de | cn | ru
  VS.    

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  

 

CoinSpot

CoinSpot Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts

Account type Daily Limit Leverage Bitcoin Fee Altcoin fee
Standard $2,000/$10,000 None 2%  3% 

 

CoinSpot is one of the leading Australian cryptocurrency "gateway" companies i.e. a service which allows the purchase of crypto with fiat money. They put a lot of emphasis on domestic clients.

 

The company, security of funds

Company

Country Regulation
Casey Block Services Pty Ltd  Australia N/A

 

CoinSpot was founded in Melbourne in 2013. At the time of writing of this review they are not registered with a relevant Australian body, simply because the legislative process in the country is still in progress. You can read a brief summary of the current situation, as well as find reviews on the other major players in the space in the link below. 

 

>>Australian cryptocurrency exchanges<<

 

That being said, CoinSpot is a member of ADCA - the Australian Digital Commerce Association. This may not be a regulatory body, but it shows a long term commitment to the adoption of blockchain technology and it is viewed as a major player by its peers.

 

The company offers traders multiple wallet support, which is not the case with one of their direct counterparts CointTree. On top of that there is a mobile app which allows you to send crypto-payments on the go.

 

There aren't any reports of a massive hack, like the one experienced at Bitfinex, for CoinSpot. This is no guarantee of future security, but is still a nice sign.

 

The user reviews for CoinSpot are very mixed. Some people enjoy their service, while others are dissatisfied with the verification process, the speed of bank transfers (when selling coins) and the fees. Their service is definitely not cheaper than trading coins on some of the other exchanges, but at least they are very transparent when it comes to fees.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Over 30 coins are provided by CoinSpot. This is a very wide array, especially for a company which specializes in accepting fiat currencies. As a comparison, Coinbase offers only Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. 

 

Maximum daily volume

The initial maximum daily purchase volume at CoinSpot is $2,000. This can be increased to $10,000 a week after you have hit the first cap. While the company does not exclusively mention it, these levels are probably in Australian dollars.

 

Leverage

Leveraged trading is not supported at CoinSpot, which is quite understandable, given their targeted customers. This is simply a place from which one buys cryptocurrencies with Australian dollars. 

 

>>Forex brokers providing Bitcoin trading<<

 

It is worth mentioning, that if you are only looking to speculatively trade Bitcoin, instead of use it four transfers, another type of service may be better for you. We are talking about forever brokers, who offer cryptocurrency trading, like the industry leaders at IG. We must mention there are a few specifics to this kind of service and you should read our guide.

 

 

Fees

The fee structure at CoinSpot Is very clear, which is not the case with all companies who offer direct purchases of coins with fiat currencies. For instance the similar Dutch company Bitonic provides little information about its markups, which many users dislike.

 

CoinSpot charges between 2% (for Bitcoin) and 3% (for altcoins), when trading against the AUD and 1% for crypto to crypto trading. While the direct trading commission may be considered reasonable, 1% is high for digital asset trading. Other exchanges typically charge 0.20-0.25% for this activity.

 

>>List of all cryptocurrency exchanges we have reviewed<<

 

Additionally, the company charges fees on some AUD deposits. This varies by payment method and we will cover the details below.

 

 

Trading platform

 

CoinSpot does not provide what one would typically call a trading platform. The service has a convenient dashboard, which allows you to monitor your different wallets. It looks like this:

 

 

When buying a cryptocurrency one is greeted by a simple order-entry form, which gives you an estimate of the AUD you would have to pay for the given amount of coins. Here is a preview:

 

 

If you want to convert one coin for another, you would have to go through the sell menu. This felt very counter-intuitive, but then again you can find much better exchanges to do this (check the fees section for more information).

 

Additionally, a very simple form of charting is provided, as seen here:

 

 

The overall summary of this “platform” is that it does the job. Experienced traders will not enjoy this, but newbies will enjoy the simplicity.

 

Methods of payment

 

When depositing fiat currencies to CoinSpot, one can choose between POLi Payments, Bpay and a “cash” option, which features going to a newsagent and using Blueshyft. The fees for making a deposit are as follows:

 

POLi payments – free. 

BPAY payments – 2% fee. 

Cash payments – 3% fee. 

 

If you were to sell coins at CoinSpot, you would be funded via Bank Transfer. The company will not charge you anything for that, but the bank may. The actual cost and speed of the transfer will depend on the bank you use.

 

Conclusion

 

CoinSpot is an Australian cryptocurrency exchange, which allows trading against the AUD. They are a well known company, which is respected in the local Bitcoin community. The entire service is very beginner-friendly, but this comes at a cost. While the fees for fiat to crypto trading are acceptable, trading one coin for another comes at much higher rate than with other exchanges. This feels like a solid Australian entry level company, but active traders will prefer dealing with another exchange. Here is a summary: 

 

Pros   Cons
No major hacks yet Slow bank withdrawal times
Multiple payment methods (for AU clients) High crypto to crypto fees
A lot of altcoins supported Focused on Australia (only a con if you are non-AU)
Easy to use interface  

 

Forex
de | cn | ru