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Coinbase is a mission-driven cryptocurrency company based in San Francisco, California. With nearly a decade of experience connecting buyers, sellers, and traders in the brave new world of cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase has an impressive track history in building value for customers, generating more than $500 million in funding and processing over $2 billion in revenue. The company’s ambitions include creating an open global financial system, and appears to be well on the way to doing so.

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The Good

  • User-Friendly Platform
  • Convenient Purchasing 
  • Security and Insurance

User-Friendly Platform

Coinbase’s online platform is easy to navigate. There is an in-depth FAQ page with extensive information about digital currencies, trading, and other topics. For customers who are digital currency beginners, it is a good option to become familiar with buying and trading, so taking advantage of CoinBase’s educational materials will be useful to you. There is also an online chat for further questions, and the company has good reviews for customer service, which adds to the overall beneficial user experience. 

Convenient Purchasing

Coinbase allows customers to sync up bank accounts for ease of purchasing digital currency. U.S. customers can also use debit or wire transfers, depending on the size of transaction; and international customers outside the United States are unable to use bank or wire options. Unfortunately, platforms like Paypal, Venmo, CashApp, and others are not accessible for purchasing, which may limit some customers in any location.

Security and Insurance

Coinbase provides industry leading security as well as insurance. The insurance only covers funds they are holding in case of a security breach or if the company is hacked. This does not cover customers’ own digital currency if a password is lost or forgotten. 

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The Bad

  • Waiting Period for Funds Transfer
  • Limited Cryptocurrencies
  • High Transaction Fees

Waiting Period for Funds Transfer

In order to avoid fraud, there is a three to five day waiting period to make sure funds clear when purchasing digital currency. For those looking to trade digital currency, this waiting period can be problematic. 

Limited Cryptocurrencies

There are new cryptocurrencies popping up all the time. Coinbase only supports about 40 right now, and there are at least 4,000 available. For customers wishing to connect to the larger database of options, Coinbase may not be extensive enough for this approach. However, for beginners or customers focused on specific options that Coinbase does offer, this may not be an issue. On the other hand, Gemini and eToro don’t offer as many as Coinbase does, so this may reflect more on the industry progress than on failures within the company.

High Transaction Fees 

Coinbase has a schedule of fees, starting at $.99 per transaction under $10 and this raises incrementally to $2.99 to transactions between $50 and $200. Coinbase also charges a spread of about one-half of one percent (0.50%) for cryptocurrency purchases and cryptocurrency sales (this spread can vary depending on market fluctuation). Other providers may have a different set of fees that are more preferable for customers. For example Kraken offers slightly lower fees, especially at lower volumes.

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The Bottom Line

Coinbase is a solid option for new or advanced buyers in the cryptocurrency market. Particularly for customers who don’t mind paying a little higher fees in order to access an easy-to-use platform that is well supported, Coinbase meets if not exceeds industry norms. Protections such as insurance, security, and customer support are in place, as well as educational materials to help newbies navigate the unknowns of the cryptocurrency market. It’s as good as any of the other platforms, for getting started or making a splash investing in this space. 

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