Coinbase is an online platform that facilitates the buying and selling of cryptocurrency including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and more. It was founded with the goal of making digital currency more accessible and easier to use and today, it’s renowned as a top influencer in the cryptocurrency sphere.
A quick history: What is Coinbase and how did it get started?
Coinbase is a user-facing retail cryptocurrency broker. The company offers a full suite of additional products including Coinbase Pro (formerly known as GDAX) and Coinbase Prime.
Many cryptocurrency users enjoy the Coinbase app and keep some crypto in a Coinbase wallet – but most aren’t aware of this powerful player’s humble beginnings. In 2012, Coinbase was founded in San Francisco, California where its headquarters remain today. The company has traded more than $150 billion in digital currency since its beginning, and today, it’s among the most popular digital currency wallets available.
We have Coinbase founders Fred Ehrsam, Ben Reeves, and Brian Armstrong to thank for their innovation, knowledge, and willingness to step into unknown territory by launching one of the world’s first cryptocurrency leaders. Shortly after Coinbase got its start though, Reeves and Armstrong had differences of opinion about how best to operate the Coinbase wallet. As a result, Reeves left the team. The Armstrong-Ehrsam duo continued to move forward with their plan. They enrolled in the Y Combinator startup incubator program in September of 2012 and the following month, they officially offered their services to Bitcoin enthusiasts.
In the beginning, Coinbase focused on buying and selling Bitcoin via bank transfers. More investors hopped onboard and by 2014, one million people were using the company’s services. That same year, Coinbase formed partnerships with Dell, Dish Network, Expedia, Overstock, and Time Inc as well as adding Bitcoin payment processing capacity to Braintree, PayPal, and Stripe. This was an exciting time as these partnerships gave consumers the ability to use Bitcoin to pay for products and services.
January 2015 saw Draper Fisher Jurvetson, USAA, the New York Stock Exchange, and numerous banks investing heavily in Coinbase. Shortly thereafter, the Coinbase Exchange began offering professional trading services in the US. In May of 2016, Coinbase Exchange was rebranded, changing the official exchange name to Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX). In 2018, GDAX was retired and the exchange name changed again, this time to Coinbase Pro. Coinbase also added a professional trading platform designed specifically for its institutional clients; this is known as Coinbase Prime.
Since its inception, the company has grown by leaps and bounds. It offers buying and selling functionality in 30+ countries, and its signature Coinbase wallet is available in 190 nations.
How Coinbase works
The Coinbase app is available for most devices, and it serves the company’s customers as a gateway for transactions. Technical wizardry aside, even raw beginners find that the app makes it easy to buy Bitcoin and other forms of crypto with fiat money from their bank accounts, debit cards, and in some cases, via credit card.
To use Coinbase, new account holders simply verify their identities as required by anti-money laundering statutes. Next, they follow simple steps to set up a Coinbase wallet in which to store their crypto. Once setup is complete, Coinbase lets consumers conduct basic transactions such as using cryptocurrency to pay for products and services.