About Coinbase

In business since 2012 and based out of San Francisco, CA, Coinbase is a web-based digital wallet that allows you to send and receive bitcoins. The company is backed by several large venture capital firms, and claims to hold 617,000 consumer wallets, 16,000 merchants, as well as integration with U.S. banks.

Coinbase holds a C- rating with the Better Business Bureau, which is based on two closed complaints within the past three years. From a customer satisfaction standpoint, the company appears to have a mainly positive reputation, though online reviews are somewhat scarce due to the company’s newness.

By far the most common complaint we found is the amount of time it takes for Coinbase to approve your transaction.

Bitcoin valuations are volatile (e.g. they change often – similar to stocks), so you may purchase yours at one price, but after the minimum four-day waiting period has passed, find that it has significantly increased or decreased in value. However, Coinbase’s newer Instant Buy feature appears to directly address this concern.

What are Bitcoins?

In order to understand the benefit of using a “digital wallet” such as Coinbase, it’s important to first understand what bitcoins are.

Bitcoins have been in use since 2009, and represent a digital peer-to-peer payment system. Each bitcoin represents one unit of currency, and are specially encrypted to prevent theft, and to prevent the same bitcoin from being used as payment more than once. While bitcoins were initially associated with “underground” enterprises, they have more recently become accepted by larger vendors, such as the popular blogging platform Wordpress, and the dating site OkCupid.

According to Coinbase, bitcoins are the “world’s largest alternative currency,” and represent a “total market cap of approximately $10.3 billion.”

How Coinbase Works

To begin using Coinbase, you’ll first need to sign up for an account, which simply entails entering your email address and choosing a password. After verifying your email address, you’ll be redirected to your user home page, which will include a quickstart guide. This will help you buy your first bitcoin, learn how to accept bitcoin payments, and invite friends and earn a $5 bitcoin credit. On this home page, you’ll also be able to quickly view your account activity, current balance, as well as the ability to send and request money.

In order to add bitcoins to your Coinbase wallet, you’ll need to connect it to a bank account or credit card (Visa only), and verify your phone number. The number of bitcoins you can purchase each day depends on your “level”:

  • Level 1 – Verify your email address and phone number, and link your bank account. This will then give you the ability to purchase up to 10 bitcoins per day, and sell up to 50 per day.
  • Level 2 – Complete a purchase, and verify your identity. You’ll then be able to purchase and sell up to 50 bitcoins per day.

When purchasing bitcoins, Coinbase gives you two options: Regular buys and Instant Buys. Regular buys will take four business days to process, while Instant Buys will allow you to receive your bitcoins “in seconds.” Once bitcoins have been added to your account, Coinbase securely stores them, and allows you to send them out as needed, whether you’re investing, paying friends, or shopping online.

Coinbase also allows online merchants to accept bitcoins as well, as a whole section of their site is devoted to creating a payment button. Here, you’ll be able to choose your payment type (Buy Now, Donation, or Subscription), button style, and item name, amount, and description. Once you’ve filled in this information, Coinbase will generate the appropriate code so the button can be added to your website.

Coinbase implements several features to keep your bitcoins safe and secure, including AES-256 and SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, the Coinbase Bug Bounty Program, and even extensive background checks on all Coinbase employees.

Coinbase Pricing

Coinbase is free to sign up for, but will charge you a 1% fee for every bitcoin transaction you make. As an example: As of the time of this writing, one bitcoin cost $852.70, which means that Coinbase will charge $8.53 as their transaction fee. While the price of a bitcoin may initially seem very high, keep in mind that you can purchase fractions of a bitcoin (e.g. 0.1 bitcoin = $85.20).

Pros:

  • Allows you to quickly and easily purchase, send, and receive bitcoins.
  • Can be used by individuals as well as online merchants.
  • Numerous security features help ensure you’ll never have to worry about theft.
  • Free to sign up, and only 1% fee on all transactions.
  • Backed by several large venture capital firms, and is based on the U.S. dollar.

Cons:

  • Newer company, so there aren’t a whole lot of online reviews.
  • Many customers complained of the minimum four-day wait time for bitcoins to be available in your account, though their Instant Buy feature seems to directly address this.

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21 Customer Reviews for Coinbase

Average Customer Rating: 1.4
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 2 4 stars: 0 3 stars: 0 2 stars: 1 1 stars: 18
Bottom Line: 10% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 21
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  • Sold coins, sent to bank account, don't have money or coins

    • Ann Arbor, MI,
    • Nov 27, 2016

    It said my bank account rejected the transactions, and I had to prove my identity. I went through all that last week. They say 2 business days, and in some cases "longer."

    I guess longer can mean much longer. They have an image of both sides of my driver's license and all the info they asked for. Meanwhile, the coins I sold are gone, and the money I transferred doesn't seem to exist anywhere.

    Oh well, this started with me getting $10 in free Bitcoin in a promotion to sign up; it was worth about $15 and I sold the original $10 so even now I'm at worst out 0 and at best up $15.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Another Frustrated Customer

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Oct 11, 2016

    I have - or had - a Coinbase account with a small balance (around $80 USD) remaining. When they changed their authentication system, without warning, to exclude landline phones, I was left high and dry.

    I've tried for 2 weeks now to get them to either change the account to reflect my cell phone number (which would enable me to receive text message authentications), or to get their poorly documented alternate authorization system working. All to no avail.

    Their suggestion is that I open a second account! I'm sorry now that I ever opened the first account, and sure don't see where sending them yet more money will solve anything.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Takes the money of clients

    Sold my bitcoins and they never put the money into my bank. They give the run around and lie. Customer support consists of just automated responses. Please don't use this company otherwise you will get ripped off!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Worst Customer Service on the Planet

    • Fairfax, VA,
    • Jul 8, 2016

    On June 14th I sent an email to Coinbase support stating that my account has been locked.

    June 16th, Josh from Coinbase responded and told me that it was because my payment for a previous purchase was pending and it should clear in a day or two and at that point, my account abilities would be restored. That’s the last I ever heard from him or anyone at Coinbase.

    • June 24th, I sent a follow up inquiry (no response).
    • June 27th, I sent a follow up inquiry (no response).
    • June 29th, I sent a follow up inquiry (no response).
    • June 30th, I sent a follow up inquiry (no response).

    I have tried to call information to get their number, they are not listed. I’ve contacted the Better Business Review and searched dozens of sites online to try to talk to a human. All they say is to send an email or go to their website. However, they are totally unresponsive. These people have the worst customer support of any business that I have ever seen! With no way to contact them and no way to get a response. It is very frustrating!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Zero support

    • Washington,
    • Jun 30, 2016

    $1500 was withdrawn from my account without my knowledge or 2FA. When I contacted support I got a generic "We'll look into it" message and they have been ignoring me ever since.

    I just want my money back but it looks like that wont be happening any time soon. Avoid this company like the plague.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase account was stripped of $900 and converted to bitcoins

    • Hermosa Beach, CA,
    • Jun 15, 2016

    My account around May 16th was compromised. According to CB it has either been remotely or physically compromised. The strange thing is there is no evidence of malware key logger or physical evidence of a break in. This is a strange situation to be in, trying to figure out what happened. None of the people around me even have bitcoins, let alone a wallet.

    BTW the bitcoin address sent to you can show the trail and it looks to me like a depository theft. There were hundreds of transactions in strange and wild amounts.

    I am convinced that CB ultimately will be found to be part of a scam, stealing their own customer's money.

    I have informed the DA of this and have a record filed. I encourage everyone to do so.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase Fraud?

    How much has Coinbase defrauded you? Send the amount expressed in US Dollars to: CoinbaseFraud1@gmail.com. Let's see the total and discover whether law enforcement is interested. DO NOT send personal information, just the actual dollar amount of your loss.

    I lost USD $2,000 to them two weeks ago in a BTC purchase order they canceled for no reason, then failed to refund the money they had withdrawn from my bank account.

    Please post this contact email address and request to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

    CoinbaseFraud1@gmail.com or on Twitter: @CoinbaseFraud.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 10 people found this review helpful

    These people kidnap and take advantage of your bitcoins. They are low level, shady bottom feeders.

    You are going to get robbed.

    I have an open case with these people regarding a $1,000 transaction that I initiated with Coinbase. Their website tells me that the transaction is complete, however I haven't received my funds yet. I keep writing to them and all I get is the "wait a little more" response. I am very displeased with their service. I write to you as a warning. For the sake of your sanity and your money, do not DEPOSIT or WITHDRAW any money into this service! They will flat out rob you. I have read the warnings from other people and didn't listen. But the warning is REAL. Don't mess with these guys, they will rob you. If you want details, I will give you all the details you need.

    Heed my warning! These people will kidnap and take advantage of your bitcoins. They are low level, shady bottom feeders. They don't care about you, they will only take your money and give you the finger. I got robbed by these scum bags for $1000, and I am definitely filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. To file a complaint, Google "FTC". and look for "Submit a consumer complaint".

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Stay away from this compnay at all cost!

    • Palm Springs, CA,
    • Feb 3, 2016

    I was duped by one company to open a account with Bitcom, DBA, Coin Base out of San Francisco, CA. As it turned out, this initial company was a scam too. After Bitcom took $200.00 dollars from my checking account immediately, I discovered that Bitcom has been stealing millions of dollars from people each year. You can't use Bitcom anywhere, or at least with any legitimate company. My bank tried to get my money back for me and Bitcom refused to return it. I signed on to my Bitcom account and tried to transfer my money back, and low and behold, you can't do any such type of transaction. I filed a complaint with the BBB, but who knows what will happen with that? I'm a disabled senior citizen living of SSDI and surviving from paycheck to paycheck. Bitcom or Coin Base has only 1 telephone number, but guess what? No real live person answers it. It's a voice message saying that if you have any problem you must go to their website, which I did several times and didn't receive not one response back. Surprise, surprise. You can't even leave a voice mail at this number and they still refuse to return my money. They just keep it and say, "Too bad for you."

    Please do not deposit any of your money with this company for any reason. You will not get it back and no company takes it as cash for merchandise. Please stay away from this company at all cost. When a company doesn't even have a real telephone number you can call and leave a message, you know you have been duped out of your money. By the way, I was required to leave a rating in order to post this response. So, the least I could post was 1 star. I want to post 100 negative stars.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase STOLE my money.

    All of a sudden Coinbase is closing my account and I cannot access it to transfer my bitcoins to another wallet. I have been going back and forth with their lousy customer service for over two weeks as I changed my phone number and now I cannot access my account. Coinbase "outsourced" the verification process to authy.com and they are giving a really hard time to accept the phone change. They "argue" that they are doing it for security reasons, so they can be sure that I am the owner of the account. First Authy mentioned that they will take TWO business days to process the request. I kept contacting them and today they say that it will take an extra THREE business days. They are supposed to be technology companies! It's ridiculous.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Never use Coinbase

    • San Francisco,
    • Dec 7, 2015

    Worst experience - I cannot sign into my account. I had the right password but the two step authenticator with Authy would not work! I completely give up and will never invest in them again.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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