Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. It’s known for being simple and user-friendly. It started in 2012 and according to CNBC, it has over 13 million accounts. I have been using Coinbase to move money from my bank into bitcoin and my experience has been relatively smooth.
Is it easy to use? This is where Coinbase excels. It’s clearly made for average joe trader. To create an account, I only needed my name, email address and bank info. You can also buy with credit card, but there are additional fees. It currently only has 4 currencies and there is a simple dashboard showing the price movements of each.
The dashboard also displays your balance:
You can also transfer your coin to other exchanges. You just enter the address of your destination wallet and off your coin goes (minus the obligatory transaction fee)
I did not find a lot of documentation on the website itself, but there are plenty of other guides that people have made, so just ask Google or Siri.
How safe is Coinbase? Because of the anonymity and speed of transactions, cryptocurrency is a huge target for hackers. Earlier this year, a bitcoin exchange, Youbit based out of South Korea, got hacked for $35 million worth of coin. Youbit has since shut down due to the hack. NiceHash, based in Slovenia, was hacked for $60 million. So far Coinbase has not been hacked. This is not to say that a hacker couldn’t steal your password. For this reason, I would highly recommend enabling 2-factor authentication. You download Google Authenticator on to your smartphone. Whenever you are trading your coins, Coinbase will ask you for a 6 digit code which will appear in your Google Authenticator app.
How reliable is Coinbase? This is where I think Coinbase struggles. When bitcoin prices are especially volatile, Coinbase cannot handle the volume of transactions and becomes unavailable. If you’re looking to cash out or cash in during these peak moments, you may be out of luck with Coinbase. When Coinbase added a new currency, Bitcoin Cash, earlier this month, not only was buying shut down, but there was some alleged insider trading going on in Coinbase which made the price even more volatile. Customer service is supposedly iffy at Coinbase. I haven’t had to contact customer service yet, but from looking at the lack of documentation and user guides on the site, I’m not surprised.
Overall, I think Coinbase is a convenient place to cash in and cash out of cryptocoins, I would recommend moving your coin to another exchange after you buy. It is pretty bare-bones with makes it easy to use but possibly too bare bones if you want to explore other currencies.