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Coinbase Review 2021: Is Coinbase Legit? Coinbase Pros & Cons

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Coinbase Review

coinbase logo

Coinbase is a digital currency exchange platform that lets you securely buy, sell and store cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more.

Rating

4.8

Legit & Safe

Service Fees

Min Investment

Payout Process

Pros

  • Offers more than 30 cryptocurrencies
  • Low minimum of $2 to fund your account
  • Relatively low fees
  • Your cryptocurrency is insured if anything happens to Coinbase

Cons

  • Isn’t available in all US states – currently only 42 states are supported
  • Poor customer support

Best Investment Apps

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BlockFi

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What is Coinbase & How Does it Work?


Coinbase is a digital currency exchange platform that lets you securely buy, sell and store cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more.

The platform provides a range of feature and service sets for different audiences like beginners, experienced traders, and businesses. But more on that later, let’s see how Coinbase works and who is it best for.

Who is Coinbase Best for?


Coinbase is ideal for beginner crypto investors who don’t have much investment experience as it provides useful features for newbies. For example, Coinbase’s learning program gives you all the information you need to start investing on the right path.

However, experienced traders can benefit from the Coinbase Pro account, which is a more robust option than a regular account.

Is Coinbase Legit?


Yes, Coinbase is a legit crypto company that’s based in San Francisco and is supported by trusted investors.

Coinbase is licensed to perform money transmissions in most US jurisdictions. In some states, the money transmission license also covers cryptocurrency wallets, while in other states money transmission license isn’t required to operate a cryptocurrency business.

Moreover,  Coinbase is also registered as a Money Services Business with FinCEN. FinCEN stands for Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and its duty is to collect and analyze financial transactions to combat domestic and international financial crimes, including scamming, money laundering, terrorist financing, and more.

But that’s not all. Coinbase is also required to comply with many other financial services to protect consumer laws, including:

  • The Bank Secrecy Act – requiring Coinbase to verify your identity, maintain records of currency transactions for up to 5 years, and report certain transactions.
  • The USA Patriot Act – requiring Coinbase to have a designated compliance officer who will ensure compliance with all applicable laws

It’s noteworthy that digital currency isn’t considered legal tender and therefore isn’t backed by SIPC or FDIC. 

Typically, regulatory bodies like SIPC or FDIC insure financial accounts. But since the digital currency isn’t considered legal tender, Coinbase provides insurance of its own. The company pools its balances and holds them in USD custodial accounts, USD denominated money market funds, or liquid US treasuries. 

This way, no matter what happens with Coinbase, you can still withdraw your money.

How is Coinbase Insured?


Since digital currency isn’t a legal tender, it’s not backed by the government and therefore Coinbase isn’t subject to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or Securities Investor Protection Corporation protections.

Nevertheless, Coinbase prioritizes the security of your digital currency and offers online “hot storage” and offline “cold” storage. It’s noteworthy that Coinbase stores the majority of its coins in their offline cold-storage wallets, which is not insured (but hot storage is).

On the other hand, all your cash balances are insured by the FDIC. FDIC stands for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and makes sure your funds are secure. But things happen and if Coinbase were to get any issues, they insure your cash balance of up to $250,000.

Is Coinbase Safe & Secure to Use?


Coinbase takes a variety of safety measures to ensure the safety of your account. 

However, when it comes to securing your account, it depends on you how secure you make it. Coinbase recommends you to use strong passwords and utilize additional security features like two-step verification or biometric fingerprint logins.

Public Opinion About Coinbase


Coinbase can’t really boast with public opinion. The BBB rates Coinbase with an F and it has a rating of 1.7 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot

I’ve taken a look at low customer reviews both on BBB and Trustpilot and most of the negative reviews were complaining that Coinbase doesn’t have fast and supportive customer service. A lot of customers also complained that the identity verification process took too long, even weeks before they got approved.

On the other hand, users who have written positive reviews are satisfied with Coinbase features and platform in general.

Coinbase Fees


Coinbase has quite a confusing fee structure. Let’s break it down.

Coinbase charges a 0.5% fee on the spread, which is a difference between the bid and ask prices of the currency you’re buying/selling.

Additionally, Coinbase also charges a fee for the total trade amount or depending on the payment method.

The fee structure for the total amount of trade with Coinbase:

Total Trade AmountFee
$10 or less$0.99
More than $10 and up to $25$1.49
More than $25 and up to $50$1.99
More than $50 and up to $200$2.99

And here’s the fee structure for payment type in the US:

Payment MethodFee
US bank account or Coinbase wallet1.49%
Debit card3.99%
Instant card withdrawalUp to 1.5% (minimum fee of $0.55)
ACH transferFree
Wire transfer$10 ($25 outgoing)

However, the two fees don’t apply to your transactions together, rather you’ll only be charged the higher fee of two.

Let’s say you purchase $100 of Bitcoin through your US bank account. You’ll be charged a fee of $2.99 (because it’s higher than the US bank account fee of 1.49%). Plus, you’ll be charged a spread – 0.5%.

Coinbase Pro Fees

On the other hand, Coinbase Pro fees are pretty straightforward. It depends on your monthly trading volume and liquidity of the asset at the moment you purchase it. 

Trading VolumeTaker FeeMaker Fee
Up to $10K0.50%0.50%
$10K – $50K0.35%0.35%
$50K – $100K0.25%0.15%
$100K – $1M0.20%0.10%
$1M – $10M0.18%0.08%
$10M – $50M0.15%0.05%
$50M – $100M0.10%0.00%
$100M – $300M0.07%0.00%
$300M – $500M0.06%0.00%
$500M – $1B0.05%0.00%
$1B+0.04%0.00%

Taker vs. Maker

If the market price gets filled immediately after you place an order, you’re considered as a ‘taker’ and you’ll pay a taker fee of 0.04% to 0.5%. But if your order needs to wait for a buyer, you’re charged a ‘maker’ fee of up to 0.5%.

What is the Minimum Deposit for Coinbase?


The minimum deposit you can make on Coinbase is $2, meaning you can purchase digital currency with as little as $2.

Coinbase Features: What Does Coinbase Offer?


Coinbase has a range of features and services to offer. Let’s review each of them below.

Coinbase Brokerage Service

Coinbase brokerage service lets you as a beginner in the crypto world easily buy, sell and trade any of the Coinbase supported cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase Wallet

Coinbase provides a Coinbase Wallet, which is a secure app to store all your cryptocurrencies yourself.

Plus, you can easily send crypto to your friends as well as receive it.

To start using the Coinbase Wallet, simply download the Coinbase Wallet app on your iPhone or Android smartphone.

USD Coin

Coinbase offers you a USD Coin, which is a type of cryptocurrency that’s referred to as a stablecoin. This coin has a stable price, meaning you can always purchase 1 USD Coin for $1 and keep it in your Coinbase Wallet.

Earn

Coinbase lets you earn crypto while you discover how specific cryptocurrencies work.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Watch educational videos about cryptocurrencies
  2. Complete a quiz after each video to test what you’ve learned
  3. Receive crypto in your Coinbase Wallet for every quiz you complete

Crypto coins you can earn while learning about them include:

  • The Graph (GRT)
  • Maker (MKR)
  • Celo (CGLD)
  • Compound (COMP)
  • Stellar Lumens (XLM)
  • Filecoin (FIL)
  • Band Protocol (BAND)
  • Algorand (ALGO)
  • Kyber Network (KNC)
  • Orchid (OXT)
  • Tezos (XTZ)
  • Dai (DAI)
  • Eos (EOS)
  • Zcash (ZEC)
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT)
  • Ox (ZRX)

Coinbase Learn

Learn is a program from Coinbase that provides all the necessary information for you to start investing on the right path. 

The Coinbase Learn page includes:

  • Beginner’s guide to blockchain and cryptocurrencies
  • Crypto resources that you can read, watch, or stream
  • Video tutorial to set up your crypto wallet
  • Weekly market updates so you’re always in the know of how your preferred crypto coins are performing and make an informed decision

Coinbase Pro (for Advanced Traders)


Coinbase Pro is a trading platform for more experienced traders and crypto enthusiasts, offering an easy yet secure way to buy, sell and trade digital coins instantly. 

The Coinbase Websocket feed lets you access all the tools you need to trade professionally. The tools you can find on your Websocket feed include real-time market data and an advanced API lets you develop secure, programmatic trading bots.

Coinbase for Businesses


Additionally, Coinbase offers services that are tailored towards businesses. Let’s review Coinbase services for businesses.

Prime Brokerage

Coinbase offers Prime Brokerage services so that you can offer your customers crypto.

Prime Brokerage is built for:

  • Asset managers
  • Corporates
  • Hedge funds
  • VCs
  • High net worth individuals
  • Endowments
  • Family offices
  • Private wealth managers
  • Sovereign wealth funds

This feature also provides you direct access to Coinbase’s exchange. Their APIs and expert trading platform give you as a market maker or a high-frequency trader the tools you need to succeed.

Asset Hub

If you’re an asset issuer, Asset Hub lets you list, launch, and grow your assets. With this feature, you can:

  • List your crypto across Coinbase products
  • Grow your project with a range of toolsets
  • Promote your vision to more than 35 million customers and let them trade on your crypto

Commerce

While more and more businesses start accepting crypto, Coinbase provides the Commerce tools allowing you to easily accept any crypto coins.

The advantages of Coinbase Commerce:

  • Lets you go live in just a few minutes
  • There are no fees to accept crypto
  • You can easily convert your crypto to cash or USD Coin
  • You can accept price-stable cryptocurrencies like USD Coin and DAI
  • It’s global – no matter where your customers come from, you can accept crypto from them
  • There’s no middleman – you are your own bank
  • You can forget about chargebacks as the Coinbase Commerce feature doesn’t accept it 

Custody

Coinbase Custody is a qualified custodian, operating as a standalone business to Coinbase Inc. 

And since Coinbase Custody is a fiduciary under NY State Banking Law and all digital assets are held in a segregated account. This means, no matter what happens to Coinbase, your funds will never go missing and you can still withdraw all your money.

Ventures

If you’re an entrepreneur, Coinbase Ventures let you raise money for your crypto-related startup. 

The projects you can raise money for include:

  • Stablecoin-based idea
  • Wealth preservation
  • Global payments
  • Financial services for crypto companies
  • Developer tools
  • Or any other crypto relevant project

What Digital Currencies Can You Buy on Coinbase?


Coinbase supports and lets you buy a variety of the most popular cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC) 
  • Ethereum (ETH) 
  • Ripple (XRP) 
  • Litecoin (LTC) 
  • Tether (USDT)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH) 
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC) 
  • Stellar Lumens (XLM) 
  • USD Coin (USDC) 
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Binance Coin (BNB)
  • Tezos (XTZ) 
  • EOS (EOS) 
  • Neo (NEO)
  • Cosmos (Atom) 
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT) 

Check more Coinbase supported assets.

Coinbase Payment Methods 


Coinbase supports the following payment methods:

  • Wire transfer (ACH or SEPA)
  • Debit and credit cards
  • Cryptocurrency deposit and withdrawal 
  • PayPal (withdrawal only)

Coinbase Account Levels & Buying Limits 


Purchase and deposit limits are determined by what your Coinbase account level is. 

You can check your Account limits section of your settings to see what your current buying and withdrawal limits are. 

If you’re a US customer and looking to deposit more than the maximum of $25,000/day ACH limit, you can complete a wire transfer from your bank account to your Coinbase account.

And to upgrade your current level and increase your limits, you need to verify the following:

  • Phone number
  • Personal information
  • Photo ID (valid state ID)

Opening a Coinbase Account 


Opening a Coinbase account is an extremely easy and straightforward process. Let’s go through the sign-up process step-by-step:

Step 1 – Sign Up

First, start creating your account by entering your name, email, and password you wish to use to access Coinbase. Once you click the ‘Create account’ button, you’ll receive an email with the activation link that you need to follow to activate your account.

Step 2 – Verify Your Phone Number

Next, Coinbase will ask you to enter your phone number so they can send a code that you’ll need to enter to move to the next step. Coinbase will later use this number to send you two-step verification codes to protect your account.

Step 3 – Enter Your Identification Information

Once you set up your account basics, you’ll need to enter your identification information, such as your legal name and date of birth.

Step 4 – Verify Your Identity

And as Coinbase is a financial company, just like any bank, they will require you to prove your identity via state identification. If you’re a US citizen, you’ll need to provide a social security number along with your state ID, driving license, or passport.

Step 5 – Enable Deposits & Withdrawals

At this point, your Coinbase account is active. But as you’ll be making deposits and withdrawals from the platform, you need to enable these transactions by adding your bank account or credit/debit card information.

After you’ve successfully added your financial information, your account is ready to go and you can start trading or invest with Coinbase.

Coinbase Supported Countries


Coinbase is available in more than 100 countries around the world, including the whole USA and Canada. You can check your country availability here.

Coinbase Customer Support


If you have any questions or issues with your account, you can contact Coinbase customer support in 2 ways:

  1. Email – you should complete a request for email support here. Just select the most relevant category and subcategory for your issue and provide as many details as possible. The Coinbase customer service representative will reach out to you with the solution via email, so make sure you check it.
  2. Phone – 00 1 888-908-7930

Coinbase Referral Program


The Coinbase referral program lets you earn a bonus for each friend you refer to the platform. 

To refer your friends, simply sign in to your Coinbase account and navigate to the referrals page. You’ll find a referral link that you can share with your friends or send an email invite.

Once your friend signs up with your referral link and initiates a buy or sell of at least $100 within 180 days of opening his/her account, you’ll both receive a $10 referral bonus.

Coinbase Affiliate Program


A great way to make money with Coinbase is its affiliate program. If you’re an affiliate marketer, Coinbase Affiliate Program lets you earn 50% of each customer’s fees for the first 3 months when they sign up with your affiliate link.

Using the Coinbase Affiliate Program is easy and transparent as they provide all the necessary tools so you can track your affiliate performance.

Coinbase Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Offers more than 30 cryptocurrencies
  • Low minimum of $2 to fund your account 
  • Relatively low fees
  • Your cryptocurrency is insured if anything happens to Coinbase

Cons

  • Isn’t available in all US states – currently only 42 states are supported
  • Poor customer support

Coinbase Alternatives


Coinbase vs. Robinhood

Robinhood Summary

  • Free trading
  • No minimum deposit
  • Access cryptocurrencies
  • Get stock news alerts

When it comes to purchasing crypto, one of the best Coinbase alternatives is Robinhood. However, Coinbase is more transparent in terms of orders and trades as well as about the real fees you’ll be charged for each transaction.

Coinbase vs. Gemini

While Gemini is one of the largest platforms offering crypto coins, Coinbase is a more beginner-friendly platform. On the other hand, Gemini offers a more advanced platform for experienced crypto traders, which Coinbase offers in their Coinbase Pro package.

Coinbase vs. Binance

Unlike Coinbase, Binance doesn’t offer any fiat trading at all. This means that you can only fund your Binance account with cryptocurrencies. Taking this into consideration, Coinbase is a better option as it lets you make deposits with wire transfers, bank accounts, or debit/credit cards.

Are Coinbase Fees Worth it?


To sum up, all the information I’ve covered in this Coinbase review, I’d say using Coinbase is a robust platform that’s totally worth using.

The best thing about Coinbase is that no matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced trader, it has features to offer you what you need.

Additionally, if you’re an entrepreneur, working on any project that’s relevant to crypto, Coinbase provides a great platform to raise money to develop your project.

Coinbase FAQ


Is it Safe to Buy & Keep Crypto on Coinbase?

Yes, Coinbase is a safe platform to buy crypto from that also provides a secure wallet to store your crypto funds.

How Do I Get My Money out of Coinbase?

In order to withdraw your money from Coinbase, simply sign in to your Coinbase account and click on the ‘Withdraw’ button next to the relevant cryptocurrency in your ‘Balances’ section. Once you click that, you’ll see a pop-up window asking you how much you’d like to withdraw and where you’d like to receive your funds.

How Long Does it Take to Withdraw from Coinbase?

Withdrawals from Coinbase via ACH bank transfer typically takes 1-2 business days.

Does Coinbase Report to IRS?

Yes, if you meet certain criteria, Coinbase reports your crypto activity to the IRS. However, it’s important to mention that regardless if you receive a 1099 or not, you’re still required to report all your cryptocurrency income to IRS.


Coinbase

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