Coinbase is a San Francisco headquartered company founded in June 2012. Besides being a convenient platform for cryptocurrency trading, it doubles up as your digital wallet which has helped them gain over 10 million users over time. Moreover, the client base is increasing by an average of 1 million every month. There are more than 30 million registered cryptocurrency wallets on the platform.
Coinbase also owns GDAX (Global Digital Asset Exchange), the exchange platform for professional traders.
Go to Coinbase and click on 'Sign Up' in the upper-right corner of your screen:
The sign up is pretty simple and takes only a few minutes. You will be required to enter the following: your first name and last name, your e-mail, and a password.
You will also be asked to confirm that you are over 18 years of age. Click on 'Create Account'. Then confirm your email address using the link sent to your email as usual.
Coinbase follows KYC (Know Your Customer) policy. You have to verify your account to buy bitcoin with credit cards or bank transfers. You can use a government ID or your Driver's License for verification
If you want to not just use the wallet, but also trade on the platform, the company's verification is a little more diligent — you will be required to confirm your identity immediately after registration. You will be asked to indicate your address of residence and place of work. US residents will need to enter the last 4 digits of their SSN. Users are also required to provide the sources of income they are planning on using for trading. Possible answers are mining, earnings, or investments.
Types of Verification:
- Government ID
Coinbase's interface is simple and easy to use. Since only three cryptocurrencies are supported (BTC, ETH, LTC), there's not too much information displayed here.
After logging in, a user will usually see a page with a chart:
As it was mentioned before, you have options to choose between three currencies. Depending on the country indicated during sign-up procedure, prices would be indicated in the related fiat (USD for USA, GBP for UK, etc). There is also a percentage change for each digital asset. You can change the timescale of the chart easily anywhere from the previous hour to all-time on the top right.
Below the charts, there is a balance sheet with all your digital and fiat assets under 'Your Portfolio':
Through the 'Settings' page you can adjust your preferences like your security settings, 2-Factor Authentication, payment methods or edit your personal data as usual.
After verification, you can easily convert your local currency into a digital asset. For residents of the United States, Europe, UK, Australia, and Canada (more here: https://support.coinbase.com/customer/en/portal/topics/796531-payment-methods/articles) you can deposit using Credit/Debit Cards.
Credit/Debit Card (3D-Secure) Credit and debit cards can only be used to buy digital currency (like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin). Coinbase only accepts Visa, MasterCard, and Maestro cards with 3D secure authentication support.
But to withdraw your funds, you need to bind the bank account to your account on the exchange. Usually it takes up to 4 days to verify your bank account.
A bank account that accepts SEPA payments is necessary to withdraw funds out of Coinbase. You can withdraw funds from your EUR wallet into this account.
All the abovementioned could be done via 'Payment Methods' page under 'Settings'
All your digital wallets can be found through 'Accounts' tab as shown below:
Here you can transfer you digital currency whereever you want to; click on 'Receive' button near required wallet. Afterwards the following page should appear:
Coinbase provides users with a mobile application for their wallets. Scan the code with your phone or copy the address of the wallet, in case you are at computer. Just remember, sending a digital asset to a wallet intended for another digital asset will result in permanent loss. So please don't ask someone to send BTC to your ETH wallet!
The exchange operates only with three major currencies: Bitcoin, Lightcoin and Ethereum — all of them can be both bought and sold. Trading on the Coinbase platform is straightforward too. Go to the trade page named 'Buy/Sell' and enter the desired amount. Specify the wallet where coins will be credited and confirm the operation by clicking on 'Buy'.
The sale process is similar to buying and occurs on the 'Sell' tab.
For supported countries and payment methods, you can sell or 'cash out' your digital assets for your local currency and have the proceeds deposited in your local currency wallet, which can then be withdrawn to your linked bank account.
More information about Coinbase Pricing & Fees Disclosures can be found here: https://support.coinbase.com/customer/portal/articles/2109597-buy-sell-bank-transfer-fees
If you already have an account on Coinbase, you don't have to spend much time creating a new one at https://www.gdax.com. Since GDAX is operated by Coinbase, all you have to do hit Sign In and login with your Coinbase credentials.
After logging in, the main page should look like some sort of a professional software for trades. Don't be frightened, after a couple of minutes, you will realize how minimalistic and user-friendly it is.
Getting access to full account functionality
Unfortunately, your account functionality is restricted from deposits, trading, balances and wallets according to the GDAX account policy. You can't even change settings or personal information about the account. In order to obtain complete functionality, you have to enable 2-Factor Authentication. You can use Google's Authy App to set it up.
Again, if you have completed account verification at the Coinbase exchange, then you don't have to verify your account on GDAX, since GDAX is owned and run by Coinbase, Inc.
GDAX supports the following currency pairs:
- BTC-USD, BTC-EUR, BTC-GBP
- ETH-USD, ETH-EUR, ETH-GBP
- LTC-USD, LTC-EUR, LTC-GBP
In terms of interface, although GDAX looks a little more complicated, the basics are still the same — you can deposit/withdraw cryptocurrencies and fiats, and at the same time, place buy/sell orders as you wish. One feature that we especially like about GDAX that is not supported on Coinbase is the ability to place Limit orders. These orders let you specify the maximum price you're willing to pay (has to be lower than current market price) or the minimum price you're willing to receive (has to be higher than current market price) to buy/sell an asset respectively. Since you're always a market maker while placing a limit order (see below), GDAX charges no fees for them.
Right part of the page provides users with price charts and tools for technical and structural analysis. On the left there's 'Order Book', 'Trade History', and 'BALANCE' tabs. Also you can see that there is a form for placing your orders — enter an amount and then click on either 'PLACE BUY ORDER' or 'PLACE SELL ORDER'.
To cancel an open order, first make sure you're viewing the market on which your order was placed (e.g. BTC-USD, LTC-BTC, etc). Your open orders will be listed in the 'Open Orders' tab in the lower middle of the trading dashboard. Hover the order that you desire to cancel and click the "cancel" to the right hand side of the order.
GDAX vs. Coinbase
One could argue there is no need for an additional service by the same team because Coinbase is doing well. However, the launch of GDAX was a well-weighed decision. More specifically, Coinbase is an entry-level exchange, so to speak, which offers next to no appealing features for professional traders. GDAX, on the other hand, does exactly that, as it is designed for professionals looking to trade digital assets.
Simply put, GDAX is Coinbase, but on 'financial analysis' steroids with all those charts, tools and even margin trading feature for certain regions. Verification, deposits, withdrawal, trading procedures are identical to Coinbase's. At this point, we should finally consider fees of the exhange, because they could certainly be important for both amateur and professional traders and brokers.
How are fees processed?
A 0.25% taker fee for all BTC books and 0.30% taker fee for all ETH and LTC books is collected on each trade during the day. At the end of the day (UTC 00:00), a rebate is calculated and issued. The amount of the rebate issued is calculated on the percentage of total exchange volume, per product, that a trader has participated in over the past 30 days. For example, if 100 BTC was traded on Coinbase’s BTC/USD order book in the last thirty days and you accounted for 1.1 bitcoin, you account for more than 1% of the total volume and receive a rebate of 0.01% that day and pay an effective taker fee of 0.24%.The rebate is issued in the quote currency.
How is exchange volume calculated?
Volume is defined as the amount of bitcoin that is traded, or “changes hands” on the exchange. For example, if 10 bitcoins are transacted between a maker and taker, then the total exchange volume is 10 bitcoin, and each party will have participated in 100% of trade volume.
Who is a Maker or a Taker?
When you place an order at the market price that gets filled immediately, you are considered a taker and will pay a fee between 0.10% and 0.25% for BTC books and 0.10% and 0.30% for ETH books. When you place an order which is not immediately matched by an existing order, that order is placed on the order book. If another customer places an order that matches yours, you are considered the maker and your fee will be 0%. When you place an order that gets partially matched immediately, you pay a taker fee for that portion. The remainder of the order is placed on the order book and, when matched, is considered a maker order. The fee is 0% for that part of the total order.
GDAX is designed to cater to sophisticated and professional traders. Anyone looking to just buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum can easily use either Coinbase or GDAX. Those who want convenience will choose Coinbase, as it provides an easy-to-use solution. It is good to see Coinbase, Inc., the company behind both Coinbase.com and GDAX focus on different markets with these two products.