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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73 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:  66
Bottom Line: 7% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 73
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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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  • 7 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Horrible Experience with Coinbase

    • Jul 13, 2015

    I tried to call them after the credits of .39 and .04 to my account were made and the person I spoke to on chat (because they do not have an active phone number), was rude and told me that they are doing just fine. I am pasting the comments that were said. For some reason my comments are now gone. However, I did tell him that I thought it was bad business to not have a phone number where we can speak to an actual person since they deal with bank accounts and money.

    Joe: 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 $75 million 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.

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

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    • Apr 28, 2015

      Sam

      Wow, you have got to be kidding me. If their investors knew what they were up to my guess is, they would be pissed.

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Mt. Gox II? No, Bernie Madoff II

    • Jul 21, 2015

    I've filed reports with the FTC and the BBB, but, briefly - the lowest level employee has access to ALL your personal information, MORE than you give them. A middle name from my connected bank account was referred to in an online chat, when one of the INFINITE bugs and errors in their system prevented me from making a timely transaction.

    When I said I was reporting them to the FTC, my right, I was the recipient of threats and vile language. When I looked at the log of this chat system, the threats had been edited out.

    This same employee, committing internal fraud, remember, has access to ALL the information in your bank account, AND, if you are stupid enough to send them, copies of your IDs, too (they may commit fraud again and say this is not so, but the security company's own website says they send all the information from your ID to their clients, such as Coinbase.)

    But why stop there? At some point in their site they say that if there is a problem with a transfer, they may take the funds from your bitcoin wallet. Whatever kind of hacked wallet they have created, it would seem to violate one of the most basic tenets of bitcoin. If they company can take your funds, whenever it's in the mood, so can the employee who fraudulently changed the chat record, threatened me for saying I would tell the feds, and swore at me, or, for that matter, any hacker in Russia.

    So, Mt. Gox II? No - Bernie Madoff 2. Behind their slick website is a monster that will eat up all your money and shit it out its back end. Stay away.

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

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase will not withdraw my money

    • Chicago, IL,
    • Jul 19, 2015

    I withdrew over $3,000 from my Coinbase account, and I accidentally had it sent to an old bank account that was closed. My bank returned the ACH direct deposit back to Silicon Valley Bank (the bank that processed the ACH direct deposit). This was two weeks ago. Since then, Coinbase has not returned the funds back into my account nor sent my funds to my new bank account which I linked to my Coinbase account. I wrote several helpdesk tickets since last week, and only got two responses, both stating that a supervisor would contact me. I have yet to hear from a supervisor. If I had Coinbase's phone number, this would be a lot easier. I am very distraught at the moment of the possibility of Coinbase being dishonest and not returning my funds to me. If there's anyone that can help me out with my situation, please advise. Thank you.

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

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Poor support

    • Aug 14, 2015

    Don't get locked out of your account because there is no support to recover it in a timely manner and you are just SOL.

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

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  • 11 out 11 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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  • 12 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase STOLE my money.

    • Dec 12, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    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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  • 17 out 17 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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