Coinbase

Bitcoin and digital currencies used for day trading on Coinbase

Coinbase is a platform for storing, buying and selling cryptocurrency. They offer a ‘one stop shop’, acting as a wallet and an exchange, plus providing a multitude of trading tools and resources. So, with over 10 million customers and $6 billion worth of exchanged digital currency, let’s explore why day trading on Coinbase has become so popular. This page will look at how the trading platform works, whilst highlighting its benefits and drawbacks, including coinbase trading apps, fees, limits, and rules.

Note! If you intend to trade cryptocurrency, you don’t necessarily want to own actual coins. It can be cheaper and more efficient to trade price movements using derivatives, where you can also leverage the results.
See our cryptocurrency day trading guide.

What Is Coinbase?

Coinbase is a global digital asset exchange company (GDAX). Essentially, it’s a secure online platform, used for the buying, selling, and transferring of digital currencies. Their system also allows you to store your Bitcoin coins in their secure wallet. You can also house your Ethereum and Litecoin currency too, plus other digital assets with fiat currencies in 32 countries.

If you want to start day trading cryptocurrencies, you require a platform to trade on, an intermediary to communicate with the blockchain network. That’s what Coinbase can offer you, a quick and easy way to cut facilitate and trade your cryptocurrencies.

Why Use Coinbase?

So, if you’re interested in storing and trading digital currencies, Coinbase could be of significant service. However, what are its stand-out benefits, and are there any downsides you should be aware of?

Benefits

Cuts Through Noise

Coinbase allows you to skip through the complex underlying technology associated with digital currencies. You don’t need an in-depth understanding of blockchain technology, or to hold a long-term view as to the success of currencies like Bitcoin.

The Coinbase trading platform offers a straightforward way for you to capitalise on the volatility in the cryptocurrency market. Volatility which saw Bitcoin increase five-fold in the first nine months of 2017.

Margin Trading

You can also benefit from Coinbase margin trading. This enables you to borrow money from your broker to make more trades. It’s best to think of it as a short-term loan. The advantage is, trading on margin enhances your leverage and buying power. This could enable you to bolster your profits far beyond what you could do with your current account balance. If you see a big move on the horizon, you can truly profit from it.

On top of that, Coinbase fees have been cut on margin trading. This means you won’t pay any interest or additional costs at this time. The downside is, you will need a minimum of $5,000,000 invested on a discretionary basis to qualify for a margin account.

Promising Change For Traders

Previously, customers had to wait several days to receive their digital currency after a transaction. Now you can purchase bitcoin and other currencies directly from your bank account. What does this mean? It enables you to trade in real-time with GDAX.

Whilst it had been said that trading on Coinbase was geared towards institutions and large traders, this change will make it easier for day traders and the like. The popularity of this change was quickly apparent. The price of Litecoin jumped over 12% in the afternoon of the announcement, followed by a surge in Coinbase day trading.

Powerful Trading Platform

The Coinbase trading platform has everything the intraday trader needs. It offers a sophisticated and easy to navigate platform. The platform comes with log books, advanced charting capabilities, and a straightforward ordering process. It also collects trade history and allows for backtesting. Since you’ll be spending the majority of your day on the platform, finding a system as comprehensive as Coinbase is of great advantage.

Apps

The mobile Coinbase app comes with glowing customer reviews. It offers quick and easy charting, plus fast execution speeds. You no longer have to miss an important price move because you’re stuck on a train, or halfway through cooking dinner. Their app is available on both Apple and Android devices.

Security

You also get reassuring security with Coinbase. 98% of digital assets will be secured in offline storage. Coinbase promises customers “sensitive data that would normally reside on our servers is disconnected entirely from the internet.” That data is encrypted and transferred to USB drives, as well as paper backups, which are then stored in deposit vaults across the world.

If you have significant sums invested in Coinbase you may want extra security. That’s where Coinbase vault comes in. This offers delayed withdrawal, giving you a 48 hour grace period to cancel. In addition, you can have multiple approvers, ensuring trading capital can’t be accessed as a result of a brief lapse in judgement. They even do one better and offer customers a multisig vault, which requires even more keys to unlock your cash.

Insurance

You also benefit from strong insurance protection. Because Coinbase holds all fiat currency in a USD wallet, it is covered by FDIC insurance. Cover extends to $250,000. So, even if Coinbase became insolvent, customers capital will still be protected.

Drawbacks

Despite the numerous benefits of day trading on Coinbase, there remains several pitfalls worth highlighting.

Reliability

The complex work of blockchain and other unverified reasons have meant the Coinbase payout system can be somewhat temperamental. Some customers report significantly delayed payout periods. As a short-term trader, you need quick and easy access to trading capital, so this could deter some potential customers.

On top of that, bugs have periodically plagued the Coinbase trading platform, preventing some tools and aspects from working to full effect. Whilst Coinbase is working hard to remedy these issues, you don’t want to worry about platform reliability when you have trading decisions to focus on.

Pseudonymity

Trading through Coinbaise deprives you of Pseudonymity. Your name is directly attached to your trading and bank accounts. This means transition history is straightforward to uncover. In addition, you can’t actually verify your transactions are taking place on the blockchain. Instead, you can only put your faith in the middleman, Coinbase.

Setting Up

Fortunately, setting up on Coinbase is a walk in the park. You need to follow three simple steps before you can start trading.

  1. Register – This entails creating a digital currency wallet where you can store all online currency.
  2. Connect – You need to connect your debit or credit, to your Coinbase account. This enables you to exchange digital currency into and out of your local currency.
  3. Purchase – The fun part. You buy the digital currency of your choice. Coinbase is the biggest Bitcoin exchange in the world, but you can also purchase Ethereum and Litecoin too.

Once you’re signed up and funded, using Coinbase for trading Bitcoin and other currencies works much like other trading platforms. Within trading hours the platform provides real-time cryptocurrency prices, and won’t look too dissimilar from your usual online stock tracker.

Coinbase Trading Rules & Fees

Before you take the plunge and set up an account, take note of the trading limits and regulations you’ll have to adhere to.

Rules

Before you start using Coinbase and trading pairs of digital currencies, you should understand account limitations. If you use a bank account you will get higher limits, of $100 transactions, and up to $2,500 a week. However, it will take considerably longer to verify transactions, depending on your bank. When you’re selling Bitcoin, it could take up to several days for the proceeds of the sale to appear in your account.

Using a debit or credit card will restrict you to lower, $200 a week limits. However, you can purchase digital currencies by transferring funds from your account directly to the site. These transactions will show up in your Coinbase wallet instantly.

You can also use PayPal. You can sell any digital currency with ease to your PayPal account. Once you’ve cashed out, your digital currency will be exchanged into local currency. Again, this transaction will also be instantaneous.

Fees

They offer a straightforward and competitive fee structure. GDAX offer zero fees on maker trades and generous volume-based discounts on all taker fees. These fees could see you pay as little as 0.1%.

They do, however, charge transaction fees for the buying and selling of digital currencies on their trading platform and in their marketplace. These fees vary depending on your location. In the US, for example, the transaction rate is 4%, plus various additional costs, dependant on payment method. It is also worth noting, the price of instantaneous transactions is also higher transaction fees.

Trading Bots

Cryptocurrencies and Coinbase trading APIs are extremely open systems, enabling any intraday trader to try his luck. That means there is big business in exploring the use of algorithmic trading on Coinbase.

If you’ve already formulated a successful strategy, then why not increase profits by employing an automated bot to carry out the heavy lifting? You will find the Coinbase exchange consists of many trading bots. You’re no longer just competing against a half-awake Joe at his desk at home.

Take the Python trading bot, rife on Coinbase. It follows a simple exponential moving average strategy. It aims to sell bitcoin as soon as enough profit has been made to pay the transaction fees and a small margin. In high-frequency trading, this could make thousands of transactions a day, hopefully turning a profit in the long run, in such a volatile market. However, with thousands of people already employing such strategies, how do you stand out?

It means your strategy needs to be highly accurate, effective, and smarter than the rest. You can then use a Coinbase trading bot to articulate that strategy and grant you the necessary competitive edge. Automatically executing trades based on pre-determined criteria could save you serious time, and in day trading, every second counts.

Final Word

Coinbase trading volume has boomed in recent years and it isn’t hard to see why. Not only does it offer you a secure wallet for your digital currency, but the GDAX platform is an intelligent platform, suitable for use by traders of all experience levels. Before you jump in at the deep end though, check the transaction fees remain competitive for your location, and that you can meet their stringent account rules.