Getting Started with Coinbase

A step-by-step walkthrough

Photo courtesy of Coinbase

**This draft is still a work in progress, please excuse the mess

Coinbase is one of the most secure, trusted organizations in the cryptocurrency space. They are a US-based company that is fully licensed and regulated to operate in the USA. The reason I use Coinbase is because it is a safe, simple, free way to convert my USD to stablecoins. Read on for instructions on how to get started with Coinbase, and how to get $5 free in BTC when you sign up.

Join Coinbase

I recommend signing up for Coinbase using a browser on a computer– it’s much easier to navigate the signup that way. Thankfully, the signup process for Coinbase is quick and straightforward.

Get Started

To get started, sign up directly at– or if one of your friends referred you, feel free to use their referral link to get $10 instead.

After confirming your phone number and email address, Coinbase will ask for some identifying information to help prevent fraud.

Verify phone number, email address, and your identity

You will then be asked to provide your email address and phone number, and will confirm them both. As a last step, you need to enter some identifying information– name, address, last four digits of SSN– to help Coinbase with compliance and fraud prevention.

Once you have completed this– congratulations! You’re signed up for Coinbase and are one step closer to converting your fiat into cryptocurrency.

Account Security

To me, the most important part of this process is securing your account with two-factor authentication (2FA), something Coinbase strongly recommends. 2FA ensures that even if someone gets access to your login information (email and password) they would still need access to your phone to login to your account. One of the most secure 2FA methods is using one-time passwords (OTPs), which can be generated by authenticator apps (on your phone) such as Google Authenticator or Authy and change every 30 seconds for security purposes. For this tutorial, I recommend Authy, because you can recover your 2FA account from the cloud if you lose your phone– for Google, this is not possible, and recovering your 2FA is a major pain in the ass (and sometimes impossible if you did not back up your 2FA seed).

Install Authy

First, you’ll want to install Authy on your phone from the app store, and set it up using your phone number and your email address. These are important, as they help with the recovery process if you get a new phone, as explained here. Once you’ve installed Authy, you can enable 2FA in Coinbase.

From the Coinbase home page, click on your profile icon, then select “Settings”– then select the “Security” tab.

Enable 2FA in Coinbase

Once your Authy account is setup, you’ll want to turn on 2FA in your Coinbase account. To do so, start by bringing up the settings menu. You’ll then want to select the “Security” tab from there.

Select “Authenticator” to setup Authy with Coinbase, and you will be presented with a QR code.

On the Security page, select “Authenticator” under other options to setup Authy for use with Coinbase. This will bring up a QR code, which you can use to setup your Coinbase OTP in Authy.

Open up Authy, add a new account, scan the QR code, and you’re done!

Add Coinbase OTP to Authy

Open the Authy app back up. You’ll want to click Add Account, then select to Scan the QR Code. The Authy app should automatically know that this is a Coinbase account and will label it as such. Adjust the name as you see fit, click save, and you’re done!

Input your code from Authy, and your Security tab on Coinbase will confirm activation of your authenticator. You will receive text and email confirmations as well.

Validating 2FA Activation in Coinbase

Once you have Authy setup, copy the Coinbase OTP from Authy (six digits) and paste it in the window on Coinbase to confirm correct setup of your authenticator. As an extra confirmation, you should receive both text and email messages confirming your activation of 2FA in your Coinbase account.

Deposits, Buys, and Withdrawals

Once you’ve secured your account with 2FA, you can move on to funding your Coinbase account. I use my Coinbase account almost entirely for converting of USD from my bank account to USDC (to eventually withdraw to Celsius), and that’s what I will focus on here.

Bring up the settings menu, select Payment Methods, and then select Bank Account to setup your ACH transfer via Plaid.

ACH Deposits

ACH deposits are very easy to setup using Coinbase. Bring up the settings menu as before, but instead of Security, this time select Payment Methods. Click to Add a payment method, and then select Bank Account (there are other options to fund your account, such as using a debit card, but this charges fees). Using Plaid, you will simply need to select your bank, enter your login information, and your bank account will automatically be linked to your Coinbase account– no routing or account numbers required.

Click on “Trade,” verify your identity one last time, and you’re ready to buy crypto.

Buying USDC

To buy USDC using an ACH transfer on Coinbase, first click on “Trade” from the home screen. If this is your first time using Coinbase, you will need to upload a copy of your Driver’s License or other identifying document to verify your identity– simply follow the prompts and verification should only take a few minutes.

To select USDC, simply click on “Bitcoin” in the Buy window and scroll down to select USDC. Select how much you want to buy, make sure it’s using the correct account (if you have linked more than one) and then confirm on the next screen.

Once you’ve finished the last step of identity verification, bring up the trade window again and click on “Bitcoin” in the Buy window so you can scroll down to select USDC. Input how much you want to buy– make sure it’s using the correct account (if you have linked more than one)– and then confirm on the next screen.

Once again, congratulations! You have now bought yourself some crypto. Although Coinbase says it can take up to six days to clear, in my experience it is typically 2–3 business days.

Crypto Withdrawals

Show this for Coinbase.

Crypto Deposits

Show this for Coinbase.

USD ACH Withdrawals

Show this coming in through Coinbase Pro, then moving to Coinbase and sending to bank


  1. Verify email and phone (done)
  2. Verify personal information (done)
  3. Setup 2FA (done)
  4. After 2FA setup, you should get an email and a text message confirming the changes (done)
  5. Connect ACH (done)
  6. Identity verification to trade (buy USDC, need to upload copy of ID) (done)
  7. Exporting history (could be in the extra section like I had for Celsius)
  8. Crypto withdrawals
  9. Setup whitelisting (maybe include this in the extra section as well)
  10. Also let people know they can use Gemini for GUSD as well as an alternative (extra section)



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