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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  

 

BTCC

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

Trading Accounts and Conditions

 

Account type

Minimum deposit

Leverage

Maker fee

Taker fee

DAX exchange N/A N/A 0.1% 0.2% *
USD exchange 0.0001 BTC / $50 N/A 0.1% 0.1% **

 

*Wthdrawal fee of 0.001 BTC / 0.01 ETC also applies.

**Deposit and withdrawal fees also apply.

 

BTCC is the oldest and biggest cryptocurrncy exchanges in China. Although BTCChina has exited the Chinese Market in October, 2017, its other exchanges, BTCC DAX, as well as the USD exchange, are functioning.

 

BTCC offers crypto-to-crypto and fiat-to-crypto trading on different exchanges, as listed in the table above. Besides, it also offers some additional services like Physical Bitcoins (Mint), Mobi Bitcoin Wallet, and others. The good thing is, you can access both exchanges and all services through a single BTCC account. More importantly, BTCC has one of the larges mining pools globallyAt the time of writing of this review, they had mined around 3.4% of the newly created Bitcoin (for the last 24 hours) 

 

BTCC Advantages

 

Good reputation, proven security

Founded back in 2011, BTCC is the longest-running bitcoin exchange worldwide. It was the dominant player for CNY/BTC trades before it closed its China operations. It is still considered as one of the best exchanges for trading in popular digital coins like BTC, ETH, ETC and BCC.

 

BTCC has a 100% track record in security since its inception, as it has not experienced any major hacks in its long history. More than 95% of its users’ digital assets are kept in cold storage with multi-signature controls to minimize the risk and exposure to hacking.

 

Large trading volume, deep liquidity

Currently, BTCC is rated 16th by 24-hour trading volume according to the data provided by CoinMarketCap and is typically among the top 20 players in this category. This basically means that its users don’t have to worry about insufficient liquidity.

 

Supports fiat (USD) currency, and Bank Wire and credit card transfers offered

On BTCC’s USD exchange you can exchange your dollars for Bitcon, or vice versa. Supporting fiat currencies is an advantage, especially for newcomers in the cryptocurrency world, who are yet to buy some digital coins with their real money in traditional currencies. For those, using their credit card or bank account is utterly convenient.

 

>>A list of crypto-exchanges accepting credit cards<<

 

Competitive trading fees

The fees charged by BTCC are relatively competitive, amounting to 0.1% / 0.2% per trade. Typically, exchanges charge 0.20% - 0.25%. However, some of them do not charge market makers, as the latter provide exchanges with liquidity.

 

Relatively low withdrawal fee

Like most exchanges, BTCC does not charge blockchain deposits. Other than this, certain fees apply to deposits in fiat currency, as well as to withdrawals, depending on the funding method and the currency. While many exchanges charge quite hefty deposit and withdrawal fees, BTCC's commission seem relatively low:


 

 

Platform with advanced trading user face

Most cryptocurrency exchanges do not offer advanced platforms like the most popular forex and CFD trading terminal for MetaTrader 4. Nonetheless, BTCC has chosen a different approach – not only that it offers crypto-to-crypto and crypto-to-fiat trading on different exchanges, but the latter has two different interfaces – basic and professional. The advanced trading user interface offers lots of bells and whistles: wide range of technical indicators, advanced charts, add-ons, etc. Besides, there is WebSocket and FIX API available for professional clients’ trading needs. Of course, BTCC Mobile App is also offered.

 

 

BTCC’ advanced trading UI. Click to zoom in.

 

Extra Services

In addition to having one of the largest and top-rated mining pools in the world and operating several crypto-exchanges, BTCC offers a service called BTCC Mint. These are titanium coins that can be purchased with BTC and are shipped to all countries except the US.

 

BTCC also offers its Mobi Digital Currency Wallet, allowing storage, conversion, and transfer of bitcoin and more than 100 currencies, including the United States dollar, the British pound, and the euro.

 

BTCC Disadvantages

 

Not regulated

Like most crypto-exchanges, BTCC is not licensed, nor overseen by any governmental authority. So, this is no big issue.

 

If you prefer to trade in digital coins via a regulated company, we remind you that you can do that with forex brokers. Make sure you are aware of the differences between trading on an exchange and with forex brokerage beforehand.

 

>> Check out our list of regulated bitcoin forex brokers <<

 

Limited instrument portfolio

BTCC doesn’t offer a wide range of pairs for trade, choosing instead to focus on a smaller number of high-volume ones. Currently the available ones on both exchanges are: BTC/USD (constituting 70% of its overall volume), BCC/BTC, ETH/BTC, and ETC/BTC.

 

If you would rather trade in more exotic cryptocurrencies, check out Bittrexthis major US exchange offers over 190 digital assets for trade.

 

No margin trading

As a matter of fact, BTCC used to offer margin trading but discontinued this service in the beginning of 2017 after “discussions” with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). Most cryptocurrency exchanges do not offer leverage, but there are some who do, like Kraken, Quoinex and others. Besides, all forex brokers ffer leveraged trading on cryptocurrency CFDs.

 

>> Brokers offering leveraged Bitcoin trading <<

 

No anonymous trading

Since BTCC Exchange requires its users to verify their identity in order to trade in order to ensure the safety and security of the funds and activities on its platforms. Identity verification is also required in compliance with certain government AML KYC regulations. Verification process can be slow and complicated. Besides, it defies the initial idea of of Bitcoin to allow anonymous trades.

 

Conclusion

 

BTCC is the oldest Bitcoin exchange worldwide. It is highly regarded for its reliability, security, deep liquidity and the extra services it provides for its users.

 

Initially set up in Shanghai in 2011, BTCC was one of the Chinese “Big Three” along with Huobi and OkCoin. Following China’s ICO ban in the country, BTCC shut down its local division (BTCChina). BTCC DAX and BTCC USD exchanges, however, are functioning, and the company operates via its units in the UK and Hong Kong BTCC (UK Limited or XO Market Limited).

 

None of these companies is formally regulated, but this does not effect the overall reliability of BTCC. Unlike the situation with forex brokers, the legal crypto-exchanges is still unclear in most countries. The important thing is, BTCC complies with governmental instructions – its halted margin trading, and was the first among the “Big Three” to shut down its Chinese operations. More importantly, it keeps clients’ assets in cold storage and has not been hacked during its long years of operation.

 

Besides, BTCC has a lot of advantages, apart from its reliability: competitive fees, various transfer methods supported, advanced trading platform with mobile app, and some great extra services, such as top-tear mining pool.

 

Pros Cons
Many years of experience, no hacks Not regulated
Competitive trading and transfer fees A few altcoins available
Accepts bank transfers, credit cards No anonymous trading, no margin trading
USD fiat supported  
Platform with advanced features available, mobile app  
Top-tier mining pool  

 

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