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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  

 

IG

IG Review
Trader's rating 5
Editor's rating 4.6

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Average Spreads
Standard  $0 0.1 1:200** 0.6 pips 
DMA  $0 0.1 1:200 0.2 pips + commission $3-$5*

*commission is calculated per standard lot per side and is based on trading volume

**The IG branch in Singapore offers maximum leverage of 1:50.

 

IG offers spread betting and CFD services with the same spreads. CFD accounts are two types – Standard & DMA. The Standard one is commission-free, while the DMA account provides lower spreads, as prices are offered by liquidity providers, plus a variable commission, based on the client’s order size.

 

The broker does not offer micro lots for trade (0.01 lots), so some traders may find it difficult to manage the risks associated with high-volume trading.

 

The Company

 

Founded in London in 1974, IG (formerly IG Index) is a pioneer broker, that actually created the concept of financial spread betting. Furthermore, IG was the first spread betting firm to introduce online dealing in 1998.

 

Currently, the group of companies offers wide range of products for online trade, available on a selection of platforms: contracts for difference (CFDs) on currency pairs, indices, commodities, stocks, financial spread betting (in the UK and Ireland), as well as binary options. In 2014 the broker also introduced execution-only stockbroking in the UK and Ireland, later rolling it out to the Netherlands and Germany.

               

The IG Group also owns the North America Derivatives Exchange (Nadex), the premier and largest regulated online US exchange, offering binary options and spreads.

 

In addition, the group is listed on the London Stock Exchange and the FTSE 250. In fact, it is currently the largest forex broker listed on the LSE in terms of market capitalization.

 

Its UK head office is located in the heart of the City of London, and the group has sales offices in 15 other countries. 

 

IG is a trading name of IG Markets Ltd. and IG Index Ltd, authorized and regulated by UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). For binary bets IG Index Ltd. is also licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission.

 

Security of Funds

 

UK’s financial watchdog is famous for applying strict requirements to brokerage firms. Licensed companies are required to comply with certain rules and procedures covering client funds, order execution, minimum capital requirement of  €730 000 , regular report filing, etc. 

 

In relation to security of clients` funds, we would also like mention that FCA-regulated brokers fall under the umbrella of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects consumers up to £50,000 per person, in case the company goes bankrupt.

 

Except got the two abovementioned firms, the IG Group has units regulated by the respective authorities in a number of countries.

 

Countries of regulation Regulator
UK  FCA
Germany  BaFin
Switzerland  FINMA
Australia  ASIC
New Zealand FMA
UAE  DFSA
Japan  JFSA
Singapore  MAS

 

Trading Conditions

 

Minimum Initial Deposit

Clients of IG are not required to deposit a certain initial amount in order to open an account with IG, however they have to fund their accounts in order to initiate a trade. For instance, in order to buy 1 lot GBP/USD (1 contract is £100,000 and the margin rate is 0.5%), one has to deposit at least £500.

 

Average Spreads & Commissions

IG offers competitive low spreads, averaged to 0.6 pips on EUR/USD on commission-free accounts, and even less on DMA ones (which involve a commission). Such pricing is really good, as we find most brokers offer spreads within the range of 1.0 – 1.5 pips.

 

In comparison, FxPro offers average spreads as low as 0.4 pips on the EUR/USD for its cTrader accounts and charges $4.5 per lot. For further information, you may also check out the real-time spreads of 15 major brokers here.

 

Leverage

The maximum leverage levels offered by IG are up 1:200, which is considered average. Yet, many FCA-regulated brokers provide higher leverage ratios: FxPro, for instance, offers leverage up to 1:500.

 

We would like to remind traders that higher leverage involves higher risk, not only the probability of multiplied profits earned on a small deposit. It is a double-sided coin.

 

Trading Platforms

 

This broker offers a selection of robust platforms: its proprietary IG platform, web-based ProRealTime, a special DMA platform – L2 Dealer, as well as the industry’s standard MetaTrader 4 (MT4).

 

 

The web-based ProRealTime has customisable layout and is equipped with several charting packages, Over 100 indicators covering everything from price to volatility, automated trade options and extensive historical data.

 

For those who want full market depth with Direct Market Access (DMA) for FX, share dealing and equity CFDs, IG offers the downloadable L2 Dealer platform. It provides greater liquidity on shares trading through access to primary exchanges, market makers, brokers and MTF dark pools. With L2 Dealer, traders can place basket trades using the Excel-compatible 'Watchlist Pro' function, autotrade by using algorithms they have created in Excel and to make well-informed decisions due to the market-linked news feeds and live charts.

 

In addition, traders who are used to the good old MetaTrader 4, are able to use it with IG.

 

Methods of Payment

 

IG UK`s clients are able to make deposits and withdrawals via credit/debit cards or wire transfer. Popular e-wallets, such as BPay, China UnionPay and Paypal, are also available as payment methods with this broker.

 

Conclusion

 

Being part of a large international group with more than 40 years of experience in the industry, IG is a reliable and well-regulated broker, offering competitive conditions for trading in wide range of financial instruments on several platforms. To sum things up, here are the advantages and drawbacks with regards to IG:

 

Pros Cons
Regulated in multiple jurisdictions No micro lots available  
Competitive tight spreads Limited payment methods
No minimum initial deposit required  
Wide range of trading instruments & platforms  
Part of a large publicly listed group with more than 40 years of experience  

                                

Headquarters: 

Cannon Bridge House, 25 Dowgate Hill, London EC4R 2YA

Country: United Kingdom

Regulated by: 

FCA (UK)

Forex
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