Gemini and Coinbase are the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges based in the United States. Both platforms have similar crypto offerings, are available in over 50 countries, and both boast a “security-first” approach to trading.
Gemini was founded by the famous Winklevoss twins. After their $60 million settlement with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, they invested heavily in Bitcoin and eventually founded their own cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini, in 2015. It is a U.S.-based exchange that follows the tight Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering requirements of the U.S. government.
Coinbase was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. They have become the most popular centralized exchange in the U.S., supporting the top cryptocurrencies on the market. The intuitive app and ability to buy crypto with a credit card have made it easier than ever for new investors to get started.
The main difference between the platforms is their customer service offerings. While Coinbase offers email and chat support (via social channels), they do not offer live phone support (as of March 2021). On the other hand, Gemini offers 24/7 phone and chat support for customers, giving users peace of mind that they can talk to someone directly if they have any issues with their account.
We’ve reviewed both platforms based on their supported currencies, security, fees, features, and more so you can decide on the best option.
Gemini vs. Coinbase: At a Glance
|Features||Easy-to-use interface; Buy, sell, and exchange crypto; API keys; Lower per-trade fees||Simple interface; Buy, sell, and exchange crypto; Credit card purchases available|
|Fees||Trades are fixed-fee for $200 or below, 1.49% for above $200; 0.50% additional “convenience fee” per transaction; 3.49% debit card deposit fee; No deposit or withdrawal fees for ACH and wire transfers (10 maximum per month)||0.50% per trade; Additional 1.49% for bank account or Coinbase Wallet purchases; Additional 3.99% for debit or credit card purchases; $10 deposit, $25 withdrawal fee for wire transfers|
|Cryptocurrencies supported||34 cryptocurrencies||44 cryptocurrencies|
|Security features||2FA via SMS or Authy app; User role management; U2F security via hardware key; Whitelisting pre-approved addresses; 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 crypto front-and-center, Gemini is easily one of the best user experiences for exchanging crypto.
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 crypto right away.
Similarly, Coinbase gives users a simple way to sign up, connect their financial accounts, and buy crypto 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 crypto.
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 crypto 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 two-factor authentication (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 crypto 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, biometric access controls, and an encrypted 12-word recovery phrase typically used in similar digital wallets.
Two-factor authentication: Coinbase uses industry-standard two-factor authentication (2FA) via SMS or the Google Authenticator app. This security feature is also used on a per-trade basis as well as for logging in to your account.
Cold storage and crypto 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 crypto: Gemini launched their Gemini Earn program which lets you earn interest on nearly every cryptocurrency they offer. APYs are as high as 7.40% (as of March 2021) and vary by currency type. This is unique in the crypto world, as most exchanges require you to stake your crypto (lock it away) to earn interest or rewards.
Buy with crypto: Gemini launched their Gemini Pay program, which lets you make retail purchases with crypto. There are over 30,000 participating retailers, and you can pay with Bitcoin, Gemini dollar (GUSD), Ether, Litecoin, Zash, or Bitcoin Cash. This feature is available within the Gemini App, where you can select your retailer and crypto to spend, and start shopping!
Institutional investor service: Gemini caters to large institutional investors who are getting into the crypto space. They offer 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 their API keys, allowing third-party apps to integrate with Gemini.
Coinbase Unique Features
Free education (+ free crypto): Coinbase offers short, bite-sized videos for beginning crypto 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 crypto 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 34 cryptocurrencies on its exchange, while Coinbase offers 44. Each exchange regularly adds to their listed crypto offerings.
Both platforms allow you to purchase cryptocurrency in dollar amounts, letting you buy fractions of coins. Coinbase has a $2 minimum order amount. 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 (BTC). 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, Ethereum, Uniswap, Chainlink, and Compound.
Gemini vs. Coinbase: Fees
Both Gemini and Coinbase have fairly high fees for buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrency. Each exchange charges a transaction fee along with a fee based on which method of payment is used. These can add up quickly.
Both platforms charge an average flat fee of approximately 0.50% per transaction. In addition, they also charge extra fees based on the account used in the transaction.
Here is a breakdown of how Gemini and Coinbase charge fees based on account type:
|Account||Gemini Fees||Coinbase Fees|
|U.S. Bank Account||1.49%||1.49%|
|Credit/Debit Card Buy||3.49%||3.99%|
|Instant Card Withdrawal||N/A||Up to 1.5% of any transaction and a minimum fee of $0.55|
|Wire Transfer||Free||$10 ($25 outgoing)|
Both platforms charge more than most other exchanges per transaction, which is why both Gemini and Coinbase are best for beginner traders and “buy and hold” investors who value security.
Gemini does have 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 over 50 countries worldwide, while Coinbase is offered in over 100. Both platforms are available in all 50 states in the US, complying with all US regulations for crypto trading.
Each country has its own regulations around cryptocurrency. Be sure to review your local guidelines before buying or selling crypto.
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. They are also a very transparent company with regular audits by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). Its strict compliance with U.S. regulations makes them one of the safest places to purchase crypto, especially for institutional investors.
Coinbase is one of the simplest crypto platforms for beginners due to its clean and friendly design and easy-to-use mobile app. It only takes a few clicks to buy and sell crypto 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.
Gemini vs. Coinbase FAQ
What Are Gemini and Coinbase?
Gemini and Coinbase are cryptocurrency exchange platforms designed for buying, selling, and trading these currencies. Gemini offers a simple, secure way for traders to buy and sell crypto, while Coinbase is a great on-ramp for beginners to buy their first cryptocurrency.
Both are U.S.-regulated exchanges that comply with KYC and anti-money laundering initiatives required by the United States. They also both offer secure storage of your digital assets.
How Do Gemini and Coinbase Work?
Both Gemini and Coinbase are cryptocurrency exchanges that function similarly to an online brokerage for buying, selling, and trading digital currencies. Users create an account and add funds via a standard financial account or debit card to purchase cryptocurrency. They can then withdraw those currencies to their digital wallet or use the exchange to trade them.
For example, when buying Chainlink (LINK), the platform would act as a broker for the transaction. You would create an account, connect your bank account, and submit an order to purchase LINK. You are exchanging USD for LINK, and Coinbase or Gemini store that LINK for you until you decide to sell, trade, or withdraw it.
Should I Use the Gemini or Coinbase Wallet?
The Gemini Wallet is one of the only insured wallets available on the market. This protects consumers against security breaches or hacks, a fraudulent transfer, or employee theft. It is one of the safest wallets to store your digital assets.
Gemini does not support ERC-20 tokens (as of March 2021), and will not connect to popular decentralized exchanges (DEXs) for the trading of cryptocurrencies.
Coinbase Wallet is a popular choice for exchanging crypto and can be used on many decentralized applications. If you are looking to trade cryptocurrency, or simply hold the keys to ones you already own, Coinbase Wallet is a secure way to store them. It is also ERC-20 compatible, allowing you to trade your crypto on your favorite decentralized exchange.
Who Should Use Gemini vs. Coinbase?
Gemini is the best exchange for security-conscious investors who want to buy and store their cryptocurrency. With their rigorous auditing and over-the-top cold storage of digital assets, Gemini caters to beginner and institutional investors who value security above all else.
Coinbase is ideal for beginner investors who are just getting started with cryptocurrency. With its easy onboard and intuitive interface, Coinbase makes it simple to buy your first digital currency. Add in their user education section and crypto bonuses, Coinbase is a great place to get started.
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 crypto 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 crypto 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.