A Fair Review on Coinbase: Comparison and Key Highlights 

 July 16, 2021

By  Brian Forester

Many a word has been said about such a crypto website as Coinbase: both great and not-so-good. I even was a user of Coinbase myself, starting from 2013. In this article, I would like to present you with a fair Coinbase review, and you will be the one who will decide if Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, is reliable and worthy or not.

Key Features of Coinbase

Coinbase is considered one of the largest cryptocurrency organizations worldwide: it supports over a hundred countries and has over thirty million users worldwide! You can find almost any imaginable cryptocurrency here: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, and many others.

Coinbase is a platform that has a huge scope of crypto services provided, but its main focus is buying and selling Bitcoin via a bank account, credit or debit cards, as well as a cryptocurrency exchange. The rates one will get on Coinbase are generally fair; nonetheless, the user and customer support team is terrible.

That was a brief Coinbase review! If you find this topic interesting and would like to know more about Coinbase, make sure to read the full article. Today our table of contents is as per the following: Coinbase summary, its services, the cryptocurrencies supported and payment solutions, fees and restrictions for buying, the supported countries, customer support and reviews, comparison with other exchanges, FAQs, and my final thoughts on Coinbase.

General Things About Coinbase: Review

Coinbase was established in 2012 by B. Armstrong and F. Ehrsam. Primarily, Coinbase was a part of Ycombinator, and now Coinbase is one of the oldest and most reliable cryptocurrency exchanges. At first, this crypto exchange platform worked only as a Bitcoin service via broking, which implies only selling Bitcoin straight to the Coinbase users. Later on, as the company developed, additional crypto services were added. The account minimum on Coinbase is 50 dollars. That is the initial deposit the creators of the Coinbase Website suggest having. The Coinbase fees differ upon the payment method.

It is crucial to mention that this trading platform is licensed and legitimate. As of the company’s gains, over 540 million dollars were acquired by Coinbase with the help of huge advertising partners and investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Rabbit Capital, and The NYSE.

Coinbase Services

Coinbase Service for Broking Activities

Brokerage service is the main focus of attention of Coinbase. It is used to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. In other words, it is a cryptocurrency exchange. Beginner cryptocurrency users frequently tend to buy their first Bitcoins via this reliable crypto exchange platform. That is all because the organization has a notable reputation in cryptocurrency; it is also great in terms of marketing and has a somewhat user-friendly interface. And, of course, in terms of security, this crypto platform is reliable as well.

Speaking about the drawbacks, one of the main issues the users have discovered is that there is a shortage of control of users of their own funds. The thing is that once one gets into their Coinbase account, they will not have direct access to the coins, nor would one be able to get any private key or a seed set of words. In other words, Coinbase is like a bank. Imagine when you put some cash into the bank. It stores your funds (coin money) for you, but you are not the owner of them, the Coinbase is. Just like with banks, money, and credit cards.

Coinbase Pro

You may know CoinBase Pro by its former name – GDAX. Coinbase Pro is a cryptocurrency exchange and trade platform. Coinbase Pro differs from regular Coinbase: instead of simply buying cryptocurrency via brokerage services, Coinbase Pro is aimed at more expert users.

Coinbase Pro permits users to buy and sell various cryptocurrency assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Basic Attention Token, and Ox. On Coinbase Pro, the fees are way lower compared with the brokerage service of Coinbase fees. Coinbase Pro also includes advanced trading options. The smallest purchase you can make in Coinbase Pro is 0.001 Bitcoin.

Coinbase Wallet

Coinbase also created its independent mobile wallet in 2013 for such operating systems as IOS and Android. The wallet keeps the private keys of the device of the user. In this way, only Coinbase users have access and full connection to their assets. As a result, Coinbase has a lot of things to offer. It also has a long history: they started as a ‘wallet’ company, then transformed to a ‘crypto exchange only’ (they said they have nothing to do with wallets), and as of now, Coinbase started offering wallet services again.

Trader Solutions

The platform provides online cryptocurrency traders with the ability to acquire cryptocurrencies on their Webpage through a special plugin. The plugin uses many huge content management systems, for example, Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce.

Extra Projects

Despite already providing lots of services, Coinbase also is responsible for such services as:

  • USD Coin. USD Coin is a stable coin created by the platform Coinbase;
  • Coinbase Index. It is a service that allows tracking the commercial production of all Coinbase recorded assets;
  • Custodian services. Those are services that provide Cryptocurrency Protection for institutional investors;
  • Earn.com. Is a website held by Coindesk. It can filter out spam messages;
  • Paradex. It is a service that allows to buy and sell coins right from the wallet of a user;
  • Coinbase Ventures. This service provides the ability to invest in organizations that are developing the public monetary system.

Coinbase: Supported Cryptocurrencies and Payment Methods

The platform is in support of the following cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar Lumens, Ethereum Classic, Zcash, Augur, Dai, USD Coin (USDC), 0x, Basic Attention Token, Algorand, Cosmos, Civic, Dash, District0x, Golem, Kyber Network, Chainlink, Loom Network, Decentraland, Maker, Orchid, Tezos. They are all available for crypto exchange.

Moreover, as for the payment methods of Coinbase, they are listed below:

  • Wire transfer, for example, ACH in the United States and SEPA in the European Union;
  • Credit card and a debit card;
  • Withdrawal of the cryptocurrency and deposit;
  • PayPal. Only withdrawals are accepted.

Demanded Fees

When things come to fees, everything becomes a bit complicated to discuss in detail. When one buys Bitcoins from Coinbase, the price will be determined by this things:

  • The sale price on Coinbase Pro summed with 0.5%;
  • Transaction fee. The transaction fee is a flat fee for purchases below 200 dollars or a % of the transaction (the bigger one). A flat fee is also called a flat rate.

Actually, many transaction fees are 1.49% for a regular buy and 3.99% from the transaction amount for credit card purchases and debit card purchases. Another important thing to mention is that depositing funds is free of charge through ACH transfer but otherwise costs 10 dollars.

One can check the full fee structure by clicking on this link.

As it is noticeable, the amount one will pay is not an evident thing with Coinbase. It is actually the main drawback of the platform, as the users of Coinbase suggest. Not to mention, Coinbase also declines one’s purchase if there are some extra price shifts (this happened many times in the past).

All things considered, Coinbase still has one of the lowest fee structures worldwide in comparison to various other brokerage services such as CEX.io or Coinmama.

Make sure to acknowledge that transactions within Coinbase accounts are completely free; outside transactions, on the other hand, will need three confirmations before they are shown in one’s account.

Buying Restrictions

When you have logged in to your account, you will be able to purchase a small number of Bitcoins until you get a limit extension. In case you want to get it, you will have to follow simple step-by-step instructions:

  • Write out and verify your cell phone number, personal data, and photo ID;
  • If you happen to complete a full verification and you are a resident of the United States, then one can reach the highest limit, which is now 25 thousand dollars per day;
  • The buying restrictions are also defined by the payment method one chooses to get the cryptocurrencies; for instance, ACH transfer has bigger buying limits than debit card and credit card purchases on the platform.

Countries That Coinbase supports

The platform works in more than a hundred countries worldwide. Almost all countries from the European Union, South, and Middle Asia, Scandinavian Countries, Northern America, Southern America.

Customer Support of Coinbase: Opinion of People

Coinbase is a trading platform with a comprehensive knowledge archive.

Coinbase has a very extensive knowledge base. Most general queries will be there, and you will definitely find the needed answers. In case you send an inquiry to the support service by e-mail, you will most probably receive a response within 2-3 days. At least, that is how it worked for me. Moreover, the platform has a working phone assistance line; nonetheless, as it might be seen from the reader feedback, it is difficult to get someone to resolve the emerging issues there.

To put it in a nutshell, speaking about the quality of user support is not satisfying at all. That is all because most of the support team will not be eager to dive into the research to answer your question. Instead, they will answer with something common and evident, and it will not help you to solve the problem.

So, most of the users argue that there is not proper user support and that the user problems are not resolved at all; besides, BBB grades Coinbase ‘F’, as it failed to react to over a hundred complaints.

To tot up everything, the customer support of Coinbase is very controversial in the world of Bitcoin, and Coinbase users do not provide the best reviews about it. If you’re a newbie on Coinbase, this is probably the factor that you should consider while deciding to buy or not buy cryptocurrencies via this platform.

Closed or Frozen Accounts

The process of accounts closing is probably the most common drawback of Coinbase. The platform closely integrates with regular standard banking laws, so such closures are unavoidable. All in all, Coinbase prides itself on its compliance with the law, and maybe it is for the best. Maybe this is all because Coinbase was the 1st one to get official legal approval by the US laws. This implies that Coinbase has, as of now, Anti-Money Laundering and KYC practices just like any other bank.

You should know that Coinbase might track how one spends the coins, and eventually close an account of yours for the following actions:

  • Transactions connected to adult services;
  • The gambling of Bitcoins, skill-based gaming included;
  • The process of ‘buy and sell’ of piracy materials via darknet stores;
  • The coins resale on other exchanges, especially the ones without AML or KYC;
  • Some other unpredictable reasons can put the algorithms of Coinbase in the wrong way.

It is clear that one’s account on Coinbase can get shut down pretty quickly. Of course, you will get your money back, but it is rather a disturbing, frustrating, and possibly harmful experience.

Some Other Critics

Not taking into account the previously mentioned factors, Coinbase was also criticized for such things as:

  • Affiliate reward abuse. As it is observable, Coinbase has a referral plan, but it sometimes does not pay its co-workers exactly the sum which they stated, that is my personal experience;
  • Announcing its opinion in Bitcoin debates. There is a lot of “internal debate” in the Bitcoin World about which Coinbase has expressed its opinion. The services are usually expected to remain neutral in all of these debates and just monitor the natural movements of the stock;
  • The Blockchain patent. The platform has nine patent filings for the innovations related to cryptocurrencies, e.g., Bitcoin Exchange, Tips Button, and Hot wallet for holding Bitcoin. Of course, the patents of that kind are not innovations of Coinbase. They are from open sources and the World of Bitcoin in general. Coinbase asks people to trust the platform and abstain from utilizing such patents in order to block competition.

To tell you the truth, no organization, company, or business may/should be trusted with legitimate authorization over any field of the ecosystem of crypto assets. For example, initially, Bitcoin was created to restrain the necessity of such trusted parties.

Comparison of Coinbase With Other Cryptocurrency Trading Platforms

Coinbase and Coinbase Pro

The two companies share the notion of Coinbase. In case you are a beginner in the world of Cryptocurrency, then Coinbase (the brokerage service) would be much easier for you than Coinbase Pro (formerly named GDAX). Coinbase Pro, as evident, is designed for more expert users that understand how to manage high-level trading techniques. Nevertheless, in the event you are an experienced tradesman, Coinbase Pro allows a much cheaper payment solution with a 0.25 percent fee at maximum. It is 1/5 of what one would pay for the brokerage service (sometimes even less). The security level of both Websites is merely the same.

Coinbase and Gemini

Gemini is the name for crypto exchange created by the Winklevoss brothers. The company’s fee structure is much more complicated than the Coinbase fee structure. The fees are generally higher as well. The starting fee for Gemini is 0.35 percent, while Coinbase Pro fees are only 0.25 percent from the transaction amount. To beat that, the users of Gemini will have to sell and buy over 500 thousand dollars in approximately one month.

In this way, one should regularly check the market exchange rate in both companies, as there may be some differences. Of course, in most of the situations, they are kind of the same, but sometimes there might be differences, and then the final amount you pay may be more economical on Gemini (since the lower price compensates the bigger fee). In case you want to know more about Gemini, snap right there.

Coinbase and Binance

Binance is a trading platform that is only about crypto to crypto exchange. Recently they started to accept credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies. They also accept such a thing as a debit card. The fee for such purchases is very high, just over five percent.

However, if we would discuss the only crypto to crypto exchanges, Binance is more beneficial with a meager fee of 0.1% as opposed to Coinbase Pro fees of 0.25%. Besides, Binance allows the trade of a huge number of cryptocurrencies. In case you would like to learn more about Binance, make sure to read our article about Binance.

Coinbase and Robinhood

If some investors from the United States want to invest in cryptocurrencies, they can also utilize Robinhood; nevertheless, Robinhood differs from Coinbase Pro and Coinbase because investors do not have direct access to the coins while using Robinhood. This implies that they are not able to get their Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrencies from the mobile app.

Thus, such a platform as Robinhood is great only in case you are willing to trade cryptocurrencies, not holding them. Robinhood works across 25 states, and it states that there is zero percent of trading fees, which is very competitive compared to many other trading platforms, e.g., Coinbase Pro. Robinhood also allows one to trade traditional stocks as well as trade cryptocurrencies.

Final Word on Coinbase: What About Security?

To put it in a nutshell, Coinbase is pretty easy to use. The organization itself developed and spent lots of time and other resources to provide the best experience for their customers. Apart from all the great points, while using Coinbase, one cannot control the coins. Your transactions are observable as well.

To my mind, Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are, as of now, focusing on the market extension. Coinbase and Coinbase Pro work less on improving the actual current, as observed from the number of unsatisfied customer reviews, and that is a shame. Nevertheless, in case one does not get stuck with some problems and does not decide to ask for customer support —  then, overall, everything is pretty satisfying, the prices are competitive. As far as I am concerned, one can indeed utilize Coinbase for buying cryptocurrencies, as the service is great, overall. But when you buy coins in here, make sure to quickly transfer them to some other wallet that you take control of, for example, a hardware wallet, offline cold storage.


Does Coinbase have FDIC Insurance?

As it is stated on the support page of Coinbase, all of the cryptocurrencies on Coinbase have online insurance. It is important to mention that the platform holds around 1-2% of client funds on the Web, and the rest 98% are held on cold storage.

The insurance policy is supposed to cover all of the losses that might arise from a leak or violation of physical security and cybersecurity of Coinbase, as well as employee theft. But any issues related to your individual account would not be discussed under this insurance policy.

Cryptocurrency, in general, is not a legal currency, and it is not supported by the authorities. Moreover, cryptocurrency accounts and value balances on the platform aren’t protected by the FDIC or SIPC.

For the people who live in the United States and utilize Coinbase, the Coinbase reserves all client fiat currency (the regular one, like USD) in such bank account as custodian or in United States Treasuries. So, if you are a citizen of the States, then your Coinbase Dollar Wallet is supported by the insurance of FDIC, for sums no more than 250 thousand dollars.

How do I Get My Money Out of Coinbase?

In the event when you want to retrieve your money from your Coinbase account, you can transfer them to:

  • a bank account;
  • a PayPal account;
  • a cryptocurrency wallet (in case you want to retrieve the digital currency of any kind)

You should have internet access to perform the withdrawal. Note that there is no possibility to retrieve fiat currencies from your credit card or debit card.

How Long Does it Take to Withdraw from Coinbase?

In general, the withdrawal of funds from this cryptocurrency exchange is a speedy process, but the transfer process in the bank can take up to three days. And the digital currency money retrievals must be at your ‘place’ within one hour, for the best. It also depends on how long it takes the next block to be confirmed.

Coinbase may hold back one’s cryptocurrency transactions sent from the Coinbase account if they doubt that one has authorized the transaction. In this situation, one has several options:

  • To wait for approximately 3 days and then the transaction will be done automatically;
  • To stimulate the withdrawal by entering the captcha and confirming your identity once again.

Is Coinbase Safe and Legit??

Overall, Coinbase is a platform that has a high-security level. Coinbase, initially, was designed to buy crypto assets: as of now, it is one of the greatest cryptocurrency exchanges. It may easily satisfy all of your needs on crypto trading. It is also great for cryptocurrency investing. The only pitiful drawback is connected with client support, as it is horrible.

Can I Keep my Bitcoins on Coinbase?

Of course, one is able to keep all of the Bitcoins on Coinbase Wallet. But I am not a big fan of such practice. I prefer to hold all of my funds and crypto assets on a non-custodial wallet, for example, on a hardware wallet. You should be the only one who has access to your private keys, and no one should control them.

Once again, if you choose to keep your assets on Coinbase, it is the same thing as keeping your funds in the bank. Indeed, it is safe. But you are not in full control of it. Maybe, for the best.

Can you get scammed on Coinbase?

Eventually, yes. For example, a scammer can claim that they are representatives of Coinbase. Sometimes scammers would call directly from some strange phone number; sometimes, they might attack through a mobile app, bank account (send a fake SMS message).

How do I get my money out of Coinbase?

In case you want to get your money from Coinbase, you should open your browser and log in to your Coinbase account (Commerce) and snap right on the button named ‘Withdraw’ next to the cryptocurrency of your choice in the section called ‘Balances.’ Then there will be a tab where you will have to enter how much money you would like to withdraw and where should the money be sent. Make sure to notice that there is no option to retrieve fiat currencies to your credit cards or a debit card, for example.

Is Coinbase a good place to buy Bitcoin?

Yes, Coinbase is definitely a perfect place for cryptocurrency exchange and cryptocurrency investing in general. The Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many other cryptocurrencies can be bought there as well, so it is a great option for your personal finance. I can not give one investment advice, but I surely can recommend such a cryptocurrency platform as Coinbase.

Brian Forester

Brian is an experienced journalist and crypto enthusiast. Founder of CryptoCurry - famed for his insightful input on the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.

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