WARNING Coinbase users : Think twice before you travel (to Cuba)

in #cryptocurrency7 years ago (edited)
Afbeeldingsresultaat voor coinbase mobile pin

Havana, Cuba 

End of May 2017, I made a 5 day trip to Cuba. I used the hotel Wi-Fi to check some things like, mail, messaging... and of course the exchange rates on my Coinbase Mobile app. BIG mistake! I was not able to login. No special message, the app just froze on me. I decided to leave it, order a cold mojito and enjoy my holiday. There would be plenty of time to check back in to the crypto world once I returned home. Little did I know of what was about to hit me when I got back…  

At home, Belgium 

My heart froze as prompted with the message below, upon log in via my browser.    

This is crazy! I had been building my portfolio steadily for months and seen it grow to substantial amounts. Especially during the big ETH rise that kicked off in February. Suddenly here I was, locked out of my funds, being informed to talk to the U.S. Treasury Department (of all people) for permission to access my crypto? The first signs of Etherium being in a downtrend started to show and I had no way to secure my investments,… 

All is well that ends well,… or not so much 

It took Coinbase a split second to freeze my account. It took them well over 6 weeks to get back to me (after having complied with all their requests to prove my residence and acting in good faith) to reopen my account. By the time, I regained access: ETH had fallen like a knife and I saw my portfolio shrink with almost 40%. Leaving aside for a moment that the ‘waiting in fear to never see my crypto again period’ had been stressful to say the least.  


“Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth” Baz Luhrman

I hope sharing this experience is worth something to other Coinbase users. I hope and you will remember to think twice when boarding a plane (to Cuba) with a Coinbase mobile app on your phone.  Not doing so could cost you more than the trip you are about to enjoy.

Question to fellow Steemians 

I have learned the hard way that entrusting your wallet to an exchange is probably not the best of choices. I can think of many other reasons other than my own experience. Please share yours. I think it is time to take control of my crypto! Does anyone have good experience with hardware wallets? Is Leger Blue a good choice?   Thanks for your advice and feedback!


Damn that is a shocking thing. Coinbase should be informing all its customers that this can happen.

Thanks for your message. I hope others won't have to experience this and decided to share.
(I'm sure there are many others though who have experienced the same) Are you using a hardware Wallet?

Thanks for sharing! Had no idea this could happen

Oh it can. It could be a coincidence, but I was allowed access to my account straight after telling them I would take legal steps If not given a reply as to when they would pick up my case within 24 Hours. Are you using a hardware wallet?

Thank you! That is a OMG/WTF experienced. I hope you enjoyed your holiday. And I hope that ETH will go up again so you are also happy with that. If you would have hodled anyway nothing happend at the end.

You are so right. The holiday was great and I am sure ETH will recover soon ;)

What the fuck!!! Imagine one moment if this guy needs his coins to enjoy his holiday (after all bitcoin is great when you travel). He is fucked up without access to his money and nobody will answer him or even release few money to survive for 6 weeks and he would still have to come back to his country before to provide a proof of address !!!!
Never trust Coinbase or any wallet provider you can finish locked out of your money. Keep a paper cold wallet for big savings and a Jaxx mobile app for your small spendings of everyday life.

I know. Unfortunately I had to go through this experience to get to that conclusion...


Another argumentative point for decentralized exchanges.

And if need be in such a situation again use a VPN!!

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