Gemini has a great opportunity to take a big bite out of Coinbase's market dominance, but some of the decisions made have held them back.
1%-0% based on monthly trade volumeTrading Fees
- United States
- Bank Wire, ACH
- Great security, US accounts insured and crypto held in cold storage.
- Good product and decent liquidity for US traders
- Owned by Winklevoss brothers, good bitcoin stewards!
- Raised fees in the beginning of 2018 to a higher level than the competition.
- Have serious issues verifying accounts in a timely manner.
Gemini is a quality bitcoin exchange product with decent liquidity. OK.
We really, really wanted to have Gemini as our highest ranked US bitcoin exchange. Coinbase has just had a disastrous year PR-wise, their CEO seeming to delight in sticking his awkward thumb into the eye of the collective bitcoin community. Robinhood and Square Cash are pretty awesome and will most likely end up as top products in the market, but they are not yet fully baked as crypto exchanges. And so, it was with an open mind and a yearning heart that we registered an account at Gemini in January 2018. We submitted our documents and waited to make use of the platform. And waited. And waited.
And waited. Waited. Waited. Ait. ed. red rum.
Gemini did not confirm KYC documents and open the account for trading for THREE MONTHS. 90 days. 80 business days if we are straining for fairness. Assuming standard nine-hour working days, that means each support agent spent 720 hours in the office with our pending application and did not process it. They did not request additional documentation or anything, they responded in February to inquiry saying they were working on it, and notified us that it had been sorted two months later in April. Gemini has done something most have thought impossible – they have made Coinbase support look good.
Anyway, being a righteous God-fearing blogger, I decided I anyway would give them a whirl. The market as a whole had a very difficult time keeping up with a massive amount of interest around that time, why judge them at their worst. So I logged in and then I noticed they quadrupled their trading fees. Overnight. The fees went from being market standard to being four times higher than market standard. How…I mean, you are with me here, right? Gemini is extremely well placed to make a big mark in the US. They have the product set up, they had good will of the community, and they have decent (now predictably largely diminished) liquidity volume. Why not step it up a notch? Waive fees. Hire tons of staff to onboard new customers. Run amazing promotions. Establish yourself as the good steward of bitcoin in the US. You got the money for it, you got the opportunity. What a disappointment.
The Gemini Product
Gemini offers a good exchange product, assuming you can get verified. There are a few interesting order types, and Gemini offers auction orders, which is something of a novelty in the bitcoin market. The platform is intuitive, and the order book is relatively deep, the spreads narrow most hours of the day.
Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and ZCash markets have just been announced, but as of press time they have not yet shown on the platform. Their Ethereum market might be slightly better positioned than Bitcoin in terms of comparative trading volume, though both have taken a bit of a tumble since they raised fees. Speaking of fees:
|30 Day BTC Volume||30 Day Eth Volume||Maker||Taker||Auction|
In order to enjoy the previous standard rate, traders must turnover 100 bitcoin on the maker side, 10 on the taker side. You do, however, get a discount if you are in the 1,000 bitcoin a month or higher bracket. Assuming you hit a higher bracket later in the month, you will receive a rebate from earlier trades to reflect your new fee level.
In general, the product is totally fine. The major issue is the fee level, which is probably also the reason that liquidity has suffered compared to their competition.
We consider Gemini to be among the top exchanges in terms of security of both digital and fiat assets held. Digital assets are held in cold storage, with the small portion held in the hot wallet hosted on Amazon web services, widely considered amongst the most secure online environments. USD deposits are FDIC insured, so Gemini is basically the same as holding your cash in a bank.
Gemini is mobile friendly, but they have not developed applications as of yet, a distinct disadvantage against their direct competition.
Not sure how many support agents they have, but the auto-response copywriter is funny and positive.
Might not be for you if:
You are fee conscious, or want to see your account opened quickly.
There are other US-focused exchanges, like Coinbase, that have lower fees, higher liquidity, and generally verify accounts quickly. Check out the Best US Bitcoin Exchanges if you want to keep browsing.
You are looking for a proper mobile product.
Cashapp has an excellent mobile product, and is more cost efficient for most traders.
On the plus side, Gemini is a safe, secure, and compliant place to trade crypto in the states. It is owned by crypto good guys – all around good guys actually – the winklevoss twins. However, the fee hike, combined with unacceptable verification times, make it difficult to justify Gemini over the competition.