Recently I decided to test out the process of purchasing cryptocurrency through Coinbase. I have written this article for those of you who are considering the Coinbase platform, so that you can get a headstart in your crypto-investment journey. Read on to find out about my experiences as a first time user of the Coinbase exchange, I have also included the key benefits and limitations of the Coinbase platform (take note Aussies, there’s one limitation in particular that may impact you!).
I bought a nominal portion of Ethereum and Litecoin (I initially intended for Bitcoin to be the focus of my first transaction, but with the price of Bitcoin at AUD$14,000+ today it hardly seemed worth it with the meagre test budget I had!)
Once I had signed up to Coinbase and logged in (which was a breeze!) I was delighted to find that the purchasing process was breathtakingly simple! Once landed on the ‘Buy/Sell’ tab you simply select the currency you’d like to purchase, nominate an amount (which automatically converts to your local currency) and then click the Buy button.
The currency is then literally added to your account!
I’d give the Coinbase ‘buy’ process a 9.5/10 for simplicity, ease of use and promptness.
So far, so good, right?
Well, I figured I should probably check out the ‘sell’ process while logged into Coinbase too, in case I wanted to convert my cryptocurrency back to dollars anytime soon. I was definitely a little surprised to find that when I hit the ‘Sell’ tab it quick became apparent that Coinbase does not support selling in my country, Australia. I mean, it’s great to now be the proud owner of some crypto, but surely I’m not alone in wanting to know there’s a way of cashing in down the track.
Thankfully, my friends at Lifehacker have come to the rescue with a recent article about selling Bitcoins in Australia:
The problem you have run into is that Coinbase allows Australians to buy bitcoin, but not to sell bitcoin. According to their website, Coinbase are “working to add the ability to sell digital currency for Australia soon”….
One of the negatives of using an intermediary like this is you have to create an account and connect your banking details to it which takes away the pseudonymity of using a cryptocurrency, one of the major appeals of using it in the first place.
Fortunately, if you want to send your digital currency elsewhere, Coinbase has a step by step guide to doing so. This should allow you to send your bitcoin from your Coinbase account to another wallet address or email address, which hopefully will allow you to sell bitcoin. There are a wide range of online facilities to sell bitcoin in Australia.
After a bit more research, the ‘cash out’ methods that I have been recommended are:
- Send Bitcoin from Coinbase to a Coinjar to convert to AUD$
- If you wish to ‘cash out’ on Ethereum or Litecoin, use Shapeshift.io to convert to Bitcoin, and then complete the step above
Shapeshift can be used anytime without the need for an account, which is handy (though fees equate to about $40AUD per transfer at the time of writing which is a significant chunk of money if the trade is small).
UPDATE (February 2018): Coinbase still only supports ‘Buy’ and not ‘Sell’ functionality in Australia. This has led me to research other options, and after further hands-on experimentation, I have found that transferring your cryptocurrency to Independent Reserve or other more sophisticated exchanges appears to be the better option for those of you looking to cash-in or trade to other currencies.