Investing in crypto is one of the best ways to generate income and improve your personal finances. However, a crypto trader is only as good as the tools at their disposal. An essential tool for any crypto trader is crypto exchanges.
With so many crypto exchanges to select from, choosing one can be a daunting task. While you can certainly use more than one crypto exchange, this might not be easy for newcomers.
There are many aspects that need to be considered when choosing a crypto exchange. Some of these aspects include:
- Fee Structure
- Purchase/Withdrawal Methods
- Supported currencies (Fiat and Crypto)
In this Coinbase review, we will take a look at all of these aspects so you can decide if Coinbase is the right crypto exchange for you.
What Is Coinbase?
Coinbase is a centralized Cryptocurrency exchange that used to be headquartered in San Francisco. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Coinbase transitioned to become a remote-first company. with employees all around the world.
Coinbase was founded back in 2012 as a means to boost the building of the cryptocurrency economy. While the company initially only offered support for Bitcoin, it quickly expanded its offering.
Now, the exchange has over 68 million verified users, 2100 employees, a presence in 100 countries, and more than $180 billion of assets on its platform.
The company believes economic support by crypto would be a, “more fair, accessible, efficient, and transparent financial system”. This approach has resulted in the exchange being fully compliant with local US regulations.
This compliance allowed the exchange to go public back in April of 2021, becoming the first major crypto exchange to do so.
With over 15 million visits, 96 listed cryptocurrencies, and 288 trading pairs, Coinbase is one of the most trusted crypto exchanges. This trust and popularity translate to great liquidity and trading volume.
The exchange is constantly among the top 3 cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, no easy feat in the competitive crypto market.
We hope once you have read this Coinbase review, you will know not only if Coinbase deserves its position… But also if it is the right crypto exchange for you. After all, Crypto is all about improving your personal finances.
How Secure is Coinbase?
Coinbase has several security features that justify its reputation as one of the most secure cryptocurrency exchanges out there. One of the most noteworthy is that 98% of all customer funds are stored offline. This means that if the exchange was to be hacked, hackers wouldn’t be able to access 98% of the funds.
This cold storage (as offline storage is known) has another advantage. It allows the exchange to geographically distribute all of its cryptos. To do this, they use safe deposit boxes and vaults in undisclosed countries around the world. This means sensitive data is not stored online and is split using redundancy to ensure it is not lost.
Like other major crypto exchanges, Coinbase requires 2-step verification on all accounts. This means it is not possible to connect to your account from a new location without access to your mobile phone. This extra layer of security ensures that hackers won’t be able to access your funds if they get your account.
All of Coinbase’s website traffic is entirely encrypted using SSL. This means that no one can snatch your information by getting between your device and the server. Well, that is not exactly true… They can snatch it but it will be unreadable, as only the server and your device can decrypt the information.
In a similar fashion, all Coinbase crypto wallets and private keys are stored using advanced encryption algorithms (AES-256). If a database was to be compromised, your password would be unreadable to the attackers.
The exchange also takes measures when it comes to ensuring the legitimacy of their employees’ intentions. Every Coinbase employee is required to pass a criminal background check before being hired. Once they are hired, they will be required to encrypt their hard drives, use strong passwords, and take other security measures.
Lastly, Coinbase has adopted a cybersecurity strategy that is becoming increasingly popular among organizations. The exchange offers financial rewards to anyone who can find a bug or security vulnerability and reports it. This incentivizes security researchers and ethical hackers to contribute to the exchange’s security.
With Coinbase being compliant with local regulations in the United States, there come other security benefits for users. All financial institutions in the US are required to meet certain standards when it comes to Cybersecurity.
If all these measures fail, as no system in the world is completely impenetrable, Coinbase also insures its users’ crypto.
The company has crime insurance that protects losses resulting from theft. This means if your crypto is lost as a result of a cybersecurity breach or thefts originating internally, your crypto is covered. Be careful though, as having your password stolen would not allow you to access this insurance!
What Features Does Coinbase Offer?
Coinbase offers several features and services designed to cater to the needs of its users in several ways. While you won’t be getting as many features as Binance, this is the result of Coinbase’s regulatory compliance.
However, Coinbase’s compliance allows it to offer a variety of services to businesses and high-value individuals that are hard to match.
In a way similar to other exchanges like Kraken, Coinbase aims to improve the user experience by focusing on exchanging-related services. As such, you will not be able to access mining pools, NFT marketplaces, betting, or similar features that other platforms offer.
The exchange offers services for individuals, businesses, and developers, with each of these categories having different features and requirements.
For individuals, the most important services offered by Coinbase are:
- Cryptocurrency Trading: Buy, sell, and trade over 80 cryptocurrencies.
- Coinbase Wallet: A software wallet to store your crypto.
- Coinbase Earn: Learn about crypto projects and earn cryptocurrency in the process.
- Coinbase Crypto Card: A way to pay for goods and services with your crypto, earning rewards by doing so.
- Private Client: A service for high net worth individuals, trust, and family offices to trade with personalized support and an account manager.
- Coinbase Pro: Crypto trading with advanced features.
- Borrow: For users who want to borrow crypto using collateral.
If you have a business and want to harvest the benefits of cryptocurrency, Coinbase has the following features to offer:
- Coinbase Prime: A prime broker for digital assets which includes custody, advanced trading platform, and primer services.
- Coinbase Commerce: Allows businesses to accept crypto payments.
- Asset Hub: For businesses interested in listing their assets on Coinbase.
- Custody: Institutional-grade offline storage for added security.
- Analytics: Facilitates the crypto compliance process for companies.
- Ventures: For startups interested in raising money for crypto-related projects.
Finally, if you are a developer who wants to integrate Coinbase with your applications, Coinbase offers more than just an API. Some of the services for developers are:
- Coinbase Cloud: Offers access to the Coinbase ecosystem via an API.
- Connect: Allows developers to enable crypto buying, selling, and storage.
- Bison Trails: A way for devs to run secure infrastructure on multiple blockchains.
- WalletLink: Enables the link of DApps to mobile wallets.
- Pro: Allows the programmatic management of crypto.
As you can see, while the offering for individuals is not as large as other exchanges, Coinbase makes up for it. With the exchange aiming to legitimize crypto in the eyes of investors, regulators, and the general public, it has chosen not to be an all-in-one platform.
How Good is Coinbase Customer Support?
As one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the crypto space, Coinbase offers different customer support options. If you find yourself in need of assistance, you can get in touch with their team via email, Twitter, or phone depending on the issue.
However, it is important to keep in mind that Twitter support is limited to issues that are not account-specific. In a similar manner, phone support is only available to have your account disabled if it has been compromised.
This means that when it comes to the practicality of customer support, you will be getting in touch via email most of the time. However, making sure to provide all the necessary information in advance when submitting a ticket, has been known to expedite the process.
The time it will take for you to receive a reply will vary depending on demand. This has resulted in mixed reviews by Coinbase users when it comes to its customer support. As with most centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, customer support is a hit or miss.
If having access to live support is essential to you, Coinbase might not be the best crypto exchange for you. However, we must point out that Coinbase has excellent educational resources, which is likely to decrease the need for personalized assistance.
Does Coinbase Charge Fees?
Like all cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase is able to provide its services by charging fees. However, unlike decentralized crypto exchanges, Coinbase is a for-profit company.
The fee structure established by the exchange varies depending on the service and is not always charged by the exchange itself.
For example, when using Coinbase’s wallet service, the exchange will not charge you a fee for using it. However, depending on the network your currency runs on, you will be required to pay transaction fees for use of the network.
This fee is charged by blockchains like Ethereum, Bitcoin, Cardano, etc. As these vary, you will be informed of the value of the fee before confirming each transaction.
When it comes to trading crypto, fees will vary depending on your use of Coinbase or Coinbase Pro. As most users are likely to use the former, let’s talk about the fees standard users will incur when trading crypto.
Coinbase uses a maker-taker fee model, which means your fee will vary depending on the type of order:
- If you are a taker (you are taking liquidity), fees will range between 0.50% and 0.04% depending on your trading volume over the past 30 days.
- As a maker (you are providing liquidity), fees will range between 0.50% and no fees at all. Just like with taker fees, your trading volume will determine the fees.
When depositing or withdrawing fiat currencies, the fees will vary depending on the method. The fee structure for these two transactions are:
- ACH: Free
- Wire (USD): $10 USD
- SEPA (EUR): 0.15 EUR
- SWIFT (GBP): Free
- ACH: Free
- Wire (USD): $25 USD
- SEPA (EUR): 0.15 EUR
- SWIFT (GBP): £1 GBP
When borrowing crypto, you will not only be required to pay interest but might also incur an extra fee. If your BTC collateral needs to be sold to pay the loan, you will be charged a flat fee of 2%.
If you live in the US or the UK and get a Coinbase card, you will be charged a flat 2.49% fee on all purchases and ATM withdrawals. Depending on the ATM operator, you might incur additional fees.
What Currencies Are Supported By Coinbase?
At the time of writing, Coinbase supports 96 coins and 288 pairs. Currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Cardano, Quant, Filecoin, Internet Computer, Chainlink, Polygon, and more.
This means that unless you are looking to acquire an underground or new currency, Coinbase is likely to have you covered.
You can check all the supported cryptocurrencies in Coinbase’s official article as new coins are being constantly listed.
When it comes to supported Fiat currencies, Coinbase only supports 3: United States Dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), and British Pound Sterling (GBP).
Depending on what country you live in, you can also purchase Crypto directly with your debit/credit card and it does not have to be in one of the 3 fiat currencies mentioned above.
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