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Is Coinbase Wallet Safe in 2024? A Detailed Review

Eric Huffman
Last updated: | 10 min read

Coinbase Wallet is one of the most popular cryptocurrency wallets available. It provides support for several blockchains, including Ethereum and Base, and additional chain support on the mobile app for chains such as Bitcoin. But is Coinbase Wallet safe to use?

In this guide, we’ll review its safety and some of its features that make it well-suited to both new and experienced users. We’ll also discuss some notable differences between the desktop browser extension and Coinbase Wallet’s mobile app.

Summary: Is Coinbase Wallet Safe?


Many consider Coinbase to be one of the safest cryptocurrency wallets available. Several features set Coinbase Wallet apart, including malicious app alerts, two-factor authentication, and biometric authentication on mobile devices.

The Coinbase crypto wallet can also connect to Ledger hardware wallets when using the desktop browser extension, adding an additional layer of security for your crypto assets.

Nearly 100 million users downloaded the leading crypto wallets in 2023, with Coinbase being one of the top choices. Coinbase’s newly launched Smart Wallet aims to bring 1 billion users onchain.

What is Coinbase Wallet?


Coinbase Wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that supports multiple blockchains. It allows you to store cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) securely and connect to decentralized applications where you can use your crypto assets.

If you’re wondering, “What’s the difference between Coinbase and Coinbase wallet?” Coinbase is a secure crypto exchange platform where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Coinbase Wallet, however, is a standalone app that can be used with or without a Coinbase account.

Coinbase Wallet Review Overview


Coinbase Wallet is a self-custody wallet that can be used to store a wide range of digital assets. The Coinbase Wallet app is available as a Chrome extension for desktop users and a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. While fully featured, the app is designed to be user-friendly, catering to both new and advanced users. Users can connect it to their Coinbase exchange account, but the wallet can be used without an account on the exchange.

Coinbase Wallet Ratings

Coinbase Wallet scored well in the three categories we assessed, earning an overall score of 9 out of 10. The app excels in both security features and additional features for advanced users. The lowest score, which still compares well to competing apps, is an 8 out of 10 for user interface. Coinbase packs a wide range of features into its mobile app, making the app both powerful and more challenging to navigate at times.

  • Overall Rating: 9
  • Security: 9
  • User Interface: 8
  • Additional Wallet Features: 9

Basic features include the ability to buy ETH or other supported tokens through Coinbase without needing to visit the exchange directly. For example, you can buy ETH for your Base chain account in a few clicks.

coinbase wallet buy via coinbase

The digital wallet also supports trading on decentralized exchanges (DEXs), where you can buy meme coins or tokens for popular projects on supported networks like Base, Abitrum, and Polygon. When buying on a DEX, the app provides an alert for newly launched tokens, a sign that you should do more research before buying.

coinbase-wallet-new-token-alert

Top Coinbase Wallet Security Features


Sadly, crypto has its fair share of scams, rug pulls, and malicious smart contracts. Coinbase Wallet brings features to help make using crypto safer, including a decentralized app (dApp) blocklist. You can also manage spam tokens, clearing up the clutter in your wallet. Coinbase Wallet filters most of these automatically.

dApp Blocklist

Coinbase Wallet uses both internal data and public lists to identify potential scams and provides alerts if you attempt to interact with a known malicious dApp.

coinbase wallet dapp blocklist

Spam Token Management

Most active wallet addresses eventually receive spam tokens. These might be soon-to-be-valuable airdrops from projects trying to promote their token. However, they are often just spam, or worse, a scam.

Coinbase wallet filters these effectively and also allows users to hide tokens manually.

coinbase wallet hide spam tokens

Token Approval Alerts

When interacting with a new token in web3, you’ll need to grant approval using your wallet. However, malicious dApps may ask for approval for all tokens. Interacting with the dApp can cause you to lose all the tokens in your wallet. Coinbase Wallet provides a token approval alert that helps keep users safe.

coinbase wallet token approval warning

Transaction Previews

A transaction preview makes DEX swaps transparent. Know at a glance what you’ll get from the transaction and how much you’ll pay for network gas fees. The wallet also acts as a DEX aggregator, automatically finding the best exchange rate for the swap.

coinbase wallet transaction preview

Ability to Revoke Connections

As you navigate through the web3 ecosystem, you’ll amass a long list of connected dApps. Coinbase Wallet also lets you manage these connections and token allowances, revoking approvals for dApps you no longer need.

coinbas wallet token allowances

Best Features on Coinbase Wallet


Coinbase wallet extends its powerful wallet app features by allowing you to access your Coinbase account easily for buying and selling.

Integration with Coinbase Exchange

Link your wallet to your Coinbase account to instantly buy and sell supported assets. Impressively, Coinbase allows you to buy and send assets directly to Layer 2 chains like Base in just a few clicks. By comparison, buying on Coinbase and then withdrawing to a supported Layer 2 chain is a much lengthier process.

Easy to Use For Beginners

Although its range of features can be intimidating at first glance, Coinbase Wallet organizes functions in a logical way and also offers a simple mode specifically designed for beginners. If all you do is send and receive, you can toggle on simple mode. Toggling the setting off reactivates full functionality with all of the safeguards Coinbase built in to keep users safer.

Interact with dApps on Mobile

While Coinbase wallet is offered as both a browser extension for desktop and a mobile app, the mobile app offers more features and makes it easy to access web3 dApps from within the wallet app.

Disadvantages of Coinbase Wallet


Coinbase Wallet brings several advantages over many competing mobile wallets. However, you should also weigh the disadvantages in comparison to competitors.

Limited Desktop Version

The Coinbase wallet browser extension for desktops lacks support for several key assets supported in the mobile app. For example, the mobile wallet supports Bitcoin, but you can’t interact with your Bitcoin assets on the desktop extension. You’ll also miss out on the dApp explorer featured in the mobile wallet.

Privacy Concerns Due to Coinbase Link

The ability to link your wallet to your Coinbase account makes it convenient to buy and sell on the go and instantly deploy your crypto assets in decentralized finance (DeFi) applications. However, that same link makes some wary of using the wallet over other options.

In addition, Coinbase Wallet does not make its source code available. Competing wallets like MetaMask and Trust Wallet are open-source projects, making it possible to crawl through the code to understand what information the wallet shares about your transactions.

Poor Customer Support

User reviews for Coinbase Wallet on Trustpilot garner an unimpressive 1.5 stars out of 5. However, many recent complaints center on transaction holds based on the funding method chosen for the transaction. These limitations are common for exchanges but appear in the feedback for Coinbase Wallet due to its integration with the Coinbase exchange.

Limited Support for New Tokens

We experienced some challenges in trading new tokens that the Coinbase Wallet mobile app didn’t recognize. While it was possible to swap ETH for certain tokens, we could not swap the newly listed token back to ETH because Coinbase Wallet couldn’t find the token even with the token’s contract address provided.

What is the Difference Between Coinbase and Coinbase Wallet?


Is Coinbase Wallet safer than Coinbase, and what’s the difference between the two? Let’s explore the role each plays in transactions.

Coinbase is the world’s largest publicly traded crypto exchange, where investors can buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, Coinbase Wallet acts as a standalone application for desktop and mobile devices.

While it isn’t necessary to connect Coinbase Wallet to your Coinbase exchange account, doing so provides additional functionality. It also offers a more cost-effective way to fund your wallet instantly compared to the third-party providers commonly found with competing wallets.

Both the Coinbase exchange and the Coinbase Wallet are generally regarded as among the most trusted options among their competitors.

Is Coinbase Wallet Safe From Hackers?


Is Coinbase Wallet secure? While millions of users trust Coinbase Wallet, any software application can be vulnerable to exploits or contain bugs. That means that Coinbase Wallet may not be completely safe from hackers, and its large user base makes it a compelling target.

However, Coinbase Wallet provides notable safeguards to prevent unauthorized access to your wallet. On mobile, you can protect your account with a biometric login. On desktop, the Coinbase Wallet extension supports Ledger hardware wallets. This provides additional security for higher balances and valuable NFTs.

Safer Alternatives to Coinbase Wallet


The growing market for safe crypto wallets pushes each wallet project to innovate. Alternatives to Coinbase Wallet may offer features better suited to your needs or additional safety features.

MetaMask

Like Coinbase Wallet, MetaMask offers a secure way to store, send, or swap cryptocurrencies. Both the mobile app and desktop Chrome extension offer dozens of ways to customize your wallet, including support for additional chains and privacy-focused RPC servers. MetaMask is open-source software with a third-party security audit.

Trust Wallet

Trust Wallet is an open-source application with a third-party audit. The app launched as an independent wallet but is now the official wallet of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Trust Wallet leads the pack in blockchain support, bringing secure storage and transactions on more than 100 chains, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Zengo Wallet

Most crypto wallets use an easily misplaced seed phrase as the mode of recovery. Unfortunately, this often becomes the largest risk for users. Instead of an unwieldy and easy-to-lose recovery phrase, Zengo uses three-factor authentication to protect your crypto assets. To date, Zengo has never been hacked due to this model. Zengo is a self-custody wallet, meaning you have full control over your digital assets.

Conclusion


Coinbase Wallet offers a featureful app for both and experienced users. For those who want just the basics, a simple-mode toggle disables all the distractions. However, if you want to venture into the world of web3 and decentralized exchanges, Coinbase Wallet provides a safer-than-most onramp. Safety features like the dApp blocklist and token approval alerts let you know if there could be trouble ahead. Integration with the Coinbase exchange makes it easy to fund your wallet on the go if you spot an opportunity or need some pocket money.

FAQs

What are the risks of using Coinbase Wallet?

The largest risks of using Coinbase Wallet center on privacy and potential unknown vulnerabilities. The app is not open-source, making it impossible to know how it works under the hood and whether the privacy of your transactions is protected.

Is it safe to put money in Coinbase Wallet?

Coinbase Wallet is generally considered to be one of the safest software wallets. On mobile, you can secure your wallet with a password or biometric authentication. On the desktop, a password protects your wallet. The desktop Chrome extension also supports Ledger hardware wallets.

Is it better to use Coinbase or Coinbase Wallet?

Coinbase Wallet and Coinbase serve different purposes but can work together. If you’re buying cryptocurrency, the Coinbase Advanced platform is more cost-effective. If you want to use decentralized blockchain applications, Coinbase Wallet offers an easy way to explore web3.

Is Coinbase Wallet a cold wallet?

Coinbase Wallet is a hot wallet, meaning the wallet’s private and public keys are created and stored on a device connected to the internet. However, Coinbase Wallet’s desktop Chrome extension supports connecting Ledger cold wallets for added security.

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