Issues with Coinbase Support; Bad Precedent for Bitcoin

Ever since it launched, users of Coinbase have had experienced similar issues with the exchange regarding technical support for Bitcoin transactions and storage. According to various user complaints, it seems as if the exchange cares about its reputation significantly more than its loyal users.

Over the past few months, a substantial volume of user complaints have surfaced on online bitcoin forums, particularly on reddit bitcoin (/r/bitcoin) and btc (/r/btc). Self posts with a lot of upvotes had Coinbase Support respond immediately, while users that contacted Coinbase via email or their support system failed to be addressed for months.

On August 26, a self post on Reddit entitled “Last resort: Can’t withdraw 50 BTC from Coinbase vault. Support doesn’t help and breaks their own set deadlines. Forced to escalate it on social media,” was published on Reddit. Unlike other posts in the past, this particular self post attracted hundreds of upvotes and comments, triggering a major debate over the justification and legitimacy of Coinbase Support on Reddit.

The issue of the user was, Coinbase made false promises and failed to meet their own deadlines, delaying support for a user for nearly six weeks. The user had tens of thousands of dollars locked up, which was held hostage by Coinbase for a long period of time.

However, once the complaint was taken to Reddit and attracted a lot of attention from the Bitcoin community, Coinbase staff member responded almost instantaneously, stating, “Coinbase employee here If you could send an email to support+reddit@coinbase.com and include your reddit username, we’ll be happy to track down your case. Applies to anyone on the thread that might be running into similar issues.”

The response of the Coinbase team infuriated the Bitcoin community which began to question their bad practice and their method of handling user support. One Coinbase user commented, “Bad practice alert. How about actually going through your support queue and answering customers?”

Essentially, Coinbase is supposed to go through the support system like other major exchanges. Complete a support ticket before moving on to the next issue. In this case, Coinbase decided to immediately help a user that was stuck in the support system for 6 weeks because the social media post of the user was hurting their reputation.

The BItcoin industry has many reputable bitcoin exchanges like Kraken and Bitstamp. Coinbase must realize that its dominance over the market doesn’t provide the exchange with the authority to misrepresent the Bitcoin community and market with bad practices.


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About Joseph Young

Joseph is a web developer and designer, writer and a passionate musician who loves to travel often. He’s worked as a researcher for a number of venture capital firms and as a freelancer designer for resorts and corporations in Korea and the Philippines. Joseph will be covering new technologies, startups, technical analysis and breaking news in the bitcoin industry.