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For this Coinbase review we investigated the basics, supported cryptocurrencies, supported countries, deposits, withdrawals, security, tax information and much more.
When talking about the cryptocurrency exchange industry leaders, there is a name we cannot afford to overlook and that is Coinbase. In our Coinbase review, we are going to dissect this brokerage service platform founded back in 2012 down to bare bones.
Basic Coinbase Review
It is important for this basic Coinbase review to state that the company behind the platform is based in San Francisco, California, and fully regulated by the US government. As such, it is marketed to be GDPR compliant. That being said, it is self-understood that, in order to sign up, you will be asked to provide all kinds of personal information along with a photo of your ID (passport or driver’s license) which those who value their privacy while trading cryptocurrencies will not look upon kindly. The verification process is said to last only 2-3 minutes after which you will be an official Coinbase user.
After the registration process, a user quickly finds out that Coinbase is one of the most user-friendly exchange service providers in the industry. The UI is very intuitive and adjusted to be useful even for crypto trading newbies. However, the advanced trading features are not supported on the platform. Instead, those more experienced may search for more options on Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX), which will indulge those with advanced crypto trading knowledge.
You can acquire crypto on Coinbase through your bank account, credit card or debit card.
Coinbase Review cryptocurrencies
We did review all cryptocurrencies supported by Coinbase Bitcoin exchange. Once you acquire your first amount of crypto, Coinbase allows you to trade the following cryptocurrencies:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- EOS (EOS)
- Stellar (XLM)
- Tezos (XTZ)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Basic Attention Token (BAT)
- ZCash (ZEC)
- Augur (REP)
- 0x (ZRX)
Regarding stablecoins (cryptocurrencies whose price is pegged to the price of some fiat currency), Coinbase offers two options:
- USD Coin (USDC) – a stablecoin developed by Coinbase whose price is equivalent to the US dollar.
- Dai (DAI) – an alternative US dollar stablecoin which uses margin trading to preserve its value against the fiat currency.
Coinbase for business
Just as any serious company would do, Coinbase offers services for businesses. A system for businesses who want to accept cryptocurrency payments is available through the company’s official website as well as cryptocurrency custody solutions for institutions.
Coinbase Supported Countries
Apart from the US, Coinbase states that its platform is available to customers from 102 countries around the world. To name a few countries supported by Coinbase:
- The Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
- San Marino
Coinbase Review Deposits
As stated, Coinbase supports deposits directly from bank accounts, credit card or a debit card. However, the deposit timeframe is highly dependant on the country from which you are accessing the website. For example, US customers, for who Coinbase uses the ACH bank transfer system, will wait approximately 3-5 business days to complete while transferring funds from your bank account to Coinbase EUR wallet may take 2-3 business days. If you are interested in credit card deposits in specific you can read our article, buy cryptocurrencies with credit card.
Coinbase users from the United Kingdom will have the fastest deposits as transferring money from their GBP bank accounts to the exchange’s GBP wallet may be completed within just one business day.
Regarding the deposit fees, they also come in a rather complicated range of different fees for users accessing the platform from different countries. Moreover, a variety of fees is applied for different methods of deposit. While US customers using ACH bank transfers and EU citizens using Bank transfers (SEPA) will deposit their funds without having to pay a fee, others will be charged from 1.49% to, what we may openly call astronomical 3.99%.
The full list of applied deposit fees can be found HERE.
There is also a catch regarding deposits that may concern those with deeper pockets. As it seems, Coinbase forces customers to provide personal information to the company by restricting the amount of money an individual can spend on buying cryptocurrencies per day using the cheapest method.
So, the company states: “If you have verified your personal information at Level 2, you can now trade up to $25,000 a day via ACH from your bank [feeless]. If you wish to trade more per day, you can wire funds into your Coinbase USD wallet [3.00% fee]”.
Coinbase Review withdrawals
While withdrawal fees on coinbase are the same as the ones for depositing funds, the time needed to withdraw your money will be significantly shorter than to deposit. Therefore, instead of waiting 2-3 business days, EUR SEPA withdrawal will take 1-2 days.
Regarding the withdrawal limit, Coinbase explains that every user can withdraw as many funds as he has available in the account. While this may seem like a limitless option, in reality, it has some restrictions just like any transactions that involve banks.
Looking deeper into Coinbase’s “available funds” policy, we find that once user deposits money to his Coinbase account and acquires a cryptocurrency of his choice, these funds get locked down until the “pending funds” get cleared, so he isn’t able to withdraw immediately upon making a purchase. However, any gains scored by the purchase are immediately available for withdrawal.
Coinbase “trading” review
In this Coinbase review, we focus on the exchange and not the company’s trading platform, Coinbase Pro, between which the main difference is that on the latter, you can trade cryptocurrencies with other users while Coinbase is a brokerage service provider, exclusively. That means that investors cannot use the platform to trade cryptocurrencies (in Coinbase language “Digital Currency Conversion”). However, the platform allows swapping single crypto for another without bidding, takers, makers, order books or any other usual trading mechanisms available on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Instead, Coinbase uses its trading platform, Coinbase Pro, to establish price ratios between different cryptocurrencies and charges 2% “spread margin” for doing the “conversion”. For example, if you want to exchange your BTC currently worth $1000 for ETH, Coinbase will take your $20.
Coinbase Security Review
Every platform that deals with cryptocurrency transactions has its up and downsides, and one of the definite upsides that we have to specifically emphasize in our Coinbase review is its security aspect. We have already talked about the fact that the platform is highly regulated, but an extra layer of security comes from the fact that funds stored in Coinbase’s servers are ensured by their insurance policy.
Moreover, Coinbase goes even further by offering “Vault protection” to their clients. Vault protection can be described as a service that ensures that funds are withdrawn with a certain delay. Coinbase, like some other similar platforms, also claims that funds entrusted to their company are stored in secure offline storage (perhaps a form of a hardware wallet / cold storage), adding another coating to Coinbase security system.
Coinbase Tax Information
Coinbase users, like users of all other crypto-related platforms, are subjected to tax regulations of the counties they are residents of. Therefore, in regards to that, coinbase has decided to make it easier for their customers to calculate their tax obligations by incorporating a well-known software, CoinTracker, with their platform.
As an alternative to CoinTracker, Coinbase also has TurboTax option for their customers to easily calculate what they are expected to give to their government.
Coinbase frequent issues
Despite the fact that Coinbase is said to be used by more than 30 million customers, there are still some very distinctive issues that their clients are frequently complaining about.
First and foremost, Coinbase keeps a close track of their customers’ accounts and many of Coinbase’s clients experienced the freezing or even the complete closure of their accounts without being noticed prior to the action taken by the company. Some of the most common reasons for these unfortunate incidents are:
- Transactions related to adult services and materials.
- Bitcoin gambling, including skill-based gaming.
- Sale or purchase of illegal goods in darknet markets.
- Resale of coins on other exchanges, especially those lacking AML/KYC policy.
- Other arbitrary reasons which collide with the security/AML policy algorithm of the platform.
Another important issue is Coinbase’s slow and unresponsive support mechanism. A lot of clients complain that their tickets are pending for days, if not even for weeks before being answered. Moreover, customers complain about the quality of the support received from Coinbase employees.
According to Better Business Bureau, who gave Coinbase the lowest possible score (F), it is the number of unanswered support tickets that is the Achilles heel of the platform.
Coinbase Pros and Cons
During the research done for this Coinbase review, we have found the following major pros and cons:
- Highly regulated
- AML/KYC/GDPR compliant
- Great UI
- Newbie friendly
- Incorporated tax calculation software
- High and complicated fees
- Brokerage only
- Poor support
- Nonexistent anonymity
Coinbase Pros and Cons
Coinbase is up there with all the leaders with a good reason. It is one of the most secure and regulated crypto brokerage platforms in the industry and its friendly UI gives it what it needs to be the first springboard for every new crypto investor.
However, poor customer support and other mentioned issues like high fees and other restrictions may present a problem for some of their potential clients. The platform’s inability to really trade cryptocurrencies is made up for with Coinbase Pro which has all the trading options an experienced crypto trader may need.
As always, it highly depends on your needs if you will like Coinbase or not, but if you are just entering the crypto space and are looking for top-security, regulated platform, not caring much about your privacy, perhaps Coinbase is the right way to go. However, if you need something more private, maybe you should find an alternative.