Coinbase has officially become the bitcoin industry’s first billion dollar startup. Yet, many customers and users remain unsatisfied with its customer support service along with other exchanges including Kraken.
Recent rise in the demand towards bitcoin has fueled the growth of bitcoin and digital currency exchanges. However, even the largest trading platforms such as Coinbase and Kraken have struggled to deal with the explosive growth of the bitcoin exchange market.
Most recently, startup executive Cody Brown, the founder of IRL, a VR production studio based in NYC, experienced an account security breach and observed thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin leave his Coinbase account in real-time.
In a reflective blog post, Brown wrote that he tried to reach out to the Coinbase customer support multiple times once he discovered suspicious account activity. However, Brown received no assistance from the team in time and ultimately had to learn the necessity of proper account security in a difficult way.
Long-time supporters of Coinbase and GDAX, two of the most widely utilized digital currency trading and wallet platforms in the US, have also admitted that there exists a severe problem with the company’s customer support service and that the firm has failed in that area even before the explosive growth of bitcoin began.
Coinbase has frequently failed to address customer service tickets for weeks to months and address urgent issues in a timely manner. Like many regional exchanges, the responsible service to offer is a certain timeframe in which traders are guaranteed they will receive responses by. For instance, a one-week timeframe before a solution or a response is provided by the Coinbase customer support team.
Coinbase has 7 million users on their platform and with such a large user base, it is difficult to provide efficient customer service to each user. However, it is also a billion dollar startup and it is aiming to raise a $100 million funding round based on many sources. Leading financial service providers such as Paypal and Transferwise have live customer service via live chat or phone. However, Coinbase has neither of those two and prefer to receive support tickets via email and Twitter.
Bitcoin and digital currencies are particularly difficult financial technologies people struggle to understand. Some may need help in purchasing bitcoin or storing digital currency safely. Some may have experienced issues during trading or sending bitcoin to recipients.
Gemini, a US-based regulated bitcoin exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, has recently received praises from the community for setting a precedent for the industry. A response letter to a support ticket regarding a bitcoin purchase order by the Gemini customer service team explained in detail why the order did not go through and bitcoin was credited to the user’s account.
Some exchanges including Kraken admit that a large backlog of support tickets have built up since the rapid increase in demand toward bitcoin. The request by governments to implement strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) systems have restricted the ability of exchanges to return to traders in a timely manner.
For instance, recently, prominent bitcoin trader WhalePanda expressed his frustration with a support ticket filed to Kraken in regards to an account limit upgrade. As a response, the Kraken team responded:
Unfortunately we are backlogged. The verification team is working hard verify accounts ASAP in the order they are received.
Still, some regional exchanges and service providers such as Coins.ph, which recently has secured a $10 million Series A funding round, are providing efficient customer service. Coins.ph operates both a live chat and a phone line and guarantees users will receive responses within the day even though it operates in four different countries and it is the single largest bitcoin service provider in the Philippines.
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