- Accepts major fiat currencies
- Available in 32 different countries
- Hassle free method of purchasing Bitcoin
- High liquidity and purchasing limits
- Support purchases through credit cards
- Limited payment methods
- No anonymity
Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange that was founded by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam in 2012. Based in San Francisco, California, the exchange is backed by several reputable investors such as Alexis Ohanian, the co founder of Reddit, Blockchain Capital, Digital Currency Group and the Bank of Tokyo. Today, Coinbase is regarded as the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange serving more than 10 million customers in 32 different countries. The exchange offers its customers the opportunity to buy cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin through a bank account or credit card. In Europe, Coinbase also supports payment options such as Interac Online and SEPA transfer.
The trading platform which Coinbase has adopted is a Bitcoin exchange platform called GDAX. The acronym GDAX stands for Global Digital Asset Exchange was a platform that was launched in May 2016 by Coinbase. It not only supports Bitcoin trading but also other alternative cryptocurrencies as well. The platform is well designed enabling access to functionalities with one or two clicks of the mouse. The execution speed is fast hence allowing trades to be carried out promptly. In addition, the GDAX platform is also able to support multiple order types such as:
- Buy Order
- FOC (Fill or Kill)
- GTC (Good ‘Til Cancelled)
- OIC (Immediate or Cancel)
- Post Only
- Sell Order
- Stop Order
Unlike traditional exchanges, Coinbase does not offer derivative or margin trading. In addition, the platform doesn’t come with mobile apps. Nevertheless, the main website is already optimized for the small screen of smartphones and mobile devices.
Currently, the service offered by Coinbase is available in more than 30 countries around the world.
Fees and Commission Charges
Typically, cryptocurrency transfers with Coinbase’s wallet do not incur any fees. However transfers out of the Coinbase platform may result in network transaction fees such as mining fees. As for trading fees, Coinbase does not impose any maker’s fee. The fee that traders are liable for is the taker fee. Unlike other cryptocurrency exchanges which their fees based on a transactional basis, the fee model subscribe by Coinbase is totally different. It is based on the percentage of the trader’s monthly volume. At present, the fee schedule is as follows:
- 0 percent (~0 BTC) – 0.25 percent fee
- 1 percent (~2,114 BTC) – 0.24 percent fee
- 2.5 percent (~5,287 BTC) – 0.22 percent fee
- 5 percent (~10,574 BTC) – 0.19 percent fee
- 10 percent (~21,148 BTC) – 0.15 percent fee
- 10 percent (~42,297 BTC) – 0.10 percent fee
Apart from the taker’s fees, Coinbase charges traders a conversion fee when the transaction is conducted using fiat currencies. There are 2 methods which is used to calculate the conversion fee:
- A flat fee for transaction below $200
- A percentage fee based on the payment type and region
For Australia and Canada, the percentage is 3.99% with credit/debit cards. For Europe the conversion fees are 1.49% (standard buy/sell), 3.99% (Credit/debit cards) and €0.15 9SEPA). For the U.S, the applicable conversion fees are 1.49% (U.S bank account & Coinbase wallet), 3.99% (Credit/Debit cards & Paypal).
Deposit and Withdrawals
Catering to an international clientele base, Coinbase supports a variety of payment options. The supported methods include bank wire transfer, credit/debit cards, SEPA, ACH transfer and Xfers Transfer. The following table below shows the various methods and the time it takes for the funds to be available.
- Bank Transfer – USA – 5-7 days
- Credit / Debit Card – USA – instant
- Credit / Debit Card – Canada – instant
- SEPA Transfer – Europe – 1-3 days
- Credit / Debit Card – Europe – instant
- Credit / Debit Card – UK – instant
- Xfers Transfer – Singapore – instant
- Credit / Debit Card – Australia – instant
Help and Support
In terms of customer support, the support provided by Coinbase is quite basic. Apart from an FAQ section, Coinbase’s customers can also request assistance through email or by submitting a help request. Alternatively, they can also write to Coinbase at 548 Market St #23008, San Francisco, CA 94104. Nevertheless according to updates posted on Coinbase’s website, the company plans to increase its support team and services to cover 24 hours a day 7 days a week by 2018.
Security and Fairness
In terms of maintaining your anonymity, Coinbase do not offer its users this option. This is because the company abides by all KYC laws and requires you to submit details such as your name, email, phone number and address. With all these details, Coinbase is able to connect your identity to your IP address at all times.
As for the security of your funds, Coinbase offers you 2 kinds of wallets, the standard Coinbase wallet and the Multisig Vault.
With the Coinbase wallet, the company has full control over your coins and you are reliant upon them to keep your coins safe. Your only safeguard which you have control over is your login details and password.
Coinbase Multisig Vault
For storing larger amount of bticoins, Coinbase offers you the option of using the Coinbase Vault. The Multisig vault requires multiple approvers which must confirm a withdrawal before it can be processed. In addition as an added layer of security, all withdrawals from the vault require a lead time of 48 hours to be approved. This time delay will enable you to cancel any unauthorized withdrawals before the funds are withdrawn.
In terms of convenience, Coinbase scored highly in this aspect. By accepting purchases done through fiat currencies and credit cards, Coinbase has been able to make the world of cryptocurrency trading highly accessible to the average person. In other words, the exchange is ideal for those who are new to cryptocurrencies. Additionally, the exchange is able to offer its users the assurance that their coins will be kept safe.