Coinbase is a fintech startup focused on allowing retail consumers to buy and sell a number of cryptocurrencies using standard payment methods such as credit card, direct bank deposit, etc. For those new to Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies XEXR has an excellent beginner primer series here. Coinbase started off with Bitcoin but continues to add other cryptocurrencies such as Etherium to their digital exchange which is called GDAX for Global Digital Asset Exchange. GDAX is a professional trading platform that complements their retail facing Coinbase platform. The other side of their business is providing developer APIs and working with merchants to allow consumers to purchase products using cryptocurrencies.
For good reason cryptocurrency exchanges are infamous for being insecure and prone to hacking resulting in massive thefts. Coinbase tries to counter this by offering insurance coverage for all its customers as well as enhanced security with offline storage for consumer protection. Many others in the space have since followed their lead and offer similar protections.
The company was founded in June 2012 in Y Combinator's summer 2012 batch and is based in San Francisco. It was founded by a former Goldman Sachs trader named Fred Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong, an engineer.
Why I like Them
I like them because they are successfully making cryptocurrency purchases easily accessible by the average consumer. When someone is looking to buy their first cryptocurrency in the US, 9 times out of 10 times they are directed to Coinbase by non-affiliated cryptocurrency enthusiasts showing they've developed a respectable brand in the industry. Coinbase is noticeable among other cryptocurrency exchanges for their ease of use, fast sign up, simplicity, and great user interface. I've detailed my thoughts on the blockchain in other posts and in general I am bullish on the technology in general, even if I'm not particularly excited about the cryptocurrency application. However, it is easy to see Coinbase becoming the dominant online exchange and broker for cryptocurrencies that platforms like e*Trade did for stock investing in the 90s. There are a number of likely exits for the company with acquisition by a larger traditional consumer brokerage firm not at all out of the question if cryptocurrencies continue to become more mainstream.
Disclosure: All information is from publicly available sources, I have not had any contact with a member of the company or its investors.