The bottom line: For casual investors, Gemini offers a trading platform that’s easy for beginners, advanced platform for serious traders and a portal for peer-to-peer trading.
Pros & Cons
- More than 30 cryptocurrencies.
- Site insurance of digital assets against exchange hacks.
- Available in all U.S. states.
- Higher fees than some other crypto exchanges.
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Founded in 2014 in New York City, Gemini is the creation of Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss — the twins who famously sued former Harvard classmate Mark Zuckerberg over the creation of Facebook, as dramatized in the movie “The Social Network.”
Gemini’s exchange was launched for U.S. customers in October 2015 and is now one of the top 15 cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, according to CoinMarketCap, a data and analytics company. Unlike several other exchanges, Gemini is available in all 50 U.S. states (and more than 50 countries).
Gemini has a simple interface for new crypto investors, while more experienced traders will appreciate its ActiveTrader platforms. You can find exchanges that charge fewer fees for crypto trades, but Gemini’s safety measures and insurance against online breaches might ease the minds of those new to the cryptocurrency trading world.
Cryptocurrencies offered: Gemini currently offers 33 cryptocurrencies for U.S. dollar trades, including popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin. (Want to learn more? and how they work).
Trading minimums are dependent on the type of cryptocurrency: For Bitcoin, trades are a minimum of 0.00001 bitcoin; for Ethereum, 0.001 ethereum.
Crypto trading costs and transaction fees: For mobile and web app users, Gemini charges a flat 0.5% above the current trading price (which Gemini calls its “convenience fee”). On top of that, it charges a transaction fee similar to based on the amount traded: a tiered flat fee up to $200; orders above $200 are charged 1.49%.
Unlike Coinbase, Gemini doesn’t charge transaction fees for deposits from U.S. bank accounts or wire transfers (although your bank might). For debit card purchases, Gemini charges an additional 3.49% of the total purchase amount — a better price than the 3.99% Coinbase or 4.5% charges for debit card purchases.
For more serious, high-volume crypto traders, Gemini has a different rate structure based on 30-day dollar-volume of trades on its ActiveTrader platform. Rates also are based on liquidity of the asset at the time of purchase; if immediately available, you're charged a “taker” fee, and if your order needs to wait for a buyer, you are charged a “maker” fee. The “auction” option allows the sale of blocks of cryptocurrency at a maximum buy price or minimum sell price.
Crypto-to-crypto trading: Gemini supports just under 20 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs, mostly linked to Bitcoin, Ethereum and these cryptocurrencies: Zcash (ZEC), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Orchid (OXT), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Chainlink (LINK) and Dai (DAI).
Peer-to-peer trading: Gemini offers direct trading between buyers and sellers through the Gemini Clearing portal; fees are the cost of the spread and have no minimum order size (Binance’s comparable OTC service has a $10,000 order minimum).
Platform: For desktop users, Gemini has Gemini Basic — a straightforward, simple interface to purchase cryptocurrency based on the total amount of crypto or the total amount of U.S. dollars you want to spend.
Gemini’s ActiveTrader platform has more bells and whistles, such as advanced charting, tracking multiple order types and block trading.
Crypto wallet: The exchange offers Gemini Wallet for users who don’t already have a cryptocurrency wallet. Digital assets are insured against losses that result from a security breach or hack, a fraudulent transfer or employee theft (more on this below).
Mobile app: The free Gemini app for iOS and Android is highly rated by app store users and mimics many of the same functions and features as the desktop site.
Security and insurance: Gemini prides itself on its security measures and hasn’t recorded a successful hacking attempt on its site. The digital assets on the site are insured against security breaches and hacks, and the bulk of its assets are kept in “cold storage,” away from online threats that could breach security. That said, loss of assets due to unauthorized access to your personal account — such as theft of your private codes and logins — isn't covered by Gemini insurance.
Availability in all U.S. states: Unlike some cryptocurrency exchanges, Gemini is available for use in all 50 states, as well as more than 50 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and Oceania.
Gemini offers a quick setup and convenient interface for new cryptocurrency investors, as well as strong tools for more serious traders. While its fees may be higher than some competitors on its mobile and web apps, Gemini’s security features such as insurance for digital assets are attractive — especially for those new to the crypto world.
No matter where you decide to make your purchase, understand that is highly speculative and known for its volatility. It’s wise to never invest any more than you can afford to lose.