Coinbase was launched in San Francisco, California in 2012 and it operates in 32 different countries. It is a popular option, with over 12 million customers, exchanging over $40 billion in cryptocurrencies. It was the largest virtual exchange by 2013.
Coinbase is different in that it allows users to trade cryptocurrency at a set price that is based on market value. This allows users to purchase digital coins quicker than on most other sites. Coinbase is also one of the few exchanges that allows the use of credit cards in addition to bank transfers, which explains some of its popularity with users.
Coinbase is meant for retail customers – the everyman on the street. The same company run a professional traders’ site called GDAX (Global Digital Asset Exchange) – which is a more advanced trading platform. The company behind both platforms are investors from traditional financial circles. This makes Coinbase more like a bank in its outlook than a decentralised blockchain initiative.
Coinbase has its own VISA debit card, known as the Shift Card. This allows Coinbase users in the US to spend Bitcoin in their account anywhere VISA is accepted. There is an initial cost of $10 for the card but after this there are no transaction fees, or any fees associated with the exchange between Bitcoin and USD. This makes Coinbase attractive as a means of using Bitcoin as a replacement currency.
The site opens itself up to work with regulators to ensure that the site can be fully trusted after recent compromises after other site’s problems.
The response of customer service is slow. It can take up to 72 hours to get a response and this response may not answer the query.
The site offers only the top three cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin – meaning if you want a diverse portfolio you are going to have to go to a different exchange. This is the site you might go to purchase the Bitcoin with fiat currency to then transfer to a site specialising in altcoins. As most of these other exchanges only offer crypto-to-crypto exchanges, then there is room in the market for this.
Payment Methods Accepted
The site allows bank transfers, credit/ debit card and PayPal if you live in the US.
The reach of Coinbase is global. It is offered to those in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. It can even be used in New York State, where it has a licence to trade, even though it took a lot of time and effort on the part of Coinbase to achieve.
The platform is run similar to a bank. It works with State and Federal US regulators and has been accredited with the FCA in the UK. This means anonymous trading is impossible and the process of verification is stringent.
The site does not necessarily run as a traditional exchange anyway. It is more like an online banking application, where you deposit and store your cryptocurrency.
Limits and Liquidity
The limits on the site depend on where in the world you trade. This is mostly because of the different payment methods you will be using and the level of verification the users possesses. The only way to find out your personal limits is to view the details on the accounts page.
There is the option to apply to Coinbase for higher limits. This will require you to verify your identity. Fully verified US users have a transaction limit of $50000 per week and in Europe a user can only have $30000 in their account at any one time. There are lots of other variations – especially when dealing with a credit card – so it is best to check the website for more details.
Coinbase makes your funds available in your account as soon as the site received the payment. This means it depends on the payment method used as to the speed of the deposit and the region in the world making the payment.
People still worry about exchanges like Coinbase because of memories of the hacks that caused the demise of Mt Gox. However, Coinbase is considered to be one of the most secure exchanges on the internet – mostly because it is US based and complies with US state and federal law. Coinbase have actively sought to work with regulators, using the expertise to build a site that is open and innovative and offers confidence to users.
There are some users who complain that Coinbase acts more like a bank in its approach – rather than keeping to the expectations of a decentralised exchange. However, there is a level of legitimacy about the site that makes it feel secure to trust your funds with the site.
The site offers 2FA and you can be notified vis SMS if your account has been used or a new IP address attempts to access the account.
The Coinbase fees range from 1.49% to 3.99%, depending on your payment method. This makes this relatively expensive, though still cheaper that other exchanges that offer exchange in this way and with credit cards.
There are no additional charges for transferring cryptocurrency to other exchange sites.
Customer support is available through email. There is also a knowledge base and frequently asked questions on the website. The information contained on the website it relatively comprehensive and should solve most issues. However, if you do need help from the customer service team then the wait times can vary. Reports in forums suggest it can take between 24 – 72 hours to get a response and the response does not always answer the issue fully.
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HitBTC is a Bitcoin exchange and platform for trading in altcoins. This site is aimed at professional traders and offers robot-friendly API access.
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