Coinbase—also operating as Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) since May 2016[6]—is digital asset exchange company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It operates exchanges of bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital assets with fiat currencies in 32 countries, and bitcoin transactions and storage in 190 countries worldwide. [7][8][9][10]


Coinbase was founded in June 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam.[4][2] It enrolled in the summer 2012 Y Combinator startup incubator program. In October 2012 the company launched the services to buy and sell bitcoin through bank transfers.[2]

In May 2013, the company received a US$5 million Series A investment led by Fred Wilson from the venture capital firm Union Square Ventures.[2] In December 2013, the company received a US$25 million investment, from the venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital.[14]

In 2014 the company grew to one million users, acquired the blockchain explorer service Blockr and the web bookmarking company Kippt, secured insurance covering the value of bitcoin stored on their servers, and launched the vault system for secure bitcoin storage.[2][2][2] Throughout 2014 the company also formed partnerships with Overstock, Dell, Expedia, Dish Network, Time Inc., and Wikipedia to power accepting bitcoin payments.[2][2][2][21][22] The company also added bitcoin payment processing capabilities to the traditional payment companies Stripe, Braintree, and PayPal.[23]

In January 2015, the company received a US$75 million investment, led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the New York Stock Exchange, USAA, and several banks, "apparently the first time any traditional financial institutions have taken direct stakes in a bitcoin enterprise."[24] Later in January the company launched a U.S.-based bitcoin exchange.[25]

Coinbase began to offer services in Canada in 2015, but in July 2016 announced it would halt services in August after the closure of their Canadian online payments service provider Vogogo.[26]

On 29 March 2016, Coinbase was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 2 in the list of 100 Most Influential Blockchain Organisations.[27][28]

In May 2016, the company rebranded itself as the Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) and begin to offer Ether, the value token of Ethereum, for trade on its professional trading exchange service.[6] In July 2016, they extended the support to their "Coinbase" retail exchange by adding Ether as only the second digital currency offered to retail customers.[29]


Coinbase has two core products: a Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) for trading a variety of digital assets on its professional asset trading platform and exchange of bitcoin and Ether for fiat currency on its Coinbase retail offering.[29] It also offers an API for developers and merchants to build applications and accept payments in both digital currencies. As of 2014, the company offered buy/sell trading functionality in 25 countries, while the wallet was available in 190 countries worldwide.[30]

The exchange can be funded through a bank transfer or wire, and trades on the exchange have a maker/taker price model in which traders pay either a 0.25% fee (taker) or nothing (maker) to execute trades.[31]