Gemini review: Is it the world’s most secure crypto exchange?

13 min Read Published: 03 Aug 2021

Gemini reviewWhat is Gemini?

Gemini is a privately-owned cryptocurrency exchange platform, which was founded in New York City in 2014 by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, a set of twins who famously sued former Harvard classmate Mark Zuckerberg over the creation of Facebook. It is available across all 50 US states and more than 50 other countries around the world.

Gemini distinguishes itself from its rivals by highlighting that it is licensed and regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). It is also on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Financial Services Register, meaning it is one of the few cryptocurrency exchange platforms legally permitted to trade in the UK. Gemini claims to be "the most secure cryptocurrency exchange in the world".

What does Gemini do?

Gemini is an online cryptocurrency exchange platform that allows users to buy, sell, trade, and store more than 40 different cryptocurrencies. Its services can be accessed on browser as well as on iOS and Android devices.

Gemini has two different account types:

  • a standard Gemini account for amateur investors
  • and ActiveTrader for advanced investors and traders

Gemini offers a range of products, including: two types of wallet called Gemini Wallet and Gemini Custody; a cryptocurrency payment system called Gemini Pay; its own US dollar-linked stablecoin, the Gemini Dollar; and a "Cryptopedia" learning hub to teach beginners about cryptocurrency investing.

Gemini's main features:

  • Available on browser, iOS and Android
  • Two account types - Gemini and Gemini ActiveTrader
  • Two wallet types - Gemini Custody and Gemini Wallet
  • Crypto payment system - Gemini Pay
  • Own US dollar-backed stablecoin - Gemini Dollar
  • Cryptopedia to teach crypto investing
  • More than 40 different cryptocurrencies available

Gemini Custody and Gemini Wallet

Gemini offers two types of cryptocurrency wallets for investors to store their public and private keys: A cold storage system called Gemini Custody, and an insured hot wallet called Gemini Wallet. To find out the difference between hot and cold wallets, visit our article "What is a cryptocurrency wallet?".

Gemini Custody

Gemini Custody moves your cryptocurrency keys off of the online network in order to be securely held in offline cold storage by Gemini for a 0.4% fee each year and an additional $125 charge for withdrawals. Gemini is a qualified custodian under New York Banking Law and is licensed by the State of New York to store digital assets. Gemini Custody stores users' keys in geographically distributed, 24/7 access-controlled secured facilities with safes in locked cages. This wallet is most suitable for investors with large amounts of cryptocurrency due to the extensive security measures.

Gemini Wallet

Gemini Wallet allows you to store your cryptocurrency keys on an integrated online storage system that is insured against theft by underwriters. As a result, Gemini may reimburse users for any security breach or hack, fraudulent transfer, or employee theft. This sets Gemini Wallet apart from other hot wallets on the market, such as Coinbase Wallet, by offering a higher level of security than many alternatives. Though investors with large amounts of cryptocurrency may prefer to store their keys offline, Gemini Wallet is easily one of the most secure online wallets on the market.

How do Gemini standard account fees work?

The standard Gemini account central fee structure is more simple and often works out cheaper than some of its competitors, such as Coinbase, with just 2 tiers: a transaction fee and a convenience fee. There are separate fees that apply to deposits and withdrawals.

Transaction fee

The transaction fee is a fee charged for each transaction on Gemini which differs depending on the total order amount. Below is a table that outlines the price tiers.

Total Transaction Amount Transaction Fee
Less than $10 $0.99
More than $10 but less than $25 $1.49
More than $25 but less than $50 $1.99
More than $50 but less than $200 $2.99
More than $200 1.49% of your total order value

Convenience fee

Gemini also charges a convenience fee on top of the amount that you pay on your transaction fee. Similar to competitor Coinbase's spread, the convenience fee is currently set at 0.50% of the current market price of the chosen coin. Users can see their convenience fee included as part of the price of the coin when they place an order.

Deposit fee

You can move cryptocurrency from your own wallet or from another exchange onto Gemini, or deposit money into your account to make a trade, without incurring a fee - unless you use a debit card. The table below details how fees apply to different types of deposit.

Deposit Type Deposit Fee
Cryptocurrency transfer Free
Wire transfer Free
Debit card transfer 3.49% of total purchase amount

Withdrawal fee

You won't be charged for withdrawing cryptocurrency or money from your account, as long as you make under 10 withdrawals per month. If you withdraw more than that, most cryptocurrency transactions will incur a fee, which is charged in units of the said cryptocurrency. These fees differ depending on which cryptocurrency you are withdrawing. To see which fee would apply to your transaction, visit Gemini's transaction fee schedule.

How do Gemini ActiveTrader fees work?

Gemini ActiveTrader is an account targeted to more advanced investors and traders which is free to sign up to. It has a different fee system from a standard Gemini account and is calculated using your trading volume, which is determined by how much you have traded over the previous 30 days, and is shown in US dollars.

A "taker fee" applies when you place a cryptocurrency order at the market price which gets filled immediately. A "maker fee" applies when you place an order which is not immediately matched by an existing order, so your order gets placed on an order book. If another customer places an order that matches yours, you are then considered the maker. When you place an order that gets partially matched immediately, you pay a taker fee for that portion, while the remainder placed on the order book is considered a maker order.

Therefore, your order could be split, and you could end up paying a different fee for different portions of your order. However, usually Gemini ActiveTrader fees work out less expensive than regular Gemini fees - and also considerably less than Coinbase's own Pro account fees.

30-Day Trading Volume in USD Taker Fee Maker Fee
0 0.35% 0.25%
≥ $500,000 0.25% 0.15%
≥ $2,500,000 0.25% 0.15%
≥ $5,000,000 0.15% 0.10%
≥ $10,000,000 0.15% 0.10%
≥ $15,000,000 0.10% 0.00%
≥ $50,000,000 0.08% 0.00%
≥ $100,000,000 0.05% 0.00%
≥ $250,000,000 0.04% 0.00%
≥ $500,000,000 0.03% 0.00%

Deposit and Withdrawal Fees

The same deposit and withdrawal fees apply to Gemini ActiveTrader as a standard Gemini account.

Which cryptocurrencies can you trade on Gemini?

Users can buy, sell and trade more than 40 different cryptocurrencies in the UK on Gemini, including:

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Chainlink
  • Dai
  • Dogecoin
  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin
  • Polygon

The full list of supported cryptocurrencies in the UK can be found on Gemini's website.

How safe is Gemini?

Gemini is one of only a handful of cryptocurrency exchanges legally permitted to trade in the UK by the FCA as it is a verified member of the Financial Services Register (FSR). This means that Gemini has a legal obligation to report suspicious activity related to money-laundering and terrorism to the FCA, giving users more protection against illegal activity than the vast majority of exchange platforms, although this is as far as the FCA's regulatory powers extend.

Despite being on the FSR, Gemini is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so Gemini users' money is not protected by UK law should their assets become interfered with or otherwise compromised - although Gemini's insurance may pay out if Gemini's own system suffers a security breach. That being said, Gemini has never reported being hacked, and its compliance with anti-money laundering and terror-financing regulations may mean its users' investments are slightly more protected from illegal activity than many of Gemini's competitors.

Gemini also requires Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) when you log in to your account or make cryptocurrency withdrawals, and you can set up an "Approved Address" list that restricts your withdrawals to approved addresses only or disables all withdrawals from your account.

Despite these security measures, investors looking to maximise their protection would benefit from storing their keys on an offline wallet, as opposed to using the Gemini Wallet, which is connected to the internet and therefore theoretically more vulnerable to being hacked. For more information on keeping your cryptocurrency keys as safe as possible, visit our article "What is a cryptocurrency wallet?".

What do users think of Gemini?

Gemini has 1.5 out of 5 stars from just over 250 reviews on Trustpilot. As with other cryptocurrency exchange platforms, there appear to be a large amount of inauthentic reviews which have dragged Gemini's rating down, although there are a number of apparently genuine complaints about poor customer service. Communication with Gemini is currently limited to an email ticketing system, and there is no contact telephone number on their website, so they could potentially be difficult to get a hold of if you need help or advice not covered in Gemini's FAQ section.

The verdict

Gemini is easily one of - if not, the most - secure cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world. Its security credentials are among the most impressive on the market, and its fees are also lower than its biggest competitor, Coinbase. It does offer less cryptocurrencies than most other exchanges, but for the purposes of the vast majority of investors, the most popular and profitable ones are available. Gemini's wide range of products also make for an enriched trading, and learning, experience.

For more information on cryptocurrency investing, read our articles "A beginner's guide to investing in bitcoin and cryptocurrency" or "Cryptocurrency mining: What it is, how it works and how to mine bitcoin".