CoinBase 2020 review – Is it a good exchange

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Coinbase Review: The Easiest Way to Buy & Sell Cryptocurrency

If you’re thinking about entering the cryptocurrency space for the very first time, the internet is now full of third-party exchanges that allow you to buy and sell digital tokens at the click of a button.

While some focus on low trading fees or an extensive list of supported coins, others such as Coinbase are leaders in the simplicity race. In other words, if you want to buy cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum but you’ve got no experience in using exchanges, then Coinbase might be your best port of call. Albeit, this will potentially come at the expense of higher fees?

Nevertheless, we’ve created the ultimate Coinbase review so that you can determine whether or not the platform is right for you. We’ve covered everything from how Coinbase works, what it allows you to do, the number of coins it supports, fees, payment methods, and more.

Let’s start by finding out what Coinbase actually is.

What is Coinbase?

Launched in 2020 and based in San Francisco, California – Coinbase is an exchange broker that facilitates the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies. Led by CEO Brian Armstrong, Coinbase is often used by inexperienced investors that are looking to purchase cryptocurrencies for the first time, not least because the platform supports everyday payment methods such as debit/credit cards, bank transfers, and even PayPal.

To illustrate just how big Coinbase has become, the platform claims to have signed up surplus of 30 million customers since it launched in 2020, with more than $150 billion worth of cryptocurrency assets traded along the way. This has been further amplified by Coinbase’s international expansion, with the platform now supported in more than 103 countries worldwide.

There is often confusion as to whether Coinbase is a broker or an exchange, as the two terms are typically used interchangeably. In effect, they are both. On the one hand, the platform’s core brokerage services allows customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly from Coinbase. However, as the company also offers a more traditional exchange platform too – Coinbase Pro, it effectively operates as both a broker and an exchange.

On top its main consumer-based services, Coinbase is also gaining a strong foothold in the institutional space. This is especially true of the platform’s custodianship services, which seeks to offer institutional-grade security on cryptocurrency holdings.

In fact, it was recently reported that Coinbase is now experiencing institutional demand of between $200 million and $400 million per week. With cryptocurrencies arguably still in their infancy, this number is only expected to grow.

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. This is why all customers must be identified when using Coinbase. Outside of its US operations, Coinbase is authorized to operate as a Money Service Business by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

So now that we’ve covered the basics of what Coinbase is, in the next section we are going to explore how the buying and selling process works.

How do you buy and sell Cryptocurrencies at Coinbase?

As the primary feature of the ever-growing Coinbase product range, buying and selling cryptocurrencies is super easy. In fact, this is one of the key reasons that it has attracted so many users over the past seven years. Irrespective of experience, making a purchase can be done with ease.

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Moreover, although the number of cryptocurrencies supported by Coinbase is still relatively small, the platform acts as a simple gateway to purchase small and micro-cap digital tokens on other exchanges.

In order to show you how it works, we’ve broken down the main set-up process below.

Step 1: Open an Account

You will first need to head over to the official Coinbase homepage. At the top right-hand side of the page you will need to click on ‘Get Started’ to open an account.

You will need to enter your first and second name, alongside your email address. Coinbase will then send you an email, which you will need to verify.

Next, you will need to select whether you want to open an ‘Individual’ account or ‘Business’ account. Unless you’re looking to buy and sell significant volumes, go with the former.

Step 2: Confirm Your Mobile Number

You will now need to enter your personal mobile number. Coinbase will then send you an SMS message containing a unique code, which you’ll need to enter on-screen to verify that you are the rightful owner of the device.

This is absolutely fundamental, as you will need your mobile device to access key account features, such as logging in or withdrawing funds.

Step 3: Set-Up Your Preferred Payment Method

As you will be asked to deposit funds, you will need to set-up a payment method. Your options will depend on where you are located, although in most cases this covers a debit/credit card and bank account.

You will also be asked to enter the billing address linked to your prefered payment method.

Step 4: Verify Your Identity

Not only is Coinbased authorized by FinCEN and the FCA, but the platform has an excellent relationship with key regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

As such, the platform takes its anti-money laundering responsibilities very seriously. This means that you will now need to go through a basic KYC (Know Your Customer) process to verify your identity.

In order to do this, you’ll need to upload a copy of your government issued ID. This needs to be a passport, driver’s license or national ID card.

Coinbase utilizes highly advanced verification tools to analyze your ID document, so they should be able to validate the upload within less than a minute.

Step 5: Confirm Your Payment Method

To conclude the account set-up process, you will need to verify your chosen payment method to confirm you are the true owner. If opting for a debit card, Coinbase will process two small charges from your card. You’ll need to log in to your online bank and confirm the last two digits of these charges.

Alternatively, if opting for a bank account, you need to make a small transfer into the account details specified by Coinbase. Once you’ve done the above, you’re now ready to buy your first ever cryptocurrency.

Step 6: Make a Purchase

Now that you’re all set-up, click on the cryptocurrency that you want to buy, enter the total USD (or local currency equivalent) amount that you want to purchase, and pay for the transaction with your verified payment method.

The purchase will be executed immediately, meaning that the digital coins will be stored safely in your Coinbase account. Now you have the option of withdrawing them to a private wallet, sending them to another cryptocurrency exchange, or simply leaving them in your Coinbase account to sell at a later date.

So now that we’ve explained how the buying process works at Coinbase, in the next section we are going to explore what cryptocurrencies you can buy.

What Cryptocurrencies Does Coinbase Support?

Up until last year, Coinbase was known as an exchange platform that was very selective in the cryptocurrencies it 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

Check out the list of supported coins below.

Coinbase Pro supports a number of additional coins that are not tradeable on the main Coinbase platform, which we’ve listed below. These will be tradable against a number of other digital assets, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.

How Much Does it Cost to Trade at Coinbase?

One of the most important factors to consider when using a cryptocurrency broker is the fees you will pay to buy and sell coins. As we will breakdown in greater detail below, 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, too.

Trading Fees

Coinbase has a somewhat complex pricing structure when it comes to buying and selling cryptocurrencies, not least because it uses either a fixed-fee or variable percentage fee.

Firstly, and irrespective of your location, any buy or sell orders under $200 will come with a fixed fee. This starts at $0.99 for orders under $10, up to a maximum of $2.99 for orders of between $50 ad $200. Anything above $200 and you will revert to a fixed percentage fee. The amount that you pay will depend on your chosen payment method.

For example, if you already have funds in your Coinbase account, and the funds are sufficient enough to cover the amount you want to buy, then you will pay a fee of 1.49%. This is subsequently deducted from the amount of cryptocurrency you receive. For example, if you purchase $1,000 worth of Bitcoin, your 1.49% fee of $14.90 would leave you with $985.10 worth of cryptocurrency.

This is actually very expensive, especially when you look at the fees employed by other leading cryptocurrency exchanges. For example, the likes of Binance charge just 0.1% every time you want to buy or sell a coin, which is considerably cheaper. However, deposits and withdrawals in fiat currency are much more limited at Binance in comparison to Coinbase, so you need to take this into account.

Alternatively, if you choose to make an instant cryptocurrency purchase using your debit or credit card, then the fees are even higher. This will cost you 4.99% of the total transaction amount. For example, a $500 debit card purchase would cost $24.95 in fees. This is to counter the threats of a potential debit/credit chargeback, as well as the cover the costs of processing fees imposed by the card issuer.

Deposit and Withdrawal Fees

Firstly, if you want to use your debit or credit card, you will need to make an instant cryptocurrency purchase. In other words, you can’t use your card to simply leave the funds in your account for a later date. However, you can do this if opting for a bank account deposit.

The amount that you pay will vary depending on your location. If you’re based in Europe and subsequently using the SEPA network, deposits are free, and withdrawals cost a mere €0.15.

In the UK, a bank wire deposit is also free, and the withdrawal costs just £1. If you’re from the US, ACH deposits and withdrawals a free, while a more traditional wire transfer will cost $10 and $25 for deposits and withdrawals, respectively.

Alternatively, if you’re from the UK, Eurozone, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the US, you can also make Paypal deposits and withdrawals for free.

Coinbase Pro

If you decide that you want to use the Coinbase Pro platform to exchange digital currencies, a maker-taker fee model is utilized.

Note: A market ‘maker’ is somebody that provides liquidity for Coinbase Pro, while a market ‘taker’ is an ordinary trader that utilizes the liquidity already available on the exchange.

Market taker fees will start at 0.25% for trading volumes of less than $100,000, up to a minimum of 0.05% for volumes of $1 billion or more. Makers will pay 0.15% for everything under $100,000, with fees being scrapped for trade volumes of $100 million or more.

Who is Eligible to use Coinbase?

As is industry standard in the cryptocurrency exchange arena, your eligibility will be determined exclusively by the country you reside in. While at the time of writing the platform supports 103 countries, not all locations have the capacity to place buy and sell orders. On the contrary, most countries are only able to convert one cryptocurrency into another.

If you want the option of being able to use everyday payment methods such as a debit/credit card or bank account to buy and sell coins, then you will need to be based in one of the following countries.

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Guernsey
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Jersey
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Is Coinbase Safe?

Even if you’re yet to enter the cryptocurrency space personally, it’s likely that you’ve heard about third-party exchanges getting hacked. In fact, although the numbers are estimates at best, it is believed that more than $1.3 billion has been hacked from cryptocurrency exchanges in total. Taking into account that the phenomenon is just over 10 years old, this is a considerable amount of money.

As such, the safety of your funds should be your primary concern when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange for the first time. The good news for you is that arguably – Coinbase is one of the most secure cryptocurrency exchanges in the industry.

Below we’ve broken down the main security features that will help keep your funds safe.

Cold Storage

A good starting point is the platform’s decision to keep the vast majority of its user funds in cold storage. For those unaware, this means that digital coins such as Bitcoin are kept offline via a hardware device. As such, they are virtually immutable to an external malicious attack, not least because the funds are never 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.

Account Security

From the perspective of the user, Coinbase offers a number of notable security features to ensure that you mitigate the risks of unauthorized account access. First and foremost, you will be required to install two-factor authentication (2FA) via your mobile device. This means that every time you login, you will need to enter a unique code that can only be obtained from your phone. In this sense, somebody would need both your account password and mobile phone to compromise your account.

Device and IP whitelisting also act as a crucial safeguard. This is where you will be required to pass an additional security step to gain access to your Coinbase account, in the event that you are logging in from a new device or IP address.

Coinbase Vault

While keeping your funds in the Coinbase wallet comes with its own security features, larger balances should be placed in the Coinbase Vault. In a nutshell, this allows you to set-up a 48-hour lock-up period on any future withdrawal requests. At any point in time before the 48-hour period passes, you as the account owner can cancel the withdrawal.

This would be highly beneficial in the event that a malicious actor 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 sufficient time to act.

FDIC Insurance

In a relatively surprising move for a cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase also offers FDIC protections on its USD wallets. This means that if the company ever ceased to exist, your balance would be protected upto the first $250,000.

Take note, this is only offered to US customers that store their real-world funds in their Coinbase USD wallet. Anything outside of this won’t be covered by the FDIC. For customers outside of the US, real-world funds are held in segregated custodial bank accounts.

Customer Support at Coinbase

When the Coinbase platform grew to unprecedented heights at the turn of 2020, the company made the decision to increase its customer support team by the hundreds. As such, customers now have a plethora of options when it comes to speaking with a member of the customer service team.

If you’re from the UK, you’ll need to dial 0808 168 4635

For everyone else, including the US, you’ll need to dial +1 888 908-7930

You can also send an email to Coinbase, although this needs to be done via an online contact form.

As long as your concern isn’t linked to a potential account compromise, the vast majority of questions and concerns can be solved via the platform’s highly extensive help centre. This also includes an AI-bot that can quickly point you in the right direction of where the seek assistance.

Coinbase Review: The Verdict?

In summary, it is clear to see why Coinbase has attracted a significant customer base that now exceeds over 30 million customers. The overarching selling point is that the platform makes it an ultra-seamless process to enter the cryptocurrency market for the very first time.

By going through a quick and simple account registration and verification process, you can buy and sell popular coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum at the click of a button. Moreover, as popular payment methods such as a debit/credit card, bank transfer and even PayPal are supported, this makes the buying process even more straightforward for newbie entrants.

However, it must be noted that in terms of trading fees, Coinbase is a little more expensive that other players in the cryptocurrency exchange arena. At an average fee of 1.49% for all orders over $200, this can quickly eat into your profits. Furthermore, if using a debit or credit card, these costs are further amplified to a somewhat staggering 4.99% per buy order.

Ultimately, while there are cheaper options in the market, you also need to remember that Coinbase has an excellent track-record when it comes to keeping user funds safe. Not only does the platform offer a number of stringent security safeguards, but it also has an excellent relationship with key US regulators such as the SEC and FinCEN.

All in all, we would recommend Coinbase as an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to get involved in purchasing cryptocurrencies – it’s super easy to use, very secure and backed by the best reputation in this industry.

CoinBase

CoinBase

  • Instant purchase of cryptocurrencies with a credit/debit card
  • Simplicity
  • 10 USD bonus!

CoinBase is a US-based broker, made to sell and buy cryptocurrencies for fiat money (currently Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum for US dollars and euro). Their website doesn’t allow trading of binary options or forex (it only allows buying and selling cryptocurrencies). Despite of this drawback, the company is pretty important.

Why is it? Read on.

If you want to buy or sell any of the above cryptocurrencies, CoinBase represents a top in the industry. The buying process is simple. All you have to do is to sign up, verify your account by taking a photo with a webcam and deposit money using your credit or card (instantly) or through a bank transfer (takes 2-5 days) to your registered account. Within a couple of seconds, you can start buying cryptocurrencies. You can also buy other cryptocurrencies directly without having to convert your money into bitcoin and then into your desired cryptocurrency.

CoinBase platform

CoinBase platform is not one of the super-sophisticated ones. Which is a good thing. The platform is so simple that it can be handled by everybody with some basic knowledge of English. Below you can find the screenshot of the system.

This is what the coinbase’s platform looks like

The spread offered by CoinBase is minimal However, you must pay a small fee. In the above picture, you can see that when buying bitcoin worth 500 USD, the fee will be around 3.8 %.

Taking into account the extreme growth of bitcoin throughout 2020 (i.e. by more than 1000 %) a fee worth a few per cent is a negligible amount. The value of your cryptocurrency may rise by tens of per cent within a single day, which far exceeds the fee.

CoinBase wallets (accounts)

The system of CoinBase exchange is simple. Your account allows you to access several wallets. No matter which cryptocurrency you want to use – BTC, ETH or LTC – the process is always the same.

These wallets allow you to receive crypto from another exchange (such as Bitfinex or Kraken exchange), from a bitcoin ATM, simply from anywhere. After that, you can keep the coins at the CoinBase exchange, send it to someone else or exchange it for fiat currencies (euro, usd) or another cryptocurrency.

If, instead of selling, you want to buy a cryptocurrency it’s all very simple. Simply move on the top line to “Buy/Sell”. Add your preferred payment method (most likely payment card) and select the amount you want to spend on your selected crypto.

CoinBase account balance

Although the keeping of cryptocurrencies in wallets and at crypto exchanges such as CoinBase is practical, it is not recommended due to safety reasons. Having this in mind, don’t keep the crypto on your account longer than necessary. Many people tend to ignore this recommendation, which is a bad habbit.

Bonus

CoinBase offers an attractive bonus. If you register by clicking on the button below and buy any cryptocurrency for 100 USD or more, you will receive account bitcoins worth 10 USD for free.

Why does CoinBase offer such a bonus? Well of course, in order to lure new traders to its platform. As mentioned above, CoinBase charges a small fee for each transaction and knows that this will pay off.

Verification

Same as other exchanges, CoinBase requires verification. The process is simple and quick. Select Start Verification to open up your webcam. Place your personal ID (citizen pass) against the camera from both sides one after another and click OK.

Within a few hours (max. a few days) you will receive an e-mail notification of the completed transaction. In case of failure, don’t worry and retry your attempt. If your second attempt fails, try to download a mobile app and take photo by using this mobile app. This method should work under any circumstances and it is pretty nicely explained on the webpage.

CoinBase Pros

  • Instant purchase of cryptocurrencies with a credit/debit card
  • Simplicity
  • 10 USD bonus!

CoinBase Cons

  • Purchases by credit card are charged a 4% fee
  • Platform does not enable limit orders

CoinBase – Review author

More about the author Step

I’ve wanted to build a business of some kind and earn money since I was in middle school. I wasn’t very successful though until my senior year in highschool, when I finally started to think about doing online business. Nowadays I profitably trade binary options full-time and thus gladly share my experiences with you. More posts by this author

Coinbase review and comparison

By: Steven Hay | Last updated: 11/12/19

I’ve been a Coinbase user since 2020 and a lot can be said about the company, good and bad. In this review, I’ll try to give you the full rundown so you can evaluate for yourself if Coinbase is trustworthy or not.

Coinbase Review Summary

Coinbase is the one of the biggest cryptocurrency companies around, supporting 42 countries, with more than 20 million customers around the world.

Coinbase has a wide array of services but their main service allows users to buy and sell Bitcoins through a bank account, credit card and debit card. The rates you’ll get on Coinbase are fair in general, however the customer support is terrible.

That’s Coinbase in a nutshell. If you want to get familiar with Coinbase in depth, keep on reading. Here’s what I’ll cover in this review:

1. Coinbase Overview

Founded in 2020 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam as part of Ycombinator, Coinbase is one of the oldest exchanges around. Coinbase has started out only as a Bitcoin brokerage service (selling Bitcoins directly to customers), but additional services were added along the way.

Coinbase is fully regulated and licensed. The company has raised over $400m from leading investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Rabbit Capital and The NYSE.

2. Coinbase Services

Coinbase brokerage service

The main service Coinbase offers is a brokerage service for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. New cryptocurrency users often find themselves buying their first Bitcoin through Coinbase thanks to the company’s reputation, marketing and relatively friendly user interface.

On the downside, one of the main complaints users have towards Coinbase is the lack of control of users over their own funds. When you open a Coinbase account you don’t have direct access to your coins and you don’t get any private key or a seed phrase.

Coinbase stores your coins for you – It’s the equivalent of putting your cash at the bank, you don’t own it, the bank does.

Coinbase Pro

Formerly known as GDAX, Coinbase Pro is a cryptocurrency trading platform. As opposed to the traditional Coinbase brokerage service, which simplifies buying cryptocurrencies at a premium, Coinbase pro is aimed at more experienced users.

Coinbase pro allows users to trade several cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH and ZRX. Fees are considerably lower than the brokerage service and there are advanced trading options as well. You can read our full Coinbase pro review here.

Coinbase wallet

In 2020 Coinbase launched their independant mobile wallet for iOS and Android. The wallet stores the private keys on the user’s device and only they have access to the funds. This brings Coinbase full circle as it started out as a wallet, transitioned to an exchange only (claiming that they are not a wallet) and now they are offering wallet services again.

Merchant solutions

Coinbase supplies online merchants with the ability to accept cryptocurrencies on their website via a dedicated plugin. The plugin is supported by some of the biggest CMS (content management system) around such as Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce.

Additional projects

Aside from the above, Coinbase supplies additional services such as:

  • USD Coin (USDC) – A stablecoin built by Coinbase.
  • Coinbase Index – Tracking the financial performance of all Coinbase listed assets.
  • Custodian services – Safeguarding cryptocurrencies for institutional investors.
  • Earn.com – A service acquired by Coindesk for filtering out spam emails.
  • Paradex – A platform for trading directly from a user’s wallet.

3. Coinbase Currencies and Payment Methods

Coinbase supports the following coins:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • EOS (EOS)
  • Stellar Lumens (XLM)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Zcash (ZEC)
  • Augor (REP)
  • Dai (DAI)
  • USD Coin (USDC)
  • 0x (ZRX)
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT)

Coinbase accepts the following payment methods:

  • Wire transfer (including ACH in the US and SEPA in the EU)
  • Credit cards (new cards aren’t currently accepted)
  • Debit cards
  • PayPal (withdrawal only)

4. Fees

Coinbase’s fee structure is a bit tricky so I’ll try to break it down as much as possible. When you buy Bitcoins from Coinbase the price you pay consists of the following:

  • The market price on Coinbase Pro +0.5%
  • Transaction fee – A flat fee for transactions below $200 or a percentage of the transaction (the greater of the two).

Most transaction fees are 1.49% for standard buy and 3.99% for credit card buys.

Depositing money is free via ACH transfer but otherwise costs $10.

The full fee structure can be seen here.

As you can see, giving a straight answer to how much you will pay in fees is a bit tricky with Coinbase and that’s also one of the main complaints the community has towards the company. Coinbase can also decline your purchase in cases of extreme price shifts, as happened many times in the past.

Having said all that, Coinbase still has one of the lowest fee structures around when comparing to other brokerage services like Coinmama and CEX.io.

Transactions between Coinbase accounts are free of charge.

Outside transactions to your Coinbase account will require 3 confirmations before they will show up in your account.

5. Buying Limits

Once your Coinbase account is set up you will be able to buy a small amount of Bitcoins until you raise your limit. For example, US residents who have a credit card on file in their Coinbase account (as backup) will be able to purchase up to $1000 worth of Bitcoins a week.

In order to raise your limits you will need to do the following:

  • Provide and verify your phone number
  • Provide and verify your personal information
  • Provide and verify your photo id

If you are a fully verified US resident you can reach the highest limit which is currently $25K a day. Limits may also be set depending on the payment method you choose to buy the cryptocurrencies. For example, ACH transfer has higher limits than credit card purchases on Coinbase.

6. Supported Countries

Coinbase offers its services in 103 countries:

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana , Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa , Tunisia , Uganda , Zambia , Armenia , Bahrain , Brunei Darussalam , Hong Kong , India , Indonesia , Jordan , Kazakhstan , Korea , Kuwait , Kyrgyzstan , Macao , Maldives , Mongolia , Nepal , Oman , Philippines , Singapore , Taiwan , Uzbekistan , Australia , New Zealand , Andorra , Austria , Belgium , Bulgaria , Croatia , Cyprus , Czech Republic , Denmark , Estonia , Finland , France , Gibraltar , Greece , Guernsey , Hungary , Iceland , Ireland , Isle of Man , Italy , Jersey , Latvia , Liechtenstein , Lithuania , Luxembourg , Malta , Monaco , Montenegro , Netherlands , Norway , Poland , Portugal , Romania , San Marino , Serbia , Slovakia , Slovenia , Spain , Sweden , Switzerland , Turkey , United Kingdom , Aruba , Bahamas , Barbados , Bermuda , Canada , Cayman Islands , Costa Rica , Curaçao , Dominican Republic , El Salvador , Guatemala , Honduras , Jamaica , Mexico , Nicaragua , Panama , Trinidad and Tobago , United States , British Virgin Islands ,Argentina , Brazil , Chile , Colombia , Ecuador, Paraguay , Peru, Uruguay

7. Coinbase Customer Support and Public Opinion

Coinbase has a very extensive knowledge base. Most standard requests will probably find an answer there. If you are submitting a support ticket via email, expect a response within 48-72 hours (from personal experience).

Coinbase is also operating a phone support line, although from reader feedback we got, it seems it’s hard to get someone to solve your problem there.

As for the quality of the support, the overall impression is negative. Most of the time the support team won’t dig deep into your issue on their first response, and it is quite common to receive “canned responses” that don’t really address the problem.

Many people in the community complain that Coinbase isn’t really very support oriented and that many times issues aren’t explained to the customer.

Furthermore, BBB rates Coinbase “F” with a failure to respond to hundreds of complaints.

To sum it up, there has been a lot of controversy over Coinbase within the Bitcoin community. If you’re new to Coinbase, this is perhaps the one thing you need to take into account before making your decision to buy cryptocurrency through Coinbase.

Closed or frozen accounts

Account closures are probably the most commonly held grudge against Coinbase. Due to the company’s tight integration with traditional banking laws, such closures are inevitable. For better and / or worse, Coinbase prides itself on its legislative compliance.

Coinbase was first to receive US regulatory approval. As a result, Coinbase has AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer) practices much like any bank.

Expect Coinbase to track how you spend “their” coins and to summarily shut your account for the following activities:

  • Transactions related to adult services.
  • Bitcoin gambling, including skill-based gaming.
  • Sale or purchase of contraband through darknet markets.
  • Resale of coins on other exchanges, particularly those without AML / KYC.
  • Other arbitrary reasons which rub their algorithm the wrong way.

As you can see, you can get your Coinbase account shut down rather easily. While you will almost certainly get your money back, it will likely prove to be an inconvenient, frustrating and potentially costly experience.

Additional criticism

Aside from the above, Coinbase has been the focus to additional criticism including:

Affiliate reward abuse – Coinbase offers a referral program however doesn’t always pay its partners according to what is stated (based on my personal experience).

Taking a stand in Bitcoin debates – There are many “internal debates” within the Bitcoin community that Coinbase voiced its opinion on. Usually it’s expected from a service to remain neutral in these debates and follow the natural market movements.

Patenting blockchain – Coinbase has 9 patent filings for cryptocurrency-related “innovations” including “Bitcoin exchange”, “hot wallet for holding Bitcoin” and “tips button”.

Such patents are obviously not Coinbase innovations and obviously clash with the open source nature and the philosophy of Bitcoin. Coinbase expects people to trust them, and to refrain from using any such patents to block competition.

Frankly, no company, agency or entity can or should be trusted with legal authority over any aspect of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Bitcoin was designed to obviate the need for such trusted parties.

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