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Coinbase

Coinbase Review
Trader's rating 2.8
Editor's rating 4.1

Our Experience

 

When testing the direct purchasing service, provided by Coinbase, we were relatively satisfied. After entering our debit card details it was saved as a payment method. We must notе that our card was 3D-secured, which appears to be a mandatory condition. Having your card stored in the website, as opposed to having to enter the details a second time (which is the case with some websites, dealing with external payment providers) is a huge benefit.

 

Here is a preview of the order screen:

The commission charged was slightly lower than the maximum of 4%, and we had full price transparency. When compared to the 8%, charged by Bitstamp (for direct card purchases), this is obviously preferable. The rate at which we bought Bitcoin was around €14 off the current market price, at GDAX. This is quite reasonable considering the fact we are talking about a volatile asset, trading around  €6,500 at the time of purchase. We tried comparing it with the rate provided by other exchanges, but the price differences (especially since we are talking about EUR trading) were much wider.

 

Trading Accounts

 

 

Account type Initial weekly limit Leverage Fees
Standard €325 None Up to 4%

 

Coinbase is one of the leading US companies in the world of crypto currencies. It operates two separate brands. One of them is Coinbase, a more retail consumer oriented platform for buying Bitcoin with fiat currencies, much like Bitstamp. On the other hand, GDAX (Global Digital Asset Exchange) is a more advanced crypto currency trading platform. This review will be focused on Coinbase.

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Coinbase USA NY BitLicense

 

Coinbase operates out of the US, with many subsidiaries around the world. It was the third company to be awarded the New York BitLicense. The story behind this license is quite controversial. In short, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) wanted to make the Big Apple a “Bitcoin trading hub”, much how it is one of the major centers of traditional finance. The idea, dating from 2015 wasn’t met with much enthusiasm by the leading companies, as many of them preferred to avoid application. Among the dozen who did, Coinbase obtained the license in January of 2017. The entire process is apparently so time (and effort) consuming, a lot of other major players opted out of it, which makes the license borderline useless. 

 

When it comes to crypto exchanges, hacking is an important topic. That being said there haven’t been any major hacks at Coinbase, although numerous individual cases have been reported. Some involve the hackers going past the two-factor authentication barrier, which one would believe to be very secure.

 

As we mentioned above, Coinbase is the retail-oriented brand of the company. As such it accepts fiat currencies and allows an instant purchase of several coins (more on the list, later). The vast majority of user complaints against Coinbase involve the size of the commission fees which the company charges. They vary by region and payment method, but go as high as 4%.

 

In 2018, Coinbase acquired an e-money license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which allows it to provide payment services in the UK and issue e-money. Abiding by the FCA requirements, Coinbase will be keeping clients in segregated funds and will observe operational standards on par with the other regulated financial institutions.

 

Additionally, Coinbase is backed by a lot of investors, including major players in “traditional finance”. This is another factor which fans of the decentralized aspect of crypto currencies do not enjoy. 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Only a few coins are available at Coinbase, but they are the majors – Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Don’t forget this is an entry-level service, which is aimed at people who are not that familiar with the world of crypto currencies. If you would like to buy less known coins (or altcoins), you could do that at another exchange, after transferring your newly acquired BTC/ETH/LTC there.

 

Weekly Limits

After verifying your e-mail, telephone, ID and credit card, at Coinbase, you can beginning purchasing coins. Our initial limit was €325 per week (via Credit Card). This may vary for you, based on your location (US clients will surely get a USD level). This level can be increased after you reach the maximum and some time has passed. This is done as a security measure and one should not feel frustrated about it.

 

Leverage

Coinbase does not offer margin trading. This is the more accepted practice, when dealing with crypto currencies. The forex brokers who offer Bitcoin trading, on the other hand mostly provide CFDs on it and margin trading is allowed. For a full comparison of trading crypto currencies on an exchange and with a forex broker read this post

 

Fees

The commission structure at Coinbase is one of its criticisms. If you decide to deposit via Credit Card, for instance, you can buy your chosen coin directly. While this may appear to be convenient, it comes at a price – for most countries the commission fee on such a purchase can go as high as 4%. 

 

Alternatively, you can fund your account with fiat currencies, which you can then use to trade. In that case the fees are set at 1.5%, which is pretty high. However if trading is what you are looking for, the company’s other brand – GDAX (as well as many others) are alternatives.

 


Trading platform

 

Coinbase does not provide a platform, as much as it offers an interface similar to an online banking application. Here is an overview (click to zoom-in):

 

 

There is a basic chart in the top section, allowing you to switch between the three supported instruments and multiple timeframes. On the bottom you have a column with all of your wallets with the company as well as a transaction history column. Overall, it doesn’t get any simpler than this. That being the case, we must reiterate, this is only the “real-money payments” brand of the company, while a more dedicated platform is also available at GDAX.

 

Methods of payment

 

When it comes to the methods of payment available at Coinbase, they include Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card and PayPal (only for US clients). While we discussed the transaction fees above, it’s worth pointing out that no additional fees are charged for crypto currency transfers to other exchanges or wallets.

 

Conclusion

 

Coinbase is one of the major players in the crypto currency space. The company is focused on allowing people who are not familiar with Bitcoin and allows them an easy way of acquiring crypto currencies. While there isn’t any trading platform to speak of, the company has another brand (GDAX) which provides exactly that. We feel it would be much better for Coinbase to honestly state their trading fees are higher, but you can use your account at their other platform, in a big banner upon account cration. Here are Coinbase’s pros and cons: 

 

Pros

Cons

New York BitLicense Few altcoins available
No major hacks yet High trading fees
Accepts Bank Transfers and Credit Cards  
Easy to use interface  
Ability to transfer crpyto to wallet  

 

BTCBOX

BTCBOX Review
Trader's rating 0
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts & Conditions

Account type Leverage Maker Fee Taker Fee Deposit Fee
Standard 1:3* 0%** 0%** Free

*margin is not granted instantly.
**only applies for BTC trading. There is a 0.20% fee on altcoin trading.



BTCBOX is a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange. They operate from the domain btcbox.co.jp and should not be confused with btcbox.in – a platform which supposedly provides “free Bitcoin”, but has received multiple negative reviews. The distinction is quite important as the Japanese exchange appears to be a very reputable one.



 
BTCBOX Advantages



FSA Licensed
– BTCBOX is the eight cryptocurrency company to be overseen by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA). This brings a lot of credibility to their offer, as not a lot of Bitcoin exchanges are regulated by a reputable financial watchdog. They also provide information about the actual company behind the project and their banking partners. While this sounds natural for a regulated company, it isn’t always the case with shadier trading venues. Two-factor verification is also provided.


 
Decent fees, BTC is free – trading Bitcoin at BTCBOX comes without any costs. That being said, altcoin traders will be charged a 0.20% fee. This applies both for market “makers” (the people who place passive orders in the book) and “takers” (the ones who buy or sell at the best price available). This is pretty much the standard at this point in time – not too high, but also not too low, when compared to the competition.


No deposit fees
– there are no deposit fees on blockchain transfers to BTCBOX. Additionally the company does not charge anything extra on bank transfers. While certain costs will be involved in either form of deposit (be they mining or banking), the company does not take anything extra.



1:3 in leverage
– BTCBOX is one of the few exchanges to facilitate margin trading. However, according to company policy each trader willing to borrow coins will have to be processed manually. This means it could be hours or even day before you are approved to receive it. This can definitely be an issue for aggressive traders, who are willing to jump on a chart setup. They will be much better suited with a forex broker.



 
>>Leveraged BTC trading<<




As you may already know a lot of these more traditional financial companies have started providing Bitcoin (and altcoin) trading. This is achieved via CFDs, which is slightly different than setting up a cryptocurrency exchange. In essence you only speculate with the price of the given coin, without owning it. For more information, check the full guide.




Japanese banking support – BTCBOX accepts Japanese Yen deposits. This makes them a great entry-level exchange for the locals.



>>Buy Bitcoin with a credit card<<



Two trading platforms – trading at this exchange is done via two interfaces. One of them is rather simple and rather nice. Additionally, a more “professional” version is also available. It offers solid charting and is arranged even more conveniently. Here is the preview (click to zoom in):
 



 

BTCBOX Disadvantages


Focus on Japan – while English and Chinese versions of the website, this is still an exchange primarily oriented towards Japan. We are not certain if the support will be up to par with the one provided by other companies (although basically everyone has received negative comments on this point).



Margin is not instant – the fact margin has to be provided to clients on an individual basis can be troubling. We haven’t tested the service, but just by reading the terms we expect delays to be quite possible.



Only four coins available – the short list of digital assets available at BTCBOX includes: BTC, BCH, LTC and ETH. Volumes on the ones other than Bitcoin are rather low.


Trading only against JPY – this is another thing limiting non-Japanese clients. It’s just company policy and there is nothing wrong with that, but we must mention it.


Withdrawal fees present – while they are small, these fees may irritate some users. The Bitcoin one is 0.001BTC.


No user reviews in English – BTCBOX doesn’t appear to be popular in the West. This is to be expected, given the previous factors.



Conclusion


BTCBOX is a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, which is regulated by the Financial Services Agency (JFSA). This makes them a much more credible company than most of the competition. They provide access to Japanese customers to the world of crypto, as they even accept bank transfers. That being said, they may not be the ideal trading venue for a foreigner.

While this is a highly regulated exchange, the world of cryptocurrencies still carries a level of risk. If you are only looking to speculate with the price of Bitcoin, doing so with a forex broker may be preferable. View the link below for more details on the way regulation for forex brokers, offering Bitcoin works.


>>Regulated Bitcoin forex brokers<<



 
Here is the summary of BTCBOX:

Pros Cons
FSA Licensed Focus on Japan
Decent fees, BTC is free Margin is not instant
No deposit fees Only four coins available
1:3 in leverage Trading only against JPY
Japanese banking support Withdrawal fees present
Two trading platforms No user reviews in English

 

Forex
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