Let’s face it, not everybody has read a Coinbase review that fully examines the San Francisco-based company’s business practices. You may have arrived here being uncertain about how reliable and safe the world’s largest bitcoin exchange could be. Is Coinbase safe? I hope this page can give you enough information to construct a self-evaluation. After reading this Coinbase review you should be in a position to decide for yourself whether they deserve to get your hard-earned cash in exchange for the world’s most beloved cryptocurrency.
Created in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase’s reputation lies with its presence in 32 countries across the world – especially in the USA, UK, and Brazil, which represent their largest customer base.
Did you know: in 2013 Coinbase asked Vitalik Buterin to come in for a chat. They nearly offered him a job on their team. This didn’t happen though, as Vitalik went on to create Ethereum early the following year. It seems Coinbase have always had a very positive view of Ethereum, its applications, and potential.
- Two types of wallets are available:
- The first is really simple and made so that beginners can store their coins with peace of mind (wallet key security is managed by Coinbase).
- The second is called Multisig Vault and uses the “multi-signature” innovation which allows advanced users to self-manage security for their wallet keys. What does this mean? Well simply put: if Coinbase were to disappear then these users would still have control over their bitcoin. For those asking is Coinbase safe, this should partially answer your question.
- Is Coinbase safe? All deposits are insured. Now here is some serious security from Coinbase. That being said, if your password gets cracked or stolen then this would not be covered by their insurance policy. Always use a long and unique password.
- Many positive Coinbase reviews mention that sending cryptocurrency to other users (who also have wallets on the platform) is really easy and fast. I strongly agree with this. With all the recent backlog on the actual bitcoin network, the fact that Coinbase allows users to do off-chain transactions is a pretty sweet feature. No more idle waiting times while you worry about confirmations.
- In 2016 the site made PayPal BTC sales available to US users. This feature will soon be available to European users looking to sell their bitcoins for PayPal.
- It is possible to link a credit card, called Shift Card, to your account and then pay for daily purchases using your Coinbase balance. The system simply converts the coins into usd at the going rate at time of purchase. This feature is not yet available outside of the United States.
- First site among all the exchanges out there to have opened up a direct customer support telephone line.
- It’s true that we often read reviews about Coinbase stating that it’s one of the best places for new users and beginners wanting to get their first bitcoins. In this area the company receives so many recommendations owing to the fact that large investments were made to guarantee an impeccable user interface (UI) and experience (UX). Everything works right out of the box on all devices. There is even a smartphone app for android and iOS.
- In my opinion the lack of friction on-ramping from the existing financial infrastructure is thanks to strong partnerships with the latter. For example, some of the largest Coinbase investors include BBVA, NYSE, and Andreessen Horowitz.
- With our link you can get 10$ of free Bitcoin on Coinbase when you buy 100$ or more. Here’s the invite. Enjoy!
- Only available in three currency zones, the USA (dollar), Europe (euro), & Great Britain (GBP).
- They have a cap on how much cryptocurrency you can buy each week. Lots of investors are now looking to invest in large quantities of cryptocurrency, with a cap of $1,000 a week, they may well look to go elsewhere. For those looking to buy large amounts of cryptocurrencies try CryptoGo.
- You can only buy 4 cryptocurrencies; Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin. Those that are looking for a more diversified portfolio will have to look at different exchanges.
- Suffering from its own popularity, waves of people flock to signup each time the price rises. Such events cause significant delays for vetting and approving new accounts. Note that all major crypto exchanges are experiencing such issues.
- The downside of running a super safe exchange is that some customers get flagged and subsequently accounts get temporarily frozen. Extra vetting fixes this issue, but as waiting is no-ones favourite hobby people generally take to complaining on forums including reddit. I would go as far as saying that some good PR work would be needed to reassure the community.
- Picking up on my last point, Coinbase support really needs to be more present on reddit. I’m talking about r/bitcoin and r/Coinbase – where some customer issues have gone un-answered for over 24hours. Tweeting @CoinbaseSupport (on twitter) usually gets an answer within the hour, but still – reddit… it’s the front page of the internet.
- Some reviews complain that Coinbase care more about their investors than it does about their users. This point would need further clarification but interesting nonetheless.
- There are reports suggesting your coins may be tracked after withdrawing from the exchange. What does this mean? Being part of the Blockchain Alliance, Coinbase actively fights to avoid the use of digital currency in illegal and unlicensed activity. In other words – if you’re using the coins to gamble or to purchase frowned-upon substances, then don’t use Coinbase.
- Some sections of the bitcoin community resent Coinbase’s involvement in the current block size debate, or even the patenting of so-called inventions such as a bitcoin exchange or btc tip buttons. Yes – slightly excessive. Nevertheless actions like these will not have much of an impact for those looking to buy and sell btc, but feel free to look it up further if you are into the politics side of bitcoin.
- One issue we are seeing crop up a lot is the high fees Coinbase charges. Often up to 4.5% on a transaction, which is considerably more expensive than many other exchanges.
To give you an idea of the popularity behind this platform let’s dive deep into visitor statistics for Coinbase in 2017. First of all, monthly visits have been skyrocketing: between the month of October and November 2017 Coinbase has seen a 70% increase in traffic.
This figure currently stands at 65 million monthly visits. You may be saying: “yeah but this is because of the current bull market” – well get this: no other bitcoin exchange has been growing so fast in recent times. Furthermore, 45% of visits to Coinbase are from the USA, with Brazil second at 9% of total traffic, and the UK at 4%. Finally, at the time of writing this (March 2017) GDAX / Coinbase Pro daily volume represents 15% of the whole bitcoin market volume.
Coinbase stats – April 2017
Coinbase has caught up (and overtaken) its competitor Blockchain, as the former now boasts >20 million cryptocurrency wallets held by customers. In addition, 75 thousand merchants use the platform as their payment processor, and 15 thousand developer apps have been created on the API.
In conclusion, far from being a new player to the bitcoin exchanges market, Coinbase has gathered quite a solid following. This explains why so many use the site for its long term reliability.
Here is an interview of CEO Brian Armstrong in 2015 where he talks about Coinbase:
To finish I would like to remind readers that it’s always best practise not to store digital currency portfolios in an online-wallet system. Is Coinbase safe? Yes, Coinbase is the safest exchange for buying and selling. But please stay realistic with regards to your long-term storage strategy.
In recent times the website has been overloaded with new users flooding in to take advantage of the crypto boom. Such an influx has led to significant delays for customer support and verification. Here’s what Coinbase have to say about these delays: [raw]
We are continuing to scale our customer support team. By the end of March 2018, the team will be 16x the size it was in January 2017. We will also be expanding phone support to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in 2018. pic.twitter.com/gqZW7DhBNB
— Coinbase (@coinbase) December 4, 2017
Alternatives to Coinbase
Although Coinbase has a fairly decent reputation even if the fees can be hard to swallow, there are still other options you can consider. Not only can you use an exchange but brokers are now beginning offer access to cryptocurrencies.
Of the brokers out there we highly recommend eToro, not only is it regulated but it also has expert traders that beginners can follow to help them profit from their initial deposit. For a better look at eToro, check out our review here.