Coinbase Review: What is it? Is it safe? (2019)

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Coinbase was launched in 2012 and is the leading cryptocurrency exchange in the United States. It is also becoming widely used in Europe where it has an operating license.

The exchange has currently expanded to over 30 countries across the globe.

Coinbase Security: Is Coinbase safe?

Coinbase

The exchange has top of the range security features. Additionally, being licensed in the United States, security is not a compromise since Federal laws apply.

In terms of the Exchange’s method for fund storage, only 2 percent of customer funds are held in hot wallets. The other 98 percent is kept in secure cold wallets in different parts of the world. So far, it has not been hacked…yet.

On account security, Coinbase advises its users to use two-factor authentication. The system supports either short messages sent to the registered mobile phone number, Google Authenticator, among other reliable ways to prevent malicious account login.

HOWEVER, storing substantial assets in exchanges is not recommended as exchanges are prone to hacks. The best practice is to only leave enough assets for day to day trading on exchanges, the remainder should be stored offline on hardware wallets for.

To learn more about hardware wallets, check out our reviews on the Ledger Nano X and Trezor Model T.

Score: 4.5/5

Accepted Payment Methods

Coinbase views itself as a bridge to those eager to dive into crypto.

Coinbase features
Coinbase features

As such, it provides a variety of payment methods and currencies. However there are regional restrictions for payment methods. Below is a helpful list of the accepted payment methods for various countries.

  • Bank transfer: US customers only.
  • Credit/debit card: Available for most countries including Canada, Europe, Australia, UK, US, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Romania, US (coming soon).
  • SEPA transfer: Europe only.
  • Xfers: Singapore only.

The Exchange also has its own Coinbase Card- a Visa-based debit card allowing customers to make purchases online and in-store using crypto. However it is currently only available to UK customers.

You can also check here for more details on the payment methods.

Score: 5/5

Cryptocurrencies Supported

Unfortunately, Coinbase has very few listed cryptocurrencies. Also, the availability to buy, sell, send and receive a particular cryptocurrency depends on your location. For US customers, there are no restrictions on transacting the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin (BTC);
  • Ethereum (ETH);
  • Litecoin (LTC);
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH);
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC); and
  • Ripple (XRP).

Here’s a chart of the cryptocurrencies supported by Coinbase depending on your location.

Score: 3.5/5

Coinbase Fees

Coinbase charges a fee for buying cryptocurrencies on their Exchange using bank transfer, credit card, debit card, SEPA transfer or Xfers transfer. This fee varies from 1.44% to 3.99%.

The fee charged for trading and withdrawing cryptocurrencies also varies depending on the volume and the asset involved.

AVOID Coinbase fees for withdrawals- advanced tips and strategies.

Score: 4.5/5

Customer Support: is it any good?

Coinbase has active customer support. Support to customers is provided via email and FAQs. Coinbase also has a Learn section which has very good explainers to complete newcomers to cryptocurrency.

However, how fast it responds to queries depends on the queue of queries. In the past, the Exchange has offered users with automatic responses which were not necessarily helpful in addressing their concerns.

Score: 4/5

What’s Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Prime? What’s the difference?

Coinbase Pro
Coinbase Pro

Coinbase is for the beginner and intermediate crypto traders while Coinbase Pro is for more advanced traders.

The main difference between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are its features. The Pro offers charting tools, real-time order books, among other tools to help the advanced trader make most out of the Exchange.

Coinbase Pro interface
Coinbase Pro interface

Coinbase Prime is the professional version of the Coinbase platform for institutional clients.

They both offer cheaper transaction fees and more supported cryptocurrencies. However they are still substantially fewer than other Exchanges out there.

Here’s a chart of the cryptocurrencies supported by Coinbase, Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Prime.

Verdict

Coinbase has over the years proved to be one of the most secure and reliable cryptocurrency exchanges in the US.

Although it has few listed cryptocurrencies, its security and ease of use have given users a reason to keep using this Exchange.

The Exchange is also the most friendly to those who are complete newcomers to cryptocurrencies since they have the most payment options.

Security: 4.5/5
Accepted payment methods: 5/5
Cryptocurrencies supported: 3.5/5
Exchange fees: 4.5/5
Customer support: 4/5
Final score: 4.3

To learn more, check out our review of the top cryptocurrency exchanges.

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