Coinbase recently launched the first regulated Bitcoin exchange on U.S soil with quite a bit of fanfare and media attention from some of the most prominent Bitcoin blogs and media outlets, but does the exchange live up to all the hype?
When first signing up for an account at Coinbase the user is prompted for basic login information and asked to verify their identity with a simple form requesting name, address and SSN. Next the user is required to verify their cellphone number, before being able to carry out any transaction. The signup process is fairly simple and straightforward without requiring too much jumping through hoops.
The exchange interface is very simple and intuitive and is quite accessible and functional for basic buying and selling. Many other exchanges suffer from clutter which more often than not is very confusing for new users, especially if they are not technically savvy. There is a basic order entry panel, the order book showing bids and asks and a line chart showing the current exchange rate for Bitcoin. If you are just an average Bitcoin user looking to buy/sell your cryptocurrency that is all you really need!
THE NOT SO GOOD:
The simple interface of the Coinbase exchange is really appealing to novice users, but it leaves out a lot of functionality that is present on many other cryptocurrency exchanges and just about any futures/stock trading platform in the financial arena. For starters, the line charting on Coinbase is limited to several time frames starting with lowest value which is 30 minutes and going up to 30 days. What happened to the 1,5 and 15 minute charts? All futures/forex/stock brokers have these time frames available on their platforms because there are many traders that use these charts in very short term trading/speculating.
It is also very surprising that the price charting Coinbase offers is limited to only line charting. Candle and bar charts are the most common charting options offered in pretty much any modern trading/exchange application. Candle charts display not only the current price of the instrument, but also where the high and lows are in a given time period, say in the past five minutes for example. This kind of visual information is very important to traders and it is quite puzzling that Coinbase has left these charting options out from their exchange interface.
Another very common functionality that was missing was trading directly from the chart. When a market is moving very rapidly it is imperative that traders/speculators can place and remove orders without having to enter values manually in the order box. Most futures/forex trading platforms have the ability to directly execute orders by clicking on the chart and with a few quick mouse moves execute a trade. This kind of functionality is considered a standard in forex trading software such as Metatrader4 and Metatrader5, there is no reason why this should not be true for an exchange such as Coinbase!
One would think that with all the financial backing from big financial institution like the New York Stock Exchange and the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase would be able to deliver a much more sophisticated exchange interface that caters to both novice and professional traders, but that is not the case for now. The signup process is very straightforward and the exchange works great for simple buying and selling, but if Coinbase is to become a world leader in the Bitcoin exchange game it will have to deliver a much more functional platform!