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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  

 

Forex.com US

Forex.com US Review
Trader's rating 5
Editor's rating 5

 

Trading Accounts & Conditions

 

Account type Min. deposit Min. trade size Max. leverage Average Spreads
Standard $50 0.01 1:50 1.4 pips 

 

Leading US broker Forex.com offers a single account type on several trading platforms. The broker provides commission-free trading with variable spreads and the option to use micro lots.

 

In addition, Forex.com offers swap-free accounts to investors of Islamic belief, as well as free demo ones for 30 days after sign up.

 

 

Forex.com (US) Advantages

 

Regulated in the US and other countries

Forex.com belongs to the Gain Capital group. Gain Capital meets high standards of corporate governance, financial reporting and disclosure. The parent company of the major FX brand Forex.com, GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:GCAP)  is a registered Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA).

 

Besides, its subsidiaries are properly licensed in the countries of their operation: 

 

Company Country Regulation
GAIN Capital Group, LLC USA NFA, CFTC
Forex.com UK Limited UK FCA
GAIN Capital FOREX.com Australia Pty Limited Australia  ASIC
Forex.com Canada Limited Canada  ILLROC
GAIN Capital Group (Hong Kong) Limited  Hong Kong SFC
GAIN Capital Japan Ltd.  Japan FFAJ

 

Apart from Forex.com, Gain Capital Group is operating the brands City Index, GTX, Gain Capital, FinSpreads, and others.

 

The largest broker in the US

Not only that Forex.com is regulated in the United States, but it is actually the largest forex broker in the country. After FXCM has left the US market, Forex.com became the undeniable leading provider of financial services in the US.

 

Actually, a very few brokers have remained active on the strictly regulated US market: Oanda, Interactive Brokers, and TD Ameritrade.

 

Competitive spreads

Forex.com offers commission-free trading with variable spreads, the average ones on EUR/USD amounting to 1.4 pips, which is a rather competitive pricing. By comparison, the cost of trading at Oanda, another US broker, is exactly the same.

 

Low minimum investment required

In order to open an account with Forex.com, one has to invest just $50. Almost everyone can afford such an investment.

 

Several top-notch trading platforms available

Leading US broker Forex.com offers a single account type on several trading platforms. The broker provides commission-free trading with variable spreads and the option to use micro lots.

 

Actually, this piece of trading software is as sophisticated and customizable as the MT4. Its professional-grade trading tools include top-notch interactive charting with more than 100 predefined indicators, as well as the option to create some of your own. There are also a number of Integrated trading strategies, which are also customizable. Besides, users can code their own trading strategies (in C++), there is a back-testing excel tool available, and signals trading. Here is a snapshot of the platform:

 

Click on the image to zoom-in.

 

Some of the new functionalities of the platform after a recent update include powerful charts with integrated one-click trading, smart trade ticket with advanced risk management option, pre-defined and customizable layouts, and more. 

   

Various payment methods, fast withdrawals

Yet another thing we like about Forex.com (US) is the fact that it support several convenient payment methods, and namelY Debit Card, Wire Transfer, ACH and Checks. What is even more important from a client's point of view, withdrawals are processed pretty fast – within 48 hours.

 

Bonuses available

Last but not least, Forex.com (US) offers cash rebates for high volume traders. The latter are able to get rebates up to $10 per million traded. 

 

 

Forex.com (US) Disadvantages

 

Leverage capped to 1:50

Actually, this is not a weak side of the broker itself, but a legal requirement in the US. Brokers operating in the country are not allowed to provide leverage of more than 1:50, and Forex.com simply complies with the regulatory requirements. 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Forex.com (US) is the largest US broker and one of the few actively operating in the country. A market leader offering trading in more than 80 forex pairs and CFDs, it has serviced over 200,000 customers globally.

 

The US broker is a part of the Gain Capital group – a leading forex brokerage with global presence. All members of the Gain Capital family are duly regulated by the respective governmental agencies, including Forex.com (US). It is registered with the CFTC and a member of NFA. US regulation is one of the strictest, which is a good thing in terms of investor protection, however some of the rules imposed are considered too restrictive.

 

For example, Brokers registered with the NFA are required to maintain a net capital of at least $20 million to guarantee customers’ positions, which is the highest minimum capital requirement worldwide. Moreover, hedging is not allowed and leverage is limited to 1:50, as we already mentioned above.

 

Now, let’s sum up the strong and weak sides of Forex.com (US):

 

Pros Cons
A global leading broker Leverage capped at 1:50
Solid regulation  
Competitive spreads, commission-free  
Several trading platforms, including MT4  
Low min. deposit required  

 

Forex
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