Sam Bourgi is a contributing writer to Finder.com, where he specializes in financial markets. He has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, Yahoo, CBOE and Forbes.
Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific
provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.
What is Coinbase?
Founded in 2012, Coinbase is a virtual exchange that allows global users to buy and sell some of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Importantly, it currently provides buyer-side services only in Australia, as well as a limited range of payment options compared to other countries.
Coinbase also provides wallet services and merchant services, so it’s pretty much a one-stop shop for all cryptocurrency market players.In July 2018, Coinbase also announced that users in Australia, the UK, Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands would be able to use the platform to exchange cryptocurrency for a range of gift cards. Offered through a partnership with WeGift, this instant and fee-free service allows you to use your crypto to buy digital gift cards for a host of major retailers.
What cryptocurrencies can I buy?
Coinbase is available in 33 countries, including Ireland.
There are variations in the available services, payment methods and fees that apply in each country.
*Supported for buying cryptocurrency only, not selling, as of July 2018.
Accepted payment methods
Customers have access to the following payment methods:
Although Coinbase does not charge a fee to use its wallet service, transferring cryptocurrency to an address outside the platform may result in a network fee. Network fees are set by the blockchain community.
How quickly will my funds be available?
Coinbase offers its “instant buy” feature, meaning credit/debit card purchases will be available instantly.
Are there any transfer limits?
Coinbase implements weekly buy and sell limits on all accounts. The company says it calculates your limits based on your account information. This includes verification and successful purchases made on the account.
If you want to increase your weekly limits, you may need to verify your account by completing several of the following steps:
Verifying your phone number
Providing your personal details
Providing photo ID
Establish a purchase history by buying and selling through the exchange
Is Coinbase secure?
Not only is Coinbase widely recognised as one of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges, it’s also considered one of the safest. It’s backed by trusted traders and uses the latest technology to secure its platform.
The Coinbase Wallet is considered very secure, but this comes at a cost – the company controls your cryptocurrency. Larger amounts of bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash or Litecoin can be stored on the Coinbase Vault, which is protected by multiple approvers.
It should be stated at the outset that Coinbase collects a lot of information about its customers, including photo ID for those who want to up their weekly limits. A piece of photo ID is also required if you are purchasing with a credit card.
Coinbase has an active support team and a comprehensive online support centre featuring a range of guides and answers to frequently asked questions. However, the company has received some mixed customer support ratings, which reflects its growing user base. After all, bad ratings become more common on a platform that has served more than 20 million users.
That being said, Coinbase operates a real-time chat feature and gives users the option to submit a support request, get in touch via email or phone a USA-based customer service number.
Pros and cons
One of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, which means high liquidity
Instant buy feature available
Easy to use for most beginners
Insured bitcoin deposits are available
Option to cash out your crypto for a range of gift cards
Accounts are monitored
Customer service has received mixed reviews
Only provides access to a limited selection of cryptocurrencies
Compare Coinbase against other exchanges
If you’re looking for a cryptocurrency broker that’s secure and easy to use, Coinbase is a viable option well worth considering. However, before choosing any crypto broker or exchange, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched its features and compare it with other platforms to decide whether it’s right for you.
To get started, visit Coinbase and create an account by providing your name and email address. You can then verify your account and add your chosen payment method to get started buying cryptocurrency.
In addition to setting up a complex password and 2-factor authentication, you’re also encouraged to use the Coinbase IP login feature to make your account more secure. This tool allows you to check IP login activity and verify devices anytime.
As a US-based company, Coinbase must comply with stringent know-your-customer and anti-money laundering (KYC/AML) laws. That is why photo ID is required in the verification process.
The easiest way to increase your weekly buy limits is to upload your photo ID for verification purposes.
Coinbase does not currently support payments through PayPal.
Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly
volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of
future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information.
You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory
requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may
have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.
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