Gemini, founded in 2014 by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and headquartered in New York, is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows investors to buy, sell, and store digital assets. It is registered by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), which gives them the licence to trade in New York, a notoriously difficult feat for a cryptocurrency exchange. Only one other exchange, Coinbase, has the right to do so.
Gemini is available in all 50 U.S. states and 60 other countries worldwide. It features a web exchange and mobile app, appealing to beginners with its primary service, Gemini Exchange, and experienced traders with its Gemini ActiveTrader exchange.
Gemini’s other products include Gemini Credit Card (U.S. customers only), two wallet services through Gemini Wallet and Gemini Custody, and staking through Gemini Earn. We’ll be discussing most of these in more detail in this review.
Is Gemini Safe?
The first thing we look at in any exchange we review is its security. As with any financial institution, security should be at the core of its development. We can generally tell a lot about a crypto exchange’s security by looking at its security breach history. Gemini is one of few crypto exchanges that can boast a flawless security history, with no hack to its name. There is an ongoing issue with one of their clients, IRA Financial Trust, who claims to have lost $36 million in a recent hack. However, Gemini claims that the exchange itself was not hacked or compromised and that the issue lies with IRA Financial Trust. There is an ongoing lawsuit in that matter.
To make sure that every user can secure his account against hacks and thefts, Gemini has developed a comprehensive list of security features summarised below.
- Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a default requirement from Gemini. You will need it to access your account and to make withdrawals
- Gemini offers support for hardware security keys, a more secure 2FA solution for account access
- Address whitelisting – this allows your crypto withdrawals to only go to verified addresses set by you
- Multiple verifications are needed to transfer cryptocurrency out of cold storage
- No private keys are kept at Gemini offices; all are kept off-site in high-security facilities
- Gemini has $290M in digital asset insurance, protecting your cryptocurrency in the event of a breach. It also offers Individual customer insurance of up to $250,000
- Know Your Customer (KYC) verification. This comes as standard for any financial institution. Gemini needs to verify the identification of all of its users
Assets & Pairs
Gemini’s cryptocurrency offerings aren’t as impressive as some of its closest rivals, like Coinbase or Crypto.com. Still, Gemini supports more than 80 cryptocurrencies, 68 crypto-fiat pairs, and 21 crypto-crypto pairs. It only supports 8 of the top 10* coins, with no support for Tether or Avalanche.
Sign-up / Verification Process
We found Gemini’s sign-up process to be straightforward and easy. We signed up using the desktop platform and were impressed with how quickly the process went. Within 10 minutes, our account was verified and ready to go.
Gemini asks you first to verify your email address and a phone number to activate 2FA, a compulsory security protocol while using its service. As part of their KYC policy, you’re then asked to upload a government-issued ID, like a passport or a driver’s licence, which the team at Gemini needs to verify. Within a few minutes, we had our ID verified, and we could start using the exchange. You just need to fund your account before you can begin trading.
Depending on how you want to invest with Gemini, it should cover all of the bases for funding. If you’re a beginner and looking to buy some crypto to do some spot trading, Gemini supports fiat payment methods, meaning you can purchase cryptocurrency using a credit/debit card or a linked bank account.
Gemini also uses a third-party service called Plaid, which allows you to link your bank account 8x faster than any other fiat funding method. We opted for this method and can confirm these claims are valid; within a couple of clicks and the scan of a QR code, we had a bank account linked and could purchase cryptocurrency.
If you want to fund your account with cryptocurrency and have an external crypto wallet, just hit ‘Transfer’ on the top right of the desktop platform, or click on an asset on the mobile app and head over to the deposit section. You’ll be able to copy the crypto address and initiate the deposit from your crypto wallet. Crypto deposits are quick; we sent some AMP from an external wallet to test it out. After 12 confirmations on the Ethereum network, it was in our Gemini wallet in under 10 minutes.
Gemini makes withdrawals simple, whether withdrawing fiat currency or cryptocurrency by doing it all from the same Transfer menu on the desktop platform or by clicking on an asset on the mobile app. Gemini supports USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, and HKD fiat withdrawals. Once you link a bank account, you can easily transfer funds from the exchange via ACH or wire transfer. Wire transfers are only available through the desktop platform.
Fiat currency cannot be withdrawn to a debit card, so you need to link a bank account. Gemini tries its hardest to get you to connect an account via Plaid, but you don’t have to. If you prefer to link directly, you can still enter your details manually.
For crypto withdrawals, choose your asset from the drop-down menu in the Transfer section and enter your wallet address (provided by your external wallet). You’ll have 4 minutes to approve the withdrawal request using Authy, or you can approve it via SMS. Gemini gives you 10 free withdrawals a month; we’ve covered the rest of the fees in the Fees section of this article.
Depending on which Gemini service you use, the fees can be confusing. It is competitive in some areas but falls behind in others. To start, Gemini does not charge for bank deposits through ACH or wire transfer, and crypto deposits from an external wallet are also free (excluding standard blockchain fees).
Gemini Exchange Fees
Gemini charges a 0.50% convenience fee and a transaction fee on every market order. Transaction fees vary depending on the amount. So, under $10 will incur a $0.99 fee, over $10, but under $25 will incur a $1.49 fee. Anything over $200 will incur a 1.49% fee.
For example, if 1 BTC costs $1000. Joe wants to buy 2 BTC. The transaction fee is 1.49%, and the convenience fee is 0.50%. Joe would pay $2039.80 for 2 BTC, including both fees.
Gemini offers 10 free withdrawals a month, setting it apart from most other exchanges. This is perfect if you have more of a passive investment strategy and don’t intend to make multiple trades a month. However, if you exceed 10 withdrawals, it can get quite pricey depending on the coin.
For example, BTC will set you back 0.001BTC per withdrawal; that’s $42 (at the time of writing). A complete list of coin withdrawal fees can be found here.
It’s also important to note that there are no limits on deposits. However, there are minimum withdrawal limits depending on the currency:
- USD – $50
- AUD – $150
- CAD – $135
- EUR – €95
- GBP – £20
- HKD – $785
Gemini ActiveTrader Fees
For ActiveTrader trading, Gemini uses a maker-taker fee structure. If you’re a maker, you are adding liquidity to the market and will be charged a maker fee. You are taking liquidity away from the market as a taker, so you will be charged a taker fee. There is no way to tell if you are a maker or taker until a trade is fulfilled. Your fee rate is based on your previous 30-day trade volume, and fees can range from 0.00% to 0.40%. Gemini comes in slightly cheaper than Coinbase and Crypto.com, and a more detailed list can be found below:
|30-Day Trading Volume In (USD Notional)||Maker Fee||Taker Fee||Auction Fee|
Overall, we found Gemini’s fees to be relatively high compared to other offerings in the market, but that is often the case with beginner-oriented crypto exchanges. If you are a frequent trader, that will become an issue quickly, and you will be better off with Binance, Bybit, Kucoin, or OKX. However, these exchanges won’t hold your hand, and you’ll be mostly on your own. That is the tradeoff.
Platform & Ease of Use
Gemini caters mainly to beginners, with some advanced features sprinkled in. The Gemini Exchange is a simple and easy-to-use exchange that offers basic spot trading and everything you need to understand the crypto market. Gemini ActiveTrader was developed for crypto-crypto trading and provides advanced charting and block trading features.
The Gemini exchange lets you research, buy, and sell crypto on both desktop and mobile. You can see a snapshot of your account, watchlists, top movers, and educational content from the home screen. Clicking into an asset gives you more info and a historical view of its performance, with the buy/sell options to the side while keeping it tidy and user-friendly. We said in our Coinbase review that it was one of the most beginner-friendly exchanges we’ve used. However, Gemini Exchange is definitely on par, if not better.
Gemini ActiveTrader is a crypto-crypto trading exchange and a more advanced platform. We recommend only using this if you have a bit of crypto trading experience. Trying to get your head around it as a beginner will most likely put you off. You can access ActiveTrader by going to your account settings and changing the trading interface.
Gemini ActiveTrader is only available via your desktop. The desktop interface has everything you would expect from an advanced platform, with a large integrated chart and a continuous order book. We liked the crypto pairs menu, where you can click on an asset and gain a snapshot of all of its fiat and crypto trading pairs. One thing we found lacking was the charting features; it has more than 100 indicators but has no drawing tools.
Gemini has an app available on iOS and Android that mirrors the simple Gemini Exchange. It has everything the desktop interface offers and makes it easy to buy and sell crypto from your home screen. You can also seamlessly switch to your portfolio to see a performance overview of your assets. Clicking an asset gives you market stats and a bit of info about the selected asset.
We think more can be done around the Gemini app development. It would be nice to have a mobile app for ActiveTrader, giving you access to crypto-crypto trading and other advanced features on the go. You won’t really be trading on Gemini’s mobile app, but if you just want to check prices and buy some crypto here and there – it does the job.
Gemini Exchange was developed with the beginner in mind. It has basic trading features like spot trading, buying and selling crypto, and a portfolio/integrated wallet to hold crypto.
Gemini ActiveTrader has a few advanced features like crypto-crypto trading, auction, block trading for large orders, and staking via Gemini Earn. Gemini ActiveTrader also supports eight order types:
- Limit: Fill-or-Kill ((FOK)
- Limit: Maker-or-Cancel (MOC)
- Limit: Immediate-or-Cancel (IOC)
- Limit: Auction-Only Limit (AO)
- Limit: Indication of Interest (IOI)
Unfortunately, experienced traders looking for features like margin and leverage trading, futures, and perpetual contracts won’t find any of these on Gemini. If you’re looking for a very advanced platform packed with features, we recommend trying Binance or Gate.io, but some features might be limited depending on your geographical location.
Volume & Liquidity
You can tell a lot about an exchange by looking at its overall volume and liquidity. The higher it is, the more fluid and quicker orders get fulfilled on the exchange, and the likelier you are to get your order filled at an advantageous price.
At the time of writing, Gemini ranked 12th out of 306 exchanges on CoinMarketCap, with a rating of 6.9, average liquidity of 637 (out of an average of 380), and a 24hr trading volume of $137million.
Looking at some trading pairs, its most liquid pair was BTC/USD with a liquidity of 718, which is excellent. The liquidity score for the rest of the pairs was well above average for the most part. Based on these stats, we wouldn’t hesitate to use Gemini to trade, as there is ample liquidity.
The Gemini Credit Card
Since the dawn of cryptocurrency, few exchanges have been able to bridge the gap between cryptocurrency and the ability to use it for everyday spending. With the Gemini credit card, you can earn instant rewards in more than 50 cryptocurrencies. It is the only credit card that deposits your crypto rewards immediately. Users can earn 3% back on dining out, 2% back on groceries, and 1% on everything else – which we think is an interesting proposition. Unfortunately, the Gemini credit card is currently only available in the U.S.
Gemini has a comprehensive cryptocurrency educational content and resources collection, an excellent feature for beginner traders. The Gemini Cryptopedia covers basic topics about Bitcoin and other currencies and more advanced topics like blockchain technology and advanced trading. You can find it by scrolling to the bottom of the website, under resources.
The Gemini Wallet
Gemini offers two wallets. Gemini Wallet is an insured hot wallet, giving users quick access to their cryptocurrency. Crypto stored in this way is insured by Gemini and allows for fluid and liquid trading. This is the regular, integrated wallet that comes as part of simply using Gemini to buy crypto.
Gemini also has an institutional-grade wallet called Gemini Custody. It is a cold wallet that takes your crypto off the network and stores it in highly secure offline locations, making it less susceptible to hacking. With Custody, you also can store more coins than the standard wallet.
We found it appealing that Gemini also offers an instant trading feature for Custody. Most cold wallet storage requires you to put in a transfer request, which could take between a few hours and a few days, depending on the exchange. With Custody, it’s instant. However, it doesn’t come cheap as you have to pay a yearly fee of 0.4% of the total crypto in the wallet and a withdrawal fee of $125 per withdrawal. This is a service not suited for most individuals; we think it is much more efficient and cost-effective to keep your trading money in a hot wallet and withdraw long-term investments to your private wallet.
Gemini offers staking through Gemini Earn. You can earn interest on your cryptocurrency by simply holding it in your Gemini account. Unlike other exchanges, Gemini has no minimum terms and no transfer or holding fees; you can move your assets and interest earned back to your trading account at any time. Very appealing, but other exchanges with minimum terms offer higher interest/rewards.
For example, Crypto.com offers up to 4.5% reward on $400 worth of BTC if you stake it for 3 months. Gemini offers a meagre 1.01% on the same amount with the option of being completely flexible and having no fixed term. How you choose to invest is up to you, but the flexibility offered by Gemini comes with significantly lower staking rewards.
Gemini has 45 coins available to stake, and you can find a complete list with a calculator on potential returns here. It’s an astounding amount of stakeable coins, especially compared to other beginner-friendly exchanges like Coinbase. Gemini’s yields on staking aren’t the highest, but the offering is wide and simple.
Gemini is not able to offer lending or borrowing due to regulations.
Especially for a beginner-oriented exchange, customer support is quite important, and it’s good to know you’ll have someone to turn to if you need it. Gemini claims to offer 24/7 customer support via a ticketing and email system. We tested and sent a request through at 1 am New York time (GMT-4) around depositing funds into our account. We had a response within 37 minutes; it’s not as fast as speaking to someone directly via chat, but we find it to be a very reasonable timeframe to receive a comprehensive and well-thought-out answer.
Gemini purchased a completely separate NFT marketplace in 2018 called Nifty Gateway and has integrated it into the Gemini ecosystem. It is a custodial platform, meaning that NFTs on the platform are stored in a secure Gemini Custody wallet. This lets users buy, sell and gift NFTs on the platform without paying any gas fees (blockchain fees). You’ll gain access to art by famous artists like Beeple, Jon Burgerman, and Trevor Jones, among hundreds of others.
We love that you can buy NFTs using fiat currency. We’ve only ever seen this support on the Coinbase exchange. With most NFT marketplaces, users can only buy NFTs using Ethereum, opening them to more fees and hassle. Fiat purchases make it much more straightforward and make what is usually a niche market available to the masses.
To use Nifty Gateway, you’ll need to create a separate account. This might be a deterrent, but it’s a quick process, and took us less than 2 minutes to have verified credentials. You can then link your Gemini account with your Nifty Gateway account, which takes away the need to add more payment details. You’ll then be able to make offers on NFTs using your Gemini fiat balance, or you can add different payment options or purchase using prepaid ETH.
Conclusions for Beginners
Gemini is an excellent starting platform for beginners. Gemini Exchange offers a very simple, and easy-to-use platform with a good selection of coins to buy and sell. The desktop and mobile interfaces are clutter-free and offer great educational resources with the Gemini Cryptopedia. Gemini makes buying crypto simple with its support for fiat purchases using a debit/credit card or a linked bank account, and the staking offering is very good for a beginner-friendly exchange.
Gemini’s fees are quite high, and the number of assets supported is quite low compared to the competition. However, if you want to make your first crypto purchase and don’t intend to trade a whole lot, you are likely to be satisfied with Gemini.
Conclusions for Experienced Traders
Experienced traders will enjoy using ActiveTrader if all they want to do is some crypto trading and staking, but that is where the fun ends. More advanced features like short-selling, leverage and margin trading, and perpetual and future contracts are unavailable. The fees for the advanced exchange are 4 times higher than other exchanges like Binance, which is a clear signal that Gemini isn’t looking for very savvy crypto traders.