Gemini VS Coinbase: Crypto Exchange Comparison

Leonard ButlerAuthor: Leonard Butler
Last Updated: November 2019

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Gemini vs Coinbase exchange comparison

About the Exchanges

Gemini

Gemini is a digital currency exchange, launched in 2015, with headquarters in New York City. It allows users to buy, sell, and store digital currencies. It was founded by the Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler, which is why they chose that particular name for their company.

These are the same guys who in 2008 sued Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their ConnectU idea for creating a social networking site, and later on founding Facebook. They have always been crypto enthusiasts, so after winning the case they invested in large amounts of Bitcoin with the money made from the lawsuit. They founded Gemini soon after, to profit from the growing cryptocurrency trends.

Gemini logo

Visit Gemini

Despite being fairly new on the digital market, Gemini has earned its place among the highly esteemed exchanges in the crypto sphere, as it boasts some of the largest daily trading volumes.

Operating as a NY-based exchange, it’s regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS). This makes it compulsory for them to adhere to established regulations such as consumer protection, anti-money laundering, and high-tech cybersecurity set by the NYSDFS. As a result, Gemini has attracted the attention of many institutional and high-volume traders in the crypto sphere.

Coinbase

Coinbase has been operating as a crypto exchange since 2012, founded by software engineers Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, and since then it has acquired a reputation as one of the first licensed and reliable platforms for trading cryptocurrencies. The corporate headquarters are currently located in San Francisco, California.  According to their official website, Coinbase is now available in 100+ countries around the world and figures as the most trusted place for crypto in the States.

coinbase logo

Visit Coinbase

It has more than 30 million customers who have exchanged over $150 billion in cryptocurrencies.  In 2017, Coinbase was singled out by the US International Revenue Service. They had noticed that a number of its users had earned large amounts of money via trading cryptos and wanted Coinbase to report all of them to the IRS. For the period between 2013 to 2015, they had to subject around 13,000 customers, who have made at least $20,000 in transactions, to a tax investigation.

Gemini vs Coinbase: The Comparison

Supported Cryptocurrencies

Unfortunately, neither of the two exchange platforms offers a large number of cryptocurrencies. Gemini currently supports only Bitcoin and Ethereum. This, of course, dramatically limits the investors’ chances of profiting from altcoins but it still allows them to invest in the top cryptocurrencies on the market.

Coinbase definitely wins this battle because it allows its users to buy Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Not only that, but it has also launched “Coinbase Earn”, a relatively new platform that gives you the opportunity to take courses on different cryptocurrencies. At the end of the course, you’re rewarded with a certain amount of coins from the cryptocurrency you’ve been studying which are directly transferred to your Coinbase wallet.

Coinbase markets

Security

Gemini and Coinbase comply with the crypto sphere regulations for properly storing and securing your crypto and fiat currencies. First of all, they segregate their customers’ funds from those they need for the company’s operational purposes. To ensure the protection of your personal account, both exchanges offer two-factor authentication which asks you to provide your password and an additional confirmation from a device you own (such as a mobile phone) before you are allowed to enter.

The largest part of your currencies is stored offline in so-called “cold wallets”. With Gemini, the remaining digital assets that are stored online in a “hot wallet” are secured using the widely known Amazon Web Services (AWS). Its competitor, Coinbase, offers the insurance of their US customers’ wallet by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), up to a maximum of $250,000.

Coinbase takes no responsibility if your account has been phished or hacked due to your own negligence. If that sort of thing happens, you lose your coins. However, they do have high-security measures to keep these risks at a minimum. Your wallet and private key are protected with AES-256 encryption, adopted by the U.S. government and other intelligence organizations around the world.

To date, neither Gemini nor Coinbase have been the subject of any major hacker attacks. That being said, you should still bear in mind that cryptocurrency exchanges by default are not the safest option to store your currencies long term.

Fees

Trading fees are where Gemini triumphs over Coinbase by far. It doesn’t charge any fees for deposits or withdrawals. For trading, they have a maker and taker fee schedule based on how many trades the user has made in the last 30 days. The trader’s amount of Bitcoin or Ether bought and sold is ranked from a light to a massive volume.

Based on that, you have a maker and taker fee starting at 1.00% for light traders, decreasing all the way down to 0.10% or 0.00% when trading huge volumes of crypto. This is why Coinbase’s high fees are a major drawback if you decide to trade on this platform.

Their flat and variable fees are decided based on the trade amount and the chosen payment method. Transactions under $200 are charged at a flat fee regardless of how you pay for the service, as shown below:

  • $0.99 for a transaction worth up to $10.99 and below
  • $1.49 for a transaction worth from $11.00 up to $26.49
  • $1.99 for a transaction worth from $26.50 up to $51.99
  • $2.99 for a transaction worth from $52.00 up to $78.05

For trade amounts over $201, a variable fee of 1.49% is added to the transaction total. The fees for credit and debit cards are on the higher end of the scale, with Coinbase adding a variable of around 3.99% for transactions starting from $78.06 and above. Bank deposits come at no charge but withdrawals cost $0.15.  It’s good to keep in mind that certain countries like Australia, Canada, and Singapore for example, can only use credit or debit cards to complete the payment.

Ease of Use

If you already have some knowledge of how cryptocurrencies work, and you’re in earnest about crypto trading, the more advanced Gemini interface wouldn’t be a problem for you. Their website layout has a serious feel to it. It features technical charts and finance jargon which could be uninviting for beginners but exactly what serious traders are looking for.

coinbase homepage

For all you newbies out there, a friendly reminder that Coinbase was created with the intention to be as user-friendly as possible. Its interface is easy to navigate and you have all the tools right at your fingertips. It’s free from clutter and confusing trading terms. All you need to do is open a personal account and upload some money on it, and it literally takes just a few minutes before you can purchase your first cryptocurrencies.

Support

Providing quality customer support is a difficult task, even more so for the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. Trying to address the huge number of customers using their platform daily might result in lesser responsiveness. Gemini and Coinbase are constantly improving themselves in regards to this challenge. These exchanges handle their customer support through email correspondence.

Users find them quick to respond to their support tickets, usually within a 24-72 hour frame. Both sites have a “Support” button that takes you to their FAQ section and allows you to write your request or ask a question straightaway. On top of that, Coinbase utilizes a chatbox and telephone services for more urgent queries.

Coinbase has a separate support page that offers customer support via email, the option to browse through their FAQ or use their customer chatbox and telephone service for quicker replies. Response times for support tickets seem to be similar to those at Gemini.

Mobile Trading

The future of money is both digital and mobile, so, naturally, both Gemini and Coinbase have extended their trusted platforms on mobile devices. They’re free and available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Engaging with crypto has never been easier!

gemini exchange

Pros and cons

Gemini pros:

  • Regulated by the NYSDFS
  • Lower trading fees
  • Two-factor authentication for any withdrawal plus an offline storage
  • High responsiveness (24-72 hours for a support ticket)
  • Licensed US exchange
  • Mobile-friendly

Gemini cons:

  • Supports trading for Bitcoin and Ethereum only
  • You can only buy digital currencies via bank transfers
  • The interface is not suitable for beginners

Coinbase pros:

  • You can complete an exchange instantaneously
  • Two-factor authentication for any withdrawal plus offline storage
  • Customer service offers support via email, phone, and chatbox
  • Quick to respond to customer queries
  • User- and mobile-friendly
  • You can buy digital currencies via bank transfers, credit, and debit cards

Coinbase cons:

  • Higher trading fees from 1.49% to 3.99%
  • Limited cryptocurrency selection

Final Thoughts

Today, the need for trusted and accessible crypto exchanges is bigger than ever. The number of people investing in cryptocurrencies has skyrocketed since the appearance of Bitcoin in 2009. All this has resulted in a great degree of greediness which has stood behind a number of extremely high profile hacks of major exchanges in the past. This has placed a heavy amount of responsibility on platforms like Gemini and Coinbase, whose teams work daily to minimize these potential risks. With their dedication and hard work, they’ve both become highly respected staples of the crypto industry that have earned the trust of the community.

We have no doubt that both platforms will continue to grow and improve in every single aspect in the years to come. Having more than one reliable crypto exchange helps create a balance of power and eliminates monopoly on the crypto market. It also stimulates companies to find different ways to outshine their competitors by adding more digital coins on their list or expanding internationally. This facilitates a healthy competitive environment.  So, is Gemini a better crypto exchange than Coinbase, or is it the other way round? Both! We managed to lay out the facts in front of you, and guide you through their politics and services, advantages and disadvantages.

The decision depends on your investment standpoint. Gemini allows you to trade for lower fees at the cost of fewer cryptocurrencies, namely, Bitcoin and Ethereum. Your personal account and funds would lie safe and sound in the hot and cold wallets we’ve mentioned, and you’ll never have to worry about any illegal doings by the company – their regulations adhere to NYSDFS guidelines.

We would recommend this platform as a worthy choice for bigger companies and experienced traders. For newcomers, Coinbase is at your side with an organized and friendly user interface. You won’t be bombarded by crypto lingo or burdened with lots of unnecessary charts. Coinbase is quite straightforward and efficient when you’re in a hurry to make a purchase. It accepts, sends and verifies your transaction in record time. You also get a wider option of digital assets to choose from.

This, however, comes at a price, as you have higher fees but the convenience is worth it.  We recommend Coinbase to those of you who don’t plan on investing a lot, or if your target cryptocurrency is not Bitcoin or Ethereum. Also, if you want to use your credit or debit card, this is the only exchange out of the two that makes this possible. We hope we succeeded in helping you in your search for a trustworthy crypto exchange whose convenience goes hand in hand with your set expectations. Whichever one you choose, you’re likely going to be satisfied with the experience.

Gemini logo

Visit Gemini

 

coinbase logo

Visit Coinbase

About The Author

Leonard Butler

Leonard Butler

Leonard is the main editor. With a passion for finance and anything blockchain, cryptocurrency is right up his alley. He's responsible for most of the content on the site, trying his best to keep everything up to date and as informative as possible. Learn more...

Disclaimer: Digital currencies and cryptocurrencies are volatile and can involve a lot of risk. Their prices and performance is very unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consult a financial advisor or obtain your own advice independent of this site before relying and acting on the information provided.