits from US/EU/UK banks
  • Free debit card purchases

Extremely High
3.99% buy fee
0.50% fee per trade

Pros

  • Wide range of cryptocurrencies
  • Trade stocks and precious metals 
  • Swap crypto for stocks or metal in seconds
  • Recurring buy/sell orders
  • 50 simultaneous Limit orders allowed
  • Free debit card purchases
  • Simple and easy interface
  • Good for beginners
  • Secure exchange with cold storage
  • The most popular coins offered
  • Users can set up automatic recurring buys
  • Learn to earn crypto program

Cons

  • High spreads
  • Uphold debit card not available to Canadians
  • Bank deposits/withdrawals not available for Canadians 
  • 3.99% credit card processing fee
  • Lack of search filters for equities
  • High fees
  • Fewer coins than Binance
  • Complaints of bad customer support
  • No Interac e-Transfer

Account Limits

Low

High limit. Purchase limit depends on account age and other factors

Methods to buy

Debit card

Debit card

Security

2FA, coins held in cold storage with multi-signature wallets, KYC verification process

Mobile and Desktop Trading

Uphold boasts a robust mobile app that enjoys a rating of 4.6 on the App Store and 4.7 on Google Play, demonstrating its excellent user experience and reliability. On the desktop front, Uphold’s interface is intuitive, facilitating seamless trading for users. On the other hand, Coinbase has received stellar ratings for its mobile app, 4.7 on the App Store and 4.1 on Google Play, reflecting its user-friendly design and functionality. The desktop version of Coinbase, like its mobile counterpart, is straightforward and easy to use, with additional features such as an educational section and a 'learn and earn' program.

Uphold

Uphold’s app has a 3.5-star rating from 5,000 reviews on the Apple App store and a 3.2-star rating from 18,000 reviews on Google Play. Some reviewers have said the app is slow and buggy, with the verification process being particularly slow.

Uphold is easy to use for beginners. There is a quick trade option called “Anything to Anything”. All you need to do is enter the asset you want to trade, the amount, and the asset you wish to swap it for. You can trade crypto to stocks, stocks to metal etc. in just a few clicks. 

Uphold desktop trading app screenshot

Uphold desktop app

Uphold mobile app screenshot

Uphold mobile app while trading

Reviewing Uphold crypto exchange app and asset types for trading

Uphold main screen app

Coinbase

Coinbase app offers a clean white background with simple text. It's user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Coinbases’s app is almost identical to its desktop platform making it easy to trade crypto wherever you are. Safely store your debit card information and you can buy and sell top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether in just a few clicks. On the Apple App Store, Coinbase has a 4.7-star rating with 1.3 million ratings. On Google Play it has a 4.3-star rating with 453,000 ratings.

Reviewing Coinbase desktop version

Coinbase desktop interface

Coinbase main screen with features

Coinbase portfolio

Coinbase mobile app

Coinbase app interface

Made an order with Coinbase app

Coinbase app interface while trading

Security Compliance

To secure your Uphold account, you can enable two-factor authentication.

Uphold trading platform utilizes cold storage for your safety.

Coinbase uses its own digital wallet for storing your cryptocurrency.

Coinbase keeps 98% of its cryptocurrency in cold storage. This makes it hard for thieves to steal crypto assets if the exchange is hacked. Cold storage is the most secure way to store cryptocurrency, so the fact that Coinbase does this is a huge plus.

Uphold and Coinbase both prioritize security. Uphold employs cutting-edge cybersecurity measures and two-factor authentication. Similarly, Coinbase has stringent security protocols, storing 98% of customer assets in cold storage, implementing two-factor authentication, and requiring its employees to pass criminal background checks.

Regulatory Compliance

Uphold is fully regulated in the USA. They are compliant with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and record keeping regulations with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). It's Canadian-friendly as well.

Coinbase is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange, however, no restrictions for Canadians. Canadian residents can use Coinbase to their full capacity.

Both Uphold and Coinbase are compliant with Canadian regulations. Uphold is registered as a Money Service Business (MSB) with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). Coinbase, although based in the US, is compliant with Canadian laws and is registered as a Money Services Business with FinCEN.

Customer support

Uphold has good reviews about their customer service teams. They offer help centres on their website and within the app. 

You can contact Uphold’s customer support via their online ticketing system on their website. 

Coinbase customer support is very slow. It took them 4 days to address our request to a real person. Even though they offer 24/7 support and a live chat option, the quality of the support is bad due to a very high volume.

Uphold extends 24/7 customer support through several channels, including live chat, email, and phone. Coinbase also provides customer service through live chat and email support, and it recently introduced 24/7 phone support in response to customer feedback.

Conclusion

While both Uphold and Coinbase are reputable crypto exchanges with distinctive features that cater to a variety of user needs, Uphold stands out as the victor in this comparison. With its broader range of tradable assets, superior customer support, and competitive fee structure, Uphold is poised to offer a more comprehensive trading experience for Canadian crypto enthusiasts.

We recommend choosing Uphold over Coinbase for your cryptocurrency trading needs. By opting for Uphold through our referral link, you support us in conducting comprehensive independent analyses of crypto trading options for Canadians.

If you find that neither Uphold nor Coinbase meets your requirements, we encourage you to explore our monthly-updated list of the best exchanges for Canadians to trade crypto. This list provides a range of alternative options that may better suit your specific needs and preferences.

Author

Oleg is a Canadian citizen & crypto expert who has been trading since 2016. He started out with Coinbase, Kraken and Peer-to-Peer exchanges. After some time, centralized exchanges started charging crazy fees to their users.

He decided to review different crypto exchanges that operate in Canada and start a Youtube channel in order to educate Canadians on what kinds of things are going inside each one while giving them unbiased advice. On top of that, Oleg also has experience with NFT, airdrops, and crypto staking and he is constantly checking on new crypto assets.

His writing has been featured in popular Canadian media sources such as Toronto Sun and Ottawa Citizen.