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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  

 

QUOINEX

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

Trading accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fees
Standard Undisclosed 1: 25 0.25%*

*While the company claims to offer 0% fees for Japanese clients, the situation is not that clear for the rest. Go to the fees section of the review for more details.

QUOINEX (which stands for QUOINE Exchange) is a relatively new competitor in the cryptocurrency space. The company behind this project operates two brands – one focused on accepting fiat currency deposits (this one) and another one for digital asset trading (QRYPTOS). This is similar to the business model used by Coinbase/GDAX and OKCoin/OKEX.



The company, security of funds

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

 

QUOINE Pte. Ltd is the company behind QUOINEX. They operate from offices in Japan, Singapore and Vietnam, but more importantly they recently got the regulatory approval of the JFSA. This brings a lot of credibility to the exchange, as regulated entities are few in the crypto-space.



QUOINE was founded in 2014 and later received substantial funding. The company’s founders Mike Kayamori and Mario Gomez-Lozada have substantial experience in the “traditional” business world, which also makes the project sound better.



While there weren’t any major hacks at QUOINEX, we must mention the most famous case of a conflict with a client. The cryptocurrency market-maker B2C2 is currently suing the company after a canceled a major transaction. Reports state, B2C2 made around $3.7 million on a trade/s, which was/were allegedly executed at a price which was very distant from the current market price. QUOINEX claimed this was an abuse of a technical issue, and reverted the deals. We can’t clearly state which side of the argument is right, but we must mention this incident occurred before the company was regulated by the Japanese financial watchdog.



There aren’t many English reviews on QUOINEX, but a lot of them are fairly negative. The complaints are mostly on slow withdrawal process and high fees on deposits (which are not charged by the company, but by the partnering banks). 



Trading conditions


 
Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)
The cryptocurrencies available at QUOINEX are only Bitcoin and Ethereum, while more altcoins are available at QRYPTOS. More importantly, trading can be done against a lot of fiat currencies: USD, JPY, EUR, AUD, SGD, HKD, IDR and PHP. On top of that there are three types of trading: spot (without leverage), margin and futures. The latter can be quite tricky, so we don’t recommend it to beginners.


 
Minimum initial deposit
There is no information on the minimum deposit requirement at QUOINEX. This is not usually the case with the forex brokers, which we mostly cover. As an example FXCM requires $50 for the creation of a new account.


 
Leverage
QUOINEX offers leverage up to 1:25. This is one of the highest levels available for cryptocurrency trading, which should be used wisely. As you may know forex brokers usually offer even higher ratios, like 1:500. This is due to the fact traditional currencies are much less volatile than Bitcoin.

 

Be sure to fully understand the ways margin trading operates before participating in it. One must also be aware of the differences between trading Bitcoin with a forex broker and an exchange, one of which is the margin fee, applied by some exchanges. In the case of QUOINEX, the fee is set at 5%.


 
Fees
There are no fees on trading with your “base currency pair” at QUOINEX. When trading with against other currencies the fees go as high as 0.25% which is in line with the industry standards.



Your account’s “base currency pair” will be determined on your country of residence. All of the examples given at the website, state you will trade with zero fees, if you are based in Japan. That being the case, there isn’t total clarity on the fees, if you are not a Japanese client. Here is a screenshot of their fee structure (zoom-in to see the explanation in the bottom):




 
 

Trading platform


 
QUOINEX provides a web-based trading solution. They are one of the few companies, which offers a demo account. Here is what you get, after registering one:





The charting seems very solid and reminiscent of the package provided by bitFlyer. On the left side of the chart, we can see a nice order entry panel followed by the order book and tape. The latter two are surprisingly placed above one another. This is very counter-intuitive to seasoned traders.


 
Methods of payment


 
QUOINEX accepts bank transfers in multiple currencies. We must note, the processing times for the more exotic ones are fairly longer. Additionally, transfers in Bitcoin or Ethereum are also accepted. The lack of credit card or e-wallet (servies like PayPal or Netteler) support will tun away some potential new clients.


 
Conclusion


 
QUOINEX is a cryptocurreny exchange, which is regulated by the JFSA. The company accepts Bank Transfers, which makes it a competitor in the “entry service provider” category. Commissions are competitive, despite a lack of clarity on the “0% fees” for non-Japanese clients. The trading platform feels solid, although the positioning of the order books and tape is a bit odd. Here are the pros and cons of QUOINEX:

 

Pros Cons
JFSA Regulation No altcoins available (ex. ETH)
No major hacks yet Some negative user reviews
Accepts Bank Transfers Odd positioning of some elements of the trading platform
Competitive commissions  
Relatively nice trading platform   
Allows margin trading and futures     


 

Forex
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