Gemini is a large cryptocurrency exchange that can sit comfortably next to some of the other larger cryptocurrency exchanges in operation. With the continued growth of the crypto exchange market, it can be difficult to know which ones to trust and which ones to ignore. If you don’t have enough time to sift through all of the different exchanges, fortunately we have moved to provide our readers with a comprehensive guide to using the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum and other emerging altcoins.
Our in-depth analysis and review of the Gemini exchange has been written after signing up and placing trades through the Gemini platform. Once you have read this, we hope you are better placed to make an informed decision about whether to use Gemini to trade cryptocurrencies.
The Gemini exchange was established in 2015 by the Winklevoss brothers, the same twins that shot to prominence after they sued Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg claiming that he stole their idea for the world-leading social network. Some $65 million was received in damages from those claims, $11 million of which they invested into Bitcoin back in 2013. Today, that investment is said to be worth more than $1 billion.
The vision of the Winklevoss twins was to develop one of the most secure cryptocurrency exchanges in the crypto industry. It was developed as a direct competitor to the likes of Coinbase and Kraken, with users able to purchase cryptocurrencies using fiat currency as well as other crypto assets. The Gemini platform is now available to users based in the United States of America, as well as the UK, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Puerto Rico.
At the time of writing, Gemini exchange only permits a select few cryptocurrencies to be bought and sold through its platform: Bitcoin tokens, Ethereum tokens, Litecoin tokens and Zcash tokens. In 2016, Gemini became the world’s first exchange to be fully licensed to sell Ether.
There are no two ways about it, Gemini’s cryptocurrency exchange is widely regarded as one of the most secure in the industry. It is governed by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), as well as anti-money laundering (AML) legislation. All users that make deposits into a Gemini exchange account are eligible for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance coverage. Interestingly, only a tiny fraction of the Bitcoin held by Gemini exchange is stored online. The vast majority is stored offline in cold storage to guard against potential losses from cyber-attacks.
Gemini has one of the most reasonable fee structures of all crypto exchanges. It charges a standard 0.25% fee from transactions made. They also have a maker-taker model, similar to Poloniex, in which they offer discounts and low fees to the ones who are 'buying' the cryptocurrency. The fees further depend on the volumes as well. If the volume of the currency that you want to buy is high, the fees are lower. Hence, if you plan to buy $1,000 worth of Bitcoin, buy it in one go to save your bucks!
Gemini does not charge any deposit fees. If you deposit USD (through ACH) or Bitcoins, it will happen free of charge. Bank transfers will cost $15 and $25 on deposits and withdrawals respectively. ACH takes almost one business day to process. So, it is better to always keep some money in your crypto-exchange account to buy when the price dips. Instant orders can only happen if the money is available.
Unlike many other cryptocurrency exchanges which sought to decentralise their operations, the Gemini exchange focused on regulating their platform. Before becoming operational, the Winklevoss brothers successfully ensured the business became a fully registered and compliant enterprise, having the highest levels of banking reserves possible.
Furthermore, all Gemini exchange accounts are equipped with two-factor authentication (2FA), safeguarding users at every Gemini login. It’s worth nothing that you will have to sacrifice some of your privacy for a secure Gemini account. New users are required to provide sensitive information such as government-issued identification e.g. passport or driving licence in order to have their account verified.
Currently, Gemini exchange only permits fiat currency deposits made in US dollars via Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposits or wire transfers. There is no appetite for introducing other funding methods for transactions via the Gemini platform at the time of writing.
An interesting feature of the Gemini exchange is its ‘Auctions’ functionality. It should not be confused with the auctions that happen on the New York Stock Exchange, but there are striking similarities. Auctions happen on Gemini twice a day, where large volumes of cryptocurrency assets, notably Bitcoin and Ethereum, are traded in short time windows. This is a risky practice, as small traders might try to predict the market by studying the shift, and place orders to maintain the balance. Where big traders often win big, small traders often take the brunt of the collateral. As with all market sentiment, these auctions can increase trading emotions such as fear, greed and panic. It is advisable to be wary and make sure your risk is adequately managed at all times.
The sign-up process for Gemini Bitcoin and Ethereum traders is quite straightforward and secure. New clients are required to input their name, email and password. They will then receive an activation code in a welcome email which can be entered online to verify the account.
Once the account is set up, users are recommended to activate 2FA to protect the integrity of their accounts further. You can connect your bank account to your Gemini account, but you must submit the required documentation for ID verification first. The verification process is normally smooth and complete within a matter of hours.
Gemini has a very detailed and in-depth section of FAQs in which the users can find answers to all kinds of queries. They also have very active customer support executives who will respond typically in a couple hours, when you send them an email.
Their customer support responses used to be quick, but recently the users have been complaining about delays and no-replies, which isn't ideal. Gemini must improve is technical issues that it continues to run into when overloaded with traffic.
√ The biggest advantage of Gemini is that it holds most of its Bitcoin and Ethereum in cold storage. They only have a small percentage of crypto assets available directly online, which makes the platform low-risk in the event of a planned cyber-attack. Storing lots of crypto assets offline also enables the platform to maintain high levels of exchange liquidity.
√ The exchange does not mention a minimum deposit amount for its users to begin trading. Crypto traders can begin using the Gemini exchange using deposits as small as they like.
√ The Gemini platform is intuitive and easy for beginners to grasp. First time users will prefer Gemini over other complex crypto exchanges such as Bittrex or Binance’s advanced user interface.
√ Gemini permits bank transfers for international account holders, when most of their competitor exchanges do not allow this function.
√ 2FA is enabled across all Gemini exchange accounts as standard, providing a much-needed additional layer of security for users.
√ The FAQ section on the Gemini website is jam-packed with questions and responses, even down to the smallest of queries that users may come up with. As previously discussed, Gemini’s customer support system is robust and active, typically responding within a few hours.
X The biggest downside of Gemini is that it only allows cryptocurrency trading on four crypto assets – Gemini Bitcoin trading, Gemini Ethereum trading, Gemini Litecoin trading and Gemini Zcash trading. This restricts those traders wishing to diversify their crypto portfolio over the long-term.
X For those who want to win big through margin trading, Gemini will leave you disappointed. There is no functionality for margin trading on the Gemini platform.
X Gemini currently offers no mobile applications for users to buy and sell on the move. The platform is only operational on the web.
X At the time of writing, Gemini is not available to all four corners of the world, only the nations previously stated earlier in this guide.
X Although Gemini has never been hacked by cyber-criminals, the platform does have a history of crashing. It has displayed a propensity to wobble under high volumes of traffic during peak times. There was an instance where the Gemini exchange was offline for a prolonged period. Despite their repeated attempts to pacify users, their unavailability only served to heighten the panic among users.
X Despite offering regular operations in countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, UK and South Korea, Gemini only allows trading in US dollars. This requires currency conversion and the international users are required to pay unnecessary fees.
As Gemini stores most of its own cryptocurrencies offline in cold storage, it would seem that the platform’s owners believe that cold storage is the best way to go with storing digital assets. If you want to try an offline cryptocurrency wallet, we’d recommend either the Trezor wallet or the Ledger Nano S wallet, which are both highly regarded in the crypto industry.
Gemini is undoubtedly one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the US, but if we talk about the global level, its reach is nowhere near to the likes of Bittrex exchange, Binance exchange and Bitfinex exchange. It is secure and safe, and they have offline reserves for storing the cryptocurrency, which makes them a completely reliable wallet, but there is certainly room for improvement. They must focus on enhancing their customer support, followed by adding more cryptocurrencies to their system. But a big problem to resolve is the way the website reacts to increased traffic.
- US-based investors should check out our US crypto exchanges
- UK-based investors should look at our list of UK crypto exchanges
- Australia-based investors should find our list of crypto exchanges available down under
Visit our regularly updated news section for the latest info on Gemini exchange and many other leading cryptocurrency exchanges.
Auctions are held to Gemini users seven days a week at 4pm Eastern Time.
Ideally, cryptocurrency investors that value security above all else. 2FA gives Gemini users greater confidence when exchanging fiat currencies for digital assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
At the time of writing, none of the above payment methods are permitted by the exchange. The only way to fund your Gemini account is to hook up your bank account and undertake an ACH deposit or a slower wire transfer.
Although Gemini is not quite as popular as other exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance and Bittrex, it still boasts a significant stronghold in the US. More than 75% of its traffic comes from the US.