Coinbase tests subscription service that waives some trading fees

The largest US cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, is testing a new subscription service that reduces its trading fees in return for a monthly fee, The Block reports. The subscription service, which is reportedly being called Coinbase One, waives the commission fee Coinbase charges for trades, but customers will still have to pay spread fees to buy or sell cryptocurrency. There’s currently no word on the cost of the subscription, which the company plans to offer to a small number of users to start.

Coinbase confirmed its test of the subscription program in a statement given to The Block. “Customers in the test group will have the ability to buy, sell, and convert digital currencies on the Coinbase platform without a Coinbase fee for each trade (spread fees still apply),” a spokesperson for the exchange said. “We’re always looking to learn more about how we can best serve our customers in different ways. Right now, we are still in early stages, so everything about the future product experience will be shaped by the feedback we receive from our users.”

As well as waiving some fees, The Block reports that Coinbase One could also offer other features like priority phone support, as well as an account protection feature that could reimburse users up to $1 million if their accounts are broken into and their funds are stolen. These two additions are notable in light of user complaints that surfaced earlier this year, where customers reported accounts being locked or hacked, and users struggled to get in contact with customer support at Coinbase.

According to Bloomberg, Coinbase’s interest in subscriptions could be an attempt to compete with rapidly growing competitors like Robinhood, which does not charge trading fees and already offers a subscription service of its own called Robinhood Gold. Coinbase One could also serve as a more predictable source of revenue. Ahead of Coinbase’s latest earnings report on November 9th, analysts are reportedly predicting a decline in Coinbase’s revenue thanks to Bitcoin’s second-quarter slump in value. Subscription revenue could help to smooth out slower quarters like these for Coinbase.