Coinbase is yet another one of the biggest cryptocurrency platforms around, supporting users in over 55 countries as of 2019. It is also the world’s largest Bitcoin broker, where customers can buy BTC with a connected bank account, debit card, SEPA transfer, Interac Online, and many more payment methods.
The exchange is different from traditional exchanges because it allows you to buy crypto using fiat currencies.
The broker is backed by over $100 million, raised from some of the world’s leading investors, ranging from tech-driven venture capital firms to stock exchanges such as the NYSE, among 16 other prominent investment firms and individuals.
In terms of the platform’s regulatory standing, Coinbase is registered as a Money Service Business with FinCEN, and it complies with all respective anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations. That’s the reason why all users must be identified while using the Coinbase platform.
Coinbase Special Services
The main service the exchange offers is a brokerage facility for buying and selling crypto. Many first-time cryptocurrency buyers often prefer buying their first BTC through Coinbase exchange thanks to its good reputation and friendly user interface.
Even so, one of the main criticisms people have against the exchange is the lack of control of users over their own digital assets. As things stand, when you open a Coinbase account, you don’t have direct access to your funds and don’t get any private key or seed phrase; the exchange actually stores all your coins for you.
The other service offered by the exchange is Coinbase Pro. Formerly known as GDAX, Coinbase Pro is a more advanced trading platform. Unlike the old-fashioned Coinbase brokerage facility, which simplifies buying cryptocurrencies at a premium, Coinbase pro is aimed at more experienced users who require advanced trading options.
Coinbase pro allows users to trade extra cryptocurrencies, while fees are considerably lower than the brokerage service.
What Cryptocurrencies Does Coinbase Support?
Up until last year, Coinbase was known as an exchange platform that was very selective in the cryptocurrencies listed on its site. However, the platform has since expanded its reach by becoming slightly less conservative with new coin listings. As such, it is now possible to buy and sell 17 different cryptocurrencies, including BTC, BCH, LINK, and ETH.
Coinbase Pro supports several additional coins that are not tradable on the main Coinbase platform, such as DNT, GNT, and ZIL. These will be tradable against a number of other major digital assets, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Fee Charges in the Exchange
Coinbase is often regarded as one of the more costly cryptocurrency brokers in the industry. Not only in the case of trading fees, but certain deposit methods are costly as well.
The trading costs at Coinbase for cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, and LTC, consist of two main components – the exchange rate and conversion fees. Trading costs from the exchange rate consist of the bid/ask spreads when buying or selling, whereas the conversion cost is the greater of either a minimum fee or percentage fee (depending on the amount transacted).
For example, transactions under $200 worth of digital assets incur a flat minimum fee, which is disclosed at the time of the trade. In contrast, amounts greater than $200 may incur a percentage fee that varies by region and ranges from 1.49% – 3.99% of the transaction value.
Coinbase Pro charges 0.1% to 0.25% for taker trades, and zero fees for maker trades. As long as users place limit orders, then they won’t have to worry about paying any trading fees.
Anonymity on Coinbase
Firstly, Coinbase is obligated to report its users’ information to the governing bodies that regulate it. That means that what you hold in crypto assets will officially be on the record, and you will be expected to pay whatever crypto taxes your country’s laws require.
This defeats the purpose of cryptocurrency for some, as it was designed to be the decentralized and anonymous way of transacting wealth.
The other problem with this is that Coinbase also tracks and monitors how users spend their coins.
They can also freeze your Coinbase wallet if they discover you are doing questionable transactions, such as paying or receiving payment for adult services, gambling, selling illegal goods, or anything else that seems unlawful.
The custody service on Coinbase allows asset holders to “stake” their tokens. The exchange has unveiled Tezos (XTZ) staking for their clients, and the ability to participate in staking allows institutions to securely participate in Proof-of-Stake (PoS) based projects that reward parties for helping to secure the blockchain network by staking their digital assets.
Clients’ virtue assets are held in separate cold storage, and Coinbase Custody runs its own nodes and validators and operates excellent, institutional-grade security to protect user funds.
Coinbase Earn Learning Portal
As part of its mission to create an open financial system and make blockchain tech more accessible, the exchange operates the Coinbase Earn learning portal, which allows users to earn cryptocurrencies while learning about them at the same time.
Coinbase Earn aims to incentivize users to develop a deeper understanding of a digital asset, as well as its underlying technology and does this by making it easy to consume educational content readily available on the exchange’s website.
Verified users can earn crypto by completing a series of educational tasks such as watching videos and filling out quizzes. The initiative is open to eligible individuals located across the globe.
In addition to watching tutorials and answering quiz questions, users are also rewarded for sharing their unique referral links, and inviting other eligible friends to complete the lessons.
It’s currently possible to take courses on digital currencies such as Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and 0x (ZRX) with further currencies expected to be added in the near future.
For added security, Coinbase had previously offered clients the option of requesting a text message code to be sent to their mobile phones to verify each login attempt to their account via a process known as Two-Step Verification (2SV).
However, there were reports that some hackers obtained customers’ identity information then hijacked their cell phone numbers to log into their Coinbase accounts and siphoned their digital assets away.
Coinbase responded by requiring clients to use Two Factor Authentication (2FA), such as the Google Authenticator app or Authly app, to help deter hackers. This shows how critical it is to safeguard personal information and the clever ways hackers try to target cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
Coinbase has also taken several steps to boost security, including the platform’s decision to keep the vast majority of its user funds in cold storage. This makes stored funds virtually immutable to external malicious attacks, because the assets are not connected to a server.
With 98% of customer funds held in cold storage, this acts as a major safeguard. The remaining 2% is subsequently used to facilitate Coinbase’s core services, such as the buying and selling of coins and executing withdrawals.
Moreover, the ‘coinbase vault’ feature installed in all coinbase wallets allows you to set-up a 48-hour lock-up period on any future withdrawal requests.
This would be beneficial if a malicious hacker was able to access your Coinbase account and went on to make a withdrawal. As you would be notified by email when the withdrawal request was made, this would give you 48 hours to cancel the transaction.
Coinbase has amassed a substantial user base that now surpasses over 30 million clients. The predominant selling point is that the exchange makes it a seamless process to enter the crypto market for the first time and purchase leading coins such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum.
A user by the name Bernard Volkes praised Coinbase saying:
“Trading have been fun-filled for me cause I have been investing with the best company ever.”
However, there have been complaints from users about issues ranging from poor customer support to not being able to access one’s account. For instance:
Tom Hanks remarks:
“Poor customer support and not able to log into the account.”
Diego Bosque reiterated this issue commenting:
“The service is not so bad, but guys, you should do something with your support. I was waiting for a reply for two weeks.”
“Stop dealing with this company. I invested my whole savings and couldn’t withdraw it. All thanks to the funds’ recovery expert that helped me get my $23,000 back in less than one week.”
Having gone through our comprehensive Coinbase review, you now know whether or not the exchange is suitable for you! You know its pros, its cons, and what it is best used for.
Coinbase typically allows users to buy crypto with fiat currency, making it an excellent entry point into the crypto sector. In fact, a large portion of the capital that flows into the crypto industry usually comes through Coinbase from its users.
The truth is, Coinbase is arguably one of the best broker exchanges currently available on the market. It is trusted, well-insured, and easy to learn and use for beginners in crypto trading.
Despite its downsides, it offers the simplest way to buy into cryptocurrencies. That being said, you shouldn’t have to leave your coins on the Coinbase website. Instead, transfer it to a hardware wallet if you are holding it long term.