Coinbase

Coinbase is the biggest cryptocurrency exchange service available on the market. Since their launch in 2012, they have served over 20 million customers and exchanged over 150 billion dollars in currencies. Yes, you read that right – $150 Billion. That is almost 9 billion more than how much Jeff Bezos net worth, who happens to be the richest person in the world. That is how big Coinbase is.

If you live in any of the 33 countries that Coinbase supports including USA, Europe, Canada or the United Kingdom, you can buy Ether using the service. There are two ways to buy ether from Coinbase – use its broker type service or use the Coinbase Exchange (GDAX).

Coinbase is one of the easiest ways to buy Ethereum using a credit or debit card. Coinbase also allows bank transfer if you live in USA, Canada, Singapore, UK or Europe (regions other than Germany).

If you make a bank transfer, the fees will be 1.49 percent on the amount of ether you buy. If you buy using credit or debit card, the fees will be 3.75%. But keep in mind that credit/debit cards allow you to get instant delivery of Ether in your account while bank transfers take as long a 7 days to deliver the cryptocurrency in your account.

Delivery duration upon making bank transfer:
People living in the USA can get their cryptocurrency delivered in 7 days. The time is so long because of the slow ACH banking system.

Those who live in Canada can receive their cryptocurrency within one or two days. The same delivery time applies for those living in UK or Europe, provided that they use the SEPA transfer to deposit to their account.

Safety Concerns

People are not sure of cryptocurrency when it comes to safety. Well, the primary reason is, a lot of things can go wrong over the internet. Someone can always sneak into the company’s algorithms and find the sensitive data.

But with Coinbase, you don’t have to worry because it is considered very secure in the crypto community. The company has worked with regulators to foster trust and transparency among its users. After the Mt. Gox Collapse in which over $1 billion worth of assets were lost, the company made sure that the users could trust their service despite the turmoil in the market.

What makes Coinbase even more trustworthy is that several big names have invested in the company, including the Bank of Tokyo and BBVA. In addition to this, Coinbase is transparent about how it stores funds. On their website, Coinbase makes it clear that funds from their customers are stored in custodial bank accounts. And if insolvency were to happen, customer funds will remain untouched both by Coinbase owners and its creditors. You might be surprised to know that 98 percent of customer funds are stored offline in hardware wallets and paper wallets which are stored in vaults and safety deposit boxes worldwide. And the rest of the 2% of customer funds stored online are insured. So if a security breach were to occur, you will get your funds through the company’s insurance claim.

Although there is enough level of security measures taken by the company, but you also need to take some measures yourself. Your Coinbase account is secured through a 2-factor authentication method. Either a SMS is sent to your phone or the authentication is done through apps like Google Authenticator or Duo. If a new device or IP address tries to access your Coinbase account, you get a notification. After all these authentication measures, if your account is compromised, Coinbase will not be liable for loss of funds. This is the reason you should store your crypto coins in an offline wallet, which cannot be compromised.

Server Downtime

Coinbase gets 34 million visits a month. It is clear that it has a huge responsibility on its shoulders to serve million of customers. For whatever reasons, the website shuts down from time to time, when there is a hike in bitcoin price or the usage soars to a high number. When downtime is a rare occurrence, you don’t complain. Unfortunately, the website is down more often than anyone would like it to. So this is something you should consider before using their service.

The increasing prices of bitcoin, the increasing number of people becoming a part of the cryptocurrency world and market movements cause the company’s servers to give up. The question is, will you join the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange service even though it shuts down from time to time?

Account Monitoring

Unwanted surveillance has been a huge concern in the United States. Nobody likes to be watched over their shoulder. Unfortunately, reports reveal that Coinbase tracks where the customers spend their cryptocurrency. It can use this information for preventive measures such as banning customers from buying gambling credit or making darknet purchases.

In a recent court order, Coinbase gave data of 13,000 users to the IRS, so that the IRS could know which of Coinbase users were evading cryptocurrency taxes. Many cryptocurrency buyers buy it as an investment not as an exchange or gaming credit service. To know more about how the government wants to regulate cryptocurrency, read this article by the Mises Institute that tells why IRS went after Coinbase.

Coinbase Shift Card

If you are a coinbase user, you can get a Shift card to spend the cryptocurrency in your account in any store or shop, but limited to certain U.S. states and territories. The good thing is that there is no transaction fees or conversion fees for cryptocurrency to USD conversion. This Shift Card is a Visa card made only for Coinbase customers. When you buy this Shift Card, it will cost you ten dollars. But after, that there are no transaction costs.

Transaction Limits

You can check your account transaction limits on your account page. Transactions are also limited by which payment method you are using and what is your verification status. You can also apply for higher transaction limits, but this increase in limits usually doesn’t happen for credit card transactions. After thorough identity verification, U.S. residents can buy/sell up to fifty thousand dollars per week and European users can have thirty thousand dollars maximum in their account at any time.

Customer Support

You can reach Coinbase support staff through email. They also have online help documentation available on their website and a list of Frequently Asked Questions. The average response time for queries comes out to be 24 to 72 hours. The service is in huge demand, so these response times are good enough. Although response time is good, sometimes the response you get is “canned” and not helpful to your specific problem.

Before you decide to buy from Coinbase, go through its pros and cons:

Pros

  • Easy and quick way to buy Ether in 33 countries. Regions include U.S., Canada, UK and Europe
  • The web interface is well organized and user friendly
  • Easy to use, even for beginners
  • 98% funds are stored in cold storage (hardware wallets) and only 2% are stored online, which are insured too.
  • Trusted brand: Many people trust Coinbase for buying all kinds of cryptocurrencies. It is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchange and operating since 2012.

Cons

  • New rules may pose limitations for American customers who want to buy using credit card
  • Its support isn’t very responsive, has mixed reviews

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