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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  • 24 out 24 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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  • 21 out 21 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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  • 20 out 20 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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  • 18 out 18 people found this review helpful

    Zero support

    • Washington,
    • Jun 30, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    $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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  • 18 out 18 people found this review helpful

    Worst Customer Service on the Planet

    • Fairfax, VA,
    • Jul 8, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 17 out 18 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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  • 14 out 17 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.

    • Dec 1, 2017

      Maddie

      And what makes you believe Rita wasn’t the thief? I don’t mean to point fingers but you cannot simply blame a company. It could be anyone’s fault, including your own. It is a simple rule and your own responsibility, to first confirm the legitimacy of any phone numbers etc., and to be sure not to type any personal details unless it has been reviewed and confirmed that it is safe to do so.

      I would never donate such a large amount to just anyone without first ensuring that the company or person, will DEFINITELY receive my donation. I would ensure I took all the steps to prevent theft. Even if it meant for me to transfer the CryptoCurrencies into my own account first, and then donating that way. Not just handing it all over to someone just because they are the school director. Sorry to say this, it is no one else’ fault but your own.

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  • 16 out 16 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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  • 16 out 19 people found this review helpful

    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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