Since its launch, Californian Coinbase has experienced steadily increasing adoption – and is now considered a model cryptocurrency exchange. Largely in line with a legacy exchange, Coinbase is a full-suite offering where traders can glean intel and trade digital coins, still remaining a portal accommodating fiat conversion to virtual currencies – especially appealing to novice traders.
Coinbase raised $117 million from venture capital partners to commence trading, while tentatively valued at half a million USD at the time. As one of the first professionally presented wallet-exchanges, Coinbase has grown to resemble a bustling brokerage. In spite of its limited coin offer, the exchange has grown in leaps and bounds as it has targeted the leading digital currencies from the start.
|P2P / Centralized||Central|
|Owners||Brian Armstrong, Fred Ehrsam|
|Coin Listing Process||Closed|
|Benefits||Fiat, Buy BTC|
Coinbase was established in June of 2012, making it an established exchange in the still-novel digital asset arena, with just over six years in operation.
Coinbase Trading Volumes
With daily volumes high, the company claims to be the biggest bitcoin exchange platform. A large yet well substantiated claim, the exchange’s 2017 was one of a select few whose revenues exceeded $1 billion. There remains a decided bitcoin bias, but this is becoming less a stance of the platform, but rather a simple reflection of world cryptocurrency dynamics as they currently stand. The exchange has a market capitalization of $152,579,44.
Number Of Coin Pairs On Coinbase
Twelve trading pairs only are offered by the Coinbase exchange. Bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash and litecoin are the only digital assets traded on the platform.
Who Owns Coinbase?
The Coinbase exchange is owned by Brian Armstrong, who co-founded the company with Fred Ehrsam. Ehrsam is a former Goldman Sachs employee who has now left his position at the company, although he remains on the board. Other key players in the company’s makeup are Eric Scro, VP finance, CTO Balaji Srinivasan, Product Lead Steijn Pelle and the CEO of the new Japanese office, Nao Kitazawa.
Coinbase Operating Location
Coinbase is headquartered in San Francisco, California. The company has opened offices in Japan too, and theoretically caters for any global citizen – assuming they can meet the needed requirements for registration. Officially, the company accepts users from 32 countries around the world, with USD and EUR being the preferred fiat currencies accommodated by the platform.
Coinbase’s Features, Benefits & Reputation
The exchange’s principal function is facilitating trade between the top coin pairs. Equally as importantly, the exchange was modeled on legacy exchanges, and it successfully bridges the two worlds of fiat and virtual currencies.
Features of the exchange include an intuitive and professional interface, elegantly simple layout and swift transactions. Still mostly a venue for users to buy and sell bitcoin, the exchange also offers a user wallet by default, and has taken to storing the majority of funds in a cold vault facility.
Benefits to users include familiarity – a compelling component of the offer for legacy traders – simplicity and focus. Although the exchange doesn’t list a wide variety of digital currencies, it is a highly targeted and effective platform on which to execute bitcoin buying and trading.
Coinbase has enjoyed a sterling reputation since its launch. While some enthusiasts bemoan the Wall Street origins of founders as a perversion of virtual currencies by legacy banking interests, that pedigree has rubbed off onto the exchange, which presents as a professional and sophisticated platform. The company has enjoyed a persistently warm reception over the years, and its reputation as a trustworthy fintech outfit remains.
Coinbase KYC & AML Requirements
Coinbase is unfortunately, for those who value their anonymity, an exchange that conforms to local and international AML and KYC legislation, as with any legacy exchange. Users will need to supply identification documents and a raft of personal details in order to open an account on Coinbase.
Coinbase Fiat Acceptance
The Coinbase exchange allows users to buy into listed coins using fiat currency, via legacy payment protocols. Although many digital exchanges are strictly crypto-based, Coinbase enables newcomers and seasoned investors alike to buy digital coins using fiat currencies, and the exchange also allows users to transfer fiat or make direct deposits. Users paying from a wallet, from a legacy bank account or even employing credit cards are all accommodated on the exchange.
Coinbase Trust Level
Consumer trust in the exchange is high, and Coinbase has built up a strong level of trust towards the platform as a result of countless positive client interactions.
February 2018 saw a frenzy of surcharges on users employing credit cards to trade, something Coinbase laid at Visa’s door as a fault of that payment processor. In spite of this, mostly due to prompt and transparent resolution of this particular issue, trust levels remain high as the exchange continues to grow.
Coinbase Customer Experience & Support
Support on digital exchanges has been a sore point since their advent, and the one thing many exchanges seem not to get. That said, Coinbase is in the upper echelons of customer support, and response times are lethargic – almost an accolade in the cryptosphere – but adequate, and neither abysmal nor absent, as is the case on many other exchanges.
The exchange takes a professional approach to accommodating growth. Particularly after the US regulators had resolved their legislative inputs, the company went on a hiring spree to equip itself for an anticipated influx. Overall, user comments on their experience on the exchange are positive, although negative commentary abounds nonetheless.
Coinbase Security History
The Coinbase platform has never been hacked, although users frequently fall victim to phishing scams. This is a common phenomenon in the cryptosphere, but the company has no control over user behavior beyond a certain point and is thus not liable for instances where users succumb to a phishing attempt.
Coinbase’s security reputation remains untarnished and the company has also taken to “cold vaulting” the majority holdings of the exchange to avoid serious loss, in the event of a successful hack.
The platform runs a “status” website that disseminates exchange intel in the form of snapshots. Aspects like the payment protocols and customer support are rated as operational or otherwise, and the information is constantly updated for users’ benefit.
Coinbase Listing Procedures
At present, no new coins are pending addition to the current Coinbase offering, although the company is constantly reviewing potential additions as prompted by users and market dynamics. An “internal asset selection committee” employs what the company calls a “Digital Asset Framework” to make recommendations on new listings. A legal and risk assessment is conducted on a prospective altcoin and, if it passes, the process of formal listing begins.
Users will notice public-facing APIs among other signs that a new asset is being listed. This is still no guarantee of listing, however, as the committee still evaluates other metrics such as price stability and liquidity before making a final decision.
From the start, Coinbase avoided trying to be all things to all people, while also kicking off with legacy-level professionalism and expectations. This approach has allowed the exchange to hit something of a sweet spot with enthusiasts, and although the offered coins remain few, the limited focus and professional rendering and operation of the exchange has seen it become one of the largest digital exchanges in the world.
In appraisal, a professional exchange backed by reputable investors, Coinbase’s claim of being the “world’s largest Bitcoin broker,” remains valid, no matter that competition is tight in the upper echelons. The exchange offers multisig security and although fees are a constant source of user complaint on any exchange, Coinbase remains competitive, if not the cheapest route to digital trading.