Gemini is a US-based centralized cryptocurrency exchange. Founded by the Winklevoss brothers, it is available in more than 60 countries including the United States, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Singapore. An exchange founded with a “security-first” mentality, it is a trusted company that is licensed and regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services.
Apart from being a platform for trading cryptocurrency, Gemini is also a fiduciary and a SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 certified exchange and qualified custodian.
Building crypto products that are simple, secure, and elegant, Gemini operates on four pillars- Product, Security, Licensing, and Compliance. It is the ninth-largest cryptocurrency spot exchange as per CoinMarketCap data.
Gemini was founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. The exchange went live in 2015 after the company obtained a limited liability trust charter from the New York Department of Financial Services. Though primarily meant for institutional investors, individuals can also trade on it.
It became the first licensed Ethereum exchange based in the US in 2016. Gemini allowed block trading on its platform in 2018 which helped investors make large trades outside of the exchange’s continuous order books. It also hired NASDAQ for Bitcoin and Ether’s market surveillance to combat crypto fraud.
The Gemini Dollar(GUSD) a stablecoin pegged 1-to-1 with the US Dollar was launched in 2018 after approval from the New York Department of Financial Services. The same year, Gemini got digital insurance covering tokens and coins and acquired Nifty Gateway- a marketplace for NFTs in 2019.
A lawsuit was filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission(CFTC) against Gemini in 2022 for the alleged misrepresentation of its Bitcoin Futures Contract.
Gemini exchange is the platform where people can buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies. The interface is simple and intuitive to allow convenient trading and research into the crypto market.
The homepage gives an overview of the user account including watchlists, educational resources, and a top movers section. Users can also download their account statements and set up recurring buys on Gemini.
Staking is the process by which transactions are validated on Proof-of-Stake(PoS) protocols. Validators are rewarded for staking their crypto with the network. Gemini Staking is a simple option via which users can stake their crypto and earn rewards on their holdings.
There is no minimum amount that is required to be staked and no transfer or redemption fee for staking either. However, only two assets, MATIC and ETH are available for staking on Gemini with APYs of 4.05% and 3.27% respectively.
Gemini Mobile App
Gemini Mobile App enables easy on-the-go crypto trading. Users can track market trends and asset prices anytime anywhere. They can also set price alerts to get the latest information about the price movement of different assets.
The ActiveTrader platform is meant to fulfill the requirements of professional traders. Able to execute transactions in microseconds, Gemini ActiveTraders offers tools like advanced charting and multiple order types. As a bonus, it is also mobile-optimized meaning that traders can access the pro-level features anywhere.
Gemini has a native wallet where customers can securely keep their digital assets. It offers native SegWit addresses as well as insurance for digital assets in hot wallets from certain types of losses.
Gemini Custody is an institutional-grade custody solution to safely store and manage digital assets. There are no minimums or setup fees and flexible prices for customers. To protect against losses, it also has $200 million in insurance coverage for losses of certain types.
Gemini Credit Card
Powered by Mastercard, Gemini Credit Card can be used for purchases at multiple avenues. Users earn crypto rewards on purchases that are instantly deposited into their accounts. At present available in the US, Gemini card holders can get as much as 10% back on gas at the pump and EV charging and 3% back on dining.
Gemini Clearing facilitates fully electronic settlement of crypto trades off the order book between two parties. It offers competitive pricing and needs no minimum trade size. Keeping security in mind, both parties in a transaction need to be KYC-verified and meet Anti-Money Laundering(AML) requirements.
Gemini acts as a confirming third party on its proprietary trading engine. Users can settle multiple multiple obligations in a single settlement block and mitigate counterparty risk while settling transactions.
Which Cryptocurrencies are Available on Gemini?
Gemini offers over 100 cryptocurrencies for buying, selling, and trading. This includes popular coins like Bitcoin and Ether stablecoins and memecoins. Some of the cryptocurrencies available on Gemini are
- USD Coin(USDC)
- Shiba Inu(SHIB)
While Gemini is open about the fee it charges, the fee model is more complicated than other exchanges. It has different schedules depending on the type of product and usage level. Gemini even has different fee schedules for web and mobile trading. Plus, the fees it charges are higher than that of its rival exchanges.
Gemini Mobile Fee
A transaction fee of $1.49 is charged for transactions greater than $10 but less than or equal to $25. For transactions greater than $200, a 1.49% transaction fee is charged.
Gemini Web Fee
For transactions that are less than or equal to $10, a $0.99 transaction fee is charged. 1.49% of the web order value is taken as a transaction fee if the transaction amount is greater than $200.
Gemini API Fee
A maker-taker model is adopted for determining API fees. For a 30-day trading volume greater than or equal to $10,000, a taker/maker fee of 0.30%/0.10% is charged. Transactions with a 30-day trading volume greater than or equal to $500 million involve a taker/maker fee of 0.03%/0.000%.
Gemini ActiveTrader Fee
Gemini ActiveTrader also uses a maker-taker model to determine fees. A 30-day trading volume greater than or equal to $10,000 has a taker/maker fee of 0.30%/0.10%. This comes down to 0.03%/0.00% when the 30-day trading volume exceeds $500 million.
Transfer Fee on Gemini
Depending on the method used to deposit funds, Gemini may charge an additional transfer fee. For example, debit card transfers have a fee of 3.49% of the total purchase amount. For transfers through PayPal, 2.50% of the total deposit amount is charged.
Crypto deposits are free and while bank wires are also free, the customer’s bank may charge a fee for wiring money into their Gemini account.
As for withdrawal fees, a dynamic fee is applied for the withdrawal of ETH or ERC-20 tokens. It varies depending on network activity because it is based on the Ethereum gas fee.
Note that this is a simplified summary of an extensive fee structure. Visit the Gemini website for more details about the different types of fees and other charges involved.
Is Gemini secure?
Gemini is an exchange that was developed with a “security-first” mentality. It has invested heavily in its security infrastructure to deliver a safe and secure world-class trading experience to users.
In addition to the industry standard of default 2-factor authentication, it has the option of address allow listing wherein users can restrict their crypto withdrawals to certain whitelisted cryptocurrency addresses.
The majority of the assets are kept in offline cold storage. For added security, multiple signatories are required to transfer cryptocurrency out of the cold storage. Not only do Gemini’s Hardware Security Modules(HSMs) have a FIPS 140-2 level 3 rating or higher, but they are also geographically distributed. The coordinated action of multiple employees is needed to operate them.
At a time when cryptocurrency exchanges were known for bypassing regulatory requirements, Gemini wholeheartedly accepted them and cooperated with the regulatory authorities. It is ISO 27001 certified and is the first cryptocurrency exchange to have earned SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 certifications.
Further, it is subject to rigorous regulatory conditions set by the NYFDS, holds annual penetration tests conducted by independent third parties and runs a Coordinated Disclosure Program to timely resolve potential security vulnerabilities.
While Gemini has never been directly hacked, a leak from a third-party vendor in December 2022 led to the theft of e-mail addresses and partial phone numbers of 5.7 million users. Further back in June 2022, Gemini was sued by the IRA Financial Trust alleging that the crypto exchange’s security failures led to $37 million being drained from its customers’ accounts.
Pros- What Works for Gemini
Available in all US states
Gemini is available in all 50 US states which is a big plus point. Most exchanges are often not available in all states. Gemini is one of the few that offers its full features in all US states.
Gemini’s main platform’s User Interface is simple enough that beginners can easily use it. The homepage gives a snapshot of the user account and they can comfortably conduct market research and keep an eye on prices.
Hot Wallet Insurance
Gemini’s hot wallet is insured against certain types of losses for digital assets. This ensures the safety of customer funds stored in the Gemini Wallet.
Strong Security Features
Gemini has always put the security of customer accounts and funds as its first priority. It is ISO 27001 certified, undergoes regular cybersecurity audits, and conducts annual penetration tests. The exchange also employs several other security measures to ensure secure trading.
ActiveTrader for Professional Traders
Seasoned traders can take advantage of Gemini’s ActiveTrader platform for lower fees, complex order types, and other advanced tools that it offers for users looking to do something more than buy and sell cryptocurrencies.
Gemini’s free, open-source Cryptopedia has to be one of the most extensive educational resources on blockchain and cryptocurrencies. People can develop a deeper understanding of cryptocurrencies and associated technologies with the help of Cryptopedia.
Cons- Where Gemini falls short
Limited Number of Cryptocurrencies
Gemini only has around 100 cryptocurrencies available on its platform. This is a very low number compared to some of its competitors. Binance, for example, offers its customers access to more than 350 different coins.
High Trading Fees
While there are no hidden fees on Gemini, the fees on the main platform are way higher than that of other exchanges and can easily add up. A transaction between $10-$25 attracts a transaction fee of $1.49, for example. The ActiveTrader platform though has lower fees than the main platform.
Limited Customer Service
Gemini can be said to be a largely self-service platform. There is a chatbot and the only other options customers have to get their issues resolved is by submitting a ticket. There is no phone number or chat option to get in touch with a human to discuss the problem.
Depending on multiple factors, there may be some additional fees charged for transactions on top of the standard transaction fee. Debit card transfers, for instance, would include an additional 3.49% of the total purchase amount as fees. The charges can quickly pile up making trading on Gemini expensive.
Like most exchanges, Gemini has an FAQ section to help users find answers to every potential problem. Beyond that, it has also launched Cryptopedia, a free crypto education platform to help people understand the mechanics of crypto.
A chatbot is also present to assist users with their queries. If you want further assistance, you can submit a ticket describing your issue which would then be resolved by Gemini Customer Support.
Unfortunately, there is no option for live chat or a phone call to get in touch with someone from customer service immediately.
Gemini has a rating of 1.1 out of 5 on Trustpilot with 829 reviews which is extremely low. Positive reviews mention a high degree of security on the exchange but also take note of its high fees.
Gemini is secure and regularly cooperates with the federal government and state regulators in America
Negative reviews complain about the near-impossible withdrawal process, lousy customer service, frozen accounts, and long verification process.
Customers mention that it is difficult to withdraw or move funds from the exchange
Unresponsive customer service is a common complaint by Gemini users
Some customers say that Gemini puts a hold on deposits not allowing instant withdrawals
Gemini vs. Binance
Both Gemini and Binance are well-known cryptocurrency exchanges. Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange by market cap while Gemini ranks ninth as per the latest data. But how do these two exchanges differ? Which is better? Let’s answer these questions.
Gemini is a US-based exchange licensed by the New York Department of Financial Services. Binance, initially based in China, is now registered in the Cayman Islands.
Binance offers its customers a choice between 350 different coins at exceptionally low fees. Users can further get discounts and rebates for using its native Binance Coin(BNB) for transactions. Compared to that, Binance hosts only a little more than 100 cryptocurrencies and its fee structure can be rather convoluted.
Gemini is better when it comes to the overall usability of the platform. The number of options and features available on Binance can be confusing even for experienced traders, let alone beginners. Gemini’s UI, on the other hand, is rather simple and straightforward.
While both exchanges adopt industry-standard best practices for security, Binance has been rocked by some major hacks in the past few years. Gemini meanwhile, has never suffered from any direct hacks of its system. It is a heavily regulated exchange and on the whole, has a much better reputation than Binance.
Binance’s main platform is banned in the USA while it is under active investigation by the Department of Justice and the IRS for tax offenses and money laundering. There have been complaints against it in many countries and fines have been issued for violations.
Ultimately, which exchange is better, depends on your priorities. If you want access to a huge collection of coins at a low price, you can go for Binance. But if you don’t mind paying more fees and want to trade on an exchange not embroiled in regulatory uncertainty, Gemini is the way to go.
Gemini Frequently asked questions
Is Gemini legit?
Yes, Gemini is a legit exchange. It is licensed by the New York Department of Financial Services and is SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 compliant. Gemini also maintains insurance against certain types of crypto losses and is subjected to cybersecurity audits by NYFDS.
Does Gemini report to IRS?
Yes, Gemini reports to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service(IRS). Users who have earned at least $600 in crypto income from the platform are sent 1099-MISC forms. An identical copy is also issued to the IRS.
Does Gemini require Trading minimums?
Trading minimums are the smallest amount of cryptocurrency that can be traded on an exchange. While Gemini has trading minimums, they are quite low and differ from asset to asset. BTC has a trading minimum of 0.00001 BTC and ETH has a trading minimum of 0.001 ETH.
Gemini is an exchange that has something for everyone. Its interface is simple enough that cryptocurrency novices would not have much trouble navigating it. Its ActiveTrading platform hosts tools and features for more seasoned traders. Gemini is also available in all 50 US states unlike many of its competitors.
The exchange is heavily regulated and lays emphasis on the security of customer funds and information. However, its fee is on the higher side and the complicated fee structure can prove to be a hurdle for several users.
All said and done, Gemini is one of the more reliable and safer exchanges out there. You can certainly take a look at it if you are considering trading in cryptocurrency. But it is important to remember that cryptocurrencies are risky investments and the money put in them should be money you can afford to lose.