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Distinguishing between Yubikey for USB-A and USB-C

Why do I need to use a Yubikey to access my Coinbase institutional account?

Physical security keys, like Yubikey, provide the highest level of security available to keep your account safe. For more information, please refer to our Yubikey article, available here.

What is a USB-A Yubikey?

The USB-A Yubikey works with USB-A ports, as found on MacBook computers manufactured before 2016 or after 2020. 

The USB-A port looks like this:

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The USB-A compatible Yubikey looks like this:

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When inserted into a USB-A port, the USB-A compatible Yubikey looks like this:

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What is a USB-C Yubikey?

The USB-C Yubikey works with USB-C ports, as found on MacBook computers manufactured after 2016. 

The USB-C port looks like this:

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The USB-C compatible Yubikey looks like this:

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When inserted into a USB-C port, the USB-C compatible Yubikey looks like this:

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Is there any difference in the security provided by the USB-A Yubikey compared to the USB-C Yubikey?

No, there is no difference between the security provided by the USB-A Yubikey compared to the USB-C Yubikey. 

The only difference between the two types of Yubikeys is that they have different form factors to be compatible with different types of USB ports.

Neither type of Yubikey is “safer” or “better” than the other. You can use either type of Yubikey with confidence in its security.

If I have a computer that has both USB-A and USB-C ports, which type of Yubikey should I choose?

If you have a computer that has both USB-A and USB-C ports, you should keep in mind that the USB-A Yubikey is slightly larger than the USB-C Yubikey. This size difference is the main distinction between the two types of Yubikeys. The USB-C Yubikey’s smaller size makes it less obtrusive, but also easier to lose. Both types of Yubikeys have metal reinforced holes that allow them to be securely attached to a keyring for safekeeping.

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