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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48 Consumer Reviews for Coinbase

Average Consumer Rating: 1.4
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 4 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 2 1 star:  42
Bottom Line: 8% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 48
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  • Avoid

    • Cleveland, OH,
    • Oct 19, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    After all verification (phone, credit card, etc.) process, they want to get your ID and banking account. Scammers! Avoid!

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Shady business

    • Marietta, PA,
    • Oct 18, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Initially, I thought Coinbase was great even though the verification process and bank transfers took awhile. That is excusable, however, every time I try to trade at a certain price, Coinbase seems to mark up the price to whatever suits them. It's ridiculous! I would be more vulgar if I could here because I'm not happy.

    Sure the fees are high, and I can deal with that. However, EVERY TIME I make a purchase at a good price it seems Coinbase is skimming almost all of my profits! This has happened multiple times. Whether it should be a 5 dollar profit or a 15 dollar profit, I always end up with NO profit!

    I'm done with Coinbase; they're deceiving people and I hope people read this, so it doesn't happen to others. Such a disappointment.

    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

    Coinbase is a horrible company. I tried to send my payment to a vendor, and the transaction timed out. Coinbase couldn't process the transaction fast enough, and the vendor rejected the transaction. The money was supposed to return to my wallet, but it did not.

    I went to the FAQ, and it states if the transaction times out Coinbase will contact the vendor and submit the payment. I was in contact with the vendor for 7 days with no message from Coinbase. I then emailed them three times over the next 7 days. Their site states they will be in contact within 48 hours. It took them 21 days to respond to my emails. By then I filed a complaint with the BBB.

    Coinbase finally got a hold of me and said my account was being terminated for a policy violation. Turns out they don't like people reporting them, so they close your account. I was told I wouldn't receive a refund, but I can keep my remaining 26 cents in my account.

    Luckily, the vendor felt bad for me and sent me my order for free. So not only did Coinbase keep my money but the vendor had to send me a free order out of good will.

    I'd never use Coinbase EVER. They SCAMMED me out of $85.75. This company is a joke.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Do not use Coinbase

    • Georgia,
    • Sep 26, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    $1000 disappeared from a transfer two months ago, and I still can't get anyone from this company to email me back. I should have done my homework on this company. The Better Business Bureau has not ranked this company, but there is an overwhelming number of complaints registered with them. Again do not use this site. They WILL steal your money.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase total fraud, thieves, money lost, gone!

    • Sep 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I wanted to withdraw all the money left on my Coinbase account. My transaction is dated 2nd of August, 2017 and is STILL PENDING! The amount is €15001.85 ($17,901.26).

    I wrote tons of emails to support, but Coinbase replies to emails once in a while as it was a robot reply just saying I need to wait more. I withdrew €15k and still no money back into my bank account!

    STAY AWAY from Coinbase! The company is stealing money from people!

    Help yourself and everyone who had the same experience complaining to the FBI, Consumer Financial Protection, and the San Fransisco District Attorney.

    People, react and complain against Coinbae! If you want to contact me use ilguso[at]doctor[dot]com.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    They blocked my account from purchasing

    They have had my account frozen for over a month. They have zero customer service. It takes weeks to get back an automated response. They should be shut down by regulators. A truly despicable company.

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

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  • 3 out 6 people found this review helpful

    How my $10,000 gift was stolen from a preschool’s Coinbase account

    If you are new to Bitcoin or even if you are not, do you really want to do business with a company from which the theft of your Bitcoin is this easy? Here is my true story:

    A few weeks a go, my husband and I decided to make a $10,000 donation to a preschool in our town. His Bitcoin investment was doing very well and we felt that we could afford the gift.

    Because of the way the tax rules work regarding donations to a nonprofit, donors can avoid capital gains taxes by directly giving property rather than selling the property and then donating cash.

    We contacted Rita, the director of the preschool, and let her know that we wanted to make a donation of $10,000 worth of Bitcoin. She was delighted, of course. But, as she was unfamiliar with Bitcoin, and using online accounts in general, she asked some colleagues about which exchange to use to transfer the money into her bank account.

    She chose to open an account in her preschool’s name at Coinbase. The process of opening an account, verifying the account, and connecting to a bank account at Coinbase is a long, painful process over many days and there are lots of reasons to want to have contact with Coinbase during the process. Unfortunately, Coinbase support is almost non-existent.

    However, I did not know this at the time. I assumed that a company as well known as Coinbase must have phone support. So I googled “Coinbase phone support” and a number popped up. I gave this number to Rita.

    It turns out that this number was a fraud. When Rita called it, a man identified himself as a Coinbase support rep and asked her to go to a special Coinbase support website where he had Rita enter her username, password, and the confirmation code texted to her phone. Coinbase, by default, requires confirmation of the computer that is being used before allowing a login. They do this by sending a device confirmation email to the email address on file for the account holder. That email must be opened on the same device as that on which the browser is accessing Coinbase. At the moment, we still don’t know how the scammers managed to get around this requirement.

    The result is that the Bitcoin is gone from Rita’s preschool’s account and we are left puzzled about how this was possible given Coinbase security.

    The theft seems to be largely the fault of Coinbase for these reasons:

    Coinbase support is schockingly bad. Even days after this theft of funds Coinbase has not responded to my emails. This lack of communication leaves their customers without the type of assurance that seems a natural part of handling other people’s money. And anxious customers are prey to scammers.

    They offer no telephone support. They don’t actually tell you this, by the way. They let you search their site vainly for a number until you decide to google it. If they simply announced on their site,”Note: we do not offer phone support,” this type of scam could be avoided.

    The lack of phone support leaves them open to exactly this type of fraud. They must certainly be aware that this type of scam is a threat to all Coinbase customers but they simply ignore it.

    Coinbase security was apparently designed to prevent transactions coming from untrusted devices yet the device confirmation apparently failed and Coinbase was breached.

    New account holders are likely to be less sophisticated customers like Rita. Coinbase, therefore, has a responsibility to have excellent security and support for those customers. Better security and/or support would have prevented this scam from succeeding.

    I’m still waiting to hear something, anything really, from Coinbase. I’ve found warnings online for exactly this type of scam and I’m wondering why Coinbase has apparently not protected its customers from them. I am hesitantly accepting that our gift of Bitcoin is gone, that our gift was stolen by scammers.

    And I’m left feeling extremely disappointed with Coinbase.

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

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    • Sep 14, 2017

      Ilguso

      I'm sorry about your story, but unfortunately, this is not Coinbase's fault. Even if Coinbase is a SCAM because they freeze accounts without any reason for months.

      I'm sorry to say that if you google a number of the company that you cannot find on their website, and you cannot recognize that the page you open is not related to Coinbase website, then you just need to blame yourself, no one else.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Honest review regards to my experience with Coinbase

    • United Kingdom,
    • Sep 11, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am writing a review regards to Coinbase, and I feel it is certainly necessary! My main priority is to be as honest as possible to help others make a sensible decision going forward as I can see there are hundreds if not thousands of reviews that can make your mind go all over the place.

    I decided not so long ago that I would like to get involved with Bitcoin and Ethereum and other crypto currencies and that I have a solid bit of money aside that I am willing to risk. After educating myself like every newbie does about wallets etc. and where to buy BTC and ETH and where to store it. It certainly becomes apparent to me that nowhere can be safe storing your crypto coins as hacking seems to be happening more than rainy days in London! With a respectful amount of money now converted into crypto, I am sure you can appreciate that worrying about being hacked was certainly crossing my mind constantly!

    So now after being excited in getting involved with crypto, my experience is turning in to a panic of being hacked or the exchange or hot wallet, which is holding my coins being hacked. So at the time, I was holding my Bitcoin in blockchain.info and also was reading how they were hacked! I educated myself further and had seen how BitPay had been hacked, which also was a place where my coins were stored! This allowed me to just think that nowhere is safe.

    I was reluctant to put anything in with Coinbase as I could see endless amounts of reviews, and to be honest, 90% were bad reviews! However, I could see they are a legit company and with a hefty amount of backing, so I couldn't work it out, however, you have to believe reviews right? However, they had never been hacked directly. And I can see they offered (offer something which I needed) a vault for my Bitcoin. I took a leap of faith and transferred all my crypto there Ethereum and Bitcoin and put the Bitcoin in the multi sig vault as it clearly said this vault choice gives me full control, which is what I wanted and is also hack proof and if Coinbase goes bust, I'm covered! Also, the fact that all digital currencies are insured!

    So for me, it made sense to have all my crypto there because god forbid something goes wrong I am covered, unlike other places. And with all the bad reviews I still wasn't convinced I made the right decision. So after a little, while passing with my Ethereum in the wallet of Coinbase and Bitcoin in the vault, lots of articles on Google circling about Coinbase and their complaints list is through the roof!

    I was honestly worried and thought I am screwed and I won't get my money out. So I thought, you know what, let's try and withdraw all my Ethereum and see what happens. So I did, and it worked immediately and landed in my other wallet straight away.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Do not use it!

    • California,
    • Sep 8, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    It's a scam and internet fraud. Do not use Coinbase at all! You will never see your money back in your bank account and will never get any response to your emails. It's a big scam, and you will lose all your money if you deposit any money in Coinbase! They only let you deposit money from your bank account or ATM/credit card, but you will never be able to withdraw your money back to your bank account or your card. Kiss your money good bye if you put it in Coinbase because you will never see it again!

    I'm trying to withdraw my money ($600) for over two weeks, and all I get is a message that I need to add a method of payment! They want me to add a new method of payment with all my bank account details, including my user name and password of my bank account! Not only that, I'll never see the money that I deposit in Coinbase because if I give them all my bank account details they will withdraw all my money from my bank account too and I'll never see it again!

    Do not give them any bank account details or password. They will empty your bank account as soon as they will have all your bank account details! It's a scam and an internet fraud, and I'm going to report them today to the FBI! I wish someone would warn me the same way I'm warning you because I would never deposit any money to Coinbase if I knew what I know today! Warning and alert level 10! Do not deposit any money to Coinbase because you will never see it again!

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Customer support - no support

    • California,
    • Sep 8, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE. Coinbase processed two payments instead of one from my account. There is no phone number you can call for customer support, only email.

    After a response from customer support that said they were inundated with emails, I contacted my bank and reversed one of the payments. Coinbase penalized me an extra $10 for the reversal (a month later), even though the second payment was their mistake, AND they reversed my cryptocurrency purchase. This purchase was made in June, where the price was much cheaper than it is now.

    I am currently in the process of trying to withdraw my remaining funds, however, for some reason, it says I currently have no funds at all. It's clear to me now that they have no interest in keeping my business, just my money. I will not be using their exchange again, and I suggest you do the same.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Scammers

    My first purchase was duplicated, so instead of investing 1000€ ($1,192.13), I had 2000€ ($2,384.26).

    Then they sold my ETHs automatically when arrived to 700€ ($834.53). Surprise! I tried to buy it back, but then said I have no EURs.

    When I complained they blocked my account, and after several weeks, they reactivated it and magically is working now. Of course, ETH raised, and I lost most of my money.

    A complete scam. By the way, they are the same as GDAX.

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

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