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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67 Consumer Reviews for Coinbase

Average Consumer Rating: 1.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 5 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 2 1 star:  60
Bottom Line: 7% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 67
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  • 5 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase is amazing

    • USA,
    • Jun 12, 2015

    I was skeptical at first, but after contacting the company they helped me through the entire start up process. They were very polite and straight forward about all the risks about bitcoin buying, along with all of the perks. I highly recommend this company.

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

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  • 5 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Only good experiences

    • Jul 24, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've had only good experiences working with Coinbase. It seems like other reviewers are angry at misunderstanding how Bitcoin itself works (one person made a typo and the money went to the wrong person. Ok, well, that's how it works, not Coinbase's fault).

    I've had positive experiences almost entirely. Though to be fair I've never had to interact with their customer service, which others are saying is pretty poor.

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

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    • Oct 13, 2015

      A

      Hello, this was conversation that took place with customer service from Coinbase.

      Roth: Hello there! How can I help you today?

      What`s with that spam e-mail i have received ? like I Haven't received 10 milion satoshi = 10$ and when i click to claim redirect me on Coinbase and nothing. Disappointing.

      Roth: who appears as sender of that email?

      On Tuesday, October 13, 2015 2:09 PM, Bitcoin Aliens wrote: You are receiving this email from Bitcoin Aliens as you joined the Bitcoin Aliens Family, you can Unsubscribe Here at anytime. Hi Andrei, We're sending you 4 million satoshi - that's $10 worth of Bitcoin, completely free! Just Click Here to Claim! It's really the easiest $10 you'll ever make! Click Now to Claim YOUR $10 in Bitcoin See you soon, Bitcoin Aliens

      Roth: sorry for the issue, but that email is not from Coinbase

      It`s redirect me on your website and put me to create a new account for receiving $10. So it`s spam, cool I will make this public.

      Thank you.

      Roth: If you still have questions, let me know

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  • 4 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Very happy with Coinbase

    • Washington,
    • Jun 20, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I set up a Coinbase account about two weeks ago and bought $50 of Bitcoin and $50 of Ethereum. So far this $100 investment has doubled. I now have $200. I have learned that I can buy silver and gold using Bitcoin so when I am ready to cash out this is what I will do with my Bitcoin. Sign up was easy and the Dashboard and ability to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin make this the best Bitcoin wallet out there. Five stars.

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

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  • 5 out 10 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 3 people found this review helpful

    New user

    • El Paso, TX,
    • Feb 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I opened Coinbase for the first time two days ago. Everything seems going well. I had no problems making several transactions. It was smooth so far. I believe some people have no patience or are awkward on how to use it. Only thing is can't find live support, but I think they will in the future when they expand staff.

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

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  • 17 out 17 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase account was stripped of $900 and converted to bitcoins

    • Hermosa Beach, CA,
    • Jun 15, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    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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  • 14 out 14 people found this review helpful

    NO customer service

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Feb 8, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    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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  • 8 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Horrible Experience with Coinbase

    • Milwaukee, WI,
    • Jun 28, 2015

    I have never used the Coinbase website, but this does not stop them from doing 3 transactions for almost $100 each from 3 of my Wells Fargo bank accounts. This occurred on 4/11/14. My bank is currently investigating the fraudulent charges. When I attempted to contact Coinbase via the toll free number listed on my bank statement it directed me to reference their website with no option to talk to a live person. On the Coinbase website there is no phone number listed and no email.

    Only option is a fill in form and a section in FAQ to report suspicious activity but this specifically states they will not give you your money back and to contact your financial institution.

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

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    • Feb 18, 2015

      Mike

      Had this very same thing happen to me on 2/18/2015 I had to talk to someone on chat and this is the conversation:

      Hi there. Can I suggest sending us a email at support@coinbase.com so we can have a member of our security team assist you with this. I'll forward that over as soon as I see it come across so we can get that shut down

      Joe: Ok I'll pass that along to the appropriate party. They will get back to you as soon as possible.

      Joe: We don't offer phone support, sorry

      Joe: Well we just raised $75m worth of funding from a few top VC firms, the NYSE, and USAA amongst other investors so I would say we are doing pretty well. It doesn't happen often I would say, but if someone were to obtain your bank account details, they could use that information anywhere online not just here. I would suggest calling your bank and look into shutting down that account.

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  • 8 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Complete Scam

    • Bronx, NY,
    • Jul 7, 2015

    Very first transaction for less than $40 (but in good price area relatively) after fully completing verification, canceled two days later for high risk.

    Received canned response I have seen copies all over internet from an Indian email rep - totally ignored my question - did not address my request for them to restore original transaction as there is nothing fraudulent about it.

    I read somewhere else a rep once told someone they were able to put them on the white list (inferring they were on a black list before) and all their future transactions would go through.

    If you are entering/exiting in bad area you likely will have no problems.

    Think casino banning winning blackjack player who break no rules. Interestingly in my case it was on their very first hand.

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

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Avoid at all costs

    • Jul 31, 2015

    Avoid at all costs. Lost $189. Sent it to a Bitcoin address but never got there. Called my bank but couldn't help me because it is an automatic check withdraws which I pre approved.

    No customer service or email. Responded only once for my complaint from website and ignored all further responses.

    Simply beyond horrible.

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

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  • 13 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Awful, awful, awful.

    • USA ,
    • Aug 10, 2015

    Send in an order for 1300 dollars and they canceled it. Said their software detected "high risk" behavior on my account. What the heck? What kind of response is that? What does that even mean. They didn't even give me a better response. The just said "we're sorry". If they can't give a better reason, it means they don't have one. They are scamming people selectivity. So I waited two weeks and tried again. Same thing. Canceled automatically by their system. And they kept the fees both times. If the BTC value changes in a way that doesn't benefit them, they blame you saying a Blakeney statement that you are "high risk" they cancel your order, keep your fee, and they aren't losing anything by cancelling the transaction. They are just keeping thousands of people's fees. They don't even have a phone number. Seriously, stay away from Coinbase.

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

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    • Apr 28, 2015

      Sam

      Wow, that is pretty bad. I would guess that if the VC investors knew about their little shell game they would scream bloody murder.

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