How Coinbase stole my coins, and got away with it.
I usually don't write, but as my frustration is growing I feel now the need to share with someone this incredible and absurd story that happened to me with Coinbase.
So, I am in North America (Canada) where I came a month ago, staying at my cousins place and travelling a little bit around. After a trip to New York I decided to go to Cuba, one of the place I always wanted to see, so I booked an airbnb and flew there from Toronto, to enjoy a week of holiday and disconnect from my daily, remote job.
While there, after 3–4 days I found a place where I could use internet so I paid for 1 hour and connected with my phone. I checked my emails, send message to family and friends, called some of them and uploaded some of the photos to my Icloud. I had some time left and since I am not a social network guy anymore, I decided to check a little bit my finances. I opened my stock app and found out that Ethereum was going all the way down, I thought would have been a good moment to buy so after that I opened the Coinbase app and looked at the prices. I decided to wait a little bit, after reading the news I thought it would go down even more (and I was right) so I closed the app, disconnected from the web and went back to enjoy the beach and the sun.
When I got back to Canada I went to buy some Ethereum and, with my incredible surprise I got my account closed, yes not suspended or temporary locked but closed.
The app gave me this message.
I obviously immediately contacted the @CoinbaseSupport they say on the message, and got this answer:
So here it goes the first lie, they told me to contact an email address that doesn't work anymore. I followed their instructions and filled a form on the website. I got a reply after 2 days saying that an "expert" was looking in to my situation, in the meanwhile I (re)send them my proof of residence, stamped by the city hall of the town, and my passport. As an Italian citizen that has lived in Europe all his life and has nothing to do with Cuba, I thought that this would be solved pretty easily. But I was wrong. And here it goes my frustration … I never got any answer from them, I wrote to them daily, either by mail or twitter but they never bothered to reply to me, their twitter account @CoinbaseSupport replies to everyone but me … and their email .. well .. the "expert" never came back to me. In a moment of frustration I even twitted to @brian_armstrong, their CEO which obviously never bothered to reply.
So here it goes, I lost my digital coins, I lost my money (who might be worth thousand of dollars in the near future, imagine those who bought 10 bitcoins few years ago) and I had not even a single chance to prove my "innocence". I talked to a lawyer who told me that there is little I can do since they are an American company, I even wrote the the U.S. Department of Treasure (as they suggested me on the first screenshot I posted), but obviously I will never get an answer.
Luckily I did not invest too much because I had a bad feeling with Coinbase, their website was down for days and the verification process took a lot of time. Now I put my money on bitstamp, which is a company with headquarter in Brussels, so I do not have to worry where my next holiday will be.
But here is the funny thing, they closed my account and took my money and digital coins because I went to Cuba in holiday (like many Americans do), then they got away with my coins, never even bothered to reply to me and there is nothing I can do, why? Because they are an american company.