Coinbase Review

Bitcoin/Crypto Wallet & Exchange

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Coinbase wallpaper

Coinbase Overview

Coinbase is an online wallet for cryptocurrencies and platform where you can easily buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC). Today they are the world’s largest Bitcoin company with more than 9 million users in over 30 countries. It’s a company with high security and reliability on the crypto market. Coinbase focuses on building safe products that are easy to use for beginners.

In this review, we will go through their entire business. You will learn how Coinbase started and became the world’s largest company on the Bitcoin market. How to use their online wallet and safely store your cryptocurrency. What security measures are available and how Coinbase protects your cryptocurrencies. How good their privacy policy for user accounts is and what to think about. What fees and limits exist for different products. We will also review the user experience and all features.

At the end, we will show you how to open an account and buy Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies on their platform. Lastly, we have included website screenshots and listed all pros and cons of Coinbase. Below you can read our overview of some sections from this review.

Coinbase Background

Coinbase was founded in 2012 and is based in California, USA. The company has major investors and has grown rapidly in recent years on the crypto market. Today, Coinbase is the world’s largest Bitcoin company throughout more than 30 countries in 10 different languages. Coinbase works closely with regulatory authorities and has been licensed in almost all states in the United States. This is one of the reasons why the company is trustworthy and has high security.

Online Wallet

Here you will find one of the safest online wallets for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. There are advanced security features that other exchanges don’t offer. Coinbase both protects and controls all private keys which are used in the blockchain to verify ownership of the cryptocurrency. In that way, Coinbase works more like a bank instead of a regular Bitcoin wallet. Once you have bought or sold cryptocurrencies at Coinbase, we strongly recommend that you transfer the money to your personal wallet for control of your own private keys. Read more in the Coinbase Online Wallet section below.

User Experience

Their platform has a simple interface that fits well for beginners in the crypto market. Coinbase has focused on simplifying the purchase process of bitcoin to attract new users. At the same time, the GDAX Exchange is linked to your Coinbase wallet, which offers professional traders all the order options and trading tools needed. Coinbase currently has the best user experience of all Bitcoin exchanges. They also have a good app for Android and iOS.

Security and Protection

Coinbase is well-financed and has invested a lot in its security. From a security point of view, Coinbase has the best cryptocurrency exchange. The company protects your bitcoin through backup management and offline storage of cryptocurrency. Your private keys, needed to sign transactions, are divided into pieces and stored on paper and offline hard drives in different locations with backups. If you live in the United States, your money is protected with FDIC Insurance up to $250,000 from the government.

Fees and Limits

Coinbase has generous buy and sell limits on the platform and, according to us, reasonable fees. There are exchanges with lower fees. However, their user experience is usually significantly worse. Coinbase has the simplest buying process on the market, and their fees are between 1.49% and 3.99%. This depends on whether you buy cryptocurrency with bank transferring or directly with your credit/debit card. Further down, you will find more information with a complete table of all fees for different countries and payment methods.

 

Coinbase unicorn company

Coinbase Background

The company was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam who, unlike other Bitcoin companies, managed to get several major names on Wall Street to invest in the company. Today, Coinbase is the largest and first company on the Bitcoin market with a value of over $1 billion dollars (also called a “unicorn” startup company).

As Coinbase has grown, they have introduced several new services. When the company started, they were an online wallet which sold Bitcoin. Today, Coinbase has expanded, and their business also includes the GDAX Exchange for professional traders and Toshi Messaging App to send money between users.

Coinbase started in the United States, and have its headquarters in San Francisco, California. The company has now expanded to Europe and globally. In addition to the dollar, their platform has a good trading volume for euros and pounds. This contributes to a smaller spread and lower fees, such as their Bitcoin exchange in dollars. Most exchanges use dollars for their cryptocurrency trading. Therefore it can be difficult to find a platform with good trading volume for other fiat currencies.

When Coinbase started, it didn’t take long before they established them self as a big Bitcoin company. With the help of venture capital from well-known investors, Coinbase has taken a leading position in the crypto market. The company has positioned itself as a serious and safe player in the market. They work closely with regulators and comply with all laws and regulations (which can not be said for all exchanges).

At the same time, it means users are not anonymous on their platform. On the other hand, it can be a price worth paying because the company is trustworthy and has a high-security platform. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how Coinbase expands to new markets and continues to grow.

Coinbase bitcoin wallet

Coinbase Online Wallet

We believe that Coinbase has one of the safest online wallets for exchanging Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. According to them and confirmed by independent reports, more than 98% of all cryptocurrencies are stored in cold storage. Coinbase protects your money in a similar way to banks. Private keys are divided into pieces and stored on paper and offline hard drives in different locations with backups.

In addition to regular wallets, you can create two other types of wallets at Coinbase called the vault and multi-signature vault. This is a unique solution that offers more security features for withdrawal. Their vault storage requires two separate email addresses, and you can demand two signatures for accepting withdrawals. When a withdrawal has been signed, it takes 48 hours before the transfer is completed. You can cancel your withdrawal at any time until it’s completed.

Login details for your Coinbase account are hashed and encrypted on their servers. However, that doesn’t prevent anyone from accessing your copy of the password. You need to keep your password safe, and we recommend that you use two-factor authentication (2FA) for login and withdrawal.

Coinbase both protects and controls all private keys. In that way, they work more like a bank than a regular bitcoin wallet. It’s a safe place to buy and sell cryptocurrency, but you should not store money in their wallet. Once you have bought/sold, we strongly recommend that you transfer your cryptocurrencies to a wallet where you control your private keys. Buying a hardware wallet is the safest way to protect your cryptocurrency. Here you can read more about secure Bitcoin wallets.

Coinbase dashboard

User Experience and Features

Coinbase has a clean design and interface making it easy for beginners to buy bitcoin. The company has focused on users who want to buy cryptocurrency for the first time. That is clear as their platform is easy to use and understand for everyone. You can create an unlimited number of wallets and buy cryptocurrency immediately with your credit/debit card. At the end of this review, you will find a tutorial for buying Bitcoin on their website.

The platform has a web interface with all necessary features for exchanging cryptocurrencies. There is a dashboard with all relevant information and detailed reporting tools. If you want to use more order options and trading tools, you can use their GDAX Exchange that is linked to your wallet at Coinbase.

There is an app for iOS and Android with all available features. When you sign up for mobile, you need to perform email verification and two-factor authentication (2FA). You can also choose a PIN for additional protection and app shutdown function if your phone would disappear or be stolen. Coinbase also has an API (Application programming interface) that allows you to integrate the platform and create more user-friendly features. This can be helpful if you’re an app developer, store owner or trader.

Coinbase is available in over 30 countries with 10 different languages and expands rapidly in several regions. Overall, it’s a good user experience and platform to buy bitcoin for the first time.

Coinbase security

Security and Protection

Coinbase is considered safe because the company is well-financed and is backed by trusted investors. They are one of few Bitcoin companies that have venture capital from well-known investment banks and financial institutions. With reliable and well-funded companies as investors, security increases. In other words, nobody wants to lose money, and we’re all in the same boat. Because the company has many investors, there are more reasons to focus on security and build a trusted brand.

The company is licensed in most states and FDIC Insurance up to $250,000 in the United States. This insurance only applies to your USD Wallet, and you need to be resident in the United States (read more about the insurance). Coinbase has licenses in 38 states as “Money Transmitter”, both where required but also in states where it is not considered necessary (read more about the licensing). There are continuous audits of their financial operations, reserve management, and background checks of all in management. This close cooperation with regulatory authorities separates Coinbase from other cryptocurrency exchanges.

From a security point of view, there is no safer exchange on the crypto market. Their insurance, backup management, and offline cryptocurrency storage protect your money against hacker attacks. Even if cryptocurrencies were to be stolen, Coinbase would have no problem compensating its customers.

Although security is high, users lose part of their freedom. Coinbase can at any time turn off your account and block access to your money. The purpose of Bitcoin is that users should control their own money. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you transfer your bitcoins to a private wallet when you’re finished trading.

Coinbase Fees and Limits

Payment MethodRegionFunds AvailableCurrencyFees*
Bank TransferUSA5-7 daysUSD1.49%
Credit / Debit CardUSAinstantEUR3.99%
Credit / Debit CardCanadainstantCAD3.99%
SEPA TransferEurope1-3 daysEUR1.49%
Credit / Debit CardEuropeinstantEUR3.99%
Credit / Debit CardUKinstantGBP3.99%
Xfers TransferSingaporeinstantSGD1.49%
Credit / Debit CardAustraliainstantAUD3.99%

* Deposit of money to your Coinbase account is actually free. Coinbase then charges 1.49% in order fee.

Customers in the U.S.

Americans can make a bank transfer which usually takes 5-7 business days. Bank transfer is free, but Coinbase then charges a 1.49% fee when you buy. Otherwise, you can buy bitcoin directly with your credit/debit card which will be 3.99% in fee. You need to upload a picture of your driving license or passport if you want to buy with credit/debit card. The purchase limit depends on how much information you have verified in your account. If you have verified all information, you can buy bitcoin and cryptocurrency for $50,000 per day.

Customers in Europe

Europeans can transfer money with SEPA bank transfers which usually takes 1-3 days business days. Bank transfer is free, but Coinbase then charges a 1.49% fee when you buy. Otherwise, you can buy bitcoin directly with your credit/debit card which will be 3.99% in fee. You need to upload a picture of your driving license or passport if you want to buy with credit/debit card. The purchase limit depends on how much information you have verified in your account. If you have verified all information, you can buy bitcoin and cryptocurrency for €30,000. That is the maximum amount allowed on your account.

Coinbase has generous buy and sell limits on accounts, but they vary depending on country and account information. You can increase your limit by verifying details. Learn more about verifying information and account limits on this page.

Coinbase map demo

User Account Privacy

Coinbase focuses on being a reliable and secure platform and is careful to comply with all laws and regulations. This means that the company follows standards like KYC (Know your customer) and AML (Anti Money Laundering) in the United States. In other words, user accounts are not anonymous. All users need to enter their name, phone number, email address and other personal information to open an account. This information is stored and protected by Coinbase in their databases.

However, because Coinbase knows your identity and IP address, they can link your transactions and balance on your account. We hope that this will only be used to prevent crimes such as money laundering and nothing else. Money laundering on Coinbase would be a bad idea since you need to provide identification before buying/selling Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Each transaction uses a new Bitcoin address which prevents others from linking the transaction to your account. However, because Coinbase saves this information internally, they have the ability to control all payments on their platform.

The company has been criticized for their significant regulatory commitments. It has been reported that Coinbase tracks how users spend their bitcoin to ensure that no one violates the law. For example, the company has closed accounts that transferred money to gambling sites on the Internet because that violates U.S. laws. Since Coinbase is established in the United States, they follow their laws and regulations. Coinbase works hand in hand with regulators to ensure a regulated and safe product for all users. This contributes to a broader adoption of bitcoin in society, but users are no longer as anonymous.

Coinbase support

Coinbase Customer Support

When venture capital has been invested in Coinbase, they have been asked how the new capital will be invested in the company. The answer to the question has partly been the improvement of their customer support. We think this is good because they need to invest more in a customer service that quickly helps users solve their problem. This criticism is not only against Coinbase but for all companies in the crypto market. Bitcoin businesses and exchanges have not been prepared for the huge interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in recent years.

To their defense, it’s difficult to predict developments in the crypto market. In one day, over 40,000 new accounts were registered on Coinbase. This meant that the company needed to, over one night, scale up and expand customer service by hiring a lot more staff. Coinbase has not expanded its customer support fast enough to meet demand, which is understandable. However, they focus on improving their customer service, and we hope that long waiting periods can be avoided in the future.

Coinbase open account

Opening Account

1. Account Registration

It’s fast and easy to open an account on Coinbase. Users need to enter a first and last name, email address and password. That’s all you need to fill in when registering. Lastly, you need to verify that you are 18 years of age or older, agree to their User Agreement and Privacy Policy, and verify that you are not a robot with reCAPTCHA. Soon afterward, you will receive an email verification to complete your account registration. Open an account here and buy or sell for $100 or more to get $10 free bitcoin!

2. Profile Details

When your email address has been verified, you will get access to your Coinbase account. There you can fill in volunteer information for your profile. The more information you submit, the higher buy and sell limit on your account. Coinbase first asks if you’re an individual or company to determine your type of account. Then you will be prompted to verify your mobile number and upload image for your identification. In the end, you can choose which payment method you want to use.

3. Deposit of Money

You can choose between bank transfer or credit/debit card when you buy cryptocurrency. You can either deposit money with a SEPA transfer in Europe which takes 1-3 days, or a regular bank transfer in the U.S. which takes 5-7 days. If you think that takes too long, you can buy cryptocurrency directly with your credit/debit card (that requires you to upload an ID photo). This is the easiest way to buy bitcoin and is recommended if it’s the first time you buy. Below we have made a tutorial for buying bitcoin with credit/debit card.

 

Bitcoin Buying Tutorial

You can buy Bitcoin with a linked bank account, SEPA transfer or directly with credit/debit card. Below we have made a buying tutorial on how to buy Bitcoin and cryptocurrency direct with your credit/debit card. Follow our easy step-by-step instructions and buy Bitcoin now!

1. Create Account

Above we went through how to register an account with Coinbase. It’s a simple process that takes no more than a few minutes. Open an account here and buy or sell for $100 or more to get $10 free bitcoin!

2. Navigate to Settings

Once you have verified your account and logged in, click on “Settings” in the navigation menu. Under Settings, click on “Payment Methods” to select the payment method.

Coinbase settings

3. Add Credit/Debit Card

If you did not add your credit/debit card when registering, click on “Add Payment Method” and select “Credit/Debit Card“. There you fill in the details for your credit/debit card.

Coinbase credit/debit card

4. Confirmation

If your credit/debit card was accepted, you will see a confirmation as below. That means we’re ready to buy bitcoin. If you click on “Buy digital currency” you will come to the buying page.

Coinbase confirmation

5. Buy Bitcoin!

If you visit the “Buy/Sell” page, you should see a widget where you can buy Bitcoin. Enter the amount you want to buy and click on “Buy Bitcoin Instantly“. Now you have bought Bitcoin!

Coinbase buy bitcoins

Screenshots of Coinbase

Coinbase home page
Coinbase dashboard
Coinbase features
Coinbase sign up

Pros and Cons with Coinbase

  • Good exchange for beginners
  • Well established and reliable company
  • Secure storage of bitcoins in their vault
  • Easy to get started
  • Offers $10 free bitcoin to new users
  • Users are not completely anonymous
  • Regulatory commitments can impair privacy
  • Reasonable but not the lowest fees

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