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.

Investing in cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and other Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is highly risky and speculative, and the markets can be extremely volatile. Consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies nor can the accuracy or timeliness of the information be guaranteed.

Gemini


Gemini

 Gemini

  • Main platform features: Beginner-friendly and secure interface, multiple buying and selling options, and ability to earn interest on stored crypto
  • Fees: A fixed fee for trades under $200 or 1.49% for trades over $200, 3.49% debit or credit card purchase
  • Number of cryptocurrencies supported: 63
  • 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
  • Types of transactions supported: Buy, sell, trade, deposit, and withdraw
  • Maximum transfer amount: $5,000 daily and $30,000 a month for deposits and $100,000 daily for withdrawals via ACH. $1,000 daily for debit card purchases.
Pros
  • Intuitive application interface

  • Stored cryptocurrency can earn interest

  • Insurance available for the Gemini Wallet

Cons
  • Only available to users in 61 countries

  • High fees

  • Fewer trading pairs supported

Coinbase


Coinbase

Coinbase

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  • Main platform features: User-friendly platform designed for beginners, supports withdrawal to PayPal, and ways to earn crypto
  • Fees: 0.50% per trade, 3.99% for credit card purchases, and 1.49% for Coinbase wallet or bank account purchases
  • Number of cryptocurrencies supported: 120+
  • Security features: 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, exchange, send, withdraw, and receive
  • Maximum transfer amount: $25,000 daily via ACH
Pros
  • Supports investors located in over 100 countries

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

  • User-friendly interface designed for beginners

Cons
  • Complex fee structure

  • Limited charting features in the regular version

  • 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 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 63 120+
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 transfer amount $5,000 daily and $30,000 a month for deposits and $100,000 daily for withdrawals via ACH. $1,000 daily for debit card purchases. $25,000 via ACH daily

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. Different coins earn different rates. Currently, Gemini Dollar earns the highest annual percentage yield (APY) at 8.05%. Dai earns 7.99% and Bitcoin earns 1.49%.
  • 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 many 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 60 countries. 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 made its stock available on the NASDAQ in 2021 via 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 holds the majority of the crypto is held in an 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. Coinbase insures users' funds as well. However, the insurance doesn't cover unauthorized access to your personal account, only breaches of Coinbase and their systems.

Gemini vs. Coinbase: Fees

Coinbase and Gemini charge higher fees than other popular exchange platforms. Coinbase now has a maker-taker fee structure on both the regular platform and Coinbase Pro. Previously only Coinbase Pro used this structure. For most trades you'll pay 0.50%, but as trade size increases fees decrease. Different funding methods also incur fees with debit and credit cards costing more than ACH.

Gemini has a complex fee structure, especially on smaller trades. Trades under $200 incur small flat fees in various amounts. Trades above $200 incur a very steep 1.49% fee. However, you can get lower fees by using the Gemini ActiveTrader plan, which uses a maker-taker model with lower fees than Coinbase's maker-taker fee schedule.

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 $10 deposit, $25 withdrawal 
Crypto conversion 1.49% 0.50%
Trades Fee of $0.99 to $2.99 based on the amount or 1.49% for trades over $200 Maker-taker fees normally 0.50% 

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 favorable third-party customer reviews.

Gemini provides a robust, frequently asked questions (FAQ) knowledge base and several 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 or monitoring of social channels. There is a chat button as well as a contact form. The phone number is only for fraud and account locking situations, not general service.

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?

In many common cases, your trade will be cheaper at Coinbase paying the 0.50% maker-taker fee vs. the 1.49% Gemini charges on trades over $200. However, if you use a credit card to pay for your cyrpto, 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 Gemini ActiveTrader, you’ll pay maker-taker fees that are lower than Coinbase for common trade sizes. However, at some larger trade sizes, the trend my flip.

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. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. “Deposit Insurance FAQs.” Accessed Dec. 23, 2021.

  2. Gemini. "Gemini Earn." Accessed Nov. 19, 2021.