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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  

 

QRYPTOS

QRYPTOS Review
Trader's rating 2.1
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Maker Fee Taker Fee
Standard Undisclosed Unknown -0.075% 0.15%

QRYPTOS is the second brand operated by QUOINE (with QUOINEX being the main product they are famous for). While this may seem curious to those who aren't familiar with the crypto space, there is a simple reason for running two companies – they offer different services. Their first project is aimed at cash to cryptocurrency transactions, while QRYPTOS focuses on exchanging one digital asset for another. The situation is very similar to the one at Coinbase and GDAX.

 

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
QUOINE Pte. Ltd Japan/Singapore/Vietnam JFSA

 

QRYPTOS is owned QUOINE Pte. Ltd., a company with offices in Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.  When it comes to their viability as an exchange, they are regulated by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA). This is more than what most competitors in the crypto-space can claim.

 

QUOINE was founded in 2014 and their latest project, QRYPTOS is even younger. A lot of its features, like the mobile apps are still under development. We will update this review, once major changes occur. 

 

Substantial hacks have not yet occurred at either of the companies operated by QUOIN. That being said, we must mention the most notable case of a technical issue, experienced by the parent company. One of their largest traders (the firm B2C2) made a $3.7 million profit, after allegedly “exploiting a glitch” in the QUOINEX trading software. The transaction(s) were later reverted, leading to a lawsuit. Not much is known about the details of this event. For the sake of clarity we must mention, this whole saga happened before the company received the JFSA regulatory approval.

 

As the QRYPTOS project is fairly new, there also aren't that many user reviews.

 

Trading conditions

 

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Quite a few coins are available at QRYPTOS. The full list includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, Monero, Zcahs, Sellar, Dash, Augur and NEM (13 trading pairs in total). While the selection isn't as big as the one provided by Bittrex, for instance, it is still very solid.

 

Minimum initial deposit

We didn't have information about the minimum deposit at QRYPTOS. On the other hand, forex brokers usually provide this freely. As an example, one of the world's leading FCA-regulated brokers (which also offers Bitcoin and Ethereum trading) IG doesn't have an entry bar. One can open an account with the company for as little as she wants. For a full comparison of the two different services, read this post.

 

 

Leverage

There is no information on the leverage available at QRYPTOS. The company’s other brand QUOINEX offers a 1:25 ratio, but a lot fewer products (and a different fee structure, more on that later). We are unaware if this functionality will be integrated with QRYPTOS. Keep in mind, cryptocurrencies tend to be a lot more volatile than traditional ones, where forex brokers offer amazing leverage levels, such as 1:500.

 

 

Fees

The main way of attracting volume to the QRYPTOS exchange is the fee structure. While a lot of exchanges offer slightly better conditions for market makers, going into negative territory I.e. paying rebates for providing volume is usually reserved for the big traders. QRYPTOS offers a 0.075% rebate for everybody who provides liquidity on their platform. The taker fee is a very competitive 0.15%. In effect the company is giving 50% of its profit to the passive traders.

 

Before you think, you can become a liquidity provider at QRYPTOS and make money without taking any risk, we will have to clarify how exchanges work. A market “maker” (not to be confused with a forex market maker) is a trader who places pending orders on the exchange, hence filling the “order book”. A taker is anybody who sends a market order, entering directly at the best possible price. If you decide to be a liquidity provider, who simply aims to profit from the buying and selling of others, you will still be taking a significant market risk. Whenever a swift market move occurs, your will be taking the other side. On top of that the field is very competitive, with a lot of algo players.

 

Trading platform

 

The platform provided by QRYPTOS is web-based, with mobile apps promised for the future. Traders can fully customise the layout to their preference, but the main limitation of browser platforms still applies – everything must be in the same window. When it comes to the charting, one can choose between the charts provided by either TradingView or Cryptowatch. Here is a preview of the default layout:

 

 

As you can see from the picture, the charts aren’t properly configured yet, or the trading activity is rather minimal. Additionally they have maintained one of the features from QRYPTOEX, which we didn’t like – the order book is still placed vertically. As far as our tinkering with the platform, we couldn’t find a way to make it appear better. That being said, this still a fairly new project, so such things should not be surprising. 

 

Methods of payment

QRYPTOS only accepts cryptocurrency transfers. They are possible in all of the coins, which the company supports. On top of that, you can use your QUOINEX account as a means of depositing money with the company.

 

 

Conclusion

QRYPTOS is the second brand operated by the JFSA-regulated company QUOINEX. While their initial project QUOINEX is oriented towards attracting new people to the cryptocurrency space, this one is for the more experienced traders. With 13 trading pairs this exchange offers some alternatives, but is by no means an altocoin heaven. The entire QRYPTOS project is still in its early days, and we will update this review, once more information is available.

 

Pros Cons
JFSA Regulation Not enough user feedback yet
No major hacks yet Not that many altcoins available 
Competitive commissions (including rebates) The order book is placed vertically (as in QUOINEX)
Customizable trading platform   
Several trading instruments  

 

Forex
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