Coinbase: What Is It, How It Works, and How to Use It?

What Is Coinbase Exchange

Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world – and the biggest US-based platform. It offers a blend of simplicity and sophistication that caters to a diverse array of users, both beginners and experts.

Our comprehensive guide delves deep into the definition of Coinbase, unraveling its historical roots, understanding its core functionalities, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses, and exploring its distinct place in the cryptocurrency market. From its user-friendly interface to its robust security measures, we explain every aspect of Coinbase in detail and simple English.

Coinbase Explained in Summary

Read the main talking points of our guide:

  • Coinbase is a leading cryptocurrency exchange renowned for its simplicity and sophistication.
  • It provides a user-friendly platform for buying, selling, and storing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
  • Founded in 2012, the exchange became the first crypto company backed by influential investors.
  • Pros include its intuitive interface, regulatory compliance, extensive educational resources, secure storage with insurance coverage, and global accessibility.
  • However, it has fewer cryptocurrency options compared to some competitors, transaction fees can accumulate for frequent traders, and users have limited control over their private keys.

What is Coinbase and How It Works

Coinbase is a user-friendly cryptocurrency exchange platform that allows individuals and institutions to buy, sell, and store a variety of cryptocurrencies. That includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Its intuitive interface enables users to trade digital assets.

Furthermore, it operates on a simple principle: investors can exchange their fiat currency, like USD or EUR, for cryptocurrencies and then store them in digital wallets on the platform. Coinbase offers a secure and convenient way to enter the cryptocurrency market.

Coinbase History

Coinbase’s journey began in San Francisco, California. Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam Founded the crypto exchange in 2012 in response to the growing demand for a user-friendly cryptocurrency exchange.

One of its significant milestones occurred in 2013 when it registered as a money services business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Also, later that year, it became the first cryptocurrency company to receive the backing of prominent investors, including Andreessen Horowitz.

Over the years, Coinbase has expanded its services, introducing features like Coinbase Pro, a platform catering to professional traders. It has also made strides in regulatory compliance, positioning itself as a trustworthy exchange in the eyes of regulators and users alike.

Today, the platform supports 248 cryptocurrencies, 3 fiat currencies, and 591 crypto trading pairs.

Who Is Coinbase Best For

Coinbase caters to a diverse audience, making it particularly appealing to beginners. Its user-friendly interface, educational resources, and straightforward processes make it an ideal platform for those new to cryptocurrencies.

Additionally, Coinbase’s commitment to security and compliance attracts institutional investors and experienced traders looking for a reliable exchange to execute their transactions. The platform’s availability in numerous countries further enhances its accessibility, making it a global choice for cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

Why Use Coinbase

Coinbase distinguishes itself through its emphasis on simplicity and ease of use. Its intuitive design and clear navigation empower users to trade cryptocurrencies without feeling overwhelmed by technical jargon seamlessly.

Furthermore, its commitment to regulatory compliance sets it apart in the industry. The platform complies with the financial regulations of various countries, ensuring a secure environment for users to conduct their transactions.

Coinbase’s proactive approach to security, including insurance coverage for digital assets stored on the platform, provides peace of mind to its users.


  • User-friendly interface: Coinbase’s intuitive design makes it accessible to beginners and allows them to navigate the platform easily.
  • Regulatory compliance: Coinbase adheres to strict regulations, which enhances its credibility and trustworthiness among users and regulators.
  • Educational resources: The platform offers a wealth of educational materials to empower users with knowledge about cryptos and trading strategies.
  • Secure storage: Coinbase provides insurance coverage for digital assets stored on the platform. This ensures protection against potential hacks or breaches.
  • Global availability: Coinbase is available in numerous countries and widely accessible worldwide.


  • Transaction fees: The exchange charges fees for transactions, which can add up, especially for frequent traders.
  • Limited control: Coinbase holds users’ private keys. As a result, users have limited control over their funds, especially for advanced security measures like hardware wallets.

How to Open an Account with Coinbase

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create an account on Coinbase:

  1. Visit the Coinbase Website and click the “Sign Up” or “Get Started” button on the homepage.
  2. Provide your email address and create a strong, secure password. Ensure it includes a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to enhance security.
  3. Open the verification email Coinbase sent, then click on the verification link.
  4. Once your email is verified, log in to your account and complete your profile. It may include adding your phone number and verifying it for added security.
  5. Coinbase follows strict regulations, including Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. Therefore, You must provide your personal information, such as your full name, date of birth, and address, and verify your identity by uploading a government-issued ID, like a passport or driver’s license.
  6. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for an additional layer of security. Coinbase offers various 2FA options, including text messages, authenticator apps, and hardware tokens. 
  7. Select a payment method, like a bank account or credit/debit card, to start trading. Coinbase supports various fiat currencies, allowing you to buy cryptocurrencies directly with your local currency.
  8. After setting up and verifying, take some time to explore Coinbase’s user interface. Familiarize yourself with the available cryptocurrencies, trading tools, and features. Moreover, the platform offers educational resources to help users understand the basics of cryptocurrencies and trading strategies.

How to Buy Cryptocurrencies on Coinbase

Buying, selling, and trading cryptos on Coinbase is pretty straightforward once you create and verify your account.

  1. Sign In to Your Coinbase Account
  2. Click on the “Buy/Sell” option on the Coinbase dashboard to purchase cryptocurrencies.
  3. Select the cryptocurrency you want to buy, like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), or other supported options.
  4. Specify the amount of cryptocurrency you want to purchase in fiat currency (e.g., USD, EUR). Accordingly, Coinbase will automatically calculate the equivalent amount of the chosen cryptocurrency based on the current market rate.
  5. Choose your preferred payment method for the transaction. You can use bank transfers, credit/debit cards, and other options available in your region.
  6. Double-check the details of your purchase, including the cryptocurrency type, the amount you’re buying, and the payment method. 
  7. Once you’ve reviewed the transaction details, click the “Buy” button to confirm your order.
  8. After completing your purchase, we recommend transferring your cryptocurrencies to a secure wallet for long-term storage despite Coinbase’s robust security measures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get more information about Coinbase.

Is Coinbase available worldwide?

Can I use Coinbase on my mobile device?

Is Coinbase safe to use?

Does Coinbase offer customer support?

What cryptocurrencies can I buy on Coinbase?

Concluding the Coinbase Beginner’s Guide

Coinbase’s reputation as a reliable and user-friendly cryptocurrency exchange is well-earned. Its commitment to simplicity, security, and regulatory compliance has made it a go-to platform for both beginners and experienced traders, providing a secure gateway for individuals to explore and invest in digital currencies.

Please note that cryptocurrency investments carry inherent risks. Therefore, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and seek professional advice before engaging in any financial transactions.

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