Gemini Review 2021: Easy for Beginners, Plus More Options for Experienced Investors

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Gemini launched in 2015 as a cryptocurrency trading platform appealing to both beginner investors and active traders, with several options for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. 

It doesn’t have as much trading volume as competitors like Coinbase or Kraken — you may have only heard of Gemini because of its founders, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who are famous for their legal battles with Mark Zuckerberg over the creation of Facebook. But the exchange offers over 40 cryptocurrencies, a learning hub to teach beginners all about crypto investing, and a suite of unique products which can add more value for seasoned investors. 

Offerings like Gemini Earn, Gemini Pay, Gemini Wallet, and more can help investors tap into a more cohesive ecosystem than other exchanges may offer. Still, it’s important to remember that for retirement-minded investors, buying and holding (or HODLing) is the name of the game, and you don’t need any of these special features to do that. 

Here’s what you need to know about Gemini:

Before You Start

No matter where you buy it, cryptocurrency is a highly volatile, speculative investment. Only invest in crypto what you’re prepared to lose, and make sure you have other financial priorities in place first: save money in an emergency fund, contribute to retirement savings, and pay off any high-interest debt balances.

Pros and Cons of Gemini

Pros

  • Strong security measures

  • Over 40 cryptocurrencies to choose from

  • Simple interface for beginners, combined with more advanced options for active traders

  • Available in all U.S. states

  • Earn up to 7.4% APY on your cryptocurrency balance with Gemini Earn

  • Learning hub

Cons

  • High fees based on market price

  • May be complicated for true beginners

Gemini At A Glance

  • Over 40 cryptocurrencies available
  • Trading fees include spread and fee per transaction
  • No account minimum
  • Minimum trade amount equal to the smallest amount of each crypto that can be traded
  • Gemini Earn program allows you to earn interest on your holdings 
  • Available in all U.S. states
  • Cryptopedia education hub
  • Insurance plan and majority of assets held in offline cold storage
  • Offers multiple products like Gemini ActiveTrader for frequent buyers and sellers, Gemini Pay to use your cryptocurrency at stores, and more

Cryptocurrencies Available on Gemini

Gemini supports over 40 cryptocurrencies including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Chainlink (LINK)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Polygon (MATIC)
  • Dai (DAI)
  • Uniswap (UNI)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Filecoin (FIL)

Each crypto has its own withdrawal fees, if you plan to move your coins to your own wallet or another exchange, but these don’t kick in until you withdraw more than 10 times per calendar month. Coinbase, in comparison, doesn’t have any restrictions on how many times you can withdraw, but you may be charged a portion of the cryptocurrency’s network fee when you withdraw to a non-Coinbase crypto wallet.

Gemini’s trading minimum for any coin is simply the smallest amount of each coin that can be traded (the smallest amount of Bitcoin you can trade, for example, is 0.00001 BTC). Gemini offers a list of trading minimums for cryptocurrencies available on its website.

Gemini Fees

You’ll be charged both a convenience and a transaction fee every time you buy or sell crypto on Gemini. These fees are the same whether you buy on Gemini’s online site or through the mobile app. Both will be displayed together as your “quoted price” before you make your purchase final. 

Convenience Fee

The convenience fee is about 0.5% of the Gemini market price for a given trade, though it can vary depending on the market. This fee is also charged in the crypto you buy. For example, if Bitcoin (BTC) is currently trading at $30,000 for 1 BTC, you’d actually pay $30,150 for 1 BTC including the fee.

Transaction Fee

On top of the convenience fee, you’ll be charged a transaction fee based on the amount you trade. For crypto conversions — such as trading Bitcoin for Litecoin — this fee is a standard 1.49%. For buying and selling crypto, the fee varies by the type of currency you use, and ranges from a flat fee for less expensive orders to a percentage of more costly transactions. 

Here is the fee schedule for U.S. dollar transactions:

Transaction AmountFee
Less than $10$0.99
Between $10 and $25$1.49
Between $25 and $50$1.99
Between $50 and $200$2.99
More than $2001.49%

Let’s say you wanted to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin, when Bitcoin is trading at $30,000 per 1 BTC. The convenience fee makes the price of 1 BTC on Gemini actually $30,150. So when you place your order for $100, Gemini would subtract the $2.99 transaction fee, then calculate your fraction of 1 BTC based on a price of $30,150. Ultimately, you’d end up with 0.00321758 BTC, rather than the 0.00333333 BTC. 

That may not seem like much in terms of fractional amounts of Bitcoin, but it can add up if you’re buying more crypto over time, and reduce the actual amount you’re investing now. Despite the price, the security features you get with Gemini can make it worthwhile, especially for beginners. 

As you get more advanced, you may choose to switch over to Gemini’s ActiveTrader service. Gemini’s ActiveTrader and custodial trading platforms offer different (and less costly) fee structures, though these platforms can be much more complicated to navigate.

Deposit Fees

You can move crypto from your own wallet or another exchange to trade on Gemini, or deposit U.S. dollars into your account to make a trade. There’s no fee for depositing money into your Gemini account, unless you use a debit card. 

Deposit TypeCost
All cryptocurrencies, ACH transfer, Gemini dollar (redemption)Free
Wire TransferFree
Debit Card Transfer3.49% of total purchase amount

Withdrawal Fees

You also won’t be charged for withdrawing crypto from your account, or withdrawing U.S. dollars from your account after selling your crypto, as long as you make under 10 withdrawals per month. If you withdraw more than that, most cryptos will incur a fee. For comparison, Coinbase charges a fee each time you move your crypto to an outside, non-Coinbase wallet, while U.S. dollar withdrawals (via most methods, including bank account or PayPal) are free. 

Gemini Security

Any money you have in cryptocurrency is not FDIC-insured, unlike money in a bank account. But Gemini secures users’ digital assets through multi-layered security measures, which are highlighted on its website. 

Gemini says the “majority” of  your cryptocurrency is held in an offline, cold storage system — the safest way to protect cryptocurrency from hackers. But a small portion is kept in an online hot wallet that is insured against theft from a security breach, hack, a fraudulent transfer, or employee theft. 

The insurance policy doesn’t cover losses from unauthorized access to your account. Within Gemini, you’ll be able to create a list of approved addresses that restricts who can withdraw from your account (alongside other account security like two-factor authentication), but if someone steals your identity, or figures out your password, you may not be able to recover any funds lost.

Additional Details

Gemini Earn

Gemini Earn is a lending program where you lend your crypto to institutional borrowers to earn interest on your crypto — up to 7.4% APY, though the exact rate is variable and depends on the type of coins you put into the account.

The current Gemini Earn partner is Genesis, a digital asset trading firm. Gemini’s third-party borrowers are vetted periodically, and have an obligation to return funds according to the terms of the loan agreement. While the extra risk and complexity that comes with lending crypto probably doesn’t make sense for most beginning investors, it does offer another way to draw value from your crypto. 

Funds in your Gemini Earn account are held with Gemini’s third-party partners, so they’re not covered under Gemini’s insurance policy. There are also various fees for your earnings depending on the different types of currency you hold. 

You’ll be able to redeem and move your cryptocurrency back to your standard Gemini account at any time, plus the interest you’ve earned, with no transfer or withdrawal fees. Interest is paid daily, and you can view your combined trading balance and Earn balance plus interest anytime. 

Cryptopedia

Cryptopedia is Gemini’s online learning hub to teach people the ins and outs of cryptocurrency. The source includes over 300 articles on 152 topics regarding crypto, ranging from simple explainers to deep dives on more complex topics.

Pro Tip

You do not have to move your crypto investment off your online account and into a wallet, but it can be safer to do so.

Gemini Wallet and Gemini Custody

Gemini offers two wallets: a cold storage system called Gemini Custody, and an insured hot wallet, Gemini Wallet. Gemini Custody, which moves your crypto off the network for secure holding by Gemini, charges a 0.4% fee each year. The hot wallet offers high-security storage and insurance from theft of digital assets. 

You can also choose to keep your coins within your standard Gemini online account, which might be the easiest solution for beginners, especially if you’re only investing a small amount. However, if you keep your crypto in your online account and not a wallet, you will not hold the digital keys to your crypto. Many crypto enthusiasts will tell you that if you don’t hold the keys, you don’t actually hold the crypto.  

ActiveTrader

ActiveTrader is Gemini’s more advanced trading service. It allows you to execute cryptocurrency trades in “microseconds” and offers special analytics like real-time market data. It also has a different and cheaper fee structure, but this service is not necessary for most beginners. As you learn more, though, switching to ActiveTrader in the future might be worthwhile. 

Gemini Pay

Gemini Pay lets you spend your cryptocurrency at more than 30,000 retail locations — from Nordstrom to Bed Bath & Beyond — with no transaction fees. But we wouldn’t recommend using your cryptocurrency to buy things. Cryptocurrency is still very volatile compared to the U.S. dollar, and using it to actually buy things may result in unnecessary loss if your crypto rises in value in the near term. 

[READ MORE: You Can Buy More Things Than Ever With Crypto. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t]

Who Is Gemini Best For?

Gemini is a solid exchange choice for beginners and seasoned crypto enthusiasts alike, but it is geared more toward those with at least a baseline knowledge of cryptocurrency — and has many features suited for those looking to do more than simply buy and hold Bitcoin. 

It wins points for top-tier security features and the ability to earn interest on your holdings with Gemini Earn. And with over 40 cryptocurrencies to choose from, Gemini can be a great place to start if you just want to dip a toe into the world of cryptocurrency investing. It offers a simple mobile and online experience for new investors, plus some educational tools to help you learn more. 

But Gemini also offers a ton of options and tools for more advanced trading activity and crypto users, which might be overwhelming for total beginners. Many of the exchange’s additional fees come from doing things like trading and selling cryptos, which long-term HODLers don’t need to worry about. 

If you plan on buying or trading crypto over time, these fees can get pretty pricey, but it may be worth it for all of Gemini’s tools and extra security measures. 

Gemini Compared to Others

GeminiCoinbaseeToro
Coins40+ cryptocurrencies50+ cryptocurrencies20+ cryptocurrencies
Fees0.50% convenience fee$0.99 to $2.99 transaction fee; 1.49% transaction fee for trades over $2000.50% spreadTrading fee between 1.49% and 3.99% (or $0.99 to $2.99 flat fee)0.75%-4.9% spread (varies by crypto)
Wallet StorageKeep coins on Gemini account, Gemini Wallet option, or transfer to your own walletKeep coins on Coinbase account, Coinbase Wallet option, or transfer to your own walletKeep coins on eToro trading platform account, move them to an eToro wallet, or transfer to your own wallet
Minimum TradeEqual to the smallest amount of each coin that can be traded (0.00001 BTC)$2$25

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Gemini a good crypto exchange?

Gemini is a popular cryptocurrency exchange known for its advanced security features and a unique suite of cryptocurrency products. It’s a good choice for a cryptocurrency exchange, but there might be more accessible options for beginners.

Is Gemini better than Coinbase?

Both exchanges are well-known and popular, and it’s relatively easy to get set up on either one. Both offer the option to trade using an online account or mobile app.

Coinbase offers more cryptocurrencies, is available in more countries, and offers incentives for learning about cryptocurrency as you go along, which may make it easier to navigate for beginners. However, Gemini offers a suite of products that make up a more cohesive ecosystem for traders and investors.