Coinbase.com is a digital asset exchange that lets you buy and sell major cryptocurrencies using various fiat currencies. It also serves as a Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin wallet, where digital currencies can be stored.
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In 2012, Coinbase raised slightly over $160,000 in funding with an idea to make it easy for non-technical people to buy Bitcoin. Less than a year later the company was selling $1 million worth of Bitcoins per month and soon raised a seed round of $600,000.
In 2015, Coinbase became the first licensed U.S. Bitcoin exchange. The approval by regulators let the exchange to expand in 24 jurisdictions in the U.S. Five years after its inception, Coinbase is now the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange serving a total of 32 countries.
It is a go-to exchange for anyone who is new to Bitcoin. The company has invested a lot of time and money to make the user experience smooth. Their banking partnerships allow transactions to be made via EFT payment, ACH / SWIFT / SEPA transfers.
The exchange offers its services in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, and the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
Accepted Payment Methods
Depending on the country you’re in, you will be able to link your bank account directly to Coinbase or send money to a specific Coinbase bank account in order to fund your account.
In the US, Canada, UK, Australia and Europe, Coinbase now allows customers to buy Bitcoin directly using their credit or debit card. This method costs extra processing fees but it’s faster than using wire transfer.
Last year, the exchange started letting users link their Paypal account in order to receive funds. However, the use of Paypal is limited to sellers only. It is not possible to buy Bitcoin using Paypal on Coinbase.
Coinbase Transaction Fees
Transaction fees depends on the payment method you choose to use and the country you’re in. Most transactions hold a 1% transaction fee + any fees related to the payment method you are using.
|Country||Credit / Debit Card Buys||Standard Buy / Sell||Bank transfers (SEPA)||Bank wires|
|Europe||3.99%||1.49%||Free / €0.15|
|United Kingdom||3.99%||1.49%||Free / €0.15|
|USA||3.99%||1.49%||NA||ACH Transfer - Free
Wire Transfer - $10 ($25 outgoing)
Every user must provide their full name, verified email and accept Coinbase’s user agreement in order to open an account.
If you wish to purchase Bitcoin with Coinbase, users must provide full identity verification and many personal details. You will be required to take a picture of your driver’s license or passport if you are purchasing Bitcoin with a credit card.
Buy/Sell Limits at Coinbase
Limits on the exchange depend on your account level, which is determined by how much information you have verified. In order to raise your limits on buying Bitcoins, you will need to verify your identification, credit card, and debit card.
Fully verified U.S. customers may buy up to $50,000 worth of bitcoin daily. Whereas European customers can buy €30,000.
Coinbase users can create three types of wallets with Coinbase: wallet, vault, and multisig vault.
Coinbase Bitcoin Wallet
If you opt for Bitcoin wallet, all you need to do is keep your login and password safe. Coinbase will control your Bitcoins and you must trust that they keep your coins secure.
Although Coinbase is a very reputed company backed by well-known venture capitalist, the whole point of Bitcoin is to give users the ability to control their money. It is always a good idea to move your Bitcoins to a wallet that you control from the online wallet.
Not to forget Coinbase has been notorious in the past and is known to freeze user accounts without giving any reason. Another good reason to keep your Bitcoins in control.
Coinbase recently introduced the Vault feature which allows you to “share an account” with 2 or more users. Every transaction that is sent from that account will require the approval of all the users. Vault is used to store large amounts of Bitcoin.
All the withdrawals from the Vault can take up to 48 hours to process. The time delay provides a safety net. That is, if you see a withdrawal was requested that you did not make, the withdrawal may be canceled.
However, using Vault account does not mean that you control your Bitcoin wallet. It is still hosted on Coinbase servers. Vault accounts can also be shut down by Coinbase at any time.
There are many users who want to control their Bitcoin and not leave it on the exchange. Multisig Vault is the solution.
This essentially means your wallet will have 3 keys – 1 you own, 1 Coinbase owns and 1 shared key. Any two of the three keys allow spending of funds. So even if Coinbase is down, you will still have both the shared key and your own key to move funds from your wallet.
Over the past couple of years, Coinbase has received a lot of flak. Whether it be Reddit or Bitcointalk, forums filled with complaints. Sometimes they are related to user accounts being frozen and the other times acting like banks.
Let’s also give the credit where it is due. For years it has also served the market more reliably and faithfully than many exchanges, which failed. Regardless, Coinbase has been having its fair share of controversies:
1. Freezing user accounts without having a strong case
2. Coinbase tracks how users spend their Bitcoins
3. Close Ties to the Banking Establishment
4. Too many complaints to handle
5. Ill-Fated Political Interventions in the past
6. Filing for Blockchain patents
7. Affiliate Rewards abuse
Coinbase has an extensive FAQ page and a support forum to answer any queries users may have. Most of the queries can find answers within the FAQ page, but if you do submit a support ticket, expect a response to take 48-72 hours.
Future of Coinbase
Since the beginning of 2017 Coinbase has witnessed an unprecedented growth. So far the exchange has exchanged over $25 billion USD of digital currency for their customers. Recently it raised a whopping $100 million in Series D funding led by IVP.
In a blog post, Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase mentioned how this new funding will continue to help scale the exchange even further. They will specifically work on:
1. Increase the size of our engineering and customer support teams to improve the customer experience.
2. Open a GDAX office in New York City, further investing in our ability to serve institutions and professional traders.
3. Invest in Toshi, to help accelerate digital currency’s shift from speculative investment to global payment network.