Alex McFarlane

Useful Stuff

Getting Started with Bitcoin


Quick Start (Coinbase)

There are two simple steps

  1. Register for an account on Coinbase
  2. Register for an account on GDAX

Why GDAX? Literally the only reason I chose GDAX is that it has an API and the fees don’t seem to be too bad. Coinbase and GDAX are the same company. GDAX is just the exchange side of the Coinbase wallet. They are kept separate I guess to simplify the currency conversion process for the everyday enthusiast.

A heads up - Coinbase is for bitcoin newbs this means in a nutshell that they behave like any other bank (for better or for worse, which can be subjective). Your account will probably get closed / sales refunded if you buy things (not limited to): Hookers, Weapons, Drugs, Gambling etc.

I find the gambling moderation ironic since the whole purpose is to allow you to speculate on crypto-currencies.

Depositing Funds

Depositing via Bank Account (SEPA)

This is the cheapest option to deposit funds as you’ll have to do it anyway if you want to get money back into pounds.

You need to deposit €6 into the EUR account to complete the validation process that will allow you to withdraw funds if needed. I found this process was useless and a major reason Coinbase gets such bad press! The waiting periods for validation seem to take forever.

Depositing via Debit Card

I thought this was a better option for amounts <£250 as the card charges at time of writing are 4% and bank fees are a flat £10.

However, currently it is not possible to withdraw funds onto a debit card. In short just validate a bank account

Validate a Withdrawal Account

This is required if you want to extract any funds from your wallet back into your bank account. With my NatWest account on Wednesday 30th August, it took 4 days to get validated at midday on Sunday 3rd September.

Buy / Sell Cryptocurrency

Buying currency through coinbase is expensive. There is a 99¢ charge on every transaction. This is where GDAX is used.

You can log into the GDAX account and deposit from the coinbase wallet into the exchange. Once this is done you face only the exchange fees for buying and selling cryptocurrency.

Be aware that there are minimum/maximum buy/sell orders of 0.01 in each cryptocurrency

You can transfer funds back into your coinbase account and deposit these into a normal bank account if you so wish.