Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange that was founded by the famous Winklevoss brothers. You probably know them from the movie, Social Network, and are familiar with their $65M lawsuit
against Mark Zuckerberg for creating the social media platform Meta (previously Facebook). The exchange was launched in January 2015 and since then has managed to amass over $7B in valuation after their most recent fundraising in November 2021.
The exchange currently sees over $142M
in daily trading volume and is currently the 12th biggest cryptocurrency exchange on our list. The exchange today boasts of having its own stablecoin
and promises to be one of the most legally recognized exchanges in the world.
There are several cryptocurrency exchanges in the world and Gemini is one of them. But what makes it special? How is Gemini potentially different from other more popular exchanges like Binance and Kraken? Is it worth using?
We will look at all of these questions (and much more) in this article. Let’s dive in.
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Gemini was created with the objective of pairing fiat
currencies against cryptocurrencies. In other words, on the exchange, users can easily buy cryptocurrency using deposited fiat currency. The exchange has become popular for being closely aligned with the financial regulations in the United States. It boasts to have received
its license from the New York State Department of Financial Services. As such, it has been given the legal right to hold customers’ crypto assets on the exchange itself and all these holdings are subject to financial regulations.
The cryptocurrency exchange has also partnered
with State Street where it is said to store all of its customers’ crypto funds. As a consequence of adhering to the legal standards and checks already in place, the exchange assures its customers that most of its claimed assets are backed by monetary reserves of some sort.
In addition to this, the exchange also acts as a custodian
for institutional investors
as it helps store their financial assets on the platform in an offline and auditable “Cold Storage” system. This service can be used by any large institutional fund that is seeking exposure to cryptocurrencies (from large investment funds to mutual funds and even ETFs).
While the exchange may be popular with several institutional investors, it also offers features that attract retail investors across a wide spectrum.
Gemini supports most types of orders that other crypto exchanges support
like market orders, limit orders
, maker or cancel orders (MOC), and auction-only (AO) limit orders. However, the exchange does not offer margin trading
and also does not support shorting for the more advanced investors.
Gemini does not have a consistent fee structure across the exchange, the mobile app, the ActiveTrader, and for Custody accounts. If you are trading for anything less than $1M, then you need to pay 0.250% fees as a buyer, 0.100% as a seller, and 0.150% for auctions. If your trade size is considerably large, then your trading fee will be waived off.
Additionally, whenever you want to trade cryptocurrencies on the platform, you are required to pay both a convenience fee and a transaction fee. The former is 0.5% of the prevailing market price of the cryptoasset
you buy. The latter is merely a transaction fee and varies according to the size of the trade.
If you are looking for more information about trading fees on Gemini, you can find it here
Gemini offers a Gemini Pay
app, which can be used by the exchange’s users to pay for items in cryptocurrency. The wallet is free to use and transactions are done in Gemini Dollars, which is the native stablecoin of the exchange. Additionally, users can also pay with Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and some other altcoins as well.
Over 30,000 retailers across the United States accept Gemini Pay. The exchange has also started offering a new feature called “Earn
” using which investors can now generate passive income at a compounding rate of 8.05% on their cryptocurrency holdings.
Gemini currently lets you trade about 40
cryptocurrencies on the exchange. In comparison, both Binance
offer over 50+ cryptocurrencies to be traded.
It is a repository of educational crypto articles that can be accessed by anyone who wishes to learn more about the space. Gemini isn’t the only exchange to offer dedicated educational crypto content to its users.
In terms of security, Gemini says that it stores a majority of its users’ cryptoassets in a cold storage system. This is done to ensure that the assets are safe. The exchange, however, does keep some of its customers’ cryptoassets safely stored in a dedicated hot wallet
to ensure sufficient liquidity
on the exchange.
The amount that is kept in the hot wallet is insured against various crypto hacks
and thefts. Because the exchange offers custodian services as well, it can be said that it is as safe as every other crypto exchange.
Now that we have a general overview of the exchange, let’s look at a tutorial about how we can set up our exchange account and deposit funds to use it. Note that this guide will vary according to the KYC
rules in the country where you access the exchange.
The process to set up an account on the exchange is quite straightforward and resembles with other exchanges. Let’s look at each step in detail.
When you access the Gemini
exchange, click the “Get Started” button anywhere on the screen.
Step 1: Register
Fill in the necessary details on this screen to access your account.
Once you’ve added these details, you will be asked to complete the KYC process. Once you’ve completed the process, you will be re-directed to another screen.
Ensure that you have added your KYC details and confirmed your mail address. Post that, you will need to add funds to your account to start trading.
Step 2: Add Funds to Your Gemini Exchange Account
You will only be able to add funds to your Gemini exchange account once the KYC process has been approved. Once it is, you will be able to link your bank account and/or add your debit card to process your payments to the exchange. Note, however, that non-US accounts might take a while to add money to the exchange. This would all depend on the home bank account that you use.
You can select the currency that you would like to add to your account from the dropdown.
Can I Transfer Crypto to My Gemini Exchange Account?
Yes, you can. However, there are only selected networks that the exchange supports. As of writing, these are Ethereum, Bitcoin
, Bitcoin Cash
, and Tezos
. In this case, you will need to select either of these networks to transfer funds. You can use the Polygon
network to avoid the hefty gas fees on Ethereum.
Alternatively, you can even transfer other cryptocurrencies. For our example here, we will look at how we can transfer XTZ
from an external account to Gemini.
From the dropdown menu above, select the Tezos network and click “Continue”. You will get your Tezos’ network address that you can copy.
Paste it in the receiver’s address in your external wallet and continue the transaction. Once the transaction is successful, you will be able to see your Gemini account with the newly added cryptoassets. To access, you can visit exchange.gemini.com/balances.
Do note that adding Tezos to Gemini’s account can take a while.
Once you do receive the funds, you will be able to access them under Account → Balances.
Step 3: Begin trading
After receiving the funds in your Gemini exchange wallet, you can begin trading. Head back to the main exchange page, and select the asset that you’d like to buy from the list. Since, for this example, we have XTZ as our only asset in our wallet, we will first exchange it for USDT. We will simply search for XTZ in the search bar in the top-right.
Select the “View Details” option and the buy/sell page will open for the asset. In this case, I would like to exchange all of my XTZ for USD. Hence in the top right, I will simply type in the total amount that I have.
Head over to the “Sell” tab and simply type in the amount.
When you click “Review Order”, you will be asked to pay the transaction fees. Once that is done, your order will be completed. Now, we have $47 as our USD balance on the exchange.
We can now this USD balance to purchase any cryptoasset that we want. Let’s purchase some SPELL
tokens that we can potentially stake later. I will simply look for the cryptoasset again on the “Market” page and repeat the same process.
As you can see, you can purchase all the cryptoassets that you want on the exchange by simply looking for them on the Market page.
Step 4: Access Advanced Trading Options on Gemini
If you are looking to make advanced trades on Gemini, then you simply need to head to the asset that you are wishing to purchase and select the “Looking for other order types?” option under the “Continue” button.
Once you click that option, you will be shown another prompt to switch to “Gemini ActiveTrader”. Select that and you will be redirected to a new page.
You will be redirected to this page:
You can now easily select the type of order that you want to place in the left-pane by clicking the “Order type” dropdown.
Once you have decided the type, you can key in the amount of USD that you would like to spend to buy the asset. Or, if you want to buy a specific amount of the cryptoasset, then you can simply type that in.
Once you click “Buy”, your exchange wallet will reflect the new balance of assets.
NB: If you wish to go back to the Basic version of the exchange, you can simply head over to Account → Settings → Trading Interface → Gemini BASIC.
Step 5: Withdraw Your Cryptoassets From Gemini.
To withdraw your cryptoassets from the exchange, you can do so by heading to Transfer → Withdraw from Gemini.
Note that if you want to withdraw USD, then you can only do that to your bank account. However, you will be able to withdraw other supported assets on the platform to an external wallet. You are advised to withdraw only in those assets which you used to deposit. If you are worried about the volatility of your asset, then you can also withdraw in DAI
(the algorithmic stablecoin.
Now that we have explored how Gemini the cryptocurrency exchange works, let us look at how we can use Gemini’s native stablecoin.
The Gemini USD (GUSD
) is pegged 1:1 with USD - hence when you exchange your USD for GUSD, you will get the exact amount. No transaction fee will be charged for this. If you are looking to participate in Gemini’s Earn program, then you will have to head to the Earn tab in the top-left corner on your basic trading screen. Since I cannot participate in the program, it does not show up for me. However, you will find it here.
Note that you do not need only GUSD to participate in Earn. You can also use other cryptocurrencies for the same. Also, remember that GUSD is simply a stablecoin native to Gemini and is (mostly) not supported on other platforms. Hence, you wouldn’t find much of a use case
for GUSD apart from using it as a stable dollar value when trading on Gemini.
Gemini is not the biggest crypto exchange by daily traded volume but it has certainly become quite popular. It stands out because it is mostly legally aligned with the financial institutions in the United States (New York State Department of Financial Services).
In addition to this, the exchange has a much simpler interface than that of Binance. If you are just learning about crypto and would like to trade the assets, then you are better off using Gemini because of the simple and easy-to-understand user interface. Once you do feel that you have garnered enough knowledge to do some advanced-level trading, you can even switch to the ActiveTrader interface and have access to other features.
Moreover, with their Earn program, you can easily earn a stable income on the existing cryptoassets that you hold in your exchange wallet.
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