If you’re an everyday investor looking to buy crypto for the long term, finding the best exchange for you can save time and money.
Gemini and Binance.US are two of the major exchanges you might be considering. The Gemini crypto exchange offers a full suite of options related to crypto coins and digital assets, including a credit card, mobile payment ability, and an NFT marketplace. Binance.US offers lower fees than many other exchanges, though it isn’t available in Hawaii, Idaho, New York, Texas, or Vermont. It’s also a separate sister company to Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world — which gives it some extra baggage we think most investors should take a pass on.
With its solid range of coin options, security, and extra features, we think Gemini is the better bet for most long-term crypto investors. Here’s what you should know about them both.
Before You Invest In Crypto
Experts say it’s smart to keep your crypto investments under 5% of your overall portfolio. Crypto prices fluctuate wildly by the day, and experts also say you’d be smart not to invest more than you’d be OK losing if the market dropped out altogether. Crypto investments should never get in the way of other financial priorities like saving for emergencies, paying off high-interest debt, and saving for retirement using more conventional investment strategies.
|Good for||Low fees and active trading||A wide variety of crypto-related financial products and services|
|Coins||80+ cryptocurrencies||85+ cryptocurrencies|
|Fees||Tiered maker/taker model. 0.1% spot fee. Can get a 25% discount on your fee if you hold Binance coin||Variety of fee schedules based on product and usage. 0.50% convenience fee; $0.99 to $2.99 transaction fee; 1.49% transaction fee for trades over $200|
|Wallet storage||Keep coins in Binance.US account or transfer to your own wallet||Keep coins on Gemini account, Gemini Wallet option, or transfer to your own wallet|
|Security features||Claims to keep assets in cold storage, two-factor authentication||Compliance with various regulators, third-party audits, whitelisted cryptocurrency addresses, digital asset insurance|
|Additional features||• Staking|
• Binance Academy
• Tax portal
|• Credit card|
• NFT marketplace
• Gemini Pay
|Minimum trades||$10||Equal to the smallest amount of each coin that can be traded (0.00001 BTC)|
Pros and Cons of Binance.Us vs. Gemini
|Pros||• Low fees|
• Trading fee discount
• Tax statement portal
• Identity verification process
|• More than 100 cryptocurrencies|
• Suite of financial products
• Strong security measures
• Available in all states
|Cons||• Not available in all states|
• Limited customer services
• History of regulatory issues
• Security information not readily available
|• Relatively high fees|
• Can difficult for true beginners to use
Both Binance.US and Gemini offer the option to store coins on the exchange using a hot wallet. Gemini also offers a cold wallet and a custody solution if you want more options.
Rather than providing its own wallet, Binance.US suggests using Trust Wallet, owned by the larger Binance company, where you can store, send, and receive various coins.
Bottom line here is you’ll find more in-house options with Gemini.
Gemini offers state-of-the-art security and offers detailed information about its protocols. The exchange also offers digital asset insurance for the crypto assets and other holdings that investors keep in its hot wallet offering. If assets are stolen as a result of a hack or a theft from a Gemini employee, those assets are insured. Gemini also undergoes third-party audits and complies with various regulatory authorities.
Binance.US claims on its homepage to use best practices for security, however it’s difficult to find specific protocols except for two-factor authentication. Binance.US is registered with FinCEN in the United States, with help from its U.S. partner, BAM Trading Services. There doesn’t appear to be any guarantee from Binance.US about asset insurance in the case of a hack, although its parent company has previously covered consumer losses.
Binance has also faced regulatory issues around the world, and Binance.US is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its tie to Binance’s CEO and two trading firms that buy and sell on the site. A spokesperson emailed us on behalf of Binance.US after our original review published in 2021 and clarified that they operate as separate companies, with Binance.US licensing software, trademarks, and wallet technology from Binance. We recently reached out to Binance.US to follow up about its security and regulatory issues, and will update this review if we hear back.
With its transparent policies and protocols around asset protection, and long-term cold storage, Gemini is the better choice for cryptocurrency traders who want peace of mind that should be expected from a mainstream exchange.
Binance.US offers more than 80 cryptocurrencies, while Gemini offers more than 85 cryptocurrencies.
Gemini features its own Gemini Dollar (GUSD), a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar and used in a digital ecosystem to facilitate exchanges, including integrating with Gemini Pay so you can access your crypto account for purchases. Binance.US has a native coin, Binance Coin (BNB), that is used to power the Binance chain. This coin, however, is not a stablecoin and its price changes according to market forces.
While Gemini offers slightly more cryptocurrencies, these two exchanges are fairly matched in terms of what you can buy, sell, and trade.
Gemini’s fee structure can be confusing, since there are many different fees based on product and usage. At a basic level, though, you can expect to pay a 0.50% convenience fee, as well as transaction fees ranging from $0.99 to $2.99 and a 1.49% transaction fee for trades over $200.
Binance.US, however, focuses on a tiered maker/taker model with a 0.1% spot fee. As your volume increases, your trading fees decrease. Additionally, if you hold BNB in your account, you receive a fee discount.
Fees are one area where Binance.US comes out ahead, especially if you hold BNB in your Binance.US account. But for most everyday, long-term investors, experts say the higher fees and greater security assurances you’ll get from Gemini or other mainstream exchanges are likely worth it.
Staking, Credit Cards, Other Options
Binance.US offers staking, providing a way for you to earn extra coins by holding them in your account. As you hold the coins, you receive an interest payment in the cryptocurrency that you’re staking. This can help you increase your supply of coins, and potentially benefit later.
Binance.US also offers advanced tools for more experienced traders and an over-the-counter trading portal that allows for direct trading with another person. You can also get tax reporting help with Binance.US, due to its tax portal, which can help you identify your cost basis and other information needed for tax reporting.
Gemini offers a range of financial products and services related to cryptocurrencies, such as:
- Credit card: Earn crypto rewards on purchases when using a credit card that’s accepted everywhere you can use Mastercard.
- Earn: This is Gemini’s loan program that is somewhat comparable to staking. You have to transfer your coins to Gemini Earn for it to work, however, while Binance.US allows staking when you simply hold the coins in your account.
- NFT marketplace: If you’re interested in nonfungible tokens, particularly art and collectibles, you can buy, sell, and store them using Gemini’s Nifty Marketplace.
- Pay: You can access your account via the mobile app and use Gemini Pay to make purchases at more than 30,000 retailers. You can pay with Gemini dollar, and use bitcoin, ether, and other coins you have in your account. Keep in mind that altcoins are extremely volatile and their market price can change daily, so we don’t recommend using them for payment.
If you’re looking for advanced trading options and simple staking, Binance.US can be a good choice. However, if you want a suite of products that allow you to access cryptocurrency for use in everyday transactions, including buying items at the store and earning credit card rewards, Gemini is a better choice.
How to Decide Between Binance.US and Gemini
When you’re choosing an exchange, you’ll want to think carefully about where you can safely hold your crypto for a while and gain access to different features.
If you’re looking to integrate cryptocurrency into your daily life, and you want the peace of mind that comes with strong security, Gemini is a better option than Binance.US. Additionally, if you’re interested in an easy way to buy, sell and store NFTs, Gemini provides a secure marketplace for other digital assets beyond cryptocurrencies. Note that you can find lower fees with Binance.US, but we think Gemini provides features that add up to a better experience for a beginner investor.