Coinbase is a digital currency exchange that allows users to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. It has a user-friendly platform, secure infrastructure, and various payment options.
If you are interested in venturing into crypto, then you have probably heard of Coinbase. No doubt, it is one of the biggest crypto companies globally. But as we all know, bigger doesn’t always mean better!
So, how does this popular cryptocurrency exchange platform fare? In this review, we are going to cover everything you may need to know about Coinbase so that you are in a better position to decide whether it is the right fit for you or not. Let us get right into it, shall we?
Coinbase: Quick Overview
Coinbase is a cryptocurrency company that was launched by Fred Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong in 2012. The company is usually referred to as a crypto exchange which is not far from the truth because it did start as one. However, over the years, it has expanded its services to include more than just trading, selling, and buying crypto assets.
The company's headquarters are in San Francisco, California, and has more than 1,700 employees spread all across the globe. You may also want to note that the platform has subscribers from over 100 countries.
Coinbase offers a standalone wallet, debit card, crypto custody facilities, a storage vault, a trading platform, and brokerage services among other services and products. Essentially, the company provides much-needed services to investors especially by bringing blockchain technology to the public.
A Detailed Look at Some Services Provided by Coinbase
Here are some of the services you get from Coinbase.
1. Brokerage Services
The main service offered by Coinbase has to brokerage service for selling and buying cryptocurrencies. The company has a user-friendly interface, markets itself well, and has a good reputation as well. As such, new investors usually buy their first cryptocurrency through the platform.
However, many users complain about the lack of control over their funds upon joining the platform. Once you open an account with Coinbase, you do not get a private key or any direct access to your coins. Instead, the company stores them for you.
2. Coinbase Pro
Coinbase Pro was previously known as GDAX and is a crypto trading platform. As opposed to the conventional Coinbase brokerage service that simplifies purchasing coins at a premium, this service is designed for seasoned investors.
It allows investors to trade different cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, and ZRX. It features advanced trading options and its fees are significantly lower as well.
3. Coinbase Lend
Coinbase members are eligible to earn interest through lending supported assets as of mid-2021. Starting with USDC, users in the US can opt to lend their coins to certified borrowers. That said; they can opt-out whenever they so desire.
4. Coinbase Wallet
Coinbase launched its mobile wallet for both Android and iOS in 2018. In this wallet, users can store their private keys on their devices so that only they, have access to funds. It is important to note that this brings the full circle seeing as it began as a wallet, transformed to an exchange-only platform, and is now offering wallet services again.
5. Coinbase Staking
This is one of Coinbase's features that is extremely easy to use. It enables members to earn rewards on nominated Proof-of-Stake cryptocurrencies. Now, users have the option of gambling these independently, but Coinbase does streamline the process by eliminating the need for specialized hardware or technical expertise.
6. Merchant Solutions
Online merchants can accept cryptocurrencies on Coinbase's website through a designated plugin because the company allows it. Some of the largest content management systems including WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify support this plugin.
7. Other Projects
Other than the aforementioned services, Coinbase offers extra services including custodian services, a stable coin created by the company, Coinbase Index for tracking the company's listed assets performance, and a USD coin known as USDC.
How to Open an Account
Joining Coinbase is a straightforward journey. The platform has a user-friendly and intuitive interface and this applies to both the web and mobile versions. Here is how to get started.
First, you need to create an account, verify your identity, and fund your account. The requirements needed to open an account include being over 18 years of age, residing in one of the countries supported by the platform, and an identification document.
When it comes to the supported countries, Coinbase caters to regions uniformly across the globe, Nonetheless, the services offered to each region may be different. For instance, the only function you can access if you reside in one of its supported African countries is to convert between coins.
If you reside in the US, you get access to more features and functions.
Funding your Account
To activate your Coinbase account, you will be required to fund it. Now you can do this using conventional currencies like the US dollar or crypto. It is also important to note that the funding method you can use heavily relies on where you are located.
This is because different funding methods are required for different regions. That said; crypto withdrawals and deposits are unrestricted. That means that anyone can withdraw or deposit any supported asset on Coinbase to an external wallet.
We will have to admit that Coinbase's fee structure is quite tricky. However, we will try to break it down in a most understandable way. Buying coins from Coinbase comprises the following.
For transactions that do not exceed $200 or its equivalent in other currencies, the fees range between $10-$2.99. For transactions below $10, the fees range from $0.99.
- Any transaction over $200 is charged at a 1.49% fee for standard payment and 3.99% for payment cards.
- For crypto conversions, you will have to part with spread margins of up to 2%
- You will not be required to pay anything for ACH transfers
- Crypto transfers between Coinbase accounts are free, for external transfers, you will only be required to pay a network fee
- You will pay $25 for outgoing wire transfers and $10 for incoming ones
- All PayPal fees attract a 2.5%. Charge
Now, you want to keep in mind that these fees apply only to US residents and that they vary depending on the payment method used.
We have to say that Coinbase is among the most secure cryptocurrency exchange platforms available currently. This is because it employs a proactive approach when it comes to security. Moreover, it has a clean track record as far as the effectiveness of its strategy.
Since its inception, the platform has not reported any security incidents and we think this is quite commendable. All the security measures put in place by the company are designed to cover its entire service and product portfolio.
Some of its key security measures include:
Safe asset storage – This is where the platform stores most of its subscribers' crypto assets in cold storage wallets offline and secures them more by distributing the wallets all over the globe.
Wallet encryption – Coinbase uses a solid encryption standard to secure wallet addresses along with their private keys.
Data management – This is where all sensitive account information and identifiable information is stored offline. The data is then encrypted and divided into several copies that are consequently held in paper backups and drives. The copies are then stored in different secure locations.
- Its mobile app and website are encrypted to enable safe payments.
- Account passwords are protected using Bcrypt before storage
- Within, Coinbase has put in place a few safety measures to guarantee that its systems are secure and less susceptible to human errors. These include:
- All staff devices use distinctive passwords and 2-factor authentication
- All Coinbase employees have to go through criminal record tests
- The hard drives used by company employees are encrypted with restricted access via strong passwords
Who Is Coinbase Best For?
At this point, we can say that Coinbase is a great option for investors looking to venture into crypto. It has a user-friendly interface, strong security features, and educational tools all of which any investor will appreciate.
In case you want to inject some extra money into Bitcoin for long-term investment, you will be pleased to learn that Coinbase makes it easy for you to do that. All you have to do is purchase your coins, surrender them to Coinbase and monitor their value over time.
The platform is also a great option to grow with if you are new to crypto as it offers you the opportunity to learn and grow. Moreover, it does not lack any crucial services you would get elsewhere. If ever you decide to invest in more than Bitcoin or get your private keys, Coinbase does offer a great starting point.
What we found to be the biggest shortcoming as far as the platform is that its fees are quite high compared to similar platforms. That said; for a majority of investors, this is a small price to pay for the security, various features, and convenience that Coinbase offers.
You cannot rule out the fact that you may encounter problems when you join the Coinbase platform. It could be with account opening or other queries regarding its coverage or fees. When this happens, you need someone to take you through procedures and answer any questions you may have.
Luckily, Coinbase offers you several channels to access its customer support team. Here is how to reach them.
You can reach Coinbase's support team by filling out a form. To get email assistance, here are the steps to follow.
- Using your email address to send your request.
- Several categories and subcategories will appear regarding your issue so what you want to do here is pick the one that fits your request.
- Once you pick the category, a dialog box will appear where you can explain your issue. Try to give as much information and explain as clearly as possible.
Do not be tempted to raise several tickets for the same issue because Coinbase does respond to queries promptly.
2. Social Media
Social media is a force to reckon with presently and Coinbase recognizes that. In response to that, it uses Twitter as the platform to update the public about its services and products. You can reach out to them for customer support via the channel but you want to keep in mind that you will not get any account-specific help through the platform.
This is due to privacy concerns.
3. Phone Call
Here, we have to mention that Coinbase has plans in the pipeline to provide live customer support via phone call. This has not happened yet so if you have any issues with your account or if it has been hacked, the best course of action would be to reach the platform's customer support through its other channels to have your account disabled.
Now, if your account is disabled, you want to keep in mind that it will be mandatory to go through the platform's automatic account recovery procedure to re-activate it. This may take a few days.
If you prefer to engage with Coinbase's support team via phone call, you would have to send an email first. The phone number to call will be in the request form you will get through the email.
Coinbase is arguably the largest cryptocurrency investment platform and rightfully so. The platform offers a myriad of products and services that any investor would need. Other than that, it is a secure platform and it does continue to expand to cover more users.
We would, therefore, recommend it to anyone looking to get into crypto trading.
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