Blog
Sep 16th, 2014

Introducing Toshi - An Open Source Bitcoin Node For Developers

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When we started Coinbase, we took a look at the Bitcoin Core open source project, and tried to decide how we could use it to build a web application. Bitcoin Core is a great reference implementation, but was never designed to query blockchain data in a flexible way (such as through a SQL database) or to scale to millions of users across dozens of servers. And so we built our own Bitcoin node to power Coinbase (which we’ve now scaled to 1.6M wallets).

Today we’re happy to announce Toshi, the next generation of our Bitcoin node, has been open sourced.

Toshi is a full Bitcoin node, that is 100% compatible with Bitcoin Core and makes it easy to build web applications.  It provides an API to query blockchain data, is written in Ruby, and is backed by PostgreSQL.

Read More

Sep 15th, 2014

United Way Worldwide Now Accepting Bitcoin for Donations with Coinbase

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United Way Worldwide is the world’s largest privately held non-profit, and we are excited to announce that the organization is now accepting bitcoin for donations using Coinbase’s merchant tools.  We’re thrilled to enable the Bitcoin community to contribute to United Way’s longstanding mission of mobilizing the caring power of communities across the world to advance the common good.  United Way seeks to improve education, help people achieve financial stability, and promote healthy lives through community initiatives and partnerships with major organizations such as General Electric, Exxon Mobile, and the NFL. The global organization has more than 2.8 million volunteers, 9.7 million donors, and raises over $5 billion a year.

In a matter of days, United Way Worldwide was able to add bitcoin as a donation method on its site and begin processing donations from donors anywhere in the world, instantly and for free. For United Way, Coinbase attracts new donors who may not have donated in the past but are enticed to donate because of the convenience, opportunity to donate small amounts, and tax benefits that bitcoin provides.

Donating bitcoin to United Way Worldwide is the most seamless way for an individual to donate. Coinbase users can donate with two clicks, and anyone with a bitcoin wallet can donate by scanning a QR code or sending funds to a United Way bitcoin address without providing personally identifiable information or payment credentials:

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Bitcoin is an especially attractive payment method because it enables individuals to donate knowing that 100% of the donation will go to the cause.  It’s also simple to donate small amounts, and the lack of transaction fees makes receiving micro-donations ($1.00 or below) economically feasible. 

United Way Worldwide is the latest and largest non-profit to use bitcoin, and we’ve enjoyed working with them. Visit the United Way Bitcoin FAQ to learn more.

Sep 10th, 2014

Coinbase Expands Internationally, Now Available In 14 Countries

Over the past two years, Coinbase has made it easy to use bitcoin.  Over 1.6 million consumers, 36,000 merchants and 6,000 developers have signed up to use our product. While people all over the world have made use of the Coinbase wallet, the U.S. has been our fastest area of growth, largely due to our integration with the U.S. banking system which makes it easy for people to buy and sell bitcoin. Other markets have not grown as quickly because people have been unable to buy and sell in their local country.

Today, we’re looking to change this. Coinbase is now available in 14 countries.  We’re adding 13 additional countries across Europe including Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Portugal, and Slovakia.

 We’ve also create a new Global page showing the countries where Coinbase is now available:

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What does this mean?

Consumers and businesses in these countries can now buy bitcoin from Coinbase or sell bitcoin to Coinbase using a euro bank account.

It’s important to note that this is a beta launch in Europe.  During our beta, we will have a fairly low daily limit: €500 per day on buys and sells.  We hope to continue raising this limit in the near future as we move out of beta.

This €500 per day limit is available to 100% of customers in those countries today, however, and it is not a closed beta.

We think launching in these additional countries is a major step for the entire Bitcoin community, and will help continue bitcoin’s growth as a global payment network. Specifically, we feel having an easy buy/sell method in these countries will help two important areas of bitcoin to grow:

  • We believe this launch will accelerate merchant adoption in Europe, now that many more consumers have easy access to bitcoin
  • We feel this will also accelerate the use case of cross border payments for bitcoin

Send us any feedback you might have on the launch!

Sep 9th, 2014

Coinbase Responds To New York’s Recently Proposed BitLicense

Coinbase has now completed its formal response to the New York Department of Financial Services on their recently proposed BitLicense Draft.

You can download our formal response here. [PDF]

To summarize the main points of our response:

  • We feel the BitLicense is duplicative of the current money transmitter regulations which are a more appropriate form of regulation for the future of digital currency.

  • Certain aspects of the proposed recordkeeping and anti-money laundering requirements would eliminate the core utility of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, substantially hindering the innovation which all of us including, purportedly the NYDFS, find so promising.

  • Any regulation of virtual currencies at this stage should take care to exclude non-financial use cases and companies who are not storing Bitcoin on behalf of customers.

While we applaud the NYDFS for being forward thinking on virtual currencies, we feel the proposed BitLicense falls short of its stated goal of balancing customer protection and rooting out illegal activity while encouraging innovation.  We remain cautiously optimistic that the NYDFS will work to reach a more appropriate balance that recognizes Bitcoin as a rapidly evolving technology.

We dive into each point in a bit more detail below.

Read More

Sep 8th, 2014

Braintree Partners with Coinbase to Accept Bitcoin Payments

We’re happy to announce a new partnership with online and mobile payments platform Braintree that will enable its vast portfolio of merchants to begin seamlessly accepting bitcoin on any device. Developers at Coinbase and Braintree will be working together closely to complete the integration in the next few months.

Braintree CEO Bill Ready announced the news this morning at TechCrunch Disrupt, explaining that his company is focused on giving its customers choice and flexibility. Our partnership will support that aim by including bitcoin among the wide variety of payment methods that Braintree is able to offer its merchants.

                           

Braintree merchants using Coinbase will receive all the benefits associated with accepting bitcoin payments, including 1% flat transaction fees (waived for the first $1M in bitcoin sales) with no additional costs, all while avoiding exposure to any currency volatility risk thanks to Coinbase’s Instant Exchange feature.

We are excited to be partnering with a company that is equally committed to simplifying payments for both merchants and consumers, and look forward to working with Braintree to complete the integration.

To accept bitcoin, Braintree merchants simply need to open a separate merchant account with Coinbase and then link to their Braintree account. Merchants interested in integrating Coinbase through Braintree should email coinbase@getbraintree.com to stay updated on news relating to the launch.

Sep 4th, 2014

Resy Becomes First iOS App to Integrate Coinbase OAuth2 Protocol

                                

Last week, Resy, the New York-based restaurant reservations app for last-minute premier tables, became the first iOS app to fully integrate the Coinbase OAuth2 protocol and enable its customers to make seamless payments using bitcoin. Available immediately in the Apple App Store for free, Resy is one of the first bitcoin iOS integrations to emerge since the Apple ban on bitcoin wallets was lifted in June. And as of today, consumers can also pay for reservations with bitcoin on their Android devices.

Instead of settling for an early or late reservation at the hottest restaurant in town, Resy helps consumers land a table during prime time hours (say 8pm vs. 5pm) by paying a small fee, with little to no advanced planning. Using Coinbase’s OAuth2 functionality, Resy can now accept bitcoin payments from customers via their Coinbase wallet following initial authorization.

The Resy team was able to integrate in a matter of days, and even built a Coinbase Python 3 client library. We believe bitcoin on mobile is just getting started and we’d love to hear from more developers interested in working with us to enable bitcoin on mobile.

Aug 28th, 2014

Budweiser Taps Coinbase for Summer Concert Series, Wraps Up Tour Labor Day Weekend in Philadelphia and LA

Music festivals are in full swing across the country and Coinbase isn’t missing out on the action. By partnering with Budweiser’s Made in America (BMIA) summer concert series, Coinbase is helping Budweiser wrap up the tour for its inaugural, flagship event in Philadelphia as well as its first-ever performance in Los Angeles. Both BMIA venues are using the Coinbase Merchant Android Application to provide concertgoers with a simple point-of-sale experience. Earlier this summer, the Coinbase app was used at the BMIA event at The Complex in Salt Lake City.

Curated by Jay-Z and featuring a blockbuster lineup that includes Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Pharrell Williams, Tiesto and Steve Aoki, Budweiser Made in America will take place in Philadelphia and Los Angeles on Labor Day weekend, August 30-31.

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Budweiser first introduced its product more than a century ago, and has grown to become one of the most trusted brands in the world. We are excited to provide Budweiser an innovative way to connect with a more progressive, tech-savvy segment of its customer base. By associating its brand with Coinbase, Budweiser has become the largest brand in the entertainment and events space to do so, following sports teams such as the Sacramento Kings and San Jose Earthquakes. Heavyweights in the music industry like Nas have also emerged as staunch advocates of bitcoin’s potential. As more individuals and businesses from the music, film, sports and general entertainment industries align their brands with bitcoin, they’ll look toward early adopters such as Budweiser as pioneers in the space. 

Aug 27th, 2014

Coinbase Is Insured

We’re proud to publicly announce that Coinbase holds insurance against theft or loss of its bitcoin.  We’ve been insured for almost a year, but given the recent claims of insurance in the industry, thought it was appropriate to tell our users about it.  Our users, of course, won’t be charged for this insurance.

The Details

Coinbase is insured against theft and hacking in an amount that exceeds the average value of bitcoin we hold in online storage at any given time.  The insurance covers losses due to breaches in physical or cyber security, accidental loss, and employee theft.  It doesn’t cover bitcoin lost or stolen as a result of an individual user’s negligence to maintain secure control over their login credentials.

We think it’s important consumers understand what’s behind their insurance.  Some bitcoin wallets may claim to be “fully insured” while not working with accredited carriers or outright self-insuring.  Others may be able to claim “fully insured” at the moment because their number of bitcoin stored are so low that a small insurance policy happens to cover everything until they grow.  We teamed up with Aon, the world’s largest insurance broker, and only use underwriters with high credit ratings (S&P rating of A+ or A.M. Best Rating of A XV or higher).

For more details and fine print, you can check out our FAQ.  If you’d like to get a comprehensive rundown of our industry leading security, check out our security page.

Aug 18th, 2014

Coinbase Acquires Blockr.io, Welcomes New Staff

As Coinbase continues to grow, we’re always keeping an eye out for other companies and individuals making waves in digital currency and helping make bitcoin easy to use. One such company is Blockr.io, a popular block explorer service that caught our eye earlier this year with its sleek, intuitive design and API. Blockr.io parses the bitcoin blockchain and presents the data to users in an easy to read way.

Today, we’re excited to announce that Coinbase has acquired Blockr.io.  As part of the acquisition, we’re able to welcome two of its exceptionally talented employees to the Coinbase team: software engineer Sašo Matejina and designer Samo Drole. The pair recently moved from Slovenia to join our staff of 40 full-time employees here in San Francisco.  Saso and Samo will be focused on continuing to make the Coinbase API the premier tool for developers who want to build on top of bitcoin.  They’ll also work on building out Coinbase’s own bitcoin node.

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Blockr.io will continue to operate as usual for now as Sašo and Samo transition to their work at Coinbase.

We’re excited to have them join the team!

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Sašo is a co-founder of Blockr.io blockchain explorer. Before joining Coinbase, he worked on automated functional and regression testing for banking software and developed news publishing platforms for Slovenian media. He is a cryptocurrency enthusiast and enjoys building products that make your life easier.

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Samo is digital coin enthusiast, who founded Blockr.io blockchain explorer and worked as a freelance designer prior joining Coinbase. He is passionate about biking and cartoons.

Aug 15th, 2014

Merchant Highlights: Xsolla, Terminal, and Demand Food

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Xsolla, a cross-platform payment and billing solution for gaming companies, is now using Coinbase to accept bitcoin payments for Twitch Turbo. Although Bitcoin does not support recurring payments at the protocol level, merchants like Xsolla can use the Coinbase API to enable recurring payments. We’re glad to see Xsolla allowing users to make bitcoin payments on gaming platforms like Twitch, and look forward to seeing payments innovation in gaming in the future.

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Terminal is a flexible cloud-computing platform with a mission to give simple, affordable computing to everyone in the world. By accepting bitcoin, Terminal is able to provide cloud-computing access to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. We are excited to offer the Bitcoin community the opportunity to purchase Terminal’s hosting services for a 5% discount for a limited time.

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Demand Food is an on-demand food delivery service based in Austin, TX. The service offers $9.99 meals that can now be paid for in two clicks using Coinbase. The convenience and speed of bitcoin payments makes bitcoin a great fit for on-demand services like Demand Food. We’d love to hear from more on-demand services interested in using our API: merchants@coinbase.com.