Coinbase Cost Basis Excel Template

Jason Chan
March 30, 2022

I recently came across a Tweet by @Hadley which inspired me to write this article.

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At first I couldn’t believe this didn’t exist so I went down the rabbit hole of trying to find the hidden feature within Coinbase. After looking for 15 minutes, to no avail, I had two main thoughts:

  1. How can a company as big as Coinbase not show such simple data?
    1. One theory is that they don’t want people to know how much they’ve spent in Crypto. Out of sight, out of mind. There is some behavioral psychology behind the fact that if you’ve made a profit (which most people in crypto have), but don’t know your cost basis, you tend to think you’ve made more than you actually have. And this prevents people from selling.
  2. This type of analysis is best suited for a spreadsheet or some custom code or query.
    1. In my opinion, data like this is best run in a spreadsheet for these reasons:
      1. When you run analysis like this, there is inevitably another level of analysis you can run. It’s easiest in a spreadsheet to add a bit more analysis to the side, versus writing a ton of brand new code
      2. Looking at cost in a time series is very visual, which lends itself well to a visual grid
      3. Coinbase can change up their CSV format at any time and spreadsheets are easier to modify (again in my opinion)
      4. More people use spreadsheets than python or SQL, so this analysis can hopefully be useful to more people

So I started building a model in Excel on how to calculate Coinbase cost basis.

Step 1. Download the data from Coinbase.

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Step 2. Download this Excel file. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to host this file, except for in our Discord.

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Step 3. Paste the CSV from Coinbase into the tab called “File from Coinbase”

Step 4. Generate the dates of every transaction into Excel format

Step 5. Then figure out what Crypto assets you’re working with by removing duplicates

Step 6. Using the new transaction date data and the unique crypto assets data from step 3 and 4, you can now create a time series for every transaction type (for this analysis I only did Buy and Sell)

Step 7. Calculate how much money you’ve spent on each asset and how many units you have today

As a spreadsheet power user and the owner of the spreadsheet, updating this file with new data would take me under 5 minutes. However, for someone seeing this spreadsheet for the first time, it may take much longer. A part of what we’re doing at Subset is helping people use templates like this without manually doing steps 4-7 above.

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