Gemini vs. Coinbase

Coinbase edges out Gemini by supporting more locations and cryptocurrencies

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As crypto trading attracts new and seasoned investors, platforms like Gemini and Coinbase can make it easy and safe to trade cryptocurrency. Both are well-known centralized exchanges that abide by strict U.S. regulations and are backed by large banking systems, such as J.P. Morgan. Moreover, you can access advanced options for trading on both platforms via Coinbase Pro or Gemini’s ActiveTrader program. 

Although the exchanges are similar, differences exist. Gemini provides features that support institutional investors, while Coinbase lets you earn crypto while learning about trading. Beginners will feel comfortable using either platform. However, Coinbase has a slight edge, as it’s available in more countries and offers more currency types. 

We reviewed Gemini and Coinbase to determine overall costs for different trading amounts and volumes, payment methods available, and cryptocurrencies supported. We also considered ease of use, standout features, and security solutions. Plus, we looked at customer support and the functionality of their mobile applications.

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Which Should You Choose?

Gemini

Gemini

 Gemini

Pros
  • Intuitive application interface

  • Stored cryptocurrency can earn interest

  • Insurance available for the Gemini Wallet

Cons
  • Only available to users in 50 countries

  • High fees

  • Fewer trading pairs supported

Coinbase

Coinbase

 Coinbase

Pros
  • Supports investors located in 100 countries

  • Cash balances are FDIC-insured up to $250,000

  • User-friendly interface designed for beginners

Cons
  • Complex fee structure

  • Limited charting features

  • Fewer customer service options than Gemini

At a Glance

Crypto Exchange Platforms Gemini Coinbase
Main platform features Beginner-friendly and secure interface, multiple buying and selling options, and ability to earn interest on stored crypto User-friendly platform designed for beginners, supports withdrawal to PayPal, and ways to earn crypto
Fees 0.50% per trade plus a fixed fee for trades under $200 or 1.49% for trades over $200, 3.49% debit or credit card purchase 0.50% per trade, 3.99% for credit card purchases, and 1.49% for Coinbase wallet or bank account purchases
Number of cryptocurrencies supported 33 51
Security features Two-step verification, FDIC-insured USD balances up to $250,000, Gemini Wallet digital insurance, U2F security with a hardware key, and cold storage Two-step verification, FDIC-insured USD balances up to $250,000, cold storage, AES-256 digital wallet encryption, multi-signature wallets, and cold storage
Types of transactions supported Buy, sell, trade, deposit, and withdraw Buy, sell, exchange, send, withdraw, and receive
Maximum daily trading amount $500 Limits vary based on your payment method and region

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Features

Both platforms are suitable for beginner users, with straightforward user interfaces (UI), user-friendly mobile apps, and simple trading options. You’ll also get a digital hot wallet with Gemini and Coinbase and a nice selection of informational resources. But, each exchange offers some unique features. 

Gemini features consist of: 

  • The Gemini Earn program: Customers in all 50 states can earn interest on their net balance of certain crypto coins at a varying interest rate. Currently, Dai (DAI), and Filecoin (FIL) offer a 7.4% annual percentage yield (APY). 
  • Third-party integrations: Gemini provides public API keys so you can connect other software tools, making Gemini an excellent option for fund managers or other institutional traders. 
  • Gemini Pay: Gemini has teamed up with more than 30,000 retailers allowing you to pay for purchases using your Gemini account and stored cryptocurrency. 

On Coinbase, beginner investors appreciate features, such as:

  • The ability to earn crypto while learning about investing via short videos
  • A watchlist feature to see price histories or receive alerts when prices go up or down
  • The built-in newsfeed with regular updates about the cryptocurrency market
  • Users can contribute to the Proof of Stake (PoS) network to earn an income on assets
  • The ability to deposit funds from altcoin sales to PayPal

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Supported Currencies

Gemini and Coinbase accept fiat currencies. Gemini supports seven types: USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, and HKD, while Coinbase supports three: USD, GBP, and EUR. However, Coinbase offers 18 more altcoins than Gemini does. For instance, you can’t purchase Dash, EOS, Cardano (ADA), and Ethereum Classic (ETC) on Gemini.  

Both platforms support popular currencies, including:

  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Aave (AAVE)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Dai (DAI)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Chainlink (LINK)
  • Uniswap (UNI)

Gemini and Coinbase are always adding new cryptocurrency options, so the number of supported currencies can vary. Coinbase supports people residing in over 100 countries, whereas Gemini traders are limited to over 50 countries. Coinbase also offers 41 trading pairs for U.S. residents compared to 33 trading pairs on Gemini. However, the range of options for fiat currencies and international locations still puts both platforms in line with the best crypto exchanges.  

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Security

These popular exchanges adhere to the highest safety measures and U.S. regulations, making them a favorite for investors. J.P. Morgan backs both platforms, and Coinbase will soon sell stock to the general public after filing for a direct listing. Moreover, all USD balances on Gemini and Coinbase are covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance on balances up to $250,000 per individual.

With Gemini and Coinbase, you’ll also get a two-factor authentication (2FA) process via short message service (SMS), or you can use the Authy app on Gemini or the Google Authenticator app on Coinbase. Plus, Coinbase says it keeps 98% of customer funds in cold storage, meaning it’s kept offline in safe deposit boxes or vaults. Gemini claims the “majority of your crypto is held in our offline, air-gapped cold storage system.”

Additionally, Gemini provides security options for institutional traders, such as defined user access role permissions for trading cryptocurrency or accessing the account. You can also look at devices that use your account or that are logged into it. Furthermore, you can set up address whitelisting involving a seven-day hold process, after which you can only use specific addresses for withdrawal. 

Gemini also insures the Gemini Wallet from security breaches or fraudulent actions, while Coinbase insures the 2% of assets stored in hot storage. 

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Fees

Coinbase and Gemini charge higher fees than other popular exchange platforms. You’ll pay the price according to your payment method plus a flat fee or convenience fee. However, you can get lower fees by using the Coinbase Pro account or the Gemini ActiveTrader plan, both of which use a maker-taker model and cost less than the main platform. 

Out of the two platforms, Coinbase has a slightly more complex fee structure. For instance, there’s a flat fee of $2.99 if you buy $100 of cryptocurrency on Coinbase, but if you pay by credit card, the exchange drops the flat fee and instead charges you 3.99% for the credit card transaction. 

If you consistently pay via wire transfer, you can save quite a bit on Gemini since it doesn’t charge fees for wire transfers, whereas Coinbase does. Gemini API users may also have lower costs than web- or app-based users.

Fees Gemini Coinbase
Bank account 1.49% 1.49%
Wallet 1.49%  1.49% 
Debit/credit cards 3.49% 3.99%
ACH transfer Free  Free 
Wire transfer Free for up to 10 per month $10 deposit, $25 withdrawal 
Crypto conversion Free 0.50% to 2% 
Trades A “rate of 0.50% (or 50 basis points) above the prevailing Gemini market price” A “spread 0.50%” 
Other fees Fee of $0.99 to $2.99 based on the amount or 1.49% for trades over $200 Coinbase fee of $0.99 to $2.99 based on the amount 

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Ease of Use

Coinbase and Gemini feature user-friendly web browsers and mobile application interfaces, a simple signup and trading process, and convenient educational tools. The mobile apps provide an experience similar to web browsers and receive high user ratings on Google and Apple app stores, with both exchanges getting 4.7 out of 5 stars on Apple. 

Gemini provides a robust, frequently asked questions (FAQ) knowledge base and three webinars. However, it recently launched an education platform, Cryptopedia, which includes cryptocurrency trading articles on currencies, security, trading, investing, and decentralized finance (DeFi). 

The Gemini exchange provides customer service via email or a web request, plus the company says it monitors social channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Users can also chat online or reach Gemini on the telephone 24/7. 

Similar to Gemini, Coinbase provides a comprehensive knowledge database, including a section of articles for beginners, tips and tutorials, and market updates. Users can earn crypto by watching educational videos. Unlike Gemini, Coinbase doesn’t offer phone-based customer service, live chat, or monitoring of social channels. You can report fraud via a phone number, email the company directly, or submit an online form. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are Gemini and Coinbase?

Gemini and Coinbase are crypto exchange platforms allowing traders to buy, sell, and trade various altcoins online. Both are U.S.-regulated exchanges, meaning they comply with anti-money laundering and know your customer (KYC) initiatives. 

People who want to start investing in cryptocurrencies use simple tools like the Gemini and Coinbase exchanges to get started and learn the tricks of trading. Although each platform is straightforward to use, complete newbies may prefer Coinbase’s streamlined view. 

How Do Gemini and Coinbase Work?

Coinbase and Gemini are cryptocurrency exchanges that serve as an online brokerage for consumer investors. Both cater to U.S. users and beginners. The account setup processes follow regulatory standards and are very similar. New users sign up for an account, verify their email address, and connect a payment method. In accordance with U.S. rules, both platforms require users to verify their identity and address. 

With Gemini and Coinbase, you can buy altcoin then store it until you want to withdraw funds to your digital wallet, or Coinbase supports withdrawals via PayPal. You also have the option to trade some currencies for others, called trading pairs. 

Is Gemini Cheaper Than Coinbase?

For some use cases, Gemini is cheaper than Coinbase. For example, both platforms charge an estimated 0.50% fee per trade and $2.99 for a purchase using $100. However, if you use a credit card to pay for your altcoin, you’ll pay 3.99% on Coinbase and 3.49% on Gemini. Moreover, Gemini doesn’t charge for wire transfers, whereas Coinbase charges $10 per deposit. 

If you opt for Coinbase Pro or Gemini ActiveTrader, you’ll pay maker-taker fees. Gemini’s fees are less expensive than Coinbase when investing up to $50,000. But, after $50,000, Coinbase prices are lower than Gemini. 

Who Should Use Gemini or Coinbase?

Beginners will be comfortable using Gemini and Coinbase, as both are secure and user friendly. However, Gemini also offers features for institutional investors, allowing fund managers to track device use and access permissions. Plus, access to customer service is much easier on the Gemini exchange. 

However, new users may prefer the quicker onboarding process of the Coinbase platform, including earning crypto while learning about trading. The Coinbase exchange looks and feels slightly more accessible than Gemini. 

How We Evaluated Gemini vs. Coinbase

We compared Gemini versus Coinbase by looking at shared attributes and differences for customer service options, security levels, and supported countries. Moreover, we considered the variety of cryptocurrencies available to trade, fiat currencies accepted, and deposit and withdrawal methods. We reviewed standout features, self-help guidance, and the popularity and ease of use for mobile applications to narrow down our options.

Article Sources

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  1. Coindesk. "JPMorgan Bank Takes on Coinbase, Gemini as Its First Crypto Exchange Customers." Accessed April 2, 2021.