Coinbase was started in June 2012, a crypto service company based in San Francisco. A digital currency platform and wallet, Coinbase allows users to trade virtual currencies like Ethereum, Bitcoin and Litecoin. With a Bitcoin bias based on the coin’s current fame and total market cap in excess of $100 billion, Coinbase’s growth has accompanied that of the cryptocurrency.
Serving investors in more than 30 countries, Coinbase is essentially the world’s largest bitcoin broker. Users can purchase bitcoin by connecting their bank account, and the company has mandatory disclosure as a basic tenet of its account holder’s structure. While PayPal is not an acceptable method of payment, a user can cash out by paying their PayPal account from their Coinbase wallet.
Most legacy payment methods are accepted when buying bitcoin on the exchange, and Coinbase also trades other digital currencies and accepts other fiat currencies besides USD.
That said, the values expressed and overall sentiment is very much a bitcoin/USD environment among users. With an almost “banky” feel to it, the brokerage asks that users provide many personal details and full ID verification. Credit card purchases need to be accompanied by photos of the card employed.
Coinbase Growing Through Fintech Services
Anyone looking to buy and trade altcoins will need a fairly sophisticated platform that enables trading, and also a messaging service that deploys data to the blockchain to enable verification. While Coinbase seems to lack the dynamism and frenetic trading facilitation of many other exchanges, it has a few cornerstones of value that have made it such a popular venue. In a nutshell, Coinbase allows people to buy and sell bitcoin and other altcoins using USD and other fiats. It also acts as a wallet for all transactions.
While these two points might sound simplistic in the modern era of increasingly connected and complex exchanges, the offer has found solid patronage since inception. The Coinbase decentralized asset exchange serves as a venue where users buy and sell digital currencies, as well as serving as a wallet facility for users.
Whereas even a year ago figures were still almost conventional, current exchange figures show much larger volumes moving. To date, Coinbase has serviced the needs of over 10 million people and exchanged over $50 billion in virtual currencies.
With top-tier security protocols at play, the company is hypersensitive to the prospect of hackers attacking the exchange. This focus is compulsory, not only in terms of mandated fiduciary duty, but also in an era witnessing the emergence of exchanges that use either majority cold-vault their holdings or demand that users maintain their own wallets in order to eliminate the risk. In line with current legislation, the company is licensed by all relevant authorities. At least in terms of professional presentation, the portal is polished and a joy to use.
Having investigated every angle and potential of every transaction possible on site, the development team have included a host of FAQs and other intel to guide newcomers. No user employing a credit card to buy bitcoin, for example, should become liable for a cash advance fee, and support is prompt in resolving issues flagged by users.
At the outset, Coinbase resisted the temptation to be all things to all people, while also positioning themselves as a very respectable digital exchange, of necessity copying many banking protocols.
Controlling all private keys, the company presents more like a bank in this arena than a typical crypto-wallet. A Coinbase wallet is accessed via the web or their proprietary apps.
How Does Coinbase Compare?
A reputable company backed by reputable investors, Coinbase is arguably the “world’s largest bitcoin broker.” With wallet facilities of various hues, including a Multi-signature Vault, it’s clear the company wants to run ahead of attacks with a constantly evolving security focus. Broad industry sentiment seems to approve currently of storing all cryptocurrencies in a personal, cold wallet for safekeeping, and most users of the site transact in this manner.
Users should read through the company wallet options carefully in order to maintain the kind of control they enjoy over their bitcoin. Employing a Coinbase wallet means that the company is in control and this will only appeal to those who trust the security protocols wholly. A brokerage, exchange and wallet, Coinbase’s developer API is also a popular component of the project for many users.
Exchange fees on Coinbase hover around 3.75 percent of the trade, with country differences and order volume also impacting those fees.
Additionally, the company does offer high account limits. Based on “account level” (a metric determined by how much information an account holder has supplied in establishing their account), verified U.S. citizens can buy a maximum of $50,000 worth of bitcoin each day. For European customers, a maximum of €30,000 euro may be held in their accounts.
The time users need to wait after a transaction before bought altcoins become spendable varies. Depending on country and payment method, funds can be quickly available or sometimes take days to land. Enjoying possibly the fastest settlement, when a fully verified U.S. citizen buys bitcoin, for example, using a debit/credit card, the altcoins are instantly available once the card has been authorized.
Although very much an American company, U.S. bank transfer users can still expect to receive their bought altcoins only five business days after placing the order. And yet although one might imagine foreign clients to experience even greater delays, the Coinbase global offer at least equates standard banking practice – a known experience with known time frames – even for foreign users.
Shaving waiting time whenever it’s enabled by blockchain technology, users have rubber-stamped the company as a suitable balance of legacy practices.
Adding a credit card to a user’s account will enable the “Instant Buy” facility. This allows verified buyers to purchase a maximum of $1,000 in bitcoin each week. Although there have been past reports of the company tracking how exchange users spend their bitcoin, it appears to have been more a case of honest analytics becoming too exuberant rather than anything spurious.
Newcomers especially will find the simple, elegant offering on Coinbase easy to use and reassuringly riddled with security protocols. Although vault withdrawals can take up to 48 hours, even this delay is a safety net to avoid corrupt transactions. Any vault client noticing an unauthorized withdrawal in progress can cancel the transaction.
Governed as it is by KYC legislation, due to its buy/sell nature, the company is AML-heavy, overcompensating in the opinions of some commentators. Coinbase scored just 11 out of 100 in the Open Bitcoin Privacy Project’s 2015 Spring report.
Valued by some and detested by others for compromising innate blockchain anonymity, the company has nonetheless managed to gather all parties as best they could under prevailing regulation, and presented an intelligent platform for newcomers and experienced traders alike.
As Coinbase offers fiat “onramps” (the ability to buy digital currencies with fiat currencies), it is valued as a simple, logical route by many to swap out fiat for transactional cryptocurrencies.
Although users can find lower fees and faster transaction times on some other exchanges – although often not together – Coinbase’s following is loyal and seems dedicated to the current facilities the company offers. Overall satisfaction levels appear consistently high, notwithstanding a fair amount of social media griping, often around issues of transaction times and fees.
Bitcoin Volumes Finally Grow Again and Bitfinex/Tether Issues Spark Systemic Risks, New Diar Report Affirms
Diar has recently published its report of the crypto market for April. According to the company, Bitcoin volumes are finally growing again and the whole situation with Tether and Bitfinex showed the industry some of its systemic risks. DAI fee hikes and stablecoin projects were also highlighted in the report.
Bitcoin Goes Back To Growing Again
The main highlight of the month is, obviously, that Bitcoin is back on the action. After facing lows which started in 2018, the token has finally been able to effectively reverse the trends and have an actual price surge this month, going from less than $4,200 USD to over $5,200 USD during this short timeframe.
With this, the number of on-chain transactions has spiked for three months in a row, since prices started to get some of their value back in March and April. Now, transaction volumes are around their levels in June 2018 when the price of the asset was around $7,000 USD.
However, charts indicate that Bitcoin is yet to find more footing outside of speculative trading, so the bull market may not be as near as some think.
When looking at the volume of the whole quarters, Q1 2019 had lower volumes than Q4 2018, but Q2 2019 started considerably well.
Bitfinex and Tether Start Concerns of Systemic Risks
As you may have heard, Bitfinex was accused of using Tether funds to cover up its losses. According to Diar, there is a 26% shortfall of in-cash reserves to back Tether tokens (USDT). Tether loaned $850 million USD to Bitfinex to cover up losses and its general counsel Stuart Hoegner has affirmed that the company is operating with fewer reserves than the total market cap of the token.
This happened because Bitfinex had the $850 million USD “seized” by Crypto Capital, one of its payment processors. Unless Hoegner is lying, though, the company had the assets to back the stablecoin until recently.
While it is clear now that Tether simply does not have the money to back the funds, people simply keep buying the tokens. Now, instead of all cash, some shares of Bitfinex are being used to represent the rest of the value, which makes the stablecoin enter securities territory for the first time.
Curiously, the markets are all very tolerant now since the prices are still stable but the systemic risks are clear, especially if other companies are to follow Tether’s path.
DAI Hikes Fees Once More
Another situation highlighted by the reports is that DAI has decided to upgrade its stability fees once again as the community is desperately trying to make the prices of the so-called stablecoin go up again. DAI tokens are being sold for less than $1 USD, their official price, on secondary markets.
At the moment, the fees are 16.5%, after increasing three times in only one month. Before April, the fees were only 7.5%. This has resulted in a decrease of 4.9% in the circulation of DAI tokens.
Stablecoins Eye Wider Use Cases
Gemini and Harbor, a A16Z tokenized securities platform, have started a partnership in order to get more clients for the Harbor stablecoin. However, this was deemed “too soon” by Diar, as Harbor does not have any known token right now. The only one the company had was canceled.
TrustToken is also trying to get more stablecoins on its list, especially the ones that are not focused on USD, but on several other fiat currencies like HKD, CAD or GBP instead.
#DropGold Campaign to Hit Your TV, Here’s A Breakdown of the Underlying Bitcoin Message(s)
Grayscale, a leader in digital currency investing, launched an ad on Wednesday, May 1, telling investors that money should be contributed to Bitcoin holdings as opposed to gold. In a number of interviews, CEO of Grayscale’s parent company (Digital Currency Group), Barry Silbert and Managing Director of Grayscale, Michael Sonnenshein, have since expressed the underlying message of the ad.
The #DropGold Ad
According to news outlet, U Today, the ad starts off with a man holding gold bars in his arm, which he decides to drop. While doing so, a woman also does the same. Throughout the ad, people supposedly have their gold bars stacked in shopping carts, while “losing their gold coins.” Watching what’s about to unfold, the two individuals try to find their way out.
Advertising Bitcoin or Grayscale’s Services?
Despite being the one to have introduced this campaign, Silbert argues that it isn’t entirely about Grayscale services, but rather said services being a result of consumers’ decision. Yahoo Finance has since quoted the following comment made by Silbert himself:
“We do not see this as a Grayscale commercial. For us #DropGold is our ‘Got Milk’. This campaign is first and foremost focused on starting a conversation about bitcoin vs gold. If the ad makes people want to get into Bitcoin, we’re completely indifferent about how they go about doing it.”
Having said this, the commercial is evidently portraying Grayscale as an option, as towards the end, one is told, “Go Digital. Go Grayscale.”
Silbert’s and Sonnenshein’s Arguments Regarding Gold’s Limitations
Silbert believes that this campaign works towards addressing the fact that Bitcoin can serve as an equal asset class as gold, if not better. In particular, he was quoted saying, “But now you have Bitcoin, which, in our opinion, provides all the same attributes as gold – it’s fungible and scarce and you can’t counterfeit it – but the big difference is that Bitcoin has utility. Gold doesn’t have much utility beyond jewelry.”
He further argued that the goal here isn’t to replace fiat currency for shopping purposes, but rather to show the world that Bitcoin does a better job at doing gold’s job and this will be evident in the long run. Although he has acknowledged Bitcoin’s volatility as being concerning, he is hopeful that it will one day serve as both an ideal utility token and store of value.
As for Sonnenshein’s viewpoint, he sees this ad as revealing the “absurdity” associated with gold. More specifically, he said:
“We’re going after a narrative around gold being where investors should go when markets turn south or as a hedge against inflation […] we’re highlighting the absurdity of gold.”
As per The Block Crypto, Grayscale also tries to convince investors that the return earned from redistributing 5% of gold to Bitcoin will be greater than 5% yearly.
What are your overall thoughts on this ad? Did it leave you asking yourself, “Why did you invest in gold? Are you living in the past?” Share your thoughts below!
Huobi Pro Bitcoin Exchange: Cryptocurrency Asset Trading Platform?
Huobi Pro Cryptocurrency Exchange
Founded in 2013, Huobi Pro allows for a myriad digital currencies to be exchanged, at a 0.2 percent trading commission. Loyal users point to the low fees and stellar service that make the exchange stand out above others.
Although pitched at dedicated cryptocurrency enthusiasts since the site doesn’t accept fiat currencies many who enter the realm on the back of fiat end up at Huobi Pro, largely due to its diverse offering and favorable fee structure.
Huobi Pro in A Nutshell
A victim of China’s clampdown on digital currencies, the company might be registered in the Seychelles, but was originally founded in Beijing. As testament to the broad appeal of the platform, after the Chinese regime effectively banned all things crypto at the beginning of 2018, trading volumes have only grown.
While at first very much a Chinese company looking at the home market, Huobi Pro has been forced to find a wider marketplace on the international scene. Indeed, even prior to the official cessation of altcoins and their trading, the company heard the rumblings in 2017 and took its cryptocurrency interests abroad.
Huobi now provides exchange services to users in over 130 countries. Company offices are located in the USA, Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Although the Huobi Group also owns and manages the Huobi Autonomous Digital Asset Exchange (HADAX), Huobi Pro is more of a pure “login and trade” exchange.
Users can employ network tokens to cast votes on adding new altcoins on HADAX. On the Huobi Pro exchange, a simplified offer encompassing all of the mainstream altcoins greets visitors. Some more popular coins offered are Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), NEM (XEM), NEO (NEO), Qtum (QTUM) and Ripple (XRP).
That said, when one actually tallies the number of altcoins available for exchange, it becomes apparent why loyal followers value the site. A marriage of both simple ease of use and diversity in trading, the platform is largely welcomed by newcomers and experienced enthusiasts alike. In the current melee of regulation being contemplated, implemented and tweaked all the while, some users may be precluded from trading on the exchange based on their country of residence.
Huobi Pro accepts the funding of accounts only in digital currencies, and accepts deposits in any of its listed altcoins. Unlike other exchanges that have opted for a midway between crypto and fiat, Huobi Pro traders deal strictly in digital coins at every point of a transaction. Funds need to be withdrawn to a wallet, and fiat users looking to buy in will have to establish a wallet first in order to fund their Huobi Pro trading account.
Traders pay a maker or taker fee of just 0.02 percent using the exchange. There are more detailed offers, worth looking at for daily traders with volume.
Huobi Pro Membership Levels
VIP users get preferential platform trading fees if they buy the privilege with Huobi tokens. The Huobi Token (HT) was never an ICO token, but rather a system token that users only obtain by buying “Point Cards” on the Huobi Pro platform. Point Card is essentially a pre-paid Huobi card that keeps users liquid on service fees. One HT = 1 USD, therefore one “point” = 1 USD. The more points purchased, the more free points are added, although savings on 1000 points, for example, means only 10 HT for free.
Huobi Global minted a fixed total of 500 million tokens, with 300 million employed to facilitate the in-house VIP structure. A mark of the business group behind the platform is seen in their practice of buying back-sold tokens from the open market each quarter. Not only that, but those funds go towards the Huobi Investor Protection Fund (HIPF).
This is a planned fund that will compensate investors who suffer platform disruption and subsequent losses. It’s a tool that minimizes risk, smooths out the market overall and also goes towards protecting investor interests. This transparent and pleasing aspect of the platform is one reason traders have confidence in the exchange, and its popularity is rising worldwide.
By way of example, in order to glean a VIP status, a trader will pay 120 HT a month for First Level membership. This enables a 20 percent discount on trading fees. Running through toward the top end, a pricier option of 6,000 HT a month secures a 50 percent discount on fees. Overall, a diligent trader can optimize the system and come out with a substantial discount on the already low 0.02 percent base offer.
The company charges no fees to deposit funds, but there are withdrawal fees. Although there are reviews online listing withdrawal fees, it appears that, especially within the membership structure, users are advised to ascertain exact fees when establishing their account. Likewise, transfer limits need to established upfront to avoid disappointment later. There exist order size limits on the platform too, again becoming more malleable as one moves up the ranks of the VIPs.
Security And UX On Huobi Pro
All of the standard protocols including two-step Google Authenticator verification are at play on the platform. Unlike many other exchanges that offer a simple crypto-exclusive platform, Huobi Pro will need your personal details in the form of a passport copy and chat room comments are not devoid of complaints, although almost all of them take issue with the structure of the platform and its potential pitfalls. There are few allegations of lost funds or other negligence on behalf of the company. On the whole, Huobi Pro seems to be rubbing off its decidedly corporate ethos onto the exchange – good news for traders overall.
Another serious boon for the cryptosphere as a whole is that over 98 percent of holdings are stored in an offline cold wallet or vault. Imbued with a strict customer service ethic, the platform probably sports the best customer service to date for crypto exchanges. Available 24/7 365, there is a live chat option onsite.
The platform intel is sufficient although newbies might have to scratch to paint a clear picture of how exactly everything works. The FAQs are thoughtful and, again, testament to a polished offering. Huobi used to be one of the biggest Chinese crypto exchanges, based in Beijing. Started by entrepreneur Leon Li in 2013, since the move there has been mutual appreciation of its value. Worldwide users have taken to the exchange, as it too realized that it had global appeal.
Huobi Pro Conclusion
Huobi claims to have exceeded BTC 500,000 in daily trading approaching 2014. Although only in its fifth year, that’s a long time in cryptocurrency. Although frequently accused of embellishing trading volumes, these allegations have never been proven. In comparison to other digital exchanges that have suffered persistent user complaints and even been shut down due to criminal activity, Huobi Pro shines.
As an offering, it has low fees, great diversity and an unbeatable crypto-energy. No trader on the platform feels like they’re missing out on something else somewhere else, by most accounts. Possibly due to their prior involvement in the fintech world, the platform got it right first time around and user numbers prove it. The company Huobi also owns another trading platform, BitYes, more focused on USD/BTC and USD/LTC pairs trading. Great customer service and minimal technical glitches have made it appear positively top-tier, again in comparison to less polished outfits.
With a detailed offering, great client liaison – very unusual for most digital exchanges so far – and no legitimate proof of anything even vaguely dark hanging about them, the Huobi Pro project is recommended. Users are advised to always ascertain costs prior to trading – not hard with the customer support in this case – and sample a platform with small trades before trading greater amounts. To learn more, you can head to their official website: huobi.pro