Coinbase Review 2021 – Is It Still The Best Place To Buy Crypto?

Coinbase is one of the most well-recognized and established cryptocurrency exchanges globally, offering a wide array of services for both retail and institutional investors. Founded in 2012 by former Airbnb engineer Brian Armstrong, Coinbase has become one of the behemoths of the crypto exchange industry and is usually one of the main places newbie investors turn to purchase their coins. 

At the time of writing, Coinbase facilitates cryptocurrency exchanges with fiat currencies in 32 countries, offers traders access to over 50 different cryptocurrencies, and serves more than 35 million customers in over 100 countries. It’s safe to say they have done a great job at legitimizing what was once considered to be the dark, gloomy underworld of cryptocurrency, as they now boast over 1,000 employees (globally) and are fully licensed by a wide range of financial regulators and authorities.

For many years, Coinbase was often touted as the best place to buy cryptocurrency, especially for first-time buyers looking to enter the industry. But is that still the case? Does Coinbase still reign supreme, or has their ship sailed? In this Coinbase review we’ll find out.

Range of Offerings

Coinbase primarily acts as a brokerage service for people who want to buy and sell cryptocurrency. They facilitate both FIAT to crypto and crypto to crypto exchanges. In general, Coinbase is one of the more conservative exchanges when it comes to listing new assets on its platform. For many years you could only purchase the most prominent coins in the industry, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, but nowadays, they have extended their offerings to include many of the most popular coins in the top 100. 

However, the cryptocurrencies available to customers vary between each region. This is due to differences in laws and regulations for each jurisdiction. For a complete list of currencies available in your area, it’s worth checking out their help page.

Coinbase only gets a three on the Pug Score for its range of offerings due to the relatively small number of coins you can purchase on their platform. As you may or may not know, there are currently 9,000+ cryptocurrencies out there. With this in mind, Coinbase’s offering of around 50 cryptos leaves a lot to be desired, especially for those looking to invest in coins with a smaller market cap.

Coinbase Pro

Formerly known as GDAX, Coinbase Pro is their second platform that is designed to give users more sophisticated charting features and trading options, providing superior control for advanced traders. Whereas the regular Coinbase is more straightforward in its approach, offering a clean and simple interface that makes transactions easier for newcomers. Coinbase Pro is something more akin to other mainstream trading platforms. 

Coinbase Wallet

Coinbase now offers a wallet where you can store cryptocurrencies that you and only you control. This is because you will have access to your own private key, so nobody else will have access to your funds, not even Coinbase themselves. For many people, owning your own private key for your wallet is an absolute necessity, as if you don’t, you are never really in complete control of your funds.  

Fees

Trying to make sense of the fee structure on Coinbase will be more than likely to give you one heck of a headache. However, if one thing is for sure, they aren’t cheap! You see, if you really want to get the best price, then Coinbase Pro is your best bet, but seeing as this is a regular Coinbase review, we better break down what kind of costs it comes with.

First of all, there is no fee for opening an account. Instead, when buying or selling crypto through the platform, all of the fees are automatically deducted from the total amount of your order. The costs vary for each region, but we will take a look at the fees for people based in the US for this review. 

Coinbase charges 0.5% for both cryptocurrency purchases and cryptocurrency sales, although the fee you pay may fluctuate around that area due to natural market fluctuations.

They also charge an additional fee (referred to as a “Coinbase Fee”); these work as follows (taken directly from their website):

  • If the total transaction amount is less than or equal to $10, the fee is $0.99
  • If the total transaction amount is more than $10 but less than or equal to $25, the fee is $1.49
  • If the total transaction amount is more than $25 but less than or equal to $50, the fee is $1.99
  • If the total transaction amount is more than $50 but less than or equal to $200, the fee is $2.99

When buying, there are also standard fees of 1.49% for bank account payments and 3.99% for Debit Card or PayPal.

Transactions between Coinbase accounts are free of charge. Click here for a full breakdown of their fee structure.

Ease of Account Opening

Signing up for Coinbase is a simple and painless procedure. To begin, enter your name, email address, and desired password. After that, you’ll be asked to confirm your email address. After that, Coinbase will ask you to input your phone number in order to obtain a verification code, which you must then enter. Coinbase will deliver 2-step authentication codes to this phone number in the future.

Check this guide to learn how to use Coinbase.

The whole process is done digitally, and the KYC procedure is relatively straightforward and shouldn’t take too long. However, some people have complained of long wait times if any problems arise in the identity verification process.

*Coinbase offers its services in 100+ countries.

Deposits and Withdrawals

Once you set up your account, you will be permitted to make a small purchase of Bitcoin until you apply to raise your buying limits. The limit you are given correlates to the level of identity verification you have gone through. The more verified you are, the higher the limits. On Coinbase, fully verified users enjoy a max limit of $25k per day.

The deposit options are as follows:

Bank Account1.49%4-5 Business days
Debit Card3.99%Instant
Wire Transfer$10 ($25 for withdrawals)1-3 Business days
PayPal2.5%Instant

*Prior to transferring funds from your bank, you must verify your bank account.

If you want to withdraw money from Coinbase, you can use all of the options listed above, and it can take up to three working days for your bank to process the transfer.

However, you can withdraw cryptocurrency to your digital wallet at any time (including the Coinbase Wallet). 

Platform and Trading Experience

As we touched upon earlier, Coinbase has a very straightforward and easy-to-use platform that is extremely beginner-friendly. In fact, their simple interface is one of the key factors in their success, as just about anybody with a computer will be able to navigate their way through the platform. 

The central dashboard shows an editable cryptocurrency price chart, as well as your portfolio and recent transactions. To buy and sell crypto, use the large Buy/Sell and Send/Receive buttons at the top of the dashboard; it’s as simple as that!

However, due to its simplicity, people who are looking for a more sophisticated experience will be left disappointed. 

Customer Support

The customer support with Coinbase is okay, as long as your problem isn’t too complex. For simple queries, you should be able to find an answer to your queries relatively quickly. In general, If you are submitting a support ticket via email, expect a response within 48-72 hours. However, this varies considerably depending on how busy they are. 

The customer support options are as follows:

  • Live chat
  • Email
  • Help and FAQ section
  • Phone
  • Twitter

However, it’s worth noting that many people in the community have complained about the efficiency and overall helpfulness of Coinbase support, stating that they are unresponsive and offer generic responses without ever going the extra mile to help fix your issue. 

Additionally, the Better Business Bureau gives them a customer service score of 1.22/5, with thousands of complaints listed on their site.  

Regulation and Security

Coinbase complies with all of the applicable laws and regulations within each jurisdiction that it operates in. As a result, they are among the most trustworthy and legitimate exchanges around, and your funds can be considered safe there.

However, despite being well regulated, it’s important to remember that Coinbase is a custodial service. This means that you do not actually hold the cryptocurrency that is in your account. In other words, you do not have full control of your assets, and if anything does happen to Coinbase, you may lose your funds.

To get around this, you should always send your coins to a non-custodial wallet that you own the private keys for. 

The Verdict

3.3 rating
3.3/5
Pug Score
Normal

Coinbase is a simple-to-use cryptocurrency exchange aimed at newcomers and those searching for a simple, straightforward experience while purchasing their coins. When compared to its rivals, the exchange lacks advanced features which may deter more experienced traders and those looking for a more sophisticated trading experience.

With that said, Coinbase, as a whole, does an excellent job at simplifying what many people regard as a stressful and complicated process, which is why it manages to draw vast numbers of newbie investors who want to dabble in the cryptocurrency market without the hassle.

However, Coinbase isn’t the cheapest exchange on the block, so if you’re looking to save money, you may want to look elsewhere. With that said, given its high degree of regulation and security, as well as its ease of use, you can’t go wrong with purchasing coins on their website – just remember to move them to your own private wallet once you’re done.

FAQ

What is Coinbase?

Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange that offers a safe and secure platform for buying, selling, transferring, and storing your cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. You can use the platform to convert from one crypto to another or to convert fiat currency to any coin of your choice (from their list of 50+).

Is Coinbase safe?

Coinbase is one of the most heavily regulated crypto exchanges, making it a very safe option when you compare the other options. In addition to this, they keep the vast majority of their funds in cold storage, which means they cannot be hacked, and as a result, your funds are safe. 

Is Coinbase legit?

Yes, Coinbase is legit. It’s regulated in all jurisdictions it operates in and holds various licenses with the relevant authorities and governing bodies. 

3.3 rating
3.3/5
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    3.3 rating
    3.3/5 Normal
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