Coinbase - a Beginner’s Guide

Disclaimer: the information shared in this article provides insights of my own experiences and is not intended as investment advice. You should always seek your own professional financial advisor and “Do Your Own Research” (DYOR).
Never invest more than you’re willing to lose.

Topics covered in this article

  1. Set up your new Coinbase account
  2. Add extra security to your account (2FA)
  3. ID verification
  4. Set up a payment method
  5. Find your wallet address

Set up your new Coinbase account

Full disclosure: the links used in this article are my referral links.
When you sign up and buy or sell $100 of bitcoin or more, we'll both earn $10 worth of free bitcoin!

To get started visit and complete the registration form to receive the account verification mail.

Signing up at Coinbase using a referral link.

Once you have successfully registered you will receive a account verification mail on your email address. Confirm your account by clicking the button "Verify Email Address".

Verify your email address.

Once the page has been loaded, Coinbase will show you a message stating your email address has been verified. You can now log in using the account credentials you entered during registration.

Successful verification of your email address.

When you log in to Coinbase for the first time you will be asked for your mobile phone number. This number will be used as an extra level of security by sending you validation codes by sms to confirm transactions.

To complete your registration, choose your country and enter your mobile phone number.

Complete your registration by entering your mobile phone number.

After entering your mobile number, Coinbase will send you a sms code to confirm you registered a valid mobile phone number.

Coinbase will send you an sms code to validate your mobile phone number.

And that's it, your account is now successfully created!

The default dashboard of Coinbase.

Add extra security to your account (2FA)

To add an extra layer of security to your account it is advised to enable 2FA, 2-Factor Authentication. 2FA requires is a security mechanism that will use unique codes to login or confirm your transactions in addition to your email address and password. These codes will be generated by an app on your handset, and will refresh every 30 to 60 seconds (Coinbase uses 30 seconds).

By default most websites refer to Google Authenticator to use as the app to generate your unique codes. Although this is a great and super-easy app to use, it does not backup the codes which can result in a loss of access if your handset ever gets stolen, permanently damaged or lost.

My advice is to use another app called Authy, which can be downloaded on your mobile, pc and laptop via:

Before you continue, make sure you have one of the following Authenticator apps installed on your mobile phone!

After installing the app, you can continue to enable 2FA in your Coinbase account by clicking on your account name in the top right and navigate to "Settings".

Go to "Settings" in the menu to enable 2FA.

In the "Settings" dashboard, navigate to the "Security" tab. To enable 2FA you can click on the "Enable Authenticator" button.

By enabling 2FA using the Authenticator app the default sms verification will be disabled. It is not possible to use both mechanisms simultaneously.

Click "Enable Authenticator" to open the 2FA configuration.

In the popup a "Authentication Secret Code" is displayed, this is the unique key that will generate the codes for login and transaction confirmations.
Write it down and store it somewhere safe!

After you have scanned the QR code with the Authy or Google Authenticator app, enter the authenticator code to confirm.

Store the "Authenticator Secret Code" somewhere safe!

If the 2FA is configured successfully, you will return to the "Settings" dashboard and see that "Your two-factor method is: Authenticator".

You're all set now!

ID verification

Coinbase, as well as many other exchanges, may require an official ID verification before you can start buying or selling currencies. The process is rather easily: often a webcam photo or scan of your ID, passport and/or driving license is sufficient to start.

For more information, please read:

Set Up a Payment Method

In order to move local currency into and out of your account, you’ll need to set up a payment method. These methods will vary depending on your location. More information on various payment types can be found below:

Find your wallet address

The wallet address is the digital "bank account number" of your coins, e.g. your Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin.

Important: every coin has his own wallet address format.
Sending funds to a wallet address of a different coin (i.e. send Bitcoin to an Ethereum wallet) will result in permanent losses.

On Coinbase navigate to "Accounts" to find a list off all supported coins.

Coinbase Accounts dashboard.

By clicking on the "Receive" button next to a coin listing, a popup will open with your wallet address for that specific coin. This also means that you will have a set of multiple wallet addresses, depending on how many coins you will be using.

Your personal wallet address for a coin on Coinbase.

Send your first BTC

The last thing to be done, once you have purchased your coins, is to send them around. In the "Accounts" dashboard, click on the "Send" button of the coin you would like to send to open the Send popup.

Always make sure that the recipient address is correct and is also a valid address for the coin you're trying to send.

Sending Bitcoin from your personal wallet to somewhere else.

TIP: you can either choose the amount you want to send based on your local currency, or by the coin itself. Coinbase will automatically calculate the other amount based on the current exchange rate.

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