Coinbase is a leading centralized cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States. Founded in 2012, it has grown to serve over 98 million users globally. This comprehensive Coinbase review analyzes the platform’s offerings for new and experienced traders.
As one of the longest running exchanges, Coinbase has built a reputation as an easy-to-use platform for crypto beginners thanks to its intuitive interface. At the same time, Coinbase Pro and Advanced Trade cater to active investors with advanced trading tools.
Regulated in the United States, Coinbase adheres to applicable regional laws, offering customers peace of mind. However, the platform’s extensive data sharing agreements have raised privacy concerns among some users.
Here is a summary of the key benefits and drawbacks:
|Beginner friendly interface
|Higher fees than rivals
|Full regulatory compliance
|Strict identification requirements
|Extensive educational resources
|Privacy concerns over data
|Support for 100+ cryptocurrencies
|Customer service complaints
|Secure storage for funds
|Recent SEC legal issues
Coinbase Review: Fees
As a centralized exchange, Coinbase generates revenue through trading fees and account related charges. Fees vary based on user location, purchase method, market conditions and other elements. Here are some typical costs:
- Cryptocurrency purchases – A spread of around 0.50% is added to crypto buy/sell transactions in addition to a Coinbase fee and blockchain network fee. Overall fees for a $100 Bitcoin purchase generally range from $2.99 to $4.99.
- Coinbase Pro and Advanced Trade – These platforms aimed at active traders have significantly lower fees based on 30 day trading volumes and whether you are a market maker or taker. Fees range from 0% to 0.50% per transaction.
- Debit/credit transactions – Purchases made with debit cards or credit cards instead of bank transfers incur higher charges. Coinbase also passes on the cash advance fees (around 3%) imposed by credit card providers for crypto transactions.
Coinbase Review: Supported Cryptocurrencies
Coinbase evaluates hundreds of cryptocurrencies against its Digital Asset Framework to determine listings. Key criteria include crypto technology, security, compliance, market demand and other unique value props. The exchange aims to support established major market cap assets alongside emerging innovations like decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens or metaverse crypto.
As of February 2023, Coinbase supports over 100 cryptocurrencies including top coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin alongside smaller cap assets like Loopring, Radix and Spell Token. Coinbase Pro expands offerings for professional traders to over 300 cryptocurrencies.
There is also support for USD stablecoins USDC and DAI which track the United States Dollar value.
Coinbase Review: Security Measures
Maintaining the highest security standards is crucial for customer trust and regulatory compliance. Coinbase utilizes several robust measures to keep funds safe:
- 95%+ cryptocurrency stored offline – The vast majority of digital currency holdings are kept offline in geographically distributed cold storage facilities. This “air gap” system is not connected to the internet, massively reducing risk of theft or hacking attacks. Leading insurance protections are also maintained.
- FDIC coverage for USD – Unlike cryptocurrencies, any USD cash balances held on Coinbase are insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This covers funds from US bank account deposits, stablecoin conversions or crypto asset sales into USD wallet balances.
- 2-factor authentication – Users can enable two-factor authentication through Google Authenticator or mobile authentication apps for enhanced account security.
- Biometric login options – For convenient access, customers can also unlock accounts on supported mobile apps using fingerprint ID or facial recognition instead of passwords.
- Whitelisting addresses – Coinbase accounts support crypto withdrawal address whitelisting to restrict transfers only to pre-approved blockchain public addresses you own. This protects against external account takeovers.
Coinbase Review: Account Verification
While some crypto exchanges allow trading without ID verification, Coinbase adheres to strict compliance rules as a regulated United States based company. All users must complete the following identity confirmation process:
- Enter your legal name, physical address, date of birth and last 4 digits of your SSN so Coinbase can run an identity check.
- Upload a valid government issued photo ID document such as a passport, driver’s license or national identity card.
- Take a live selfie video capturing your face for biometric facial verification against your ID photos. New enhanced verification technologies analyze facial attributes.
- Connect a valid debit card, credit card or bank account in your name and region to fund your account and withdrawals.
Fully verifying your account can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple days. Purchasing limits are increased after higher tiers are reached.verification tiers are reached.
Coinbase Review: User Interface
Coinbase offers multiple easy to use platforms tailored to traders with different backgrounds:
- Coinbase – The standard Coinbase platform at Coinbase.com and in the mobile apps features an intuitive user interface ideal for beginners. Key tools like the Coinbase Card, USD Coin rewards earning and NFT marketplace are seamlessly integrated.
- Coinbase Pro – Originally named GDAX, Coinbase Pro caters to active crypto traders with real-time order books, limit orders and charting tools. Fees are significantly lower with discounts based on trading volumes. All assets available to regular Coinbase users can be traded.
- Advanced Trade – Launched in 2022, Advanced Trade combines the full suite of Coinbase’s crypto trading services into one interface. Traders have access to the latest DeFi tokens along with pro-grade charting and analytics capabilities.
The clean layouts, guided tutorials and educational content across the Coinbase platforms make it easy for anyone to manage their crypto portfolios.
Coinbase Review: Customer Support
Coinbase users have 24/7 access to the following support channels:
- Email and mail support forms
- Direct messaging on Twitter and Facebook
- Phone support
- Live chat through the Coinbase website and mobile apps
Response times are typically prompt during business hours. However, some customers have experienced longer wait times for specialized account access issues compared to routine buying/selling questions.
In urgent cases like unauthorized account access or hacking related matters, it is best to pursue direct phone assistance. Otherwise, the online chat generally produces the fastest replies.
Coinbase Review: Educational Resources
Understanding cryptocurrency keys, wallets, blockchains and other concepts is vital for securely managing digital assets. Coinbase offers the following helpful educational resources:
Coinbase Learn – This free e-learning hub features beginner to advanced courses on getting started with crypto trading, blockchain, Bitcoin, Ethereum and more. Users can even test knowledge through quizzes and earn small crypto rewards.
Coinbase Blog – The blog publishes the latest news, updates and tips related to the exchange, crypto industry trends and assets listed on the platform.
Coinbase Community – Active online forum for discussing topics with fellow users and sharing insights.
Coinbase Institutional – Wealth managers and institutional traders can learn about crypto asset management best practices from Coinbase’s dedicated corporate solutions team.
These materials nicely supplement the guided tutorials integrated across Coinbase’s trading platforms.
Coinbase’s iOS and Android apps enable users to securely manage accounts on the go with full functionality:
- Trade over 100 cryptocurrencies and USD stablecoins.
- Instantly deposit/withdraw funds from linked accounts.
- Stake eligible assets to earn rewards.
- Access real time market data, alerts and price charts.
- Utilize portfolio tracking tools like cost basis reporting for taxes.
- Send/receive supported crypto assets or gift cryptocurrency.
- Earn crypto through Coinbase Learn rewards.
Smooth performance, biometric login options and intuitive interfaces for all skill levels make the Coinbase app hugely popular worldwide.
Coinbase Review: Altcoin Staking
Coinbase allows customers to passively earn crypto income on certain listed assets through staking programs. Just like earning interest on savings accounts, staking rewards users for holding tokens to help validate transactions on proof-of-stake blockchains.
Over 30 cryptocurrencies are currently supported for staking with annual percentage yields ranging from 1.5% up to 10%+ on some smaller cap coins. All rewards are automatically compounding minus a 25% commission fee in most markets taken by Coinbase.
Users can redeem staking positions and earned tokens anytime. Coinbase aims to expand supported assets and yields over time for eligible markets. Be aware staking regulations remain a gray area in the United States.
Coinbase deserves its reputation as one of the premier mainstream crypto exchanges. The intuitive yet feature rich trading platforms cater to investors of all skill levels. While costs are still a central drawback, transparency around fees helps investors budget for purchases appropriately.
For newcomers to cryptocurrency investing, Coinbase’s educational tools, robust security and regulatory compliance offer reassuring benefits many competitors lack. The extensive and growing crypto support widens appeal for developing more diversified portfolios. Despite downsides like privacy concerns, Coinbase remains a solid market leader in the crypto exchange space.
Can Coinbase be trusted?
Yes, Coinbase is a publicly traded U.S. company and one of the most trusted exchanges. It utilizes robust security measures to protect customer funds.
What is the downside of Coinbase?
The main downsides are higher fees than rivals, occasional customer service complaints, and lack of margin trading. The platform also faces legal uncertainty from the recent SEC lawsuit.
Does Coinbase really pay you?
Yes. Coinbase offers rewards for activities like staking tokens, completing lessons and referring new users. Just be aware that rewards rates and offerings can change over time.