Coinbase Review: The Biggest Bitcoin Exchange


Bitcoin’s biggest exchange has been featured in major newspapers around the world (e.g. Bloomberg, TIME) and is supported by investors who vouch for its security and reliability.

On the top of that, Coinbase has a portfolio of over 7 million users and is the number 1 place for everyone to buy cryptocurrency.

But with such a growing popularity and so many users, can Coinbase cope and provide a stellar service?

This Coinbase Review will not only look at the main features but also controversies and difficulties Coinbase had to deal with for the past few years.

Coinbase: Overview

Coinbase Review main screen

Name: Coinbase
Type: Exchange, Wallet & GDAX
Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin
Fiat Currency: USD, EUR
Rating: 4.5/5

Coinbase was founded in 2012 and quickly became one of the biggest and most popular Bitcoin exchanges on the market. It’s a registered and licensed company with headquarters in San Francisco.

As of May 2017, Coinbase had almost 7,5 mln users with the number continuously growing.

Originally, Coinbase has started as an exchange (selling Bitcoins to customers directly), but in 2016 it introduced a Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX), allowing customers to trade Bitcoins between each other.

Apart from buying and selling Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, Coinbase offers an online wallet that works on your desktop as a browser extension. It’s never safe to store cryptocurrency on an exchange wallet, as you don’t have an access to your private key. But it’s a convenient option if you sell Bitcoins on a regular basis and want to be able to easily transfer them.

Coinbase is divided into three departments:

  • GDAX for traders
  • Coinbase for merchants – allows retailers and business to accept Bitcoin payments
  • API – aimed for developers to create applications with a cryptocurrency integration.

Coinbase: Supported Countries

Coinbase offers its services in the United States, Canada, Singapore, Australia, 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, United Kingdom.

Coinbase: Cryptocurrency Offered

With Coinbase you can buy and trade:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin

Coinbase: Verification Methods and Privacy

Coinbase review verification and privacy

Since Coinbase is based in the US, it has to comply with the local KYC rules.

As long as Coinbase can be used in your country, anyone can set up an account and use the cryptocurrency wallet.

However, if you’re planning to buy crypto through Coinbase, you would have to provide your address, an official ID scan (passport, driver’s license or a photo ID), phone number and bank account details.

If your ID is different to the country you currently live in, you will have to contact Coinbase customer support and provide a utility bill or a similar document to confirm the residency.

Additionally, you can also add a 2-factor authentication which will result in receiving a code everytime you try to sign to your Coinbase account. Your account is protected just by a password, there’s no PIN code or a phrase that has to be entered.

Coinbase should be primarily used as a place to buy/sell Bitcoins. If you have an intention of using the Coinbase wallet for an extended period of time, bear in mind, that it controls all of your private keys and acts more like a bank than a wallet.

Coinbase Vault Service

Recently, Coinbase has introduced a new – Vault – service which allows you to ‘share an account’ with 2 or more users. Similarly to the Copay wallet, if you send a transaction, it will require the approval of all users. Thus, all transactions have a 48h delay due to the extra security layer.

You can find the option underneath the section ‘My Wallet’ and it’s especially useful if you’re afraid you might lose your password.

Coinbase: Buying/Selling Limits

Similarly to most exchanges, your limit will increase as soon as you go through all the identity verifications. The more information you provide, the more you will be able to buy.

If you’re a fully verified customer, you can buy u to $50K of Bitcoins daily. European customers can have up to €30K on their account. The limit also depends on a chosen method of payment

Coinbase: Accepted Payment Methods

Coinbase accepts all major payment methods, but the most popular one is a bank transfer. Depending on where you live, you will be presented with different payment methods upon your purchase.

Not long ago, Coinbase has also introduced a payment via credit/debit card. Although you will be able to instantly purchase cryptocurrency, you will have to pay extra for a quick transaction.

If you’re a seller, you can use PayPal for your transactions. This option is strictly limited to sellers only and it doesn’t look like PayPal has any intention of moving towards cryptocurrency for the time being.

Currently, Coinbase accepts:

  • Bank transfer
  • Credit/debit card
  • SEPA transfer (Europe)
  • Xfers transfer (Singapore)

Coinbase: Fees

coinbase review fees

The transaction fee will depend on a payment method you decide to use. If you opt for a bank transfer, the fee will be 1%, but if you use credit/debit card to make the transaction quicker, you would have to pay up to 5% fee.

Keep in mind that if somebody sends you Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency, you would have to wait for 3-mining confirmations before Coinbase accepts it on its internal system.

The actual deposit is free, afterwards, Coinbase will charge you an above fee.

Coinbase: Customer Service

Coinbase has a very extensive FAQ section, where you will be able to find an answer to most questions before even contacting customer support. Otherwise, you can submit a support ticket which should be answered in 24-48h.

Due to a huge popularity, Coinbase struggles with their customer support sometimes. We came across multiple complaints from users who had to contact Coinbase on more than once to have their issue resolved. It’s common to receive an automated reply which doesn’t solve the problem or looks deeper into it.

If you wish to contact Coinbase support team, you can do it through a form available on the website or start a live chat on the website. However, you will be speaking with a bot, not a human being.

Coinbase also has a unique feature – their own Community which can answer questions, give advice and you can share there your experiences.

Additionally, you can contact Coinbase via their Twitter and Facebook account but it’s unlikely they’ll answer to any queries through Social Media channels.

Coinbase: Interface & Mobile App

Coinbase Review mobile app

Coinbase has a modern and user-friendly design which is extremely easy to navigate. Whether it’s your account or the support section, you will definitely find it easy to use.

Coinbase also has a very convenient mobile app, through which you can not only buy and sell crypto but also access all of your wallets. It’s rare to see an exchange with a well-developed mobile app, but Coinbase is winning here without a doubt.

Coinbase Controversies

Coinbase works as both an exchange and wallet but it’s well-known in the Bitcoin community for intruding into the users’ lives.

Before you make a decision to use their services, bear in mind that Coinbase tracks how you spend your Bitcoins. If you use them for gambling, adult services, dark web or other shady business, your account may be frozen.

Another issue is the lack of neutrality. As a service, an exchange should always take a neutral stand towards any issues within the Bitcoin community.

If you’re, however, looking into buying and selling only, none of those issues should affect you.

Coinbase: Who Is It For?

Coinbase has been used by everyone – from rookies to experts, investors, traders, and business.

If you’re new to the cryptocurrency business, you will easily find your way around the website. The verification process is also quicker than most exchanges.

But if what you need it anonymity, Coinbase won’t be the best choice. Considering that you have to submit an ID form as well as bank details, is not a good option for those looking a maximum privacy.

Coinbase: How To Use It

#1 Go to the Coinbase website and click ‘Sign Up’.

#2 Fill all of your details, confirm email address and add a 2FA protection.

Coinbase review sign up

#3 Once you land on the main Dashboard, go to ‘Settings’ to ensure the correct time zone and currency. The main dashboard also shows a price chart and the fluctuation.

Coinbase review dashboard

#4 On the top, you can access all of your multiple accounts, depending on which cryptocurrency you own, as well as buy and sell crypto. Apart from Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, there’s an option for a fiat account, where you can deposit fiat currency and use it directly to buy cryptocurrency.

Coinbase review all wallets

#5 If you click ‘Receive’ on one of the accounts, you will be able to see your public address.

coinbase review wallet address

#6 Access ‘Tools’ where you can set recurring transactions, see the history and include addresses you will be using in the future.

#7 Once you enter your payment details, you will be able to see your weekly limits underneath the ‘Buy/Sell’ tab. The higher verification level of your account, the higher will be your limit.

Coinbase: Rating

Coinbase has gained so much popularity for a reason. It’s secure, simple to use and it’s available worldwide. We awarded it 4.5/5 stars!

Its main pros are the simplicity in design and usage. Most exchanges struggle with making the interface looking approachable to users, but Coinbase is definitely leading by example.

A rare thing is also seeing a mobile app and Coinbase has been one of the first one to introduce it on the market.

The main drawback is the lack of anonymity (you have to submit all your personal details) and the fact that you’re not in control of your personal keys.

Coinbase as an exchange does a great job and there’s not much to complain about. But as a wallet, it works like any other exchange, it takes away the ownership of your personal keys.

Sign up to Coinbase.

What do you think of our Coinbase Review? Do you have any experiences worth sharing? Let us know in the comments below!