As the interest in cryptocurrencies increased over the years, investors needed to have a safe and reliable exchange that can facilitate the purchase and sale of digital currency.
Due to this popularity of cryptocurrency and surge in investment, Coinbase was launched in 2012 in San Francisco. Coinbase quickly gained traction among investors from all around the world and soon became one of the popular exchanges to trade digital currency.
Today, the exchange operates in over 100 countries and has over $150 billion in digital currency transaction on its platform. The exchange was started to introduce the world to cryptocurrencies and allow the investors to purchase digital currencies and perform transactions through digital wallets. The exchange allows the users to buy cryptocurrencies from select jurisdiction around the globe, using their local fiat currency. It also allows them to sell cryptocurrencies and withdraw fiat currency. It is one of the few exchanges around the world that accept payments through the use of credit cards, along with bank transfers.
Coinbase has been the pioneer in popularizing the digital currency to the world and made it accessible to the common people for investment and transaction purposes. In this Coinbase Review 2019, I will discuss everything that you need to know about the popular and reliable cryptocurrency exchange in a detailed manner, including the review of Coinbase Pro.
However, before getting into the detailed review of the platform, many new users and investors are worried about the safety involved in buying and selling digital currency through Coinbase. And for such reasons, I will start by discussing the safety and reliability of the Coinbase exchange for anyone who has the same question.
- Is Coinbase Safe?
- User Interface
- How to set up a Coinbase Account and Buy Cryptocurrencies?
- Coinbase Fees
- Buying and Selling Fee
- Cryptocurrency Conversions
- Coinbase Wallet
- Limits and Liquidity
- Sending Cryptocurrencies/Money from Coinbase to Other Exchanges
- User Privacy
- Supported Countries
- How you can earn cryptocurrency with Coinbase?
- Coinbase Pro
- Who Can Use Coinbase Pro?
- Cryptocurrencies Supported by Coinbase Pro
- Pros and Cons of Coinbase Exchange
- Pros of Coinbase
- Cons of Coinbase
- Customer Support
- Final Thoughts
This is no financial advise, all the content and the ideas present in this page and all the other pages of the website do not guarantee financial success and may lead to a loss of your money. You should always do your own due diligence before trading or seek professional advise.
Some of the links available in this page may generate a commission for the author.
Is coinbase safe?
A common perception among new users of the platform is that it is risky to invest in cryptocurrency through Coinbase. While this is true that there have been some issues with some bitcoin exchanges in the past, Coinbase is considered to be a reliable and safe exchange platform as of now. For starters, Coinbase is located in the United States and is thus required to comply with US Federal and State law. This can be compared with some of the other exchanges that operate in certain countries where regulations are not that heavy as compared to that in the United States.
Coinbase bitcoin exchange has been constantly in touch with the regulators to ensure that they are offering an open and innovative financial platform for investors around the world. In addition to this, the exchange platform has also received investment by a different number of high profile banking institutions like BBVA and Bank of Tokyo. All of this adds to the legitimacy of the Coinbase Exchange.
Coinbase is completely transparent about the storage of funds on its platform. The exchange’s operational funds and customer funds are kept separately. Moreover, the company also states on its websites that any money or funds kept on behalf of the customer are stored safely in custodial bank accounts. And neither Coinbase nor its creditors will have any rights to such customer funds, in the event of insolvency.
When it comes to the storage, about 98% of the cryptocurrencies are stored offline in the hardware and paper wallets, which are stored in vaults and deposits boxes worldwide. Whereas, the remaining percentage of cryptocurrencies that are kept online is insured completely. Customers are entitled to get any fund lost during the event of a hack, through the insurance policy.
From the security point of view, Coinbase provides 2-factor authentication method to its customers. This can be done through an SMS on your mobile device or any other third party application like Google Duo or Authenticator. The exchange also notifies its customer, if the login process has been initiated from a new IP address or device to access the account.
However, even after all of this, your cryptocurrency gets stolen, Coinbase will not have any liability. And for this reason, I recommend to store your cryptocurrency offline inside a wallet of your choosing and that you are in control of.
Have a look at this article in which I talk about linking bank account to Coinbase.
Overall, the platform is safe and provides a reliable environment to buy and sell cryptocurrency all around the world.
Is coinbase safe?
- Unlike other exchanges, Coinbase is located in the Unites States and complies with US Federal and State law
- High Profile banking Institutions like BBVA and Bank of Tokyo invest in Coinbase.
- The money of the users are stored in custodil bank accounts and neither Coinbase nor its creditors have rights in such funds in case of insolvency.
- Almost all the cryptocurrencies ae stored offline either in hardware or paper wallets, stored in vaults worldwide. The minor part of cryptocurrencies stored online is insured.
- Coinbase provides with 2-factor authentication both via SMS or Authenticator apps.
- The exchange provides with notifications whenever a suspicious access is made.
The interface design of Coinbase exchange is clean and sleek, making it easy for beginners to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The platform is simple to use and navigation is easy to understand by everyone. The web interface of Coinbase has all the necessary features for exchanging cryptocurrencies smoothly.
The interface also has a dashboard that provides you with all the necessary information. You can also get access to reporting tools if you want to get more details about your favorite cryptocurrencies. However, if you want to get more order options from the platform, you can use Coinbase Pro which is linked with your Coinbase wallet.
In addition to the web interface, you can also access your Coinbase account through Android and iOS applications that can be availed from the Play and App store respectively. While signing up for the mobile application, you have to provide email verification and 2-factor authentication. In addition to this, you can also select a PIN for better protection.
How to set up a Coinbase account and buy cryptocurrencies?
- Setting up an account with Coinbase is simple and can be completed by following a few simple steps. By following the steps described below, you will be able to buy cryptocurrency with Coinbase Exchange.
- To create an account, all you have to do is sign up with your name, email, and password. Your account will get created.
- Once you sign up with the email address, Coinbase will ask you to confirm the email address. Once the confirmation process has been completed, you will be redirected to the startup page of the exchange, where you will be requested to confirm whether you want to create a business account or individual account.
- The next step after account and account type confirmation is getting your phone number verified. Phone verification is necessary for 2-factor authentication mechanism so that your account can be kept safe and secure all the time. Doing so will prevent your account from any unauthorized access.
- In order to buy bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, you will be asked to set up a payment method. Here you can select from two different payment methods. Credit Card and Bank Transfers. If you want to use Credit Cards to make the payment, you will have to provide a screenshot of credit card history. This is absolutely necessary.
- For Bank Transfers, the Coinbase exchange will do one or two small transactions to and from the account, to verify your bank account. In the United States, bank transfers can take up to 4 – 5 days to complete. Similar in the EU, it is 1 – 3 days by SEPA transfers.
- However, as compared to bank transfers, debit and credit card transactions are instant. You can also choose to link your PayPal account with the exchange, however, it can only be used for proceeds made from the sell of cryptocurrencies.
- Another important thing to keep in mind is the fee associated with each type of payment method. When you pay through cards the deposit happens instantly, however, the commission associated is higher. And when the deposit is done through bank transfer, it is not immediate and the commission associated is lower.
How to set up a Coinbase account and buy cryptocurrencies?
- In order to create an account all you need to do is visiting Coinbase and following all the steps (please read the full article for a more detailed version).
- In order to buy cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin) you will need to setup a payment method, between credit card and bank transfer.
- Card Transfer is more expensive, but it is recommended when trading such a volatile security.
The fees for Coinbase range from 1.49% to 3.99%, depending upon the kind of payment method that you are choosing. As discussed above, when the payment method is credit card, the transaction fee involved is on the higher end as compared to direct bank transfers. Being said that, the fees associated with Coinbase are slightly on the lower end as compared to some of its other competitors like CEX.
Buying and selling fee
When it comes to the buying and selling fees of cryptocurrencies through Coinbase, the fee structure is a bit complicated. Coinbase places approximately 0.5% spread on all of the cryptocurrency current market rates. However, the spread can fluctuate depending upon the present market circumstances.
In other words, it means that the price of cryptocurrency that you are buying will be 0.5% higher as compared to the market rate and 0.5% lower while you are selling the cryptocurrency. In addition to this, the above discussed Coinbase fee will also be applicable to all of the transactions.
For cryptocurrency conversions, Coinbase Exchange does not charge any fee, however, it implements 1% market spread approximately. The spread can vary depending upon the market nature at the time of conversion. This means that you will have to pay 1% more than the market price of the purchased cryptocurrency in terms of cryptocurrency which you are selling, in order to complete the transaction.
I believe that Coinbase is one of the safest wallets for exchanging cryptocurrencies. Like previously stated, it stores 98% of cryptocurrencies in cold storage. Coinbase wallet stores the money similar to that of any bank. Apart from the regular wallet, you can also get access to the vault and multi-signature vault. These wallet options offer more security features for withdrawal.
The vault storage requires two different email addresses. You can also demand two different signatures when accepting withdrawals. It takes up to 48 hours to complete the withdrawal, which you can cancel any time before it is completed. The credentials related to your Coinbase account are encrypted on the servers. However, I still recommend making use of 2-factor authentication for your login and withdrawal requirements. You will feel more secure that way.
Limits and liquidity
Transaction limit of the user on Coinbase tends to vary from country to country. These variations in transaction limit can also be due to the result of different verification status and payment methods. If you want to know the limit on your account, you can access the details through the account’s limit page.
In case if you want to apply for higher limits on your account, you can do that as well. However, Coinbase does not accept such applications for users who have a credit card payment method on their account. For higher limits, users will have to verify their identity with the Coinbase exchange.
- For the United States verified users, you can buy up to $25,000 a day worth of digital currency.
- For European users, you can have a maximum of $30,000 at any time in your Coinbase wallet.
Sending cryptocurrencies/money from Coinbase to other exchanges
Apart from all the functionality that Coinbase has to offer, you also get the ability to transfer money from your Coinbase account to other exchanges, thus making it possible to play altcoins. I generally do this most of the times and as a result of which I managed to quadruple my initial investment. There are a number of different exchanges that you can use to move your money from Coinbase. These are Binance, Bittrex and Kraken among others. I generally move money from Coinbase to Binance, as the process is quite simple, safe and reliable.
In my opinion, Coinbase is a reliable and secure exchange that complies with all the regulations and laws. All of the user information like email address, phone number, and other personal information that is required at the time of account opening and verification, is stored and protected in the Coinbase database.
Being said that, Coinbase is aware of your IP address and identity. They can link the transactions and balance in your account back to you. In addition to this, they monitor how users spend their bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies so that no user can violate the law. Coinbase has closed many user accounts because it found out that the users were transferring money to different gambling sites. And since the US government prohibits gambling, it is a clear violation. Meaning, Coinbase follows the regulations strictly.
Users from over 100 countries can get access to the reliable Cryptocurrency Exchange platform and can buy and sell digital currency easily. Some of these countries include:
- The Netherlands
- In my opinion Coinbase is one of the safest online wallet available.
- 98% of cryptocurrencies is stored offline and the remaining 2% is insured.
- It is possible to access to a vault, which requires multi-signature for withdrawal.
- There are monthly and daily limits to the money that can be exchanged, but they vary based on the origin country of the user.
- Coinbase allows sending and receiving money to and from other exchanges such as Binance where other currencies can be exchanged (for instance altcoins)
How you can earn cryptocurrency with Coinbase?
The mission of Coinbase is to create an open financial system and in the process make the Blockchain technology more accessible to everyone. It operates earn learning portal that allows the user to earn cryptocurrencies for themselves, and be able to learn at the same time. The Coinbase Earn program is aimed to incentivize users so that they can develop a deeper knowledge of digital asset and the technology behind it.
All of which can be done by consuming the readily available content on the website. Users who are verified by Coinbase can earn crypto by simply completing a series of different task that includes watching videos, and or filling out quizzes from time to time. The program is open to eligible users from all around the world. Users can take a course on a number of different currencies such as ZEC (Z Cash) and XLM (Stellar Lumens).
How you can earn cryptocurrency with Coinbase?
- Coinbase has the mission to make the Blockchain technology more accessible to everyone.
- Coinbase operates an earn learning portal that allows users to earn cryptocurrencies while learning.
- The portal aims to incentivate development and knowledge of the technology behind the Blockchain.
Coinbase Pro previously known as GDAX is the advanced version of Coinbase that consists of advanced features like graphs, charts and various trading options. Coinbase pro is more suited for advanced traders. All of the users who have an account on Coinbase automatically get an account on Coinbase Pro as well. You need to log in with the same credentials as you would do on the Coinbase Platform.
It is designed for users who are willing to know more than just the simple basics of market fluctuations for their favorite cryptocurrencies pairs. You can get access to real-time order books, charting tools and trade histories. Being said that, the user interface of Coinbase Pro is highly intuitive – and thus you can start using it right away without any difficulties in navigation.
Who can use coinbase pro?
Coinbase Pro is not for institutions. It is for individual traders. If the platform is supported in your specific geographical area, signing up for the account is very easy. If you want you can even upgrade the existing Coinbase account that you have into a Coinbase Pro account. For traders and users living in Singapore, Canada, and Australia they can use Coinbase Pro to get access to crypto without having any access to fiat.
For traders living in the US, UK, and Europe, get access to fiat currencies as well. Since the platform is not designed for institutional traders or clients, it can only be accessed by individual traders. For institutions, there is a separate platform designed specifically for them, known as Coinbase Prime.
Cryptocurrencies supported by Coinbase Pro
The trading pairs that are available to users depends completely on the local regulations of a given country. Yes, you will be able to get the details and view the order book of any trading pair, but will only be able to trade in pairs that are compliant with the local regulations.
- In Singapore, Canada and Australia, the trading pairs available are BCH/BTC, LTC/BTC, and ETH/BTC.
- For traders who are living in the UK can trade in ETH/BTC, BTC/GBP, ETH/EUR, BTC/EUR, LTC/EUR, LTC/BTC, BCH/BTC, and BCH/EUR.
- For traders who are living in Europe can trade in all of the above pairs discussed in point 2, except for BTC/GBP.
- For traders who are using Coinbase Pro in the United States of America, can trade in ETH/BTC, ETH/USD, BTC/USD, LTC/BTC, BCH/BTC, LTC/USD, and BCH/USD.
Thus, based upon the geographical region that you are living in, you can trade in the above-discussed pairs as per your country. I would personally recommend making use of Coinbase Pro platform, you are advanced traders and wants to have access to detail information using the charting and graphing facility.
- Coinbase Pro is only available to individual traders.
- It includes advanced features such as graphs, charts and various trading options.
- Highly intuitive interface.
- It allows access to FIAT for traders from US, UK, and Europe.
- The pro version for institutions is called ‘Coinbase Prime’.
Pros and cons of Conbase Exchange
Now that I have covered most of the necessary information that you needed to know about Coinbase exchange, let us see the different pros and cons of the exchange platform that will help you to understand if this is the right exchange for you to buy bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Pros of Coinbase
Pros of Coinbase
- The platform has been designed keeping the beginner and simple user in mind that can buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies without much difficulties. The interface is simple and can be used without knowing any technicalities.
- Traders from 42 different countries can come to the exchange and buy and sell all the major cryptocurrencies of their choosing. You can transact the digital currency without any difficulties, store them in Coinbase wallet and even have the ability to convert them.
- All of these features are important for new traders, which they can access using a simple and intuitive interface.
- When it comes to the reliability and safety of cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase is one of the most secure platforms available to traders around the world.
- It has a mandatory 2-factor authentication process for all of its users, so any kind of unauthorized access can be protected.
- All of the user information is encrypted using AES 256 bit encryption and is stored safely in their databases around the world.
- Payment Options
- Coinbase accepts all the major payment options, which is a big plus for traders around the world, who are not able to buy and sell digital currency because of appropriate payment options.
- As discussed above, the different payment options that users can go for are bank transfers, debit and credit cards. You can even use your PayPal account for withdrawing the money. However, deposits are not acceptable through PayPal.
- Though, it is important to remember that Coinbase fee is high for credit and debit cards and low for bank transfers.
- Educational Resources
- On the website, traders can access to a huge amount of resources that can help beginners to understand everything that they need to know, in order to be updated with all the latest information and relevant news about their favorite digital currency.
- You can access their dedicated resources or FAQ page that has every question answered which a new and existing trader might have.
- In addition to this, they even have a blog page that consists of articles and blogs from Coinbase executives, including the one from Co-Founders as well.
In addition to this, they also offer impressive limits and liquidity options for their users, which have been discussed above. The company is fully regulated and the traders’ money is insured. Thus, you need not have to worry about your money loss.
Cons of Coinbase
- Like stated previously, when it comes to compliance and regulations, Coinbase is one of the most trusted exchanges available. However, for some users, this can be a drawback.
- Due to the heavy regulations, the verification process of the Coinbase platform is extensive and needs you to submit a lot of details.
- This can also be a problem for investors who wants to avoid excessive regulation and hide their financial affairs.
- Fees and Costs
- Coinbase is one of the most expensive digital currency exchanges. The spreads and the fees associated for crypto to crypto and fiat to crypto are amongst the highest in the industry.
- Being said that, most traders choose an alternative option simply because of the fact that Coinbase is expensive. But on the flip side, it offers some great features and security.
- Being said that, a successful trader would generate enough amount of profit to cover the fee associated with each transaction. If you are not able to do that, then probably there is something wrong in your strategy.
Investing is all about taking the right decision at the right time. If you do so, commission fee is not a big deal. For example, if you bought Bitcoin 6 months ago (which is something I was really telling people to do, back between November and December 2018), you would now (May 2019) have 160% return of the investment. Coinbase commission is nothing compared to a 160% return.
- Limited Digital Currencies
- Yes, Coinbase offers most of the popular digital currency, however, for traders who are looking to invest in less popular coins, Coinbase is not the platform that provides that opportunity.
- In addition to this, the platform does not provide advanced analytical tools for traders who want to execute their strategies.
- Limited Digital Currencies
To get access to advanced analytical tools, you can make use of TradingView platform that provides great features for doing technical analysis.
Pros and cons of Conbase Exchange
Pros and Cons of Coinbase Exchange
- Beginner friendly and easy to use.
- Available in 42 countries.
- One of the safest exchanges available.
- Broad payment options.
- Useful educational resources.
- Due to the strict procedures, some investors may want to use a system that allows less controls on their money.
- Coinbase is one of the most expensive exchanges, but on the other hand is also one of the most secure and successful traders may not be concerned about the tiny percentages taken from their profits.
- The currencies that can be purchased are limited to the most popular ones.
There is an extensive amount of knowledge base on the official website of Coinbase. Most of the queries that you have will get solved using the FAQ or blogs section. However, in case if you are using the ticketing system, you can expect the reply to your email within 2 – 3 business days. In addition to this, you can also get in touch with the customer support executive using their phone number.
However, there have been reporting that the customer support team available on phone do not have adequate knowledge to solve complex problems. In all, customer support is not so good and not so bad, like it is for majority of companies. Customer support executives do not always get proper training, as a result of which they may not be well-qualified to solve your problems. Moreover, they are not always paid well and thus are sometimes unwilling to help people because they simply do not want to do it.
Coinbase is one of the most reliable bitcoin exchanges available to buy and sell bitcoins and different digital currency. Especially for newcomers, who have just started to trade, Coinbase offers an easy to use and practical solution for buying cryptocurrency. When it comes to security, despite what has been said above with regards to security levels and all, I will personally recommend transferring all the cryptocurrency purchases to personal wallets.
Even after certain shortcomings in the customer support department, Coinbase stands out to be a reliable exchange that you can make use of, in order to buy and sell bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies that it has to offer. Being said that, Coinbase only has a few popular digital assets that it allows its users to trade in. Even after that, there are more than 20 million trusted users, who are currently using the Coinbase exchange platform around the world.
However, as compared to some of the other exchanges that allow users to buy and sell bitcoin and other popular coins, the fees associated with Coinbase is slightly on the higher side as compared to industry standards.
Traders who are more advanced and looking for specific tools for their analysis can even switch to Coinbase Pro version of the platform and trade with a less fee associated on each trade. However, do remember that Coinbase Pro is only for individuals and not institutional clients. That being said, I would recommend using Coinbase exchange if you are just starting out, as it is easy to use and understand. Buying and selling of your favorite digital currency are quite simple and without much difficulties.