Unfortunately, Coinbase is not active in United Kingdom
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Coinbase Review 2020

If you’re looking for a cryptocurrency exchange, one of the first names you’re likely to come across is Coinbase. They are among the most popular, trusted and recommended cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, and are frequently touted as the best possible option for newcomers for whom simplicity is key.

However, as cryptocurrencies have gotten more popular, the amount of competition and the overall quality of exchanges has increased, meaning that Coinbase is now in a new and tougher environment. The question then is, with all the other options that are available, does Coinbase still stand tall amongst the rest? That’s exactly what our Coinbase review looks to find out.

Coinbase: Pros & Cons
  • Very easy to use
  • Goes to great lengths to ensure security
  • Includes Coinbase bonus for referrals
  • Amazing amount of variety
  • Brilliantly designed site
  • No live chat without bot

Usability, Look & Feel

During our research for this Coinbase review, we were pleasantly surprised by not only how easy everything was to find, but also how easy things were to understand. Part of the job of an exchange is to explain how everything works for those who are new to exchanges generally, and they do that marvelously.

In terms of how easy everything is to use, both from a design and technical perspective, Coinbase was pretty much flawless during our usage for this Coinbase exchange review. This is especially important when you’re talking about an exchange that has broken records in terms of trading volume. It’s straightforward to navigate, everything looks great, is clear to see and use, and the whole process is smooth as butter.

It’s also one of the most trusted options and has an extensive insurance policy protecting the site and you from potential theft. This is alongside its use of independent audits to confirm its quality and validity. It’s top marks in this part of our Coinbase review.

Payments

It’s important to note that, for many countries, the only option on Coinbase is to convert, so there are no supported payment options in those instances. There’s a full list of capabilities per country in the Coinbase Help section, so do be sure to check there for more information after reading our Coinbase review.

Where available, options can include using a bank account, debit or credit card, PayPal, SOFOR Bank Account, 3D secure credit card, and SWIFT account, which is exclusive to the UK.

As mentioned earlier, costs and fees depend on a wide variety of factors including market fluctuations, so we cannot say conclusively. However, you will always be informed of any applicable fees before you decide to go forward.

Of course, transaction times vary hugely amongst cryptocurrencies.

Customer Service

In recent years, Coinbase have made a huge effort to improve their customer service by recruiting more staff so responses can be more prompt. There are a few different customer service options, including e-mail, Twitter and phone. There’s also a live chat bot. Unfortunately, the gold standard of customer service –  an around the clock live chat option – is not here.

However, their email responses were, in our experience for this Coinbase exchange review, fairly swift. Although, we do think their approach of asking a great deal of questions before allowing you to send an email will not please everyone. Twitter does, however, let you get straight to the point and this is, as they say, meant to deal with general questions. Taking these two contact methods together as complimentary options makes a lot more sense.

The phone line is, unfortunately, only for support with compromised accounts. We would like to see this expanded further. The bot live chat isn’t too bad, but nothing can replace a real customer service team. That means, sadly, it’s not quite full marks for this part of our Coinbase exchange review.

License & Security

Licensing across exchanges is not as clear cut as many other industries. The fact that the standards are not as well established though has not stopped Coinbase from doing everything they can.

For instance, they’re licensed across US jurisdictions – a full list of which can be found in the legal part of the site. They’re also authorised by the FCA and FinCen and work with regulators like the SEC. This, alongside their self-executed audit, goes along with their reputation to reassure that this is both a legitimate and secure exchange.

They also utilise cold storage, which means that digital coins are kept offline, so they cannot be hacked. State-of-the-art AES-256 encryption is also utilised to provide additional safety. On top of that, there’s insurance to help provide reassurance of the safety of those funds. Finally, the verification process prevents minors from using their services. We have no complaints in this part of our Coinbase review.

Coinbase Crypto

Trade Offer

One of the reasons Coinbase is so popular is the reach of its appeal. Every cryptocurrency is different – and considering there’s a few dozen available at Coinbase, it would be impossible for us to cover all of their intricacies in this Coinbase exchange review.

We will say though for those of you not in the know, while Bitcoin is by far the most popular and widely used, many people use other crypto coins for a wide variety of reasons. These include value, stability, transaction speed and there can even be complete differences in how they actually work. Some don’t even use mining at all. In any case, more options can only be better because it increases the appeal and cannot detract the usefulness of someone not interested in these alternatives.

Here are the available options: ALGO, ATOM, BAT, BTC, BCH, BSV, CVC, DAI, DASH, DNT, EOS, ETC, GNT, KNC, LINK, LOOM, LTC, MANA, MKR, OMG, OXT, REP, USDC, XLM, XRP, XTZ, ZEC and ZRX. The information found in this part of our Coinbase review is correct according to the Coinbase Help page at the time of writing.

Trading Costs

Both types of Coinbase wallet are free. Other fees can be complex as they depend on payment method, location and “other circumstances”, such as additional fees for certain bank transfers. The good news is that you will be notified of all fees.

In terms of purchases and sales, Coinbase charges a spread of around half a percent. This can change based on market fluctuations. There’s also a Coinbase fee in addition to the spread. This is greater than a flat fee or a variable percentage fee determined by location, payment and product. Details for each country can be found in the Help section.

Flat fees include:

  • 99p for less than £10
  • £1.50 for between £10-25.
  • £2 for between £25-50
  • £3 for between £50-200

(GDP used as an example)

The Coinbase fee will always be greater than the minimum flat fees.

For conversions, Coinbase charges a spread margin of up to 2%. Again, this depends on market fluctuations. There’s a lot of variables but from a practical perspective, we’d say what’s really important in this Coinbase review is fees are made clear to you before you confirm.

Trading Conditions

One of the best things about cryptocurrencies is their international appeal, and vital to our Coinbase exchange review is ensuring this key asset is maintained. In that regard, things are looking very good. There’s 18 countries supported in North America, eight in South America, 41 in Europe, 20 in Asia, two in Australia. and 13 in Africa.

It’s important to note that different countries have different limitations. Many can only convert funds, while others can buy and sell, and even use debit and credit cards. You can find the full capabilities on the Coinbase site. As this is an ongoing process, it’s important to check for yourself. We can say though that European countries tend to have the most capabilities, with support for PayPal, SOFORT bank account, 3D secure credit card, debit card and credit card in the UK, for example.

There’s also restrictions in terms of which cryptocurrencies can be used on Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. Currently, those only available for the latter include ALGO, CVC, DNT, GNT, LOOM, MANA and USDC for residents of Australia, Canada and Singapore. MKR is not available to USA residents generally. Finally, ZEC requires Coinbase Pro for UK residents. There’s also additional information available in the Help section on the site, which goes beyond what we can cover in this Coinbase review.

Product Conclusion

People often think utilising an exchange will be a very complicated process. Well, in this part of our Coinbase exchange review, we’ll be showing you exactly why this is not the case – especially when it comes to an exchange like this, which is built around ease of use.

1. Open an account

The first step is opening an account, which you can do by heading to the Coinbase homepage. At the top right is a “Get started” option. Only a few details are needed like your e-mail. Once you’ve registered, you’ll be sent an e-mail to verify your account.

Options here include individual and business, the latter is only needed if you plan on selling Bitcoin in bulk.

2. Confirm your details

Next, you’ll need to confirm your mobile number. This is done much the same way as e-mail. You will be sent an SMS with a code and then back online, you can enter that code to verify this part of your account. Your mobile device is then used to log on.

Now your device is good to go, you can set up your preferred payment method. The options available to you will naturally depend on your location.

3. Verify your identity

At this point, you’ll have to verify your identity. We mentioned Coinbase’s security credentials, and this is a big part of their fight against money laundering. So, you’ll need to go through a KYC process to confirm your identity. This will require a government issued ID, such as a passport or driver’s license.

4. Set up your payment method

Step three is confirming your payment method. To give an example of how this can work, with debit cards, they process two small charges from your card. When you log into your online banking, you can read the last two numbers of those charges to verify that it’s your card.

5. Start buying/converting

Now you’re ready to make purchases. Simply click on which cryptocurrency you want and pay for the transaction: it’s as simply as that. As soon as they’re available in your Coinbase account, you can either withdraw them to another wallet, send them to another exchange, or leave them where they are for future use.

Converting is just as easy. There is a panel on the mobile app with the option to convert one cryptocurrency to another. You just tell it what you want to convert to, and how much you want to convert, and you’re done.

So, there’s a few steps but all of them are pretty straightforward and it’s because of these steps that this exchange is so safe and so reliable. We’d call this part of our Coinbase review overwhelmingly positive.

Overall Conclusion

One of the places we started our Coinbase review was their reputation. We wondered if, when looking a little deeper for our Coinbase exchange review, we might find some more negativity beneath the surface. And while we won’t say we didn’t find any, the results remained overwhelmingly positive.

The main criticisms found in our research for this Coinbase exchange review were that someone preferred another option, rather than they actively had an issue with Coinbase, which is incredible feedback. That reputation is also backed up by some institutions, as we’ve mentioned. We’d go as far as saying that Coinbase might have the best reputation of any exchange.

Some people may prefer other options but we cannot conclude this Coinbase exchange review in any other fashion than considering it an overwhelming success. They are legitimate, trustworthy and have tons of variety in their cryptocurrencies and services. Plus, they even have a Coinbase sign up bonus in the form of the Coinbase referral bonus.

Ultimately, they aim to be a comprehensive exchange that’s easy enough for everyone to use with confidence. We’re happy to say we think they’ve achieved exactly that!

While we wish we could say they were perfect to end our Coinbase review, there are a couple of issues – a lack of live chat, for instance – that prevents that. In the vast majority of departments though, Coinbase is utterly brilliant and well deserving of its place in the industry.

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