Coinbase is considered to be one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. Based in San Francisco, California in 2012, the company has served over 8 million customers and traded over $20 billion worth of virtual currency since its launch.
A customer’s personal account has a variety of features that keeps it safe from online threats. Coinbase has implemented multiple 2-factor authentication methods, with one 2FA option being through SMS text and a third party 2FA app. You can set up this app with Google Authenticator and Authy.
The user can also track the account’s activity and get notifications if a new device or account tries to access the account.
Coinbase offers its services in the next countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Canada was also on the list, but Vogogo, Coinbase’s Canadian payment service, is shutting down.
Buying and selling limits
These limits can vary depending on the user’s location, payment method and verification status. You can view your limits on your account’s limit page. Coinbase allows users to apply for higher limits, but your limits for instant purchase (like credit card purchases) may not be increased.
If you want to increase your weekly limits you have to verify your account by uploading a photo of your ID which will then be verified.
Coinbase’s fees range from 1.49% to 3.99% and they are dependent on several factors (payment method, geographical location), resulting in higher fees for those performing transactions with their credit card.
Although Coinbase does not charge fees for their wallet service, transferring outside the platform may charge the user with an extra network fee.
US customers are charged a base rate of 4% for all transactions.
Coinbase supports Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, stating that they will add more currencies in the future.
Customers have access to a small number of payment methods for buying and depositing their cryptocurrency. These are bank transfers, credit/debit card and bank wires.
Coinbase offers customer support via email. Wait times varies from customer to customer, usually ranging from anywhere in between 24- 72 hours. There is also an extensive FAQ page available for general questions and a Knowledge Base for customers to consult.
Coinbase and GDAX
In 2015, Coinbase renamed the part of the company that handles exchanges as GDAX, targeting it to more hard-core consumers while the exchange remained geared towards retail consumers and newcomers. You will be surprised to find out that you can avoid some fees by using GDAX as your buying/trading platform. All Coinbase customers have an account on GDAX on which you can log in with the same credentials.
Even though Coinbase is very successful, it has gathered a lot of animosity from the community. There have been some incidents that have made a lot of people doubting Coinbase’s reliability.
Being the first exchange to receive US regulatory approval, it has inevitably closed many accounts. As a result, their AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer) policies are considered by user’s that value privacy as very invasive measures. Coinbase also tracks how you spend your coins and based on your transactions, your account can get shut down for certain activities.
The platform also receives a large number of complaints, most of them expressing frustration over GDAX bugs and outages, but that may be due to the large number of customers they have.
Coinbase used to offer a generous affiliate program, where $75 were paid to anyone who referred a customer that would purchase over $100 worth of Bitcoin. However, this deal was reneged without any warning, leaving many affiliates unsatisfied.
The company has filed for 9 cryptocurrency related applications, which are clearly not Coinbase innovations and are contradictory to the ideals of openness and decentralization on which the bitcoin community was founded.
Although it has its flaws and controversies, Coinbase is a good exchange for cryptocurrency newcomers and venture capitalists which offers easy-to-use services for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. However, it is not a place for those devotees of the Bitcoin philosophy.