Coinbase Shenanigans


Summary

Coinbase just canceled my bitcoin transaction for being high-risk with no other explanation. Not very nice of them!

Coinbase logo

A while back I started playing with bitcoin. I don't want to mine it, I just wanted some, so I got a wallet and signed up for Coinbase on a friend's recommendation. I linked to my bank account and bought $45 worth of bitcoin. It takes 4 days for the transaction, so I sat back and waited. The transaction cleared, and I got my bitcoin. Yeah!

So, I decided I wanted a little more. I bought 1 bitcoin at $560 on Feb 28. Sit back and wait for the transaction to clear. Today I got this email:

Hi Phil Windley,

On Feb 28, 2014 you purchased 1.00 BTC via bank transfer for $560.69.

Unfortunately, we have decided to cancel this order because it appears to be high risk. We do not send out any bitcoins on high risk transactions, and you will receive a refund to your bank account in 3-4 business days.

Please understand that we do this to keep the community safe and avoid fraudulent transactions. Apologies if you are one of the good users who gets caught up in this preventative measure - we don't get it right 100% of the time, but we need to be cautious when it comes to preventing fraud.

You may have more luck trying again in a few weeks. Best of luck and thank you for trying Coinbase.

Kind regards,
The Coinbase Team

Huh? I'm not sure why they think it's high-risk, but I do know a few things:

  • The money left my account two days ago and it's going to take them 304 days to put it back. They got free free use of my money for 5-6 days. You could make a pretty good business off the float if you have enough transactions.
  • How much risk can there be when they've had my money for 2 days? It's not like I'm able to do some kind of clawback or something.
  • I bought bitcoin at $560 and today it's selling for $667, so maybe the high-risk was that they don't want to fulfill transaction that happen when the price goes up. I wonder if this transaction would be "high-risk" if bitcoin had been selling for $460 today?

All in all, a little disappointing. Maybe I'll have to find a different broker. Suggestions?