Crypto Investing User Journey and Coinbase

Rohan Gaikwad
3 min readApr 30, 2021

Ever since bitcoin gained mainstream attention I have continuously tried to understand the technology and its real-world application. Trying to grasp the underlying technology supporting cryptocurrencies, blockchain, decentralized-ledger proves to be quite an intimidating task especially for people with non-programming backgrounds.

I have noticed a pattern in my flow every time I try to research a crypto coin or a related application.

  1. Head to their website

Usually, these websites are quite aesthetically impressive with isometric animated graphics, bold use of colors, and sprinkled with a myriad of high-tech terms and their high-level applications. At this point, I am trying to dig into a whitepaper or any real-world application or maybe a news article that supports the legitimacy of their tech. Their whitepaper or tech facts either almost sound gibberish to me or just too high level.

2. Research on other sources

After skimming the website, if I am still interested I would search for news articles from other sources to get an opinion or maybe go to their Reddit page if it exists. I would only get into this level of effort if I am confident of their technology's real-world application. One such example is STORJ coin that I thought was a great concept which is decentralized personal storage.

3. Check price action and ability to buy their coins

If I am convinced that there is a genuine product use case, I would research how their token/coin is performing in crypto markets. If I decide to buy the related coin I would try to find out exchanges that allow me to buy the asset. And in my personal experience, this has been again a daunting task. Especially buying relatively obscure altcoins.

I have gone through this process hundreds of times and effectively only investing in a cumulative of 15 odd cryptocurrencies and tokens.

Buying Cryptos

Buying digital assets has been a relatively recent phenomenon and there are a lot of factors one considers before actually executing a trade. Safety and Trust are the biggest of those.

I have experienced buying assets on Coinbase, Binance, Circle, and MetaMask. There are a handful of others where I created an account but never traded. Out of all those Coinbase has been a straightforward choice for US-based customers because of its simplicity and mainstream consumer-oriented user experience.

Right off the bat being a San Francisco-based company instills a great amount of trust as users perceive US-based companies to be liable to a stronger regulatory framework compared to other countries.

For a new crypto investor, it's important to trade on a safer platform especially when crypto frauds are abuzz in social media.

Coinbase designers made sure the product felt safer and more trustable in their overall branding.

Coinbase’s mission had always been oriented around making bitcoin more accessible, secure and simple. It was clear to me that design would be be integral to achieving that mission. — Karri Saarinen, Early Coinbase Designer

I feel Coinbase also enjoys the wave of an increased retail trading phenomenon championed by Robinhood. In most user experience aspects, Coinbase feels congruent to Robinhood. Robinhood users such as myself definitely feel the familiarity with Coinbase in terms of simplicity and trustworthiness.

Coinbase allows trading only 51 coins (as of this writing) to US-based customers out of a total of 9,500 coins (based of coinmarketcap) This gives a perception to the user about Coinbase’s restrictiveness when it comes to listing a coin. This definitely adds a layer of confidence to the coins available of Coinbase.

Institutional purchase on Coinbase such as Tesla buying Bitcoins through Coinbase was another powerful seal of approval and confidence booster for retail buyers to use Coinbase.

All of these factors have contributed to establishing Coinbase as one of the biggest players in the Crypto space. Everyone wonders what the future holds for this industry in general and I feel that there is a tremendous level of excitement and intellectual investment being made which would definitely yield valuable use cases going forward. So as of now, I am staying close to the industry constantly learning and contributing wherever I can, and being part of HODL gang :)



Rohan Gaikwad

Product design leader who advocates for the end-users and designs products optimized for growth.