Coinbase: honest review with focus on services, products and costs
Coinbase is one of the most well-known names in the crypto world. In fact, it can be argued that it is the most popular exchange along with Binance, with which, by the way, it competes for the top spot. It is, therefore, worthwhile to provide a comprehensive review on Coinbase, operating a focus on the most important aspects, from the offer of cryptocurrencies to the quantity and quality of services provided, passing, of course, through the fees imposed.
We will also talk about a crucial element, the real moment of truth for all platforms: withdrawal operations. We will do this mainly for the benefit of those who intend to recover liquidity, perhaps to spend on activities that, as they are connected with the concept of risk, it is good that do not affect the most liquid capital, that is produced through savings. The reference, among others, is to online gaming and Internet casinos.
Before starting with the review, however, it is useful to provide an overview of Exchange platforms, especially in relation to the main alternatives. Exchanges are platforms that allow you to trade cryptocurrencies with other cryptocurrencies or with traditional currencies such as the euro, dollar, pound, etc. Exchanges are real, so accumulated cryptocurrencies can be spent to purchase goods and services at participating outlets.
Exchanges are contrasted with CFD brokers. CFDs are derivative products that allow one to take advantage of price fluctuations but do not contemplate real ownership of assets. Those who trade cryptocurrency CFDs, therefore, do not actually own them. A problem according to some, is a harmless side effect according to others, especially for those who trade speculatively and quickly.
Exchange or CFD? The choice is reserved for the individual and concerns styles and objectives. Obviously, those who speculate at major rates generally opt for CFDs. On the other hand, those who would like to use cryptocurrencies, and perhaps sell them at a later date when they are sure of making good surpluses, often opt for Exchanges.
An overview of Coinbase
Having made these necessary clarifications, we can start talking about Coinbase. Below we see what the main features of Coinbase are
● It is one of the “oldest” Exchange platforms. In fact, it was founded in 2012, at a time when cryptocurrencies were still niche, decidedly exotic, almost unknown assets. Just to be clear, in 2012 Bitcoin had not even made its first exploit.
● It is one of the few American Exchange platforms. Unlike many platforms, which choose, shall we say, exotic places to lay their foundations, Coinbase was founded in California and has stayed there.
● It is one of the few seriously regulated Exchange platforms. Specifically, it has licenses issued by FinCEN, FCA and others.
● It is publicly traded. More unique than rare, Coinbase is listed on an exchange, on the Nasdaq to be precise… And it also has a good track record, at least relative to its target market.
Coinbase has long been the Exchange with the largest capitalization. Currently, it contends for this supremacy with another giant of the crypto world: Binance.
The issue of withdrawal holds sway when it comes to Exchange platforms. In fact, many big names in the crypto market fall on this very point. Yet, it is a fundamental aspect, which pertains to the degree of capital control. This is especially true at certain junctures, perhaps when one intends to recover money to allocate it to particular activities, for which there is some difficulty in allocating sums from savings. One example is online gaming, an increasingly popular activity.
In particular, the withdrawal methods of an Exchange, as of any investment account should be quick and put in place at a low expense. What can be said about Coinbase’s withdrawal methods? Well, they are better than average. In fact, they definitely come in handy for the user.
For starters, withdrawing is rather quick. Or, rather, the actual transfer of money from the account to the bank account. Basically, the transfer takes place within two business days.
Secondly, it is also very convenient. Basically, a commission of only 15 cents is paid. So, no worries: those who operate with Coinbase know they can get their money back whenever they need it.
Let’s now get to the heart of the review. That is, let’s talk about the cryptocurrency offering. This is indeed a major differentiator and therefore varies so much from one Exchange to another. Here again, it must be said, Coinbase excels. Indeed, on top of a solid base of “famous” cryptocurrencies is grafted a large pool of exotic cryptocurrencies. In short, there is something for every taste and investment style.
Of course, the most traded cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which not surprisingly is the king of the market.
It is followed by other holy monsters such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Cardano, Theater, Bitcoin Cash, Solana, and Dogecoin. We take this opportunity to recommend caution when choosing cryptocurrencies to invest in. In fact, tight performance should not be the only criteria for choosing. Other elements should also be analyzed, perhaps taking a forward-looking approach.
For example, some cryptocurrencies have a complex, perhaps interesting project behind them, and that often develops over the long term. This is an indication of soundness, and thus provides more than enough motivation to consider them.
Other cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, appear solid but in reality are only on the crest of a wave, perhaps because of the declaration of this or that famous person. Once the classic fifteen minutes of fame is over, they may manifest major difficulties.
One of the reasons for Coinbase’s success concerns its abundance of services. In fact, it not only serves as an Exchange but also acts as a reference point for cryptocurrency supporters and users. This is particularly evident in the provision of a debit card, the Coinbase Card.
Through it, it is possible to purchase at authorized outlets using one’s cryptocurrency wallet. It is an idea also fielded by other giants in the crypto world, such as Binance, but one that is always surprising in its foresight. The purpose is clear: to “normalize” the ownership of cryptocurrencies and allow users to use them as if they were real money.
Beyond this, the distinction between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro is notable. The first account is an “ordinary” Exchange, however well done. The second is a full-fledged trading platform. This is noted by the abundance of analytical and operational tools, which allow one to study the market in depth and put potentially profitable actions in place, even in a speculative sense. Coinbase Pro has a higher entry-level, however, justified by a lighter commission structure.
The division is not so clear-cut, but it can be argued that Coinbase is suitable for “soft” investors, who buy cryptocurrencies to spend them or to sell them in the near future when they are assured of a rich surplus. Coinbase Pro, consequently, is more suitable for speculative traders.
Another crucial issue, when it comes to Exchange platforms, concerns fees. Indeed, many Exchanges are infamous for high commissions, to such an extent that traders often prefer to switch registers and rely on other modes of investment, such as those that place CFDs at the center. It has to be said, in the defense of these platforms, that the management costs are imposing, especially those related to security, another key issue. But so be it: the risk of one’s earnings being eroded by commissions worries a little bit of everyone, regardless of goals and investment style.
What can be said about Coinbase’s fees? Are they low? Well, yes and no. In some cases, they are low, more than average, and in other cases they are high.
They are low, for example, for those who use the Pro account and opt for wire transfers. In this case, you only discount 0.5 percent of the total value of the transaction. If you operate via wire transfer, but with a normal account, the fees are still acceptable, as they do not go beyond 1.49%.
Problems come when you opt for transfers by credit card. In that case, it reaches 3.99%, which is actually quite a high percentage.
It is also worth presenting the fees related to the Coinbase card. Well, we are at quite high levels, but still acceptable. If you make purchases with cryptocurrencies, you pay a fixed fee of 2.49%. If, on the other hand, purchases are made with USD Coin, a cryptocurrency pegged to the value of the dollar, the fees are even zero. In that case, in fact, it is the same as trading with the dollar.
It is also worth addressing the issue of security, another Achilles heel of many Exchange platforms. Then again, we are talking about an industry that is still poorly regulated and lends itself to the pernicious activity of bad apples and scammers. Well, in this case, fear not: Coinbase is absolutely safe. We have already mentioned it: it is among the few 100% regulated platforms. It boasts licenses dispensed by some of the most important regulators, including the FCA and FinCEN.
Other security guarantees come from the insurance policy that automatically attaches to accounts, which act especially in case of theft and hacker attacks.
Finally, a singular aspect: Coinbase uses a military protocol. We are talking about the AES-256 encrypted codes with which the wallets are stored.
In the background are the “normal” maneuvers to secure accounts, such as two-factor authentication. This is no small detail, however, as many exchanges still do not use it.
Coinbase’s support service
How does Coinbase’s support service stack up? Very well if you can speak English. It is an American platform, and so support is delivered entirely in the language. Net of that, the service appears quick and efficient. When you interact with operators, it feels like interacting with a bank, rather than an Exchange platform. Incidentally, support can be reached through many channels, from live chat to phone to email.
Coinbase does, however, provide an extensive FAQ section, in which some recurring problems are described, and of course their solutions. This is an easy resource to consult and is often enough to get through the first few inconveniences.
In any case, the user experience of Coinbase is mostly smooth. Credit also goes to an interface that, while serving as a terminal for advanced and professionally delivered services, is user-friendly and easy to master.
So, what is the verdict on Coinbase? Before we express ourselves, it is good to make a clarification: the choice of the platform with which to invest is up to the individual trader. At most, reviews like this one can serve as guidance, as material for making an informed choice. Well, the verdict is simple: Coinbase is worth considering.
Pros and cons of Coinbase
- It is secure. As repeated several times throughout this review, Coinbase is among the few exchanges to boast licenses. Beyond that, it brings a few tricks to the table to make the user experience secure.
- It is efficient. Inefficiencies are rare occurrences when operating with Coinbase. Generally, the infrastructure responds adequately and services are competently delivered.
- It makes a wide range of offerings available. The offering is broad not only in terms of the number of cryptocurrencies made available but also in the quantity and variety of services provided. Reference, in particular, is to the Coinbase card.
- It also lends itself to speculative trading. Coinbase prepares a “Pro” account, full of additional features designed specifically for traders.
- Commissions can be high. Specifically, they are high for paper-based traders. In contrast, they are acceptable, but slightly above average, for those trading by wire transfer (and standard account). They are, on the other hand, quite low if operating from a pro account.
- Support is not geolocated. The platform still bears a strong U.S. footprint, so assistance can only be enjoyed in the language.
Is Coinbase safe?
The answer is affirmative. In fact, it is among the few exchanges to be duly licensed. Specifically, it enjoys licenses prepared by FinCEN, FCA and other international and national regulatory bodies. In addition, it is listed on the exchange, an indication of assured reliability (and even some prestige).
Is Coinbase’s offering broad?
Again, the answer is affirmative. Many cryptocurrencies are counted. The list goes far beyond the most traded and illiquid ones, they include even the more exotic ones. It also provides some additional services, such as the ability to associate a credit card, such that cryptocurrencies can be used similarly to fiat currencies (purchasing goods and services). It also provides trader services through the Coinbase Pro account.
What are Coinbase’s fees?
Commissions are medium to low. However, they depend on how these are paid. If you trade via wire transfer and from a Pro account, they go down to 0.5 percent. If you operate via wire transfer but from a normal account, they go up to 1.49%. However, they can go as high as 3.99% if you discount by credit card.
Is CoinBase’s support service helpful?
The answer is yes, as the staff is knowledgeable and very on-call. However, it presents a problem: it is not geolocated.