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Coinbase, Inc.
Type of businessPrivate
FoundedJune 2012; 6 years ago (2012-06)
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S.
Area served32 countries
Founder(s)Brian Armstrong
Fred Ehrsam
Key peopleBrian Armstrong (CEO & Co-Founder)[1]
Asiff S Hirji (President & COO)[1]
Alesia Jeanne Haas (CFO)[1]
Balaji S Srinivasan (CTO)[1]
Emilie Choi (VP of Corporate & Business Development)[1]
Eric Scro (VP of Finance)[1]
Rachael Horwitz (VP of Communications)[1]
ProductsBitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, exchange of digital assets
RevenueIncrease US$1 billion (2017)[2]
Employees500 (September 2018)[3]
Alexa rankPositive decrease 272 (Global, March 2018)[4]
Users13,300,000 (November 2017)[5]

Coinbase is a digital currency exchange headquartered in San Francisco, California. They broker exchanges of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin with fiat currencies in approximately 32 countries, and bitcoin transactions and storage in 190 countries worldwide.


Coinbase was founded in June 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam.[6][7] co-founder Ben Reeves was part of the original founding team but later parted ways with Armstrong due to a difference in how the Coinbase wallet should operate.[8] The remaining founding team enrolled in the Summer 2012 Y Combinator startup incubator program. In October 2012, the company launched the services to buy and sell bitcoin through bank transfers.[9] In May 2013, the company received a US$5 million Series A investment led by Fred Wilson from the venture capital firm Union Square Ventures.[10] In December 2013, the company received a US$25 million investment, from the venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures (USV), and Ribbit Capital.[11]

In 2014, the company grew to one million users, acquired the blockchain explorer service Blockr and the web bookmarking company Kippt, secured insurance covering the value of bitcoin stored on their servers, and launched the vault system for secure bitcoin storage.[12][13][14] Throughout 2014, the company also formed partnerships with Overstock, Dell, Expedia, Dish Network, and Time Inc. allowing those firms to accept bitcoin payments.[15][16][17][18][19] The company also added bitcoin payment processing capabilities to the traditional payment companies Stripe, Braintree, and PayPal.[20]

In January 2015, the company received a US$75 million investment, led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the New York Stock Exchange, USAA, and several banks.[21] Later in January, the company launched a U.S.-based bitcoin exchange for professional traders called Coinbase Exchange.[22] Coinbase began to offer services in Canada in 2015, but in July 2016, Coinbase announced it would halt services in August after the closure of their Canadian online payments service provider Vogogo.[23]

In May 2016, the company rebranded the Coinbase Exchange, changing the name to Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX)[24] and offering Ether, the value token of Ethereum, for trade to professionals,[25] and in July 2016, they added retail support for Ether.[26]

In January and then March 2017, Coinbase obtained the BitLicense and licensed to trade in Ethereum and Litecoin from the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS).[27][28] In November 2017, Coinbase was ordered by the US Internal Revenue Service to report any users who had at least $20,000 in transactions in a year.[29]

On February 23, 2018, Coinbase told approximately 13,000 affected customers that the company would be providing their taxpayer ID, name, birth date, address, and historical transaction records from 2013-2015 to the IRS within 21 days.[30]

On April 5, 2018, Coinbase announced that it has formed an early stage venture fund, Coinbase Ventures, focused on investment into blockchain and cryptocurrency related companies.[31][32]

On May 16, 2018, Coinbase Ventures announced its first investment in Compound Labs,[33] a start-up building Ethereum smart contracts similar to money markets.

In August 2018, Amazon cloud executive Tim Wagner joined Coinbase as vice president of engineering.[34]


Coinbase has two core products: a Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) for trading a variety of digital assets on its professional asset trading platform, and a user-facing retail broker of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin for fiat currency.[26] It also offers an API for developers and merchants to build applications and accept payments in both digital currencies. As of 2018, the company offered buy/sell trading functionality in 32 countries,[35] while the cryptocurrency wallet was available in 190 countries worldwide.[36] On March 26, 2018, Coinbase announced their intention to add support for ERC-20 tokens.[37][38]


Coinbase CEO Bryan Armstrong was criticised on Twitter in January 2018 for creating excessive transaction demand on the Bitcoin network, in what some users referred to as "spamming the network."[39]

On February 16, 2018, Coinbase has admitted that some customers were erroneously overcharged for credit and debit purchases of cryptocurrencies. The problem was initiated when banks and card issuers changed the merchant category code (MCC) for cryptocurrency purchases earlier this month. This meant that cryptocurrency payments would now be processed as “cash advances", meaning that banks and credit card issuers could begin charging customers “cash advance” fees for cryptocurrency purchases. Any customers who purchased cryptocurrency on their exchange between January 22 and February 11, 2018 could have been affected. Visa had at first shifted the blame to Coinbase, telling the Financial Times on February 16 that it had “not made any systems changes that would result in the duplicate transactions cardholders are reporting.” However, the latest statement from Visa and Worldpay on the Coinbase blog clarifies: "This issue was not caused by Coinbase.”[40]

In March 2018, Quartz reported that the number of monthly customer complaints against Coinbase, jumped more than 100% in January of that year, to 889, citing official Consumer Financial Protection Bureau data, with more than 400 of those categorized as "money was not available when promised".[41]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Coinbase Inc: Company Profile - Bloomberg". Bloomberg. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  2. ^ "Bitcoin exchange Coinbase reportedly made more than $1 billion in revenues last year". Business Insider. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  3. ^ "Coinbase doubles staff to 500". Business Insider. September 2018.
  4. ^ " Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  5. ^ Cheng, Evelyn (November 27, 2017). "Bitcoin exchange Coinbase has more users than stock brokerage Schwab". CNBC.
  6. ^ Ludwig, Sean (February 8, 2013). "Y Combinator-backed Coinbase now selling over $1M Bitcoins per month". VentureBeat. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  7. ^ "Dish Network Says It Will Accept Bitcoin". The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  8. ^ "The Fierce Battle for the Soul of Bitcoin". WIRED. 2014-03-26.
  9. ^ Ludwig, Sean (February 8, 2013). "Y Combinator-backed Coinbase now selling over $1M Bitcoins per month". VentureBeat.
  10. ^ Needleman, Sarah E. (May 7, 2013). "Coinbase Nabs $5M in Biggest Funding for Bitcoin Startup". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  11. ^ Alex Williams (December 12, 2013). "Coinbase Raises $25M Led By Andreessen Horowitz To Build Its Bitcoin Wallet And Merchant Services". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  12. ^ Cutler, Kim-Mai (May 6, 2014). "Coinbase Acquires YC-Backed Kippt To Beef Up Its Product, Design Talent". TechCrunch.
  13. ^ Cutler, Kim-Mai (August 18, 2014). "Coinbase Acquires Blockchain Explorer".
  14. ^ Knight, Shawn (September 1, 2014). "Coinbase has been insuring Bitcoin deposits for nearly a year". TechSpot.
  15. ^ Burns, Matt (December 21, 2013). " partners with Coinbase and starts accepting bitcoins as payment". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  16. ^ Kharif, Olga. "Expedia to Accept Bitcoins for Online Hotel Bookings". Bloomberg. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  17. ^ " Now Accepts Bitcoin to Give Travelers More Choice and Flexibility in Hotel Payments". Bloomberg. June 11, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  18. ^ Rizzo, Pete. "Time Inc Becomes First Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin". Coindesk. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  19. ^ Wilhelm, Alex (July 18, 2014). "Dell Now Accepts Bitcoin For All Online U.S. Purchases". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  20. ^ Del Rey, Jason (March 27, 2014). "Stripe Merchants Will Soon Be Able to Accept Bitcoin Payments". Recode.
  21. ^ Vigna, Paul; Casey, Michael (January 20, 2015). "Coinbase raises 75 million in funding round". Wall Street Journal.
  22. ^ Bensinger, Greg (January 25, 2015). "First U.S. Bitcoin Exchange Set to Open". Wall Street Journal.
  23. ^ "Coinbase to Shutdown CAD Services to Canadian Customers – CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News". July 8, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  24. ^ "GDAX – Trusted Digital Asset Exchange". GDAX. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  25. ^ Shin, Laura (May 20, 2016). "Digital Currencies Show Potential To Be New Asset Class As Demand For Bitcoin Rival Ethereum Rises". Forbes. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  26. ^ a b Tepper, Fitz (July 21, 2016). "Coinbase is adding support for Ethereum". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  27. ^ Suarez, Juan (January 17, 2017). "Coinbase obtains the Bitlicense". Coinbase. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  28. ^ "DFS authorizes Coinbase, Inc. to provide additional virtual currency products and services". New York State Department of Financial Services. March 22, 2017.
  29. ^ "Coinbase ordered to report 14,355 users to the IRS". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  30. ^ "Coinbase Informs 13K Affected Customers Of Imminent Data Handover To IRS". Cointelegraph. 24 February 2018.
  31. ^ Choi, Emilie (April 5, 2018). "Introducing Coinbase Ventures". The Coinbase Blog. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  32. ^ Rooney, Kate (April 5, 2018). "Bitcoin exchange Coinbase launches early-stage venture fund". CNBC. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  33. ^ "Coinbase's first investment, Compound, earns you interest on crypto". Techcrunch. 16 May 2018.
  34. ^ Sheetz, Michael (2018-08-06). "Amazon cloud executive Tim Wagner joins crypto platform Coinbase". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  35. ^ "Insurers are getting in on the crypto game with bitcoin heist cover". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  36. ^ Reisinger, Don (September 11, 2014). "Bitcoin platform Coinbase expands to 13 European countries". CNet News.
  37. ^ "Adding ERC20 Support to Coinbase". The Coinbase Blog. 2018-03-26. Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  38. ^ "Coinbase Announces Support for Ethereum ERC20 Tokens". CCN. 2018-03-26. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  39. ^ "New Data Shows Coinbase May Be Spamming the Bitcoin Network". Bitcoinist. January 12, 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  40. ^ "Update: VISA issuers and Mastercard make it harder to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies". TechCrunch. February 5, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  41. ^ Detrixhe, John (March 5, 2018). "Coinbase's customer complaints more than doubled in January". Quartz. Retrieved March 6, 2018.

External links