Coinbase is one of the most well-known cryptocurrency brokerages and for good reason. They support an enormous amount of countries, have low fees and work closely with governments to ensure no action is in violation of laws.
Another reason why Coinbase is so successful is due to its beautiful but simple user interface. Regardless of your tech background, Coinbase makes it easy for anyone to buy and store cryptocurrency.
Coinbase Coin Selection
Coinbase offers four cryptocurrencies:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (Bcash)
They are often criticized for not adding more cryptocurrencies as many of its competitors have added a wider selection. Coinbase is based in the United States where there are some of the strictest laws surrounding digital currency. Until there is more clarity around laws, it will be difficult for Coinbase to add more coins.
In December of 2017, Coinbase added Bitcoin Cash to their exchange. During the addition, Bitcoin Cash shot over $3,000. Before Coinbase added BCash, they only sold three currencies. Coinbase was also hit with accusations of insider trading, after Bitcoin Cash’s price launched days before the addition.
Coinbase Payment Methods
Another strength of Coinbase is its flexibility of payment methods. At the time of this writing,
Coinbase allows cryptocurrency to be purchased with credit and debit cards, ACH transfers, SEPA transfers, and Xfers transfers.
Please note that if you live in the US, Coinbase has disabled credit card purchases as many major companies do not allow them.
Depending on what country you live in, certain payment methods will or will not be accepted.
One cool feature Coinbase has is recurring buys. Coinbase allows you to choose a time interval to cost average your cryptocurrency purchases.
Cost averaging allows you to get the mean price of a currency over a time period. This is great to cover cryptocurrency volatility.
Coinbase Fees and Limits
Coinbase’s fees are the same for everyone, but limits can be increased by adding more information. Some users have been able to increase their limits to $50,000 weekly by adding a valid phone number, confirmed email addresses and ordering a certain amount of Bitcoin.
|Method of Payment||Fee||Delivery Time||Limits (Weekly)|
|Bank Wire & Transfer||1.49%||3-8 Days (Price locked in)||$2,000 initially can be increased|
|Credit & Debit Card||3.99%||Instant||$100 initially can be increased|
How Safe is Coinbase?
Coinbase is extremely safe and has had no known hacks. They accomplish this by only keeping 2% of all cryptocurrency on the exchange online. The rest is all kept in cold storage. In the event anything happened to Coinbase’s funds, they are privately insured by Lloyds of London. Accounts holding $250,000 and under are also FDIC insured.
Like most exchanges, Coinbase also allows users to set up two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication allows users to link a second device that upon signup receives a code. This code must be entered upon signup and expires quickly. Never use SMS for two-factor authentication as it is not as secure. We recommend Authy and/or Google Authenticator.
Coinbase has a built-in custodial wallet making it easy for anyone to store cryptocurrency. While Coinbase’s exchange wallet is relatively secure, it is not recommended to store cryptocurrency on an exchange.
This is because when cryptocurrency is stored on an exchange, the exchange holds the private key which ultimately proves ownership. In the event the exchange is hacked, your currency could go down with it.
Want to be as secure as possible? Learn about Bitcoin wallets in our comprehensive guide. If you still decide to use the Coinbase wallet, it can be more easily accesses via Android and iOS apps.
Coinbase also recently added support for Segwit, an upgrade to Bitcoin that allows block space to be used more efficiently. This was a major update, as Coinbase was pretty slow to make the change. Today, Segwit is used by over 40% of the Bitcoin network and increasing every day.
In addition to storing cryptocurrencies, Coinbase also has a USD and Euro wallet making it easy to time your purchases.
Coinbase allows cryptocurrency to be sold to Paypal accounts but does not allow purchasing with Paypal balance.
Coinbase App Review
Coinbase also has a mobile app on the Android and iOS stores, making it easy for users to check prices at their fingertips. Most other exchanges have been slow to add app store support, giving Coinbase a huge advantage,
Coinbase Customer Support
While Coinbase does a fantastic job at most things, their biggest weakness is their customer support. To give Coinbase credit, it is difficult to get to every request in a timely manner when dealing with such a large amount of customers.
Expect a 1-3 day response time on your support ticket. While there have been some complaints about automated responses, as long as you describe your issue clearly you will receive a personal ticket. Before sending in a ticket, make sure the question is not already on their FAQ or this review.
Coinbase is led by Brian Armstrong and mentioned in the news by huge names such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, and Time Magazine.
They recently acquired Earn.com for $120 million, a website that allows users to charge cryptocurrency in exchange for email responses. They also took Balaji Srinivasan as their first CTO.
Coinbase also acquired Paradex, a decentralized exchange built on top of the 0x protocol. Paradex allows hundreds of ERC-20 tokens to be traded in users own wallets. This is an extremely important feature, as many exchanges are often under fire from hacks and 51% attacks.
Coinbase has also introduced an easy way for merchants to accept cryptocurrency for their goods and services. This service is Coinbase Commerce and can be easily integrated to applications and websites.
Another feature of Coinbase commerce is that it allows merchants to accept borderless payments. Cryptocurrency has no borders, which makes Coinbase Commerce perfect for software.
GDAX and Coinbase Pro
After the Paradex acquisition, Coinbase has announced that they are retiring GDAX, their digital currency exchange. After retiring GDAX, Coinbase will launch Coinbase Pro that will play a similar role to GDAX. The exchange will also likely integrate Paradex’s features as they get clarity on laws and regulations.
GDAX and Coinbase Pro are linked with your Coinbase account making it easy to send funds free and instantly.
Why Does Coinbase Need Your ID?
Coinbase requires your ID because they have to follow all AML and KYC laws. Actually, the laws make Coinbase require your ID and this causes many issues for customers when they want to make a new Coinbase account.
Coinbase is doing more and more to try to make this less of a pain. The now have live phone support and one of the allowed issues is that you can get help with ID verification.
Because many old people started buying bitcoins and they are not good with technology. This is what the new Coinbase users look like today. So Coinbase knows they need to step up their customer support or they will lose all their customers.
You should be hesitant to give Coinbase your ID. If they get hacked then you will have a situation like the Equifax leak where millions lost their data. Obviously, Coinbase has fewer users but you need to understand the risks you take when you give a company like Coinbase your ID card uploaded in png or jpeg format. If they get hacked you are screwed!
If you are scared–you should be somewhat–then you may want to test out or try a Bitcoin ATM or LocalBitcoins p2p trade. There are other risks with p2p trades though because there have been stories of theft you will always want to meet in a public space preferably a Starbucks coffee shop that is very crowded.
How to Make a Coinbase Account
To get started with Coinbase, create an account. At first, they only ask for a few signup fields. You can choose whether you want to make a personal account or an institutional account. Institutional accounts are for users who want to use Coinbase merchant services or who want to invest through a business or legal entity.
Click create an account, and verify your phone and email. After, link a payment method and you are ready to buy cryptocurrency on Coinbase!
Coinbase and Cryptocurrency Forks
Coinbase recently announced support for forks of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies follow specific rules when they function. If a rule is changed, a fork happens and splits the cryptocurrency into two separate versions. The new version is an entirely new currency and has a different value.
Previously, users who stored cryptocurrency on Coinbase were not eligible to receive forks unless the exchange manually handed out the new cryptocurrency. This is no more, as Coinbase is making it easy for anyone to claim new versions of a coin.
This is a pretty big deal, as Bitcoin holders didn’t receive Bitcoin Cash for several months, and have still not received forks such as Bitcoin Gold and Private.
Coinbase Referal Program
The Coinbase Referal Program has existed for a while and allows users to earn Bitcoin by inviting friends. After a friend signs up through you, both of you receive $10 in Bitcoin after they make a purchase of over $100. It’s a win-win scenario for both parties!
Coinbase is most likely the most used cryptocurrency exchange in terms of total accounts. They do a lot of things right, from beautiful user interfaces, simple site navigation, and their referral program. They have had no hacks so far, and go to extreme measures to make sure funds are secured properly.
Coinbases competition are other fiat cryptocurrency exchanges. These include Coinmama, Gemini, Bitpanda, CEX.io, and Bitstamp. To learn more about other cryptocurrency exchanges, check out our exchange review page.