Launched in 2012, at the dawn of the crypto-age, Coinbase is without a doubt one of the biggest, best and most appreciated cryptocurrency exchanges out there.
The operation serves more than 20 million users from all over the world and it has thus far facilitated the trading of more than $150 billion worth of cryptocurrency.
The exchange operates in some 32 countries and it supports fiat currencies as well. Indeed, for many people, Coinbase is by far the best destination for the direct purchasing of BTC.
The founders of Coinbase are Fred Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong. Ben Reeves, of Blockchain.info fame, was also part of the initial lineup. Coinbase has thus far managed to draw in more than $217 million from some of the world’s top investors.
What kind of benefits does Coinbase offer to the rank-and-file crypto trader though? Why would you be interested in creating an account with them?
First of all, the fact that the operation accepts fiat currencies is a major mark in the “+” column. Above and beyond that though, verified credit card holders are allowed to instantly purchase some $1,000 worth of BTC every week. In addition to this feature, a wide range of crypto and fiat deposits are accepted too.
Coinbase users can transfer funds instantly among themselves and their BTC deposits are insured. The exchange offers an impressive selection of online and mobile wallets too, which are protected by multi-signature setups.
If you happen to be a developer, you will certainly appreciate the API offered by Coinbase, which comes with extensive documentation.
Last, but not least, Coinbase users are also offered a Shift Payments debit card, which is linked to their Coinbase balance.
The user interface of the exchange is simple, intuitive and indeed: great for beginners.
Despite all the goodies described above, the reputation of the exchange is far from spotless. Forums and discussion boards everywhere are rife with complaints, but that is indeed something one would expect in regards to an operation which serves more than 20 million people. Still, it is worth taking a closer look at what these complaints are mostly about.
Due to keenly observed legal compliance, Coinbase will sometimes unilaterally freeze/close user accounts. The operator will track the way users use their BTCs and if they are found to be paying for adult services, gambling (including skill games), contraband or engaging in coin resale at KYC and AML policy-less exchanges, their accounts will be locked. In such cases, money is always returned to the user’s bank account.
The exchange maintains close ties to the banking establishment, which in and of itself is an unforgivable sin for most Bitcoin purists.
Like most exchanges, Coinbase support a single account type, though a distinction is made between individual and institutional users. Tough identity verification procedures are in place for individuals looking to sign up with the operation.
Coinbase’s professional trading platform is GDAX. In addition to that though, the exchange also features an instant exchange, which is web-based, and which can be accessed directly from the homepage of the official site, provided one has a registered account with the operation.
The graphical user interface of this platform is easy on the eyes, featuring attractive charts and tools. The platform is available in mobile app versions too. Digital portfolio management is a cinch on the instant exchange and recurring buys can be set as well.
US customers of Coinbase can use Bank Account Deposits (ACH) available for large as well as small deposits. Debit cards are available for smaller investments and wire transfers for large deposits. Remember that extensive ID verification is required for all these payment methods.
European customers can use SEPA bank account deposits, as well as Debit Cards. Only deposits denominated in EUR are accepted.
UK-based traders can also deposit through a bank account or through Credit- and Debit Cards.
The markets supported by the Instant Exchange are relatively limited. ETH, BTC, BCH and LTC can currently be bought and sold.
Coinbase features a support center where most of the frequently asked user questions are already answered. They also offer email support, live chat, as well as a phone number. Support is said to be rather poor in general though.
Considering its legal compliance and its various ID-verification requirements, not to mention two-factor authentication and other such security measures, Coinbase can indeed be considered a very safe destination for those who do not use their cryptos for shady purchases.
Everything considered, Coinbase is indeed a trustworthy destination. The fact though that it’s apparently in a close connection with the banking industry, cannot be forgiven by the true, ultimate Bitcoiners.