Gemini is one of the most trusted, well-regulated, and transparent Bitcoin exchanges on the market. But for all of its pros, it is a limited platform, and some of the headaches might make you think twice. I found a lot of out-of-date or misleading reviews on the web. That’s why I decided to write this updated Gemini review for 2019.
Gemini is a self-proclaimed world class digital asset exchange with high-profile celebrity backing. Founded by the Winklevoss twins (the guys Zuckerberg stole Facebook from), it is a New York trust company that has embraced the one thing that the crypto community hates the most: regulation.
With strict regulations from the State of New York, financial transparency, and FDIC insurance, it is one of the safest bets in an otherwise volatile market.
It doesn’t have many advanced features, but I found it smooth, fast, and fairly intuitive. It does have one feature I liked in particular: it balances, orders, and prices simultaneously, so you don’t lose money from slow loading times (more on this down below).
In this guide you will find Gemini exchange fees, verification, features, currencies, explanations, and more.
What is the Gemini Bitcoin Exchange?
Gemini is a digital asset exchange that specializes in the sale and trade of Bitcoin and Ethereum for US Dollars. It is both a broker and a marketplace. This means you can buy Bitcoin directly from them (like the currency exchange at an airport) or trade it with other cryptocurrency holders (like the New York Stock Exchange).
Unlike most other companies, Gemini is extremely well-regulated. This gives it the ability to qualify for custodial services as well. As a fully compliant company, it adheres to strict compliance protocol. For high-income traders and institutions, this is a boon. For most crypto lovers, it is pure evil (exaggeration).
Gemini was founded in 2015 by the famous Winklevii, Cameron and Tyler. By 2016, it had become the first licensed Ethereum exchange on the market. The twins wanted to create a secure exchange that went in a different direction than competitors and embraced the realm of real-world finances. It currently only deals in BTC and ETH, but has a highly liquid Bitcoin market. According to Coinmarketcap.com, it has a 24-hour volume of over $88 million dollars (February, 2018). It should never be hard to make a BTC trade here.
The interface is smooth and intuitive and the trading mechanism balances instantaneously. It’s limited, but it does what it does well.
Gemini is one of the most well-regulated and compliant companies in the industry. Its insurance, security protocols, and financial regulation make it a safe bet for your money.
You can only buy/sell/trade Bitcoin and Ethereum with USD.
I found Gemini’s reputation to be very good among the community in terms of security and functionality. There’s strong dislike due to ties to state regulation, but that’s about it.
There’s a strong FAQ section and email support is generally responsive from my research. They don’t have phone support, though. That’s a bit of an annoyance.
The maker/taker fees are basically industry standard except maker fees, which are a tad higher than competitors (.25%).
For what it is, Gemini is great—secure, smooth, and transparent. But it’s limited and there’s no anonymity.
Is Gemini Safe? | Gemini Security
Since “is Gemini safe?” is one of the most frequent topics on the web, I thought I’d start there.
YES, the exchange is perhaps the safest bet on the market for buying Bitcoin. It has the features you’d expect of a BTC exchange:
Cold storage isn’t just for massive exchanges. If you’ve got a good number of Bitcoins (or other coins), keep them offline in cold storage as well. It’s the only way to keep them 100% safe from hackers. If you want to learn how to keep your Bitcoins safe from hackers, this article on safely storing Bitcoins is the only one you’ll ever have to read.
But aside from their site security, they also have financial security measures that other exchanges don’t have (for better or worse…).
You can rest assured that your money and information are safe on Gemini.
**MUST READ**: Your Social Security Number is Required – As a New York State trust company, the exchange is required to collect your social security number. This is to comply with banking standards and anti-money laundering rules. There was some skepticism around the web about this.
Who Are the Winklevoss Twins?
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss might be the first Bitcoin Billionaires, but they were famous long before cryptocurrency was an everyday term. The twins conceived the idea that eventually lead to Facebook while at Harvard University. In fact, a court determined that Mark Zuckerberg (the founder of Facebook) owed them $65 million in damages (they then invested $11 million in Bitcoin).
Their experience in the legit world of business drove them to create a crypto exchange that bridged the gap between the “island” of digital assets and real-world money “mainland”.
What Are Gemini’s Fees for Buying, Trading, and Depositing?
Gemini employs a dynamic maker/taker fee schedule. Basically, the site calculates your fee based on two things:
The vast majority of traders will pay .25% for both maker and taker fees. Taker fees can go as low as .10% and maker fees can drop to 0% depending on volume.
I’ve got some good news about deposits: they’re FREE!
Gemini’s Fees vs. the Competition
Bitstamp: .25% Trading Fee | 5% Credit Card Fee
Bittrex: .25% Trading Fee.
LocalBitcoins: No “fees” | 1% Commission on Sales | Higher Coin Prices
Bitfinex: Maker: .1%/Taker: .2%
What Are Gemini’s Deposit Options for US/International Customers?
Gemini is currently available in 46 states, Puerto Rico, the UK, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong.
Deposit options are limited to ACH, wire transfer, and Bitcoin or Ethereum. The exchange operates only in United States Dollars.
What Are Gemini’s Limits for Verified Users?
Once your account is verified, you will become subject to a few limits. Unlike competitors, Gemini subjects everyone to the same limits. There are no tiers.
There are NO LIMITS on cryptocurrency deposits or withdrawals.
How to Use Gemini Bitcoin Exchange | Registration, Verification, Funding, and Buying BTC
Setting up at Gemini requires a bit more red tape than other exchanges. But it’s what you expect from a heavily regulated institution with fancy licenses. I’ll cover how to sign up and use the exchange here briefly.
Go to Gemini.com and click Register in the top right corner.
Enter a few basic details and then confirm your email address.
2) Set Up 2FA
As an extra security measure, you need to set up 2FA first. This will use your mobile device to confirm logins to your account.
3) Enter Details and Verify Your Account
From here, you just need to verify your bank account, identity, and documents. You can verify your identity by uploading a valid driver’s license. For non-US applicants, a full scan of a utility bill will do. Note: bank statements are NOT accepted.
QUESTION: How long does Gemini verification take?
The answer is it depends. Most customers have no problem with verification. Others claim it takes weeks. The website only says “as fast as possible”. The good news is that Gemini has been relatively free from the support issues of other exchanges (more on this later).
4) Fund Your Account
Gemini announced instant ACH funding on January 31st, 2018.
5) Buy Bitcoin
The trading interface is relatively straightforward. To buy, just click that big button in the bottom right.
If you want to trade Bitcoin, then Gemini offers a few trade types.
Is Gemini Trustworthy | Is Gemini a Reputable Exchange?
Unlike most exchanges, Gemini isn’t the target of a constant barrage of negativity. While many users on the internet claim other exchanges are nothing short of a Biblical plague, there are few negative reviews of Gemini.
Actually, there aren’t many reviews at all. I think it’s mostly because there’s an exclusive clientele that uses it, and most don’t stoop to the level of unfounded negativity. That doesn’t mean the exchange is perfect. Let’s check out what I found about Gemini’s reputation.
Positive reviews of Gemini focused on the fact is it was secure, reputable, and fast. The trading, user interface, and regulation gave users a certain peace of mind that others don’t. Also, users love the transparency. In a world where the majority of companies are shrouded in mystery, Gemini flaunts its celebrity proudly.
Negative reviews focus on a few things, mainly the fact that you can only trade BTC, ETH, and USD. Other qualms are with limited support and functionality. Going to Gemini Reddit is far different than other exchanges. Most exchanges are the target of hundreds of threads about poor service. The front page of Gemini’s is pretty tame in comparison.
Through heavy regulation and a strong public push, the Facebook twins have gained the trust of the public and crypto community (even though plenty dislike their ties to the government!).The only issue seems to be random long wait times.
Top 3 Gemini Alternatives for More Currencies
Bitcoin and Ethereum not doing it for you? There are plenty of competitors out there who offer hundreds of rare alt coins for speculating. There are even others that let you trade fiat currencies like the Euro, Ruble, or British Pound. Here are the top 3 Gemini alternatives for more coins and currencies.
Binance is the Asian rival to most US-based exchanges. When it says exchange the world, it means it. There are 370 + trading pairs and a slew of coins that most people have never heard of. It’s complete with crazy Maserati giveaways, an in-depth trading interface, and enough tools to help traders master the art of making a buck on the market. It is a crypto-only exchange, but it is the perfect place for you to try and make a ton of money investing in new coins! Be sure to read the full review of the Binance exchange from CryptoPositive BEFORE TRADING so you know how to avoid risks.
Coinbase is the largest Bitcoin broker in the world. It’s without a doubt one of the most secure and convenient ways of entering the BTC market. In fact, that’s where it gets its name from. Over $50 billion dollars has been bought and sold on this site. It offers customers a safe and secure way of buying Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. It doesn’t offer many more currencies than Gemini, but it’s a start. The game changer is that it connects you to GDAX, which is an exchange with better functionality than Gemini. The fee for buying with a card is 3.99%. Read the full review of Coinbase from CryptoPositive to know why Coinbase is great for buying Bitcoin, but users are starting to take issue with it.
Comparison: Gemini vs. Bittrex | Which is the Most Secure Bitcoin Exchange?
Security is the #1 concern for everyone trading Bitcoin. The only thing standing between you and losing all of the money you leave on an exchange is the site’s security. That’s why exchanges spend millions in gaining your trust. Gemini and Bittrex are two of the best in the industry. On one side, Facebook billionaires who bridged the gap between digital currency and real money. On the other, a team of security freaks who brought the cutting edge security of the world’s largest tech companies to the realm of Bitcoin.
Let’s get ready to rumble!
Bittrex at a Glance
Bittrex is a next-generation digital currency exchange with great security and functionality. Its in-depth interface allows users to make a variety of trades using hard-to-pronounce tools. There are well over 250 coins to pique your interest, and fees are a standard .25% on all trades. Its claim to fame is that it was founded by a team of security execs from some of the biggest names in the online world (Amazon, Microsoft, etc.). The functionality, coins, and security have helped it gain a great reputation among the community.
The downside: It is CRYPTO ONLY. You cannot use USD to fund your account. On top of that, it is NOT BEGINNER-FRIENDLY.
USE GEMINI if you are a beginner looking to buy your first Bitcoin on a secure platform or institution trading massive amounts.
USE BITTREX if you are looking to trade every coin imaginable using only cryptocurrency and have experience trading.
For what it does, there isn’t much to dislike about Gemini. It doesn’t have the greatest functionality or complexity, but it never claims to have either. It is a secure and well-regulated exchange that focuses only on buying/selling/trading Bitcoin and Ethereum for US Dollars.
Let’s check out some major likes and dislikes.
You can buy your first Bitcoin through an intuitive interface. And all from a broker that’s trustworthy. Not a bad place to start for beginners.
Everything went smoothly for buying BTC. There isn’t much to Gemini, which is why it can go so fast.
Some have experienced verification and deposit issues, but it’s nothing close to what other exchanges are going through (looking at you, CEX.IO).
There’s only Bitcoin or Ethereum available on Gemini. And the exchange works only in USD. Not great for people who are looking to spice things up.
All of the licenses and regulations create hoops that aren’t fun to jump through. It’s worth it in the end for the peace of mind, though.
No credit cards or other currency options make it tough for non-US residents or people without crypto.
Gemini FAQ | Is it Legit, is it a Wallet, Does Gemini Have an App?
Gemini’s support is lacking quite a bit and finding the right information is tough. I’ve put the answers to the most common user questions from the web right here to make things easy (you don’t have to thank me. It would be nice, though).
Q: Is Gemini Exchange Safe and Legit?
A: Yes. I’ve covered this exhaustively. It is one of the safest on the market.
Q: Is Gemini Exchange a Wallet?
A: Yes, you can store BTC on its hot wallet, but it is NOT recommended to ever store more Bitcoins than you need on an exchange. Never keep your BTC somewhere that you don’t have control over.
Q: Does Gemini Accept PayPal?
A: No, you can only deposit using wire, ACH, or crypto in USD.
Q: Does Gemini Have an App?
Q: Why Are Bitcoin Prices Different on Gemini?
A: The price of BTC is based on the market and not on other exchanges.
Q: How Long Does it Take Gemini to Verify My Identity?
A: The exchange only says “as quickly as possible”. The majority of users get their IDs verified quickly.
Verdict on Gemini Review: Is Gemini a Good Bitcoin Exchange?
Despite being younger than most competitors and only offering Bitcoin and Ethereum, the community likes Gemini. That’s saying something. Low fees, good functionality, trustworthy backing, and heavy regulation make it a great place for newcomers looking for security. In a market full of shady exchanges that barely return your emails, Gemini support has withstood the barrage of negativity well.
It isn’t very complex and you can’t do much else except buy and trade BTC in a basic manner (auction is available but no margin trading), but for what it does it is top-notch.
Verdict: Great for beginners, security freaks, and institutions looking to trade BTC on a liquid market. Bad for experienced traders wanting more currency pairs.