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BeginnerIntermediateAdvanced

Although they have achieved different levels of success up to this point, Coinbase and Gemini are two of the most well-known and trusted brands in the cryptocurrency space, especially in the United States.

Next to Binance, Coinbase has slowly grown into one of the most popular cryptocurrency companies in the entire world, and Gemini has also been able to carve out their own niche in the world of traditional finance. Both of these platforms have followed similar paths over the years. They both originally started with only bitcoin trading available on their platforms before branching out into offering trading in alternative crypto assets. Both companies are also involved in separate stablecoin offerings, known as USDC and GUSD respectively.

Additionally, both Coinbase and Gemini have focused on building reputable brands that people can trust in an effort to build new financial institutions that can last more decades.

Gemini vs. Coinbase Compared

Coinbase Logo

Coinbase

  • User-friendly
  • Great customer service
  • Low services fees
  • Diverse and consistently updated choice of coins
Funding Methods Debit & Credit Bank, PayPal, ACH, Bank Transfer
Cryptocurrencies 40+
Countries 100+
Gemini Cryptocurrency Logo

Gemini

  • One of the most trusted cryptocurrency exchanges
  • The only crypto exchange founded by the famous Winklevoss twins
  • Lightning-fast deposits in the USA
  • Working hard with regulators for widespread cryptocurrency adoption
Funding Methods Bank Account & Wire Transfer
Cryptocurrencies 30+
Countries 50+

Coinbase vs. Gemini at a Glance

Coinbase
Gemini
HEADQUARTERS:
San Francisco, USA
New York City
COMPANY TYPE:
Broker Exchange/Easy Buy-Sell Options
Exchange with custodial services for digital holdings
FEES:
0.5-3.99%
.50% plus flat $1.99-$2.99 transaction fee
SECURITY:
High
High
BEGINNER FRIENDLY:
Yes
Yes
VERIFICATION REQUIRED:
Yes
Yes
AVAILABLE CRYPTOCURRENCIES:
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple (28+)
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin (18+)
PROPRIETARY TOKEN:
Yes (USDC)
Yes (GUSD)
ON-SITE WALLET:
Yes
Yes
BUY/DEPOSIT METHODS:
Debit Card, Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency
Debit Card, Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency
SELL/WITHDRAW METHODS:
Bank Transfer, PayPal, Cryptocurrency
Debit Card, Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency
YEAR ESTABLISHED:
2012
2015
FIAT TRADING:
Yes
No
GOLD OR PRECIOUS METALS:
No
No

Fees

Both Coinbase and Gemini have separate systems for handling different types of users. On Coinbase, you have the base Coinbase platform for crypto newcomers and then you have the Coinbase Pro trading platform for more advanced traders who need lower fees and additional features. There’s a similar system on Gemini, where the base platform comes with more fees and less functionality, and then you can opt into their ActiveTrader system in order to gain access to lower fees. Although these two platforms use different structures to achieve what is basically the same goal, the fees associated with each trading option are rather similar.

For the simplified interface on both Coinbase and Gemini, there will usually be a 1.5% fee attached to each transaction. Having said that, the fees can vary a bit more if you’re doing a low-value trade. For example, there is only a $0.99 fee on buying ten dollars’ worth of bitcoin via the Gemini mobile app.

If you access the advanced trading platforms for Coinbase and Gemini, the fees there will also be similar; however, it should be noted that Coinbase Pro is a bit more expensive than Gemini’s ActiveTrader system, at least at the low end. The entry-level fees for trading on Coinbase Pro are 0.50%, while Gemini ActiveTrader users will be hit with 0.35% fees up to their first $1 million worth of trading per month.

Features

In terms of features outside of the base trading engine, Coinbase has more to offer due to their long-term focus on making their platform a place where cryptocurrency newcomers can go to learn about bitcoin and other digital assets before buying them. While Gemini has a few advanced features built around their trading platform that can be useful to traders who really know what they’re doing, most of the additional features found on Gemini overall are also found on Coinbase. For example, both of these platforms have their own stablecoin offerings.

The differences in the feature sets of Coinbase and Gemini can be seen clearly when you look at the version of Coinbase that is targeted towards people who are new to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. For example, the Coinbase Earn system allows users to learn about new crypto assets and get paid for going through these short tutorials. That said, users should remain skeptical of some of the information shared in this system, as the Coinbase Earn program does not offer much in terms of the potential downside risks of the coins that are included in the Coinbase Earn program. On top of Coinbase Earn, another key differentiator between Coinbase and Gemini is that Coinbase users can get a debit card that uses their cryptocurrency balances as a funding source. In fact, Coinbase debit card users are able to earn up to 4% cashback in cryptocurrency when they use their Coinbase debit card for their everyday purchases.

One unique feature that Gemini has is users are able to deposit up to $2,500 from their bank account instantly per day. The funds from these deposits are available to use for trade in a matter of seconds; however, it should be noted that users are unable to withdraw the cryptocurrency purchased with this sort of transfer until the deposit has cleared through the traditional banking system.

In short, Coinbase can be viewed as an all-in-one cryptocurrency platform, while Gemini may be a better option if you’re mainly focused on trading.

Speed

Both Coinbase and Gemini operate as high-end, fast trading engines, so you won’t notice much of a difference in terms of how quickly a trade can be executed on their exchange platform. The key area for differences in speed will have more to do with the deposit and withdrawal methods available on each platform.

As mentioned above, Gemini can be useful if you’re looking to get money into a cryptocurrency exchange account as quickly as possible, but those instant ACH deposits are limited to $2,500 per day. You are also able to purchase bitcoin instantly from your bank account or debit card via Coinbase, but the process comes with higher fees. On Gemini, you can make an instant deposit to your ActiveTrader-enabled account, so the fees on your crypto trades would then start at 0.35%. With Coinbase, an instant purchase from your bank account will come with a 1.5% fee and an instant purchase made via a debit or credit card will have a 4% fee attached to it.

Both of these platform experience similar speeds when it comes to Know Your Customer verification, and it should only take a few minutes to verify your identity on either platform. Of course, delays can always happen if the exchange is having difficulty verifying your identity for whatever reason.

Security

In terms of cryptocurrency exchanges based in the United States, there may not be two names that are trusted more than Coinbase and Gemini. The only other platform that is probably on the same tier as these two exchanges is probably Kraken. All three of these exchanges have never been hacked, and their focus on security and reliability has proven to be extremely valuable as the cryptocurrency exchange ecosystem has evolved over time.

While there are always risks associated with turning your crypto assets over to a trusted third-party custodian (essentially a hot wallet), the reality is you can’t really have better options in terms of custodians than Coinbase and Gemini. They have all the security features you would expect from cutting-edge crypto exchanges including two factor authentication. Both of these platforms have their own custody offerings for individuals and institutions that need to store large amounts of cryptocurrency, and their trustworthiness will only increase as they continue to operate without any serious security incidents.

It’s also worth noting that both of these platforms work extremely closely with regulators, so there is not much risk in terms of the government coming in and closing up these operations, which would likely result in users’ funds being locked up until the legal situation is resolved.

Available Cryptocurrencies

As mentioned above, both of these platforms started out by only offering bitcoin trading against the U.S. dollar. Over time, both of these platforms have expanded their offerings in terms of both cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies. That said, Coinbase currently offers a much wider variety of trading options at this time. Additionally, Coinbase operates in many more countries than Gemini, at least as of 2020.

Trading Power

If you’re an advanced trader who wants to be able to use all of the tools that you’re used to using in traditional markets, then Gemini is likely going to be the better option for you, especially if you’re comparing the platform to Coinbase.

Coinbase Pro does have more features aimed at advanced traders than what is available on the base Coinbase brokerage platform; however, Coinbase Pro is still somewhat limited in terms of advanced trading functionality when compared to Gemini. It’s also difficult to overlook the fact that Gemini comes with lower fees for those who trade more often.

Usability

Coinbase has made their mark on the cryptocurrency industry over the years by making it as simple and easy as possible to get involved in the bitcoin ecosystem. If you’re looking for ease of use over everything else, then it’s rather difficult to find an option that would be better than Coinbase for a variety of different cryptocurrency-related services.

While it’s clear that Gemini is probably the better platform for advanced traders, the average Joe who just wants to gain exposure to the bitcoin price will likely find that Coinbase is the most practical option, even if it comes with higher fees as a tradeoff associated with the convenience of the platform.

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About the Author

CryptoVantage Staff

CryptoVantage.com is committed to simplifying cryptocurrency for everyday people. Learn more about CryptoVantage.com and our team on the About Us page.

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