Launched in 2012, Coinbase is a San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange that serves millions of customers in 32 countries. It’s one of the most popular platforms to buy, sell, transfer, and store bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies. Considering that Coinbase can be used as an exchange (through its sister platform GDAX) and a wallet, it’s safe to say that it’s a ‘one-stop-shop’ for major digital currencies.
To help you navigate through Coinbase when you want to purchase, sell or exchange cryptocurrencies, we are going to review the platform, going deeper into its security measures, fees offered, how to buy and sell digital currencies, and everything in between.
|Location||San Francisco, CA, USA|
|Buy Methods||Bank Transfers, Credit Card|
|Sell Methods||Bank Transfers, PayPal|
|Available Cryptocurrencies||Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin|
Coinbase fees are considered relatively fair compared to other cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinmama, which charge as high as 5.50%. Currently, the platform charges fees that range between 1.49% and 3.99%. This, however, depends on your preferred payment method. If you choose to go with a credit card, be ready be on the higher side of the scale.
What Currencies Does Coinbase Support?
Unlike most cryptocurrencies out there that support a myriad of digital currencies, Coinbase only supports four: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Initially, the platform was only supporting Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, but it announced late in 2016 that it would start supporting Bitcoin Cash, which started on January 1st.
In addition to these digital currencies, Coinbase also accepts fiat currencies, including USD, EUR, CAD, SGD, and GBP.
How to Use Coinbase
Coinbase has made its website easy to use and navigate. Here are simple steps to follow in order to create an account with Coinbase and buy or sell digital currencies:
How to Create an Account on Coinbase
Step 1: Signing up
To create an account on Coinbase, click the “Sign Up” tab at the top right corner of the website and fill in your details. You will be asked for your first and last names, as well as your email and password.
Step 2: Selecting Account Type
Once you enter your details, you will now be requested to confirm your email, after which you will be redirected directly to the startup page. Coinbase will require you to choose whether you want an individual or a business account. If you are a merchant or represent an institutional investor, choose the appropriate tabs and hit “Create Account”.
Step 3: Verifying Phone Number
You are not done yet. The next step involves verifying your phone number for the purposes of creating 2-factor identification to ensure your account is safe.
Step 4: Setting up Payment Method
Once you’ve set up your account and verified your phone number you can then proceed to use the platform to purchase cryptocurrencies. To start the process, you need to first choose your preferred payment method from the two provided by Coinbase: credit card and bank transfer. For credit card, you might be requested to upload a screenshot of the credit card to ensure it’s actually yours. On the other hand, for bank transfers, the company will set up small transactions to and from the account for the purposes of verification. Be aware, though, that completing bank transfers can take 1 to 3 days by SEPA in the EU, or 4 to 5 days in the US, while their credit card counterparts are instant.
Coinbase also has an option to link PayPal account, but it can only be used for proceeds users get from selling digital currencies.
Which Payment Methods Are Accepted by Coinbase?
One of the reasons why Coinbase is popular is because of the convenient payment methods it offers. As stated earlier, if you want to purchase Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum or Litecoin, you can use bank transfer or credit card. However, when making a withdrawal or rather selling your digital currency, the platform accepts PayPal, in addition to bank transfer and credit card.
What are the Transfer Limits?
Transaction limits can vary by verification status, payment method and user location. Ensure that you view your limits before you initiate any transaction on the account’s limit page. If we take a case of a U.S. customer, it’s likely they will be slapped with the following weekly limits at first:
- $50 buy through credit or debit card
- $5,000 buy through bank accounts
- $50,000 sells on any payment method.
These limits can, however, be increased. If you feel they are too low for your investment strategy, you can go ahead and apply for an increase, although not applicable for the credit card users.
How to Buy on Coinbase
You have your funds in your account, right? Well, the next step is purchasing your digital currency, say in this case bitcoin. Here’s how to go about it:
Step 1: You see at the top of the startup page where it’s indicated “Buy/Sell”. Well, hit that tab and it will redirect you to a page with the three cryptocurrencies that the platform offers: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
Step 2: Now select your preferred coin, say bitcoin. Choose the payment method, enter the amount in the provided field and it will be calculated to reflect the number of bitcoins it’s worth. Remember that there’s a weekly bank limit to how much you can spend, and the figure will be indicated right below the payment method. It also goes without saying that you should keep the fees charged in mind. For instance, if you intend to purchase $100 worth of BTC via bank transfer, type 102.99 so that the extra dollars are for the service fees.
Step 3: Hit “Buy Bitcoin” and you will be redirected to a page with all your details and confirmation of your purchase. The number of bitcoins purchased will then be credited to your account. Pretty easy, right?
How to Sell on Coinbase
If you want to sell Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin on Coinbase, the process isn’t any different from buying the same currencies, which we have covered above. However, you have to choose the account you wish to be paid with before you complete the purchase. Do you prefer bank account or PayPal? Select your preferred option in the “Destination Account” page.
Here’s how to go about it:
Step 1: Chosen your preferred deposit account? Good! You will be redirected back to the sales page, where you will be required to input the number of bitcoins (or any other cryptocurrency) you intend to sell or its dollar value. Remember to factor in all the fees before you proceed.
Step 2: Done? Now click on the “Sell” tab and you will be taken to a page with all the transactions details. If you are satisfied, you can now click on the “Confirm Sell” tab and the amount will be credited to your preferred account.
Security is an important issue when it comes to cryptocurrencies. We have witnessed many exchanges being hacked and all the digital assets stolen. For instance, the most recent to experience hacking is Coincheck, a Japan cryptocurrency exchange, which lost a whopping $530 million worth of cryptocurrencies in January 2018.
Coinbase isn’t immune to hacking, but it has set up a number of measures to ensure that security of digital currencies it holds is not compromised. For starters, being a US-based company, it’s required to fully comply with laws and regulations in the country, and this means both state and federal level. Here are some of which it complies with:
- State transmission regulations and laws
- USA Patriot Act
- Bank Secrecy Act
- Registration with FinCEN
When it comes to safe keeping of funds, Coinbase decided to segregate company operational funds and customer funds, with the latter being held in custodial bank accounts. And do you know what this means? They can’t use customer’s funds to operate their business.
Coinbase also notes that approximately 98% of digital assets are well stored in offline cold storage including paper wallets and hardware wallets, ensuring maximum security from hackers. How about the remaining cryptocurrencies, you ask? Well, the ones stored online are insured by a Lloyd’s of London syndicate. And there’s more – US-based users who use the company’s USD wallet are covered for up to $250,000 by FDIC. But don’t get it wrong – if you lose your bitcoins due to negligence you won’t be able to claim. You are liable if your personal account is compromised, so it’s always advised that you keep your digital assets safe in a wallet.
When it comes to personal security, Coinbase offers 2-factor authentication to help users secure their accounts. Before you can access your account, you have to input a code sent via SMS, and if you want to change your number, then you have to go through verification, which includes ID upload and picture of yourself. Moreover, you can also track your account’s activity and get notified immediately when a new IP address or device attempts to log in to your account.
Coinbase Wallet Review
Coinbase operates as an Exchange as well as a wallet for the supported cryptocurrencies. It has four wallets, which are Bitcoin Wallet, Bitcoin Cash Wallet, Ethereum Wallet, and Litecoin Wallet.
Being a centralized exchange, Coinbase controls every private key of the wallets, acting more like a financial institution/bank than a real wallet. If you buy bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, then you must trust the platform to keep them secure.
If you have a large amount of digital currency, Coinbase offers a great solution to store then through Coinbase Vault. Bitcoins stores in this vault are protected by a number of users, who must confirm that a withdrawal is valid before it proceeds for processing. The withdrawals take around 48 hours to complete, providing a safety net.
Coinbase also allows users to hold their cryptocurrencies in a secure place and have control over their funds. It, therefore, offers a multi-sig vault, whereby you are allowed to keep one key (encrypted with your password), one is shared, and the other one is held by Coinbase. Any of the two keys can allow you to spend your funds. Brilliant, right?
Coinbase App Review
Coinbase seems to strive hard to keep its customers satisfied. It’s one of the few exchanges in the market that offers a fully functional app. You can do pretty much everything with the app, from verifying your identity, verifying your phone number, adding your payment method, making payments when purchasing cryptocurrencies, and selling your cryptos.
The app is available for all Android and iOS devices, and you can simply get it from their respective stores. In order to enjoy its full services, it’s recommended that you grant it permission from your device.
Which Countries does Coinbase Support?
Sadly, Coinbase doesn’t support all regions in the world. Currently, it supports a total of 32 countries including the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Singapore. The European countries that are also supported include Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, San Marino, Romania, Portugal, Poland, Norway, Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Greece, France, Finland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Bulgaria, Belgium, and Austria.
Coinbase Customer Support
Coinbase customer support is available 24/7. When you contact them via the email, you can expect a response within 24 to 72 hours, with the wait time varying depending on urgency and number of tickets submitted. There have been complaints, however, about users receiving “canned responses” most of which don’t address their issue entirely.
In addition to email support, Coinbase also offered a well-detailed FAQs page, which addresses common issues that customers might experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a number of frequently asked questions about Coinbase that users tend to ask, most of which we have covered in this post. These include:
- How much does it cost to buy/sell cryptocurrencies on Coinbase?
- How do you use Coinbase?
- Is Coinbase safe to store bitcoins?
- How do I create an account on Coinbase?
- How do I sell/buy bitcoin and Ethereum on Coinbase?
- Does Coinbase accept credit card and bank transfer?
- Can I withdraw my funds to PayPal?
- How quickly will I get my funds?
- Are there any transfer limits on Coinbase?
- Does Coinbase have a wallet?
Here are those we haven’t covered:
Who is the CEO of Coinbase?
The CEO of Coinbase is known as Brian Armstrong
How safe is it to link bank account on Coinbase?
Considering that Coinbase is fully regulated by various authorities in the US, it’s safe to say that it’s safe to link your bank. The company holds licenses in every district that it operates in, and is backed by a number of major US investors. This, however, doesn’t mean you should store all your bitcoins in Coinbase, no! Keep some in your own wallet.
Can I purchase bitcoins on Coinbase with PayPal?
When buying cryptocurrencies, you are not allowed to use PayPal. You are only allowed to use the payment methods we listed, which are Credit/debit cards and bank transfer. However, when selling your bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies, you are allowed to send your funds to PayPal.
Coinbase Pros and Cons
Just like any other cryptocurrency exchange out there, Coinbase has some advantages and downsides, according to users. Here’s what we gathered:
- Easy to use
- Stores customer funds safely
- Complies with regulations
- Speedier transactions, especially when buying cryptocurrencies
- Offers a variety of payment methods
- Lower fees
- Monitors and tracks how customers spend their digital currencies
- Coinbase wallet isn’t as secure as using own wallet
Poloniex vs Coinbase vs Gemini
|Site Type||Easy Buy/Sell||Cryptocurrency Exchange||Cryptocurrency Exchange|
|Buy Methods||Bank Transfer, Debit Card, Debit Card||Cryptocurrency||Bank Transfer|
|Sell Methods||Bank Transfer, PayPal||Cryptocurrency||Bank Transfer|
|Available Cryptocurrencies||Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin||Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, and 68 More||Bitcoin, Ethereum|
When you look at Poloniex, Gemini, and Coinbase, one difference that’s glaring is the interface. While that of Coinbase is user-friendly, the interfaces of Poloniex and Gemini appear a little complicated. Coinbase is mostly geared to users without much experience, providing a platform to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, the other two platforms are more of exchanges with advanced features.
Coinbase offers a wide range of buy and deposit options, which include cryptocurrency, bank transfer, debit card and credit cards. Gemini too offers bank transfer, but Poloniex is only limited to cryptocurrencies. This gives Coinbase an edge over these competitors.
When it comes to cryptocurrencies available, Coinbase and Gemini tends to fall short, as the former offers Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin, while the latter only offers Bitcoin and Ethereum options. Poloniex is the clear winner here, offering more than 60 cryptocurrencies, including the top ones.
Coinbase is also blessed to have a mobile app, allowing users to buy and sell available cryptocurrencies from their Android and Apple devices. Unfortunately, Poloniex and Gemini do not have a mobile application.
Some people might argue that Coinbase isn’t perfect, but the truth of the matter is that the cryptocurrency exchange has been a life-saver to both newcomers and experienced crypto enthusiasts. It offers a practical, easy-to-use service when buying and selling Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Even though the Coinbase is fully regulated and has put down measure to protect users’ accounts, it’s always best to move your cryptocurrencies to a dedicated wallet just for safety purposes. Overall, anyone who has used the platform will agree that it’s a perfect place for those looking to enter the cryptocurrency world.