It’s a PayPal-style Internet wallet that you connect to a US bank account in order to buy bitcoins
Coinbase are an international digital wallet that allows you to securely buy, use and accept the future of money: the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Why should I trust them with my money?
I thought the same thing at first. Then I did some research and discovered that Coinbase are unique in that they’re based in the USA and are fully compliant with US authorities rules & regulations, which made me feel a lot safer using them.
But, really- how safe are they?
In this brave new world of virtual currencies they’re about as trustworthy as you’re going to get. They incorporate security features including storing 90% of customer funds offline (which discourages and mitigates the effect of a hack attack), they store sensitive data offline, and they make use of cold storage (printing a Bitcoin wallet and storing it physically offline so that it can’t be stolen by anyone in any way over the internet). Those are just a few of their security measures. I’m sure you’ll agree, they’ve got a lot of bases covered.
That only makes me feel a little better…
I don’t blame you. I still have a hard time trusting my hard-earned Bitcoins online with a third party, which is why once I’ve bought my Bitcoins I send them to my personal wallet on my own computer (here’s more information on that). A wallet is super easy to set up- you just download the setup file from the official Bitcoin site, install the program and use the address it gives you (which is a long series of numbers and unique to yourself) as your personal Bitcoin depositary.
If I ever wanted to sell my Bitcoins it’s easy to send them to Coinbase again. I’d advise you to do the same- use Coinbase as a way to buy and sell only, do not use them for long term storage of your coins. It just makes more sense to keep your coins on your own hardware.
OK, I’m convinced. How do I go about getting these wonderful Bitcoins from Coinbase?
A little sweetener helps huh? If you use this link you get $5 worth of Bitcoin absolutely free when your purchase your first full Bitcoin.