Coinbase is often referred as the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in the world. One way or another, Coinbase is one of those exchanges that is able to boast really high volumes and a large number of traffic. Our Coinbase review will help you find out what kind of a cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is, what are the exchange’s advantages and disadvantages, and whether this exchange is trustworthy at all.
General Information About Coinbase
Company’s Foundation Year: 2012.
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA, United States.
Deposit Methods: Credit cards, bank transfers.
Withdrawal Methods: Bank transfers, PayPal.
Fiat Currencies Supported: USD, EUR, GBP.
Mobile App: Yes.
Friendly Towards Beginners: Yes.
Customer Support: Good.
Community Trust: Very good.
Coinbase Review: General Overview of the Cryptocurrency Exchange
Coinbase has a reputation of the largest cryptocurrency broker in the world, and this cryptocurrency exchange serves customers in 32 countries at the present time. In particular, Coinbase is available in the following countries: European countries, Australia, Singapore, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. All in all, this table shows payment methods available in those countries and fees charged when depositing fiat money:
|Country||Payment method||Currency||Fees||When funds available|
|Europe||SEPA transfer||EUR||3.99%||From 1 to 3 days|
|US||Bank transfer||USD||1.49%||From 5 to 7 days|
Over the time of Coinbase’ existence, this cryptocurrency exchange helped the users to exchange as much as $20 billion worth cryptocurrencies. But what differs Coinbase from other cryptocurrency exchanges is the principles of how this company functions. While other major exchanges (such as Kraken) allow customers to trade between each other, Coinbase sells or buys cryptocurrencies to/from users on its own. The price of purchase/selling is based on the current market price of a certain cryptocurrency. Such a principle of the exchange’s functioning allows users to buy and sell large volumes of cryptocurrencies far quicker.
Once a user has signed up for Coinbase and verified his/her account, he/she immediately becomes eligible for trading cryptocurrencies at Coinbase. Many major exchanges tend to avoid providing an ability of deposit funds with credit/debit cards due to feasible fraudulent chargebacks. Such a possibility of chargeback frauds and a commission of banks raises the fees up to 4%. Therefore, one is able to save up to 2.5% simply by depositing money via bank transfers.
Yet, there is another important aspect – which is often regarded as a disadvantage by many clients of this exchange – you should be aware of: Coinbase allows trading only with 3 cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Even though the exchange plans to add more cryptocurrencies in the near future, you need to look elsewhere if you want to have more assets for trading. Besides, Coinbase does not support trading with altcoins at the present time as well.
At the same time, Coinbase is often mentioned as the best place for beginners to start trading at. And it tends to be truly so, as Coinbase is able to boast user-friendly interface, which makes the experience of trading bitcoins smooth and painless. Though, the company invested really large amounts of money and time into creating such a user-friendly interface.
Is Coinbase Safe for Trading?
This Coinbase review will help you to get to know in which aspects Coinbase is safe. First of all, one should say that the company has successfully served all its customers since 2012. Yet, there have been frequent claims of fraudulent account blocking by Coinbase, and this section of our Coinbase review aims to address all these issues.
First of all, let’s start with the aspect of company’s legitimacy. Considering that the company is based in the United States, it should comply with the American regulations, laws, and regulatory bodies. At the present time, Coinbase complies with the following regulatory bodies and laws:
- Regulations and laws on state money transmission.
- USA Patriot Act.
- Bank Secrecy Act.
The other countries in which Coinbase operates don’t have any particular laws for cryptocurrency trading companies. Yet, more legitimacy to the company can be added thanks to a number of reputed investors, including Digital Currency Group, Blockchain Capital, Bank of Tokyo, and a co-founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian.
The other aspect of this safety issue is, actually, whether Coinbase appears to be safe for keeping funds. First of all, it must be pointed out that Coinbase separates its operational funds from the funds of customers, deposited to their accounts. The company’s policy explains that those funds cannot be claimed by creditors or investors in a case of the company’s default, as well as those funds cannot be used for the company’s operations.
It is quite noteworthy that 98% of all the users’ funds at Coinbase are stored in cold storage wallets (read more about the types of wallets in our article). This ensures that all those funds are stored safely. The remaining 2% of the funds are stored online, but they are fully insured by Loyd’s of London.
The interface at Coinbase
One way or another, however, we highly recommend to store your funds in cold storage wallets (check the article for that purpose). Otherwise, you may be compromised to losing your money. But even if it happened to you to store small amounts of money online (for the sake of convenience and paying small sums fast, for example), we recommend you to enable to 2-step verification at Coinbase.
Coinbase Review: Criticisms of This Exchange
As it has been mentioned, Coinbase has faced a lot of criticism for blocking accounts. You can read what operations you shouldn’t carry out with cryptocurrencies in order not to get your account blocked in the next section of our Coinbase review. Here, we have collected the most frequent reasons for criticizing Coinbase:
- Closed and frozen accounts due to “suspicious activities.”
- High volumes of complaints make it barely possible to get a reply from support within a short period of time.
- Abuse of affiliate rewards, when Coinbase changed the affiliate policy without notifying the affiliates (and they, in result, lost their money).
- Notorious blockchain patents, such as “tips buttons,” “hot wallet for holding bitcoin,” “Bitcoin exchange.”
How to Avoid Getting an Account Blocked/Frozen
Even though in the majority of the situations when the users got their accounts blocked they were refunded, getting your account blocked is not something nice in any case. In order to avoid the blockage of your account, it is better to avoid the following types of activities with the bitcoins you have purchased at Coinbase:
- Purchase or sale contraband items via darknet markets.
- Sending or receiving bitcoins to/from gambling sites.
- Transactions that are anyhow connected with adult services.
- Sending cryptocurrencies to LocalBitcoins.
- Resale of cryptocurrencies on other exchanges, especially those that don’t have AML/KYC.
Coinbase Review: Buy/Sell Limits and Countries Supported
Buy and sell limits at Coinbase vary by the verification status, payment method, and user location. If you have already signed up for Coinbase, you are able to view your limits on your account’s page (the “limits” section).
Typically, verified customers from the United States receive the following limits:
- $50,000 for selling per week.
- $50 for buying via credit/debit card per week.
- $5,000 for buying via bank transfer per week.
At the present time, Coinbase is available in the following countries:
United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, Singapore, San Marino, Portugal, Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Jersey, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Greece, Finland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Canada, Bulgaria, Belgium, Austria, and Australia.
Pros and Cons
At the end of this Coinbase review, we would like to summarize the advantages and disadvantages of this cryptocurrency exchange. So, the advantages of Coinbase are the following ones:
- Allows you to purchase bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies faster than elsewhere.
- You are able to purchase cryptocurrencies with debit and credit cards.
- The company appears to be quite trustworthy and regulated.
- Allows you to store your funds and cryptocurrencies safely.
- Features user-friendly interface, which makes this exchange a perfect one for beginners.
At the same time, there are the following disadvantages of Coinbase:
- Higher fees than in a number of other major exchanges (such as Kraken).
- The exchange monitors where your bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies will be spent.
- Doesn’t support altcoin trading.
- Only 3 cryptocurrencies are available for trading.
All in all, Coinbase is a great place for the beginners in bitcoin trading. Also, it is a fairly good option for those traders who want their money to be deposited instantly and be able to trade basic cryptocurrencies. If you are seeking for more cryptocurrencies to invest in, this exchange is not for you.