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Coinbase: A comprehensive review of the Bitcoin exchange

Generally praised for it’s ease-of-use, Coinbase is often one of the first exchanges that newcomers to the cryptocurrency scene use to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But what is this Coinbase, and is it a legitimate website that one can feel safe purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

If you’re looking for a comprehensive Coinbase review, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll take a look at all of the key features of Coinbase, as well as its pros and cons.

45 stars

Coinbase

bitcoin-broker-coinbase

Supported cryptos (100+)

  • ALGO, BAND, BAT, BTC, BCH, DASH, EOS, ETH, ETC, KNC, LINK, LTC, OMG, OXT, UNI, XLM, XRP, ZEC, XRX and more

Fees: 

  • $0 withdrawal
  • .5% Market fee

Deposit methods

Cryptocurrency
Wire transfer
PayPal
Credit card

Sign up and get $10 in free Bitcoin on first purchase

Coinbase Review

Overall, Coinbase is an excellent platform for those who are looking to get into cryptocurrencies. It is user-friendly, secure, and has a wide range of features. It is also one of the most popular platforms available, which makes it a great choice for those who are new to digital currencies.

Launched in 2012, Coinbase is a San Francisco-based bitcoin wallet and exchange service with more than 73 million users as of 2021.

Coinbase has been incredibly successful, and its popularity is only increasing. In addition to its wallet and exchange services, Coinbase also offers merchant tools and a Bitcoin API.

Coinbase also has excellent customer support, which makes it a great choice for those who are new to digital currencies.

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Coinbase’s USD wallet is also insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. This means that if you have USD fiat stored in your account in your USD wallet, it will be insured against an attack, much like a standard bank account.

Get started with Coinbase here

How Does Coinbase Work?

Coinbase exchanges a user’s currency for another currency, much like any currency converter. The difference between Coinbase and a currency converter is that Coinbase deals directly with cryptocurrencies.

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By offering different payment methods in combination with a simple user interface, Coinbase effectively allows a user to buy cryptocurrency with ease. Once the user has bought/sold their desired amounts, they are free to do with their assets as they choose.

To get started, all one has to do is sign up for an account with Coinbase. Since Coinbase (like nearly all  cryptocurrency companies) is subjected to Anti-Money Laundering laws, account holders are required to submit KYC (Know-Your-Customer) information, generally including your name, address, Social Security Number or any other identifying proof or certificate. This helps Coinbase verify your identity and make sure that your activity is not deemed suspicious or malicious under the Anti-Money Laundering laws.

Once your information is entered, the only thing left to do is to add your payment method(s). Coinbase currently accepts payments from bank accounts, credit/debit cards, and more.

Verify your account

Before you can buy bitcoin and other digital assets on Coinbase, you first need to verify your account.  Verifying your account on Coinbase is straightforward and can be done in minutes when you follow the instructions. Most countries have the same verification protocol but there are a few countries that require some extra steps. Also, keep in mind there are various levels of access depending on which documents you submit for ID approval.

How to Buy Bitcoin

Buying Bitcoin on Coinbase is very straightforward. If in a desktop browser, all one needs to do is click the blue “Trade” button in the top right-hand corner of the window.

For the mobile application, simply click on Bitcoin in the asset list, and the push the blue “Trade” button. A box will pop up that gives you several options: Buy; Sell; and Convert.

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To buy, simply make sure you have the “Buy” option selected. After, input how much Bitcoin you want to buy, either by how much USD (or other fiat currency) you want to spend, or by how much Bitcoin you want to buy (regardless of price). Assuming you have created an account and completed your payment credentials, select what payment method you will be using.

Once you have completed these steps, a confirmation window will appear giving you details about your purchase. Generally, your purchase will be available to trade on Coinbase immediately, but will not be able to be withdrawn from Coinbase for 3-5 days. If you are interested in a recurring buy, Coinbase allows the option of setting your own schedule and your purchase amount desired.

How to Buy Alternative Coins

To buy alternative coins (A.K.A. “altcoins”), the process is nearly identical to that of buying Bitcoin. For a desktop browser, click on the “Prices” tab, and view the list of coins offered on Coinbase by applying the “Tradable Assets” filter in the filter list. Once you have decided which altcoin you would like to buy, click the blue “Trade” button next to the asset.

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For Coinbase’s mobile application, simply click on the asset listed, and push the “Trade” button. Like the process for Bitcoin, a box will pop up offering the option to Buy, Sell, or Convert. Ensuring the “Buy” option is highlighted, enter either how much USD (or other fiat currency) you would like to spend, or how many coins or tokens you would like to purchase.

Afterward, select which payment method you would like to use to complete your purchase. Once you have finished your order, a confirmation window will appear, giving you details about your purchase. Generally, your purchase will be available for trade on the Coinbase platform immediately, but will require 3-5 days to withdraw funds from the exchange. Recurring buys can also be completed with altcoins.

Coinbase Wallet

Coinbase offers a fairly secure option for anyone that may choose to leave their funds on the exchange (though NOT RECOMMENDED). As mentioned previously, the USD wallets are each FDIC insured $250,000.

For each asset the user owns, they will have a corresponding wallet address. To help secure their users’ funds, Coinbase claims to keep 98% of their users’ funds offline, with data encrypted, and stored in vaults across the world.

With the mobile application, users can easily send/receive funds on the go. Coinbase wallets allow both incoming and outgoing transactions, much like any wallet.

Coinbase Fees

One of the many criticisms that Coinbase has received over the span of their business is their fee policy. The company charges a spread of 0.5% for all purchases and sales of digital assets, which may fluctuate based on market prices. In addition to their spread fee, they also charge what they call a Coinbase Fee, which is either a flat fee, or a variable fee determined by the user’s region, purchase, and/or payment method.

The flat fee is as follows:
1) $0.99 for any transaction $10 or less;
2) $1.49 for any transaction that is more than $10 but less than $25;
3) $1.99 for any transaction costing $50 or less, but more than $25;
4) $2.99 for any transaction less than $200, but more than $50.

Generally, fees will be higher if the user chooses to use a debit/credit card, since the variable percentage rate is higher than the flat fee. ACH transfers are free, with Wire Transfers costing $10, or $25 outgoing. As a general rule of thumb, Coinbase fees will always be the greater of the minimum fees outlined in their fee policy.

Coinbase Exchange (Coinbase Pro)

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Coinbase Pro is Coinbase’s version of the live cryptocurrency market that trades 24/7 much like a Forex exchange. Referred to as GDAX (Global Digital Asset Exchange) before their official branding change, Coinbase Pro offers a number of different cryptocurrencies and trading pairs. Most of these assets are compatible with Ledger and Trezor hardware wallets.

With Coinbase Pro, Coinbase has made sure that their straightforward usability and high user compatibility made the transition to the platform. Once on the platform, a user only has to deposit funds into their specified wallet.

From there, the user is free to trade however they see fit, taking advantage of the different trading pairs (such as Bitcoin/Ethereum, which is a market for using either Bitcoin or Ethereum to buy/sell the other of the pair, much like using USD to buy Bitcoin or shares of a stock).

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Withdrawing funds is just as simple as depositing, and can be performed by entering the desired wallet recipient’s address into the address bar, with the total amount you would like to send.

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Much like the standard Coinbase platform, each user’s USD wallet is FDIC insured up to $250,000.

Coinbase Pro does have it’s own set standard of a fee tier. We found in our Coinbase review, the platform operates on a “Maker-Taker” model. This means that if you place an order at a price not already specified on the order book, and that order cannot be filled immediately, you do not have to pay a fee, as you are what is known as the Maker.

The Taker, on the other hand, pays the Taker fee, because they have placed an order that gets filled immediately, at market price. The Taker fee is generally tiered as follows: 1) 0.3% up to the first $10 million traded; 2) 0.2% for trading totals between $10 million and $100 million; and 3) 0.1% for any trade totals valuing more than $100 million.

Coinbase alternative:

Coinbase is a terrific crypto trading platform with tons of features, excellent security, and a growing list of digital assets.  We use and recommend Coinbase for being a legitimate crypto exchange for users of all types.

If for any reason Coinbase isn’t for you, there are plenty of other exchanges that might better fit your needs.

One of our favorite exchanges is Uphold, a multi asset exchange that allows you to trade more than just crypto.

See our Uphold vs Coinbase review to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Coinbase Review Conclusion

Whether you are new to cryptocurrency, or have been in the space for awhile, Coinbase offers a uniquely simple platform for anyone that buys/sells cryptocurrency, or has interest in doing so.

Often, newcomers have found their way to Coinbase, and rightfully so. The company’s platform is user-friendly, straightforward, and intuitive to use. With less than 5 clicks, a person can either buy or sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Furthermore, Coinbase is backed by a number of investors, and has built a good reputation with banks since it’s inception into the cryptocurrency space. Coinbase has been consistently building a strong reputation in the
cryptocurrency space as a safe, reliable exchange that anyone can use.

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Thanks for reading and checking out this Coinbase review.

CryptoWhat
CryptoWhat was created in 2015 and has become one of the most trusted and well-respected sources of information on all things crypto. The blog's authors are dedicated to providing clear, concise, and jargon-free explanations of this complex technology, so that everyone can understand it.
By: Patrick Moore
By: Patrick Moore