Are you thinking about involving your finances in the currency of the future? Investing in cryptocurrency is a great way to diversify your savings away from fiat currencies. According to some financial experts like Max Keiser, the fiat system supported by the US Dollar is on its way out, and a new economic system based on cryptocurrency models is coming soon.
Crypto markets are like regular markets in the sense that you can buy and sell your favorite coins, with the free market setting the price based on the supply and demand in the market. Currently, there are over 5,400 cryptos listed on CoinMarketCap, accounting for a total market cap of nearly $230-billion.
If you own alternative financial instruments, it helps safeguard you against the systemic collapse of the financial system. Crypto offers a new way to pay for goods and services, away from the prying eyes of the governments that try to tax us at every chance they get.
Coinbase is an established crypto exchange with one of the best reputations in the industry. It’s also one of the few US-facing exchanges that also offer fiat deposits and withdrawals. In this article, we’ll unpack the Coinbase offering to see if it’s a platform that’s suitable for buying, selling, and trading crypto.
What Is the Coinbase Exchange?
When we think of the most successful crypto exchanges around the world, Coinbase is a contender for the top spot. Coinbase Pro is in the top 50 exchanges for global trading volumes, with daily trading volumes approaching $306-million. However, that’s a far cry from the $3.9-billion daily volume from the leading exchange, BKEX.
Still, Coinbase remains an extremely popular way for people in America and Europe, and other qualifying countries, to purchase their favorite cryptos using fiat currencies like the US Dollar or Euros. Coinbase gets its USP from its regulatory stance. Coinbase is one of the few regulated crypto exchanges in the world, making it a much more secure platform in terms of legality and transparency.
Regulated exchanges comply with AML and KYC policies, which means that you’ll need to verify your account if you want to withdraw from the platform. Verifying your account requires you to submit a copy of a photo ID and proof of residence – such as your utility bill.
Unregulated exchanges won’t trade or facilitate deposits or withdrawals in fiat currency. As a result, these exchanges tend to be less transparent with their offering, and you can’t withdraw from your account in fiat. Instead, you’ll need to transfer your coins to a platform like Coinbase if you want to cash out your account in USD.
Coinbase focuses on introducing newcomers to the crypto ecosystem, allowing them to buy and sell coins and tokens on the platform. Customers can store the coins in wallets on the site and use them to perform transactions.
There are various hedge funds, sovereign funds, and investment firms that use Coinbase to facilitate trading in the crypto markets. After it’s recent Series E funding round, Coinbase raised $300-million from investors, leading to an $8-billion valuation.
Coinbase lacks the diversity of trading pairs found in other exchanges, and the limited trading tools for technical analysis and order routing are suitable for beginners. However, Coinbase Pro, the companies premium offering, has more features ideal for advanced traders and investors.
What Cryptocurrencies Does Coinbase Support?
Coinbase has up to 15 cryptocurrencies available for trading. The number of coins available to buy and sell may differ, depending on your jurisdiction.
It’s important to note that all 15 cryptos are available to trade in crypto-to-crypto transactions for supported jurisdictions in the US, EU, UK, AU, CA, and SG.
Cryptocurrencies supported by the Coinbase platform include the following.
- Basic Attention Token (BAT)
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Dai (DAI)
- EOS (EOS)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Augur (REP)
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Zcash (ZEC)
- 0x (ZRX)
If you register for Coinbase Pro, you’ll receive access to a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 11 cryptos available for purchase with fiat currency. Availability also depends on your regional jurisdiction, and there are 20 crypto-to-crypto pairs available for trading.
What Fees Do Coinbase Charge?
The fees involved with buying or selling crypto on Coinbase are slightly less transparent than we would like to see from a regulated exchange.
Coinbase charges a 0.5% spread on all the pairs or assets available on the platform. The size of the spread may fluctuate depending on supply and demand, as well as market conditions. The spread means that you’ll pay a minimum of 0.5% extra on the “spot” price of crypto assets.
On top of the spread, you’ll also have to pay a fee on all transactions. Depending on location or payment type, it will be a flat or percentage rate charged on the transaction cost.
Flat rates apply to all transactions under $200. If you pay with a credit or debit card, Coinbase charges you a 3.99% processing fee, and if you’re taking more than $200 of crypto in a single transaction, you’ll have to pay 1.49% as your transaction fee.
If your converting crypto into other crypto assets, then Coinbase charges a 1% spread on the transaction amount.
Coinbase customers also have the option of paying for crypto transactions or withdrawing funds from the platform using their PayPal account. To qualify for the PayPal method, you’ll need to reside in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, or Australia.
How Do You Start with Coinbase?
Coinbase makes it easy to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. After opening your account and verifying your identity, you can open a Coinbase wallet to start trading on the platform. You can purchase crypto b7y clicking the buy/sell tab on your dashboard after logging into your account. The entire process of buying and selling coins is remarkably easy and only takes a few clicks.
Coinbase offers you five major cryptocurrencies in supported jurisdictions and ten others with varying support, depending on the coin’s jurisdiction. Coinbase also offers users an Android and iOS app for using the platform on the go.
Pay for your crypto transactions using your debit or credit card. Coinbase also supports payment for crypto through wire and bank transfers, as well as crypto-to-crypto transactions.
Is Coinbase a Secure Exchange?
There are some rumors online that Coinbase was a victim of a hack in 2016. However, the exchange denies the claims and states that it operates a secure platform.
Coinbase has one of the best reputations for online security. There was a claim of a supposed attack on the exchange in late 2019. But the team at Coinbase managed to thwart the hack before the cyber criminals breached the security protocols.
Coinbase Customer Support
Coinbase customer support receives a 2-star rating on Trustpilot. That’s a terrible grade. 76% of customers rate Coinbase support as a 1/5 or “Bad.”
The site has a comprehensive offering of support archives, but the ticketing system is slow, and we only received a response to our request 72-hours after filing it with the support team. If you have something go wrong with your account, don’t expect much support from the Coinbase team.
Who Are the Coinbase Team?
Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam established Coinbase in 2012, with the exchange launching to humble beginnings. The idea behind Coinbase was to offer Americans a simple way to purchase cryptocurrency using bank transfers in Dollars.
In 2015, Coinbase transformed its exchange into a licensed and regulated US Bitcoin exchange. Many hardcore crypto enthusiasts state that this move by Coinbase undermines the decentralized nature of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. However, the reality is that all exchanges are acting like the central banks of the world, and crypto is no longer a decentralized asset.
The Bitcoin Tester Conclusion
Coinbase is one of the leading US-facing exchanges, and it’s an excellent option for US-based crypto investors. However, you need to be aware that Coinbase reports to the IRS, and if you try to avoid paying taxes on your capital gains, then you’re likely to receive a stern phone call from an auditor looking to turn your finances upside down.
The fees are quite high, and the spread is far more significant than what we would expect in stock trading. However, Coinbase does make it easy to transact in fiat, allowing you to pick up your favorite cryptos using your credit card or PayPal account – that’s a function we don’t see on many other platforms.
If your top concerns in the cryptosphere are security and convenience, then Coinbase is the exchange for you. People that live outside of the EU, UK, Canada, the US, and Australia will need to look for other options.
It’s also an easy process to upgrade your account to Coinbase Pro when you decide you want to move into trading cryptos on the open market. The platform options and fees are more conducive to crypto trading and offer you excellent value and utility when trading cryptos.
Overall, Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are great choices for westerners, but emerging markets will need to use another platform.