Gemini vs. Coinbase

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Gemini and Coinbase are two of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges based in the United States. Both platforms have similar cryptocurrency offerings, are available in more than 50 countries, and provide a secure approach to trading.

Gemini was founded by the famous Winklevoss twins. After their $65 million settlement with Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, they invested heavily in bitcoin and eventually founded their own cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini, in 2014. It is a U.S.-based exchange that follows the tight know-your-customer and anti-money laundering requirements of the U.S. government.

Coinbase was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. The company has become one of the most popular centralized exchanges in the U.S., supporting the top cryptocurrencies on the market. The intuitive app and ability to buy cryptocurrency using a variety of methods have made it easier than ever for new investors to get started.

Both platforms offer email, chat, and live phone support.

We’ve reviewed both platforms based on their supported currencies, security, fees, features, and more so you can decide which is the better option for you.

Gemini vs. Coinbase: How Do They Compare?

Investing in cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance (DeFi), and other initial coin offerings (ICOs) is highly risky and speculative, and the markets can be extremely volatile. Consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This article is not a recommendation to invest in cryptocurrencies, and the accuracy or timeliness of the information cannot be guaranteed.

Gemini


Gemini

 Gemini

What We Like
  • Simple user interface

  • Can earn interest on your cryptocurrency

  • Hot wallet digital insurance

What We Don’t Like
  • High trade fees

  • Available in 60+ countries

Coinbase


Coinbase

Coinbase

New Coinbase users can get $10 in BTC when they sign up (and verify) for an account using BALANCE10.

What We Like
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insured up to $250K

  • Available in more than 100 countries

  • Free user education library

What We Don’t Like
  • Specific trade fees not disclosed on website

  • 2.00 unit minimum order amount (for example, $2 or €2)

Gemini vs. Coinbase: At a Glance

  Gemini Coinbase
Features Easy-to-use interface; Buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrency; Application programming interface (API) keys; Lower per-trade fees Simple interface; Buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrency
Fees  Transactions over $200 have a fixed-fee of 1.49%; transactions less than $200 have fees ranging from $0.99 to $2.99; 0.50% additional “convenience fee” per transaction; 3.49% debit card deposit fee; No deposit or withdrawal fees for ACH and wire transfers Transation fees are not diclosed online, Coinbase says they are "calculated at the time you place your order"
Cryptocurrencies supported  60+ cryptocurrencies 150+ cryptocurrencies
Security features  Two-factor authentication (2FA) via short message service (SMS) or Authy app; User role management; FIDO2 security via hardware key; Whitelisting pre-approved addresses; United States dollar (USD) balances FDIC insured up to $250k; Gemini “Hot Wallet” digital asset insurance 2FA via SMS or Google Authenticator app; Cold storage and multi-signature wallets; USD balances FDIC insured up to $250K; KYC and anti-money laundering protections
Types of transactions  Buy, sell, trade, deposit, withdraw Buy, sell, exchange, send, receive

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Ease of Use

Gemini is built on ease of use, and its super-clean interface is evidence of this. With a simple price list and the ability to buy, sell, or exchange cryptocurrency front-and-center, Gemini is easily one of the best user experiences for exchanging cryptocurrency.

To sign up for Gemini, simply create a free account using your email address and a password. Once you verify your email address, secure your account with two-factor authentication and connect your bank account or debit card. From there, you can start buying cryptocurrency right away.

Similarly, Coinbase gives users a simple way to sign up, connect their financial accounts, and buy cryptocurrency right on their app. You can sign up for Coinbase with an email address and password and then verify your identity with a government-issued photo ID by uploading a picture of it to the app or website. Once verified, you can connect a bank account or credit card to immediately begin purchasing cryptocurrency.

Both Gemini and Coinbase adhere to the United States KYC and anti-money laundering regulations. This may require you to provide proof of identity and proof of address.

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Security

Gemini and Coinbase are both known for their security features, making them two of the most secure places for users to buy, sell, and store their cryptocurrency assets. Here are a few of the security options available on each platform:

Gemini Security Features

“Hot Wallet” insurance: Gemini offers insurance on any digital assets in their Gemini Wallet (“hot wallet”) and will reimburse users for any resulting security breach or hack, a fraudulent transfer, or employee theft. This gives customers peace of mind that their digital assets are safely stored with Gemini, even the ones being actively traded.

Whitelisting approved addresses: Gemini offers approved address whitelisting, which is the ability to restrict access to addresses that can withdraw your cryptocurrency. These addresses undergo a seven-day approval hold to ensure new addresses are vetted and approved before being approved for transfers.

Two-factor authentication: Gemini offers 2FA via SMS or the Authy app.

User role management: Gemini allows you to add different user roles to your account, restricting access and trading permissions for certain users. This is a great option for institutional investors who have a team that manages their cryptocurrency investments.

Device management: Gemini allows you to review all the devices that have accessed your account and restrict any that you don’t recognize. You can even end current sessions from any device currently logged into your Gemini account.

Coinbase Security Features

Built-in wallet: Coinbase uses a digital wallet to store your cryptocurrency. It further protects your assets with password protection and an encrypted 12-word recovery phrase typically used in similar digital wallets.

Two-factor authentication: Coinbase uses industry-standard 2FA via SMS, the Google Authenticator app or Duo.

Cold storage and cryptocurrency vaults: Coinbase stores 98% of cryptocurrency balances in offline cold storage, keeping your assets off the internet and away from hackers. It is one of the few exchanges to use such secure offline storage.

Coinbase also secures your stored digital assets using a cryptocurrency vault which requires approval from multiple users to withdraw funds. These vaults are also time-locked meaning that any withdrawal request will be canceled within 24 hours if all approvals are not completed.

FDIC insurance (up to $250K): Coinbase offers FDIC insurance on USD (U.S. dollar) deposits. This insurance covers up to $250,000 of deposited USD funds but does NOT insure your cryptocurrency funds.

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Features

Gemini and Coinbase are very similar exchanges, giving users a simple way to buy, sell, and exchange their favorite cryptocurrencies with ease. While many of their features are the same, here are a few of the unique features on each platform:

Gemini Unique Features

Earning interest on your cryptocurrency: Gemini launched its Gemini Earn program which lets you earn interest on nearly every cryptocurrency it offers. Annual percentage yields (APYs) are as high as 8.05% (as of April 2022) and vary by currency type. This is unique in the cryptocurrency world, as most exchanges require you to stake your cryptocurrency (lock it away) to earn interest or rewards.

Buy with cryptocurrency: Gemini launched its Gemini Pay program, which lets you make retail purchases with cryptocurrency. There are over 30,000 participating retailers, and you can pay with Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Gemini dollar (GUSD), Dogecoin (DOGE), Shiba Inu (SHIB), Litecoin (LTC), Uniswap (UNI), Terra (LUNA), and more. This feature is available within the Gemini app, where you can select your retailer and cryptocurrency to spend and start shopping!

Institutional investor service: Gemini caters to large institutional investors who are getting into the crypto space. It offers services to help fund managers create crypto-based funds, as well as act as a custodian for corporate clients and wealth managers to build a diversified crypto portfolio.

API keys: Gemini offers public access to its API keys, allowing third-party apps to integrate with Gemini.

Coinbase Unique Features

Free education (+ free cryptocurrency): Coinbase offers short, bite-sized videos for beginning cryptocurrency investors. Users who complete the cryptocurrency projects in these videos will be given a small amount of free cryptocurrency as a bonus.

Newsfeed: Coinbase curates online cryptocurrency articles and displays them in a newsfeed on its platform to deliver current updates on trends, developments, and breaking news in the world of cryptocurrency to its users.

Price alerts: Coinbase lets users create a watchlist of cryptocurrencies and get alerts about price changes. Updates automatically appear in the Coinbase app but can also trigger push notifications on a user's mobile phone.

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Currencies

Gemini and Coinbase both similar access to the top cryptocurrencies on the market, though Gemini does lag behind on listings. Gemini currently offers just over 60 cryptocurrencies on its exchange, while Coinbase offers 150+.

Both platforms allow you to purchase cryptocurrency in dollar amounts, letting you buy fractions of coins. Coinbase has a 2 unit minimum order amount (for example, $2 or €2). Gemini, on the other hand, measures its minimum purchase amount in the native token. For example, the minimum bitcoin purchase amount is 0.00001 bitcoin. So if bitcoin's price is $60,000, you can purchase as little as $0.60 of bitcoin.

While the list of supported currencies is too large to share here, both platforms support major currencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, Uniswap, Chainlink, and Compound.

To explore more currencies on Gemini, review its prices. To view all the tradable assets on Coinbase, check its listing prices.

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Fees

Gemini has fairly high fees for buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrency. The exchange charges a transaction fee along with a fee based on which method of payment is used. These can add up quickly.

Coinbase, on the other hand, does not disclose the fees on its website. Instead, it has the following disclaimer about cryptocurrency transactions: "Fees are calculated at the time you place your order and may be determined by a combination of factors, including the selected payment method, the size of the order, and market conditions such as volatility and liquidity."

Here is a breakdown of how Gemini and Coinbase charge fees, based on account type:

Account Gemini Fees  Coinbase Fees 
U.S. Bank Account $0.99 to 1.49% of order depending on order amount Not disclosed
Credit/Debit Card Buy 3.49% Not disclosed
Instant Card Withdrawal N/A Not disclosed
ACH Transfer Free Not disclosed
Wire Transfer Free  Not disclosed

Gemini has a compelling offer for wire transfer clients, offering $0 fees for both deposit and withdrawal transactions.

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Access

Both Gemini and Coinbase are available globally, with Gemini being offered in far fewer countries than Coinbase at this time.

Gemini is available in all 50 states, while Coinbase is available in all states except Hawaii. Both companies comply with all US regulations for cryptocurrency trading.

Each country has its own regulations around cryptocurrency. Be sure to review your local guidelines before buying or selling cryptocurrency.

Final Verdict

There are several similarities between Gemini and Coinbase. For example, both are user-friendly, offer a variety of top-tier cryptocurrencies, and place security as one of their top priorities.

Gemini is a popular choice for investors who want the most secure platform to buy and store their digital assets. It also is a transparent company with regular audits as required by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). Its strict compliance with U.S. regulations makes it one of the safest places to purchase cryptocurrency, especially for institutional investors.

Coinbase is one of the simplest cryptocurrency platforms for beginners due to its clean and friendly design and easy-to-use mobile app. It takes only a few clicks to buy and sell cryptocurrency, and the exchange offers some of the most secure storage of your digital assets we've come across so far.

No matter which platform you choose, understand that investing in cryptocurrencies is highly speculative, so never invest more than you are willing to lose.

How We Evaluated Gemini vs. Coinbase

When reviewing Gemini vs. Coinbase, we compared each platform based on ease of use, fee structure, security, unique features, and support currencies. We also took into account the types of trades available on each platform and their relative cost to the wider cryptocurrency exchange market. 

While Gemini and Coinbase are both very similar cryptocurrency exchanges, they offer a few unique features that cater to their ideal clients. Gemini is one of the most secure exchanges available on the market, ideal for buy-and-hold investors. Coinbase is best suited for first-time cryptocurrency investors due to its simple interface and user education component. However, both of these exchanges charge higher-than-average fees, so active traders may want to look elsewhere.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is safer, Gemini or Coinbase?

Gemini is the best exchange for security-conscious investors who want to buy and store their cryptocurrency. With rigorous auditing and over-the-top cold storage of digital assets, Gemini caters to beginner and institutional investors who value security above all else.

What is Coinbase Pro?

Coinbase Pro is an advanced trading platform for Coinbase customers. The platform is free for Coinbase customers, although it is technically a different platform with a different fee structure. Coinbase Pro also uses different wallets than Coinbase, but Coinbase customers can transfer between these wallets for free (although daily withdrawal limits apply).