April 14

Gemini Exchange Review 2021 | Is it Safe, Legit or a SCAM

2  comments

Gemini is a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange with FDIC protection for USD and has never been hacked. It was founded by the Winklevoss twins in New York in 2014 meaning it is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS). Gemini has a “security-first” mentality. They prioritize security and compliance by being compliant in SOC 1 Type 1, SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2. They are one of the most secure US crypto exchanges available right now.

  • Web Address: www.gemini.com
  • Main location: New York, USA
  • Mobile app available: Yes
  • Trading Fees: From 0-0.1%+
  • Cryptocurrencies: BTC, ETH, BCH, DOGE, LTC, ZEC, ZRX, MKR, BAT, AAVE & 12+ more
  • Fiat Currencies: USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD
  • Deposit Fees: Cryptocurrency: None, Wire transfer: None, ACH: None *(banks may charge transfer fee), debit cards: usually 3%.
  • Withdrawal: Cryptocurrency: Up to 0.002 BTC & 0.001 ETH, Other: None
  • Deposit Methods: Bank transfer (ACH), debit card
  • Has token: GUSD

My overall thoughts on Gemini

Gemini is a good all round crypto exchange. They probably have the best direct buying platform I have seen in the industry; it's super clear, easy and fast to use. This makes Gemini great for beginners looking to get started, however, if you're an experienced trader like me, then you will love their advanced Activetrader version. It comes with all the data points and options you would expect. On top of that their trading fees are quite competitive compared to other US based exchanges. The downsides to Gemini are their fees on the simplistic version are high (range from 1.5% - 3%) and their lack of coins supported; only 33 so far compared to hundreds their competitors offer like KuCoin.

What services do Gemini offer?

Depositing fiat currency into the platform

Gemini accept two funding methods:

  1. Bank transfer
  2. Debit Card

As you can see below you can link your bank account automatically or manually by sending a micro wire transfer. I personally choose debit card as its the easiest for me.

If you choose debit card you will be charged two small amounts, you will then be asked to verify these amounts to prove that you own the debit card.

This should be easy for everyone, after you have verified your card then it is ready for instant purchases.

Section summary

8/10. This section is pretty straight forward and easy to use, Gemini lose points because of their lack of online wallets like PayPal.

Buy and sell crypto with ease (with case study)

Simply select the 'Market' tab on the navigation bar at the top of your screen and you will be shown a list of all available cryptos that you can easily buy and sell. I found this section super easy to use because as you can see below, each cryptocurrency is displayed with useful info like price and movement data. You can also see the simple filters at the top of the screen that will help you narrow down some potential targets for investment.

For this demonstration I will show you how to buy bitcoin (BTC), I simply clicked the black button labeled 'view details' at the end of the bitcoin row.

I think Gemini did a great job of designing this page, you can see a simple line graph where you can toggle between timelines, you can add it to your watch list, if you scroll down you can learn all about BTC but where I think Gemini did well is with the buy/sell option on the right hand side. Look how easy it is, simply select how often you want to buy, how much and then proceed.

I selected $100 and clicked 'Review order', above you can see the what the next screen looks like. What I like is that Gemini are transparent here, they show you all the fees. So for $100 I get the following break down:

  • Order amount $93.52 USD (0.00144724 BTC)
  • Transaction fee $3.00 USD
  • Card processing fee $3.49 USD
  • Total $100

Although I commend Gemini on their upfront visual breakdown of the cost, I do think its pretty expensive, a 3% fee for a purchase is expensive. The card processing fee is not their fault so I really like that they show it. Some of their competitors will purposely not show this fee, or add it on top so you pay $103.49 total. You can also avoid the card fee by using a bank transfer instead of debit card.

How the fee structure works

Order Size

Fee

≤ $10

$0.99

$10 to ≤ $25

$1.49

$25 to ≤ $50

$1.99

$50 to ≤ $200

$3.00

> $200

1.50%

Full list of supported cryptos

BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, ZEC, LINK, OXT, DAI, BAT, AMP, COMP, PAXG, ZRX, BAL, CRV, MANA, KNC, MKR, REN, STORJ, SNX, UMA, UNI, YFI, AAVE, FIL, SKL, GRT, BNT, 1INCH, ENJ, LRC, SAND

Section summary

8/10. I am really impressed with how easy and fast it is to use their dashboard to buy or sell any cryptocurrency, I am also pleased with their transparency by showing you the fee break down just before you buy.

I am not so thrilled with the 3% fee so they lost points there (see the fee structure above, it drops to 1.5% with purchases over $200). When I use other popular exchanges like KuCoin I am used to hundreds of coins so Gemini's 33 seems a bit low but still enough to create a good trading strategy. The market dashboard also lacked a search function which I found frustrating.

I gave this section 8/10.

Advanced Crypto Trading

The default trading interface is not the only one that Gemini offers, and if you are an advanced level user who finds the streamlined approach far too simplistic, toggle the ActiveTrader option.

All the usual tools and candlestick charts for digital trading instantly become accessible on this dark-themed version of the Gemini exchange. Expect to see MOC, OC, FOK, Market and Limit type orders becoming available in ActiveTrader mode, alongside options for the various order books, depth charts, etc.

Expierenced traders will feel way more at home when they see this dashboard and instantly the fees fall to a really competitive rate. Its a maker/taker fee structure so it will depend on the market somewhat but it should fall at around 0.30% for most transactions which is very competitive.

Gemini trading fee structure

30 day trading volume

Taker fee

Maker fee

Auction fee

0 to $499,999

0.35%

0.25%

0.25%

≥ $500,000

0.25%

0.15%

0.20%

≥ $2,500,000

0.25%

0.15%

0.10%

≥ $5,000,000

0.15%

0.10%

0.10%

≥ $10,000,0000

0.15%

0.10%

0

Section summary

9/10. I really like the trading dashboard, it provides everything that a trader would need, all the data points and features are there. The fees are really competitive, especially for a US based exchange (although I am not a huge fan of the auction fee). They only lose points for lack of supported coins (only 33 right now). I expect that to grow over the next year. Overall 9/10.

Gemini Crypto Wallet

As expected, the user account comes with a crypto hot-wallet for quick access, but moreover, this one is also insured against cybertheft. To see which cryptocurrencies and other assets the wallet supports, check the official list of supported assets on Gemini.

Price Alerts

Set price alerts so you get notifications when a particular coin hits your desired amount

Gemini Custody

Gemini Custody is a more long-term alternative of their crypto hot-wallet, as this service is supposed to be used for long term storage of crypto assets, rather than for quick access and trading only. Given that you are dealing with a New York State trust company here, all custody accounts are regulated.

Rest assured that all long-term crypto assets in Gemini Custody are insured for as much as $200 million. Even with Gemini Custody accounts, same-day withdrawal options remain active for funds deposited/profited, while using the Gemini exchange platform for crypto trading.

Recurring buys

Schedule your buys for whenever you want and for whatever amount you like.

recurring buys

Gemini Clearing

The Gemini Clearing is an OTC desk that enables the settling of crypto trades outside of the main exchange, although Gemini still remains the broker. This mitigates the usual risks associated with going off the exchange, while keeping the transactions fair for both parties.

Gemini Pay

If any of the users wish to spend their cryptocurrencies for buying, rather than trading at times, Gemini Pay is the service that takes care of it for them. As long as you are in the United States, 30,000+ offline stores will accept Gemini Pay. You will need a smartphone with their mobile app installed on it for obvious reasons.

Gemini Mobile Application

A necessary app for using Gemini Pay, it’s also a good alternative to Gemini’s browser exchange platform, especially with its constant push notifications for your preset alerts. Consider it to be a slightly lighter variant of the usual Gemini interface, but it has all the necessary features for users to buy/sell/store cryptocurrencies as always. The app is available for download on both the App Store and the Play Store.

Crypto Credit Card

By the time you read this, it may or may not already be available to apply for, but at the time of writing this, we only have the option to queue up on the waiting list for getting a Gemini Credit Card. It should be released by 2021 though, and upon release, it will be useable in all 50 states. Exchange fees will be waivered for crypto rewards, which could be as high as 3% per transaction. The rewards will be redeemable only as crypto assets though.

Gemini Dollar (GUSD)

Gemini has its own stablecoin, and as of now, GUSD:USD holds 1:1 value! The reserves of the stablecoin are verified by unbiased accountants in regular intervals, so we will have to see if Gemini’s predictions of a better-than-average redemption and turnover rate comes true soon.

How Safe is the Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform?

The Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange is widely recognized as being a highly regulated and genuine crypto trading platform, which is fair, given that it holds the New York BitLicense. Any exchange holding the license is indeed regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services, and they are well-recognized across the globe as being extremely strict with their requirements for getting and maintaining the New York BitLicense. In order to qualify for the BitLicense, and to maintain the same, crypto exchanges must adhere to the standards of the New York Department of Financial Services for market surveillance, capitalization practices, AML or KYC (as applicable), financial security, insurance and cybersecurity.

Verification Practices

In order to trade and use various other features of the Gemini platform, every user must provide all the verification documents first. Also, the necessary personal details provided by the user must be accompanied by the supporting official document in order to be considered as valid.

Security

Gemini has passed the SOC 2 Type 1 test, which means that that the company has a valid claim as being an exchange that remains ever compliant with the highest security standards necessary to keep every user’s personal and financial data protected onboard their servers.

In addition to maintaining the data security standards, Gemini’s legally compliant storage security systems, which protect both their custody and hot-wallet accounts, are encoded and protected via their own, unique methods. All crypto assets stored via their storage systems are also insured against cybertheft.

Gemini currently works in close proximity to Nasdaq security protocols, alongside various other, most well-recognized and well-secured trading platforms outside of the crypto trading scene. As a result, Gemini has a spotless record so far, meaning that their servers are yet to be hacked into. The only instances of hacking have been confirmed as being on the user end, when some users were previously hacked via a method called SIM swapping.

Gemini Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Monitored and Regulated - Gemini holding the BitLicense assures the fact that they are one of the most secured cryptocurrency exchanges globally.
  • Financial, Personal and Asset Security
  • Huge Number of Options - Direct buying, the highly advanced ActiveTrader interface, auction support, and electronic block trades, etc.
  • High Liquidity – Gemini’s order books offer deep liquidity.
Cons
  • Limited Support for Cryptocurrency Types - Does not support more than just 5 of the most popular cryptocurrencies.
  • Slow and Expensive Withdrawals for External Currencies – Other than the US dollar, withdrawals are going to be both slow and expensive due to currency exchange fees.
  • Limited Support for Other Fiat Currencies – In addition to charging more, the issue is that not too many currency types are supported by Gemini to begin with.
  • Higher than Average Fees – They do have complete fee waiver options for certain trades, but mostly, Gemini charges a higher-than-average fee to their users.

Gemini Deposit and Withdrawal Methods:

Limited and expensive as the options may be, both deposits and withdrawals in fiat currencies, aka the usual currencies (USD, GBP, Euro, etc.) are supported alongside the usual cryptocurrencies listed.

Cryptocurrency Deposits

For making deposits via crypto currencies stored in an external crypto wallet, they will have to initiate a transfer of the concerned amount from their external wallet to their Gemini crypto wallet first. The third-party wallet can contain any of the popular crypto assets such as bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin, link, DAI, Basic Attention Token, Zcash, Orchid, etc. but the amount will be converted to one of the five supported cryptocurrency types.

Cryptocurrency Withdrawals

Just go to Withdrawal and:

  • Select the cryptocurrency you want to withdraw in
  • Provide your external wallet address
  • Type in the withdrawal amount and click/tap Request Withdrawal

For those that have enabled 2FA via the Authy app, the withdrawal will also need to be authenticated from the application within 240-seconds after initiating the request.

Fiat Currency Deposits

Follow the steps as mentioned below for making a deposit with fiat currency:

  • Link your bank account to your Gemini trader account and go through the verification process
  • If you have a US bank account, initiate a simple ACH bank transfer
  • If you don’t have a US bank account, you will need to wire the money from your bank to your Gemini account

Fiat Currency Withdrawals

For withdrawals, the methods are exactly the same with fiat currencies. This means that you have to wire the money for international transactions back to your linked bank account, but you can make normal ACH bank transfers if you do have an American bank account.

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  • The Gemini platform is easy to trade on and very intuitive, that is true, however, the company is lacking in customer service and has serious problems in deposit accounting. There are no phone numbers published on the website and customer service emails are auto answered by bots. In my case, I transfered $5k from my bank to my Gemini account and it’s not accounted for…lost. I had to go to BBB and have them log my complaint, which they did answer and then credit me for (3 weeks). The lack of service and issues they have with basic deposit accounting made me leave the service.

    • Hi Thomas,

      That doesn’t sound like a great experience, sorry to hear about it but thanks for sharing it with us here.

      Who are you trading with now?

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