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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29 Customer Reviews for Coinbase

Average Customer Rating: 1.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 2 4 stars: 0 3 stars: 0 2 stars: 2 1 stars: 25
Bottom Line: 7% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 29
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  • Coinbase steals money from me

    On May 16, 2017, Coinbase sent me an email that they are closing my account. If you used Coinbase, you will know that you also trade at GDAX with the same login information. Since the account is closed, I cannot log in into GDAX and withdraw my remaining balance I traded in GDAX. They said in the email that I can withdraw all money to external address, but they trick a customer because they hold a customer's money under a GDAX account. This is a tricky method that I guess they try to steal money from me. Otherwise, in the email, they should state that please log in to your GDAX account and transfer out all of my remaining balance.

    I suggest get out from Coinbase and GDAX while you still can, do it before ending up like me. My total balance is between 65,000 and 70,000 USD, depending on the market price of LTC.

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

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  • No customer service - very bad experience!

    • London, England,
    • May 24, 2017

    This institution is not trustworthy. I transferred funds to Latvia (wherever they are located), and it was kicked back without any explanation. I sent three emails to Coinbase to understand the cause of this kickback, however, no response was received in the last two weeks. I lost £65 ($84.25) and got nowhere. This institution cannot be trusted.

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

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  • Coinbase closed account!

    I had over $11k in Coinbase, which I'd gotten as it nearly doubled in the month since I bought at $900. I sent 1 BTC to my blockchain wallet on May 11, 2017, and then sent it back to Coinbase on May 15th as "the spread" was $50 different, so why not make $50 for doing nothing? My "instant" send sat there as "pending," and the next day I got "Coinbase has decided your account should be closed for violations of the agreement,'' Total BS!

    Now it gets good as I only got 5.54 BTC out when I had to "close out" to an external wallet on May 17th, 2017. The send back from BLOCKCHAIN on the 15th was stollen, netting the scamming Coinbase 1BTC or $1,700 off of me for some rule breaking they never named as I was ONLY sending Coinbase to MYSELF. You sure can believe they NEVER answered a single email to their BS "support" email as to what the "violation" was. DO NOT store BTC in Coinbase or you will be sorry!

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

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Bought small amount of bitcoin, now can't sell it and get out

    Coinbase said they no longer can operate in Hawaii. Ok, I can deal with that. They said to liquidate and get your money. Well, I've been going in circles to do just that, and it is NOT HAPPENING.

    POOR, poor service. Beware, I wouldn't trust them with any other funds, I can't even get back my $140+ USD. Sad.

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

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Total rip off

    They stole money from me and then closed by account when I called them on it.

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

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  • 7 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Warning, stay away from Coinbase

    • Panama City, Florida,
    • Mar 1, 2017

    Coinbase is a site of criminal thieves that will steal your money. Stay away!

    Coinbase is not to be trusted. As with many other complaints I have seen, they have lost/stolen from me as well, they have no phone number posted anywhere to contact them, they will not answer to any complaints you have from the website, or if they do eventually answer to a problem from the website after several weeks, they will just tell you there is nothing they can do.

    I am contacting any and every review site I can find to warn as many people as I possibly can. I am opening a case with the Better Business Bureau, and any other authority I can contact.

    Do not use Coinbase; stay away!

    Anyone who has any way of contacting them directly or found a way of getting results, or anyone from the Coinbase corporate office that wants to contact me, email me please.

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

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    NO customer service

    Their customer service is non-existent.

    The payment processor is in the UK, and test debit amounts are processed as part of the registration. If using a debit card, it will be BLOCKED by the bank, and you will lose your debit card, hands down. Then you will have to deal with the bank to get your debit card back; then you will NOT be able to add it back to the Coinbase account.

    You can send them email after email to "help," and you will receive cut-and-paste answers which bear no resemblance to the original inquiry. I would use ANY other bitcoin vendor (like MultiBit?) but this. Any other, because it can't be any worse.

    Log-ins are also a problem, with verification codes not appearing promptly and passwords and logins not being recognized (exactly the same ones were used).

    If you use this vendor after my warnings; good luck! That said, the website setup is clear and nice, but they just have no staff for answers (or staff which knows anything). Very frustrating.

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

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Stay away

    I just tried to use the Coinbase mobile app, and when I attempted to link my account to my credit card, it kept saying that my card was no good. But then I got a call from the security division of my credit card company telling me that there were a bunch of charges from Coinbase. I had to cancel my card and get a new one. When I wrote Coinbase's customer service, they ignored me.

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

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  • 8 out 9 people found this review helpful

    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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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    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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  • 16 out 16 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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