Coinbase Or Gemini: Which Should You Choose?

By Blockchain Week Team

Coinbase and Gemini have become two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges on the market. Whereas Coinbase has been around for almost 10 years, Gemini is a newer play on the market. How do these two exchanges stack up against each other, and what one comes out on top? 

We have done all the research for you. We took a look at each exchanges fees, deposit methods, security, customer service and more to find out what is the best exchange when comparing Coinbase and Gemini.

Coinbase

Coinbase is one of the oldest exchanges around. It was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam and is currently based in San Francisco, California. It first started as a brokerage service where they bought Bitcoin for customers but later evolved into a leading Silicon Valley cryptocurrency startup. 

Today it’s a regulated and licensed platform that has 35+ million users across 100 different countries, and facilitated over $220B in trading so far. Coinbase is the first go-to for novices that are looking for simplified transactions between crypto and fiat. This is why it only offers buying and selling individual coin transactions at the set price. Unlike exchanges where you exchange cryptos for fiat with other users through market orders, in the case of Coinbase you perform the transaction directly with the exchange itself. 

Sign up to Coinbase here.

Gemini

Founded in 2015 by twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange located in the regulatory capital, New York, USA. This is due to the fact that the exchange from its inception has taken a route of compliance and permission from the very start, unlike many which have first built their platforms, seeking regulation after the fact. They have been one of the first to receive the BitLicenses from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).

Gemini operates in a standard model where users come together to provide the buy and the sell side, which means that they trade among each other. There are different order types and an order book which makes it attractive for more experienced users.

Sign up to Gemini here.

Coinbase vs Gemini: Exchange Comparison

Fiat currencies accepted:

Coinbase accepts USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, SGD for deposits and purchases. But as it operates in over 100 countries,it converts their domestic currency into a supported one. 

Gemini on the other hand started by only accepting USD deposits and withdrawals as it only aimed at serving US customers. On the 28th of October EUR pairs were introduced while its Active Trader product allows BTC and ETH trading in GBP as well. 

Winner: Coinbase is definitely the winner in this category due to the higher amount of fiat currencies accepted and in addition easy conversion of others to the supported ones. 

Cryptocurrencies accepted:

Coinbase has  15 following cryptocurrencies available for exchanging: 

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, 0x, USD Coin, Basic Attention Token, Ripple, EOS, Stellar, Augur, DAI, USDC, and Zcash.

On Gemini, users can trade: Bitcoin, Ethereum, ChainLink, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Polkadot, Cardano, EOS, Wrapped Bitcoin, Tezos, Stellar, Cosmos, Dai, Filecoin, Uniswap, Zcash, Yearn.finance, Maker, Compound, OmiseGo, Uma, Synthetix, Basic Attention Token, 0x, Ren, Dogecoin, Kyber Network, Enjin Coin, Numeraire, Decentraland, Golem, Solana, Curve, Balancer, Orchid, Pax Gold, Storj, Keep Network, Flexacoin, Loom, Bread, Caspian, Aave, Wrapped Nexus Mutual, tBTC, Amp. 

Winner: Gemini is the winner in this category with 47 cryptos available against 15 on Coinbase. 

Deposit methods :

On Coinbase you can deposit your fiat currency via a bank transfer but the methods vary depending on the currency deposited. For the US customers they can use ACH for the USD. In Europe for EUR the transfer method is called SEPA while in other countries which are not in these systems a standard wire transfer using international SWIFT code is made. In addition, users can make deposits with their debit and credit cards, while for withdrawals you can use PayPal as well. 

Gemini’s main deposit method is the bank transfer via Plaid gateway. Linking your bank account to the exchange lets you use the money immediately after making the deposit even though the money still hasn’t arrived into the exchange, so it serves as a credit. 


Also on both exchanges you can make cryptocurrency deposits.

Winner: Coinbase, with more different options including PayPal for withdrawals. 

Fees:

Deposit/Withdrawal fees 

Coinbase charges a fixed fee or purchase below $200, depending on the purchase amount: 

Up to $10 – $0.99 fee;

$10 to $25 – $1.49 fee;

$25 to $50 – $1.99 fee;

$50 to $200 – $2.99 fee.

Anything after that the standard fees are around 1.49% for bank transfer purchases and 3.99% for credit/debit card purchases. US customers can enjoy free deposits and withdrawals using ACH method, while a bank wire transfer is 10$ for deposit and $25 for withdrawal.

Gemini does not charge fees for deposits or withdrawals which means that the only fee involved is the standard bank transfer fee which depends on the customer’s bank. 

Exchanging fees

The prices of cryptos on Coinbase are calculated by the spot price on Coinbase Pro + 0.5% fee. 

On Gemini the fees for exchanging are a bit more complex and depend on whether you are adding to the liquidity or taking from the liquidity. These are called maker and taker fees and favour those that make the market, with lower fees. Also the more your trade the more fees decrease. Here is the table:

Winner: Gemini is the winner here with free methods of deposit and withdrawals as well as lower fees for trading. 

Security features:

Both exchanges operate with the highest standards of security when it comes to funds and user accounts alike. They have cold wallets for storing cryptocurrency and hot wallets with only a small amount on-hand for fast transactions. 

When it comes to user accounts, both have verification processes upon account creation, 2-factor authentication upon login, and user funds are FDIC insured for up to $250,000 in the US.

Winner: Draw

Regulation compliance:

Both companies are regulated and licenced in the US and have a BitLicence by the New York Department of Financial Services. for operating in the state of New York.

Winner: Draw

Customer service:

Coinbase has a help center with the knowledge base of all the needed information, but for personalized problems and specific inquiries there is contact information available so you can contact them through email, form or via a phone number. 

Gemini also has a help center with a huge body of articles about the products and features, but like in the case of Coinbase there is always a way to chat with someone live if an account-specific problem arises. 

Winner: Draw

Mobile functionality/mobile app

Coinbase has an app available for iOS and Android. It functions more as a wallet where you can store your cryptos and perform basic buying and selling operations. 

Gemini also has an app but with a higher functionality because as an exchange with trading pairs and order book you can perform trading and complete transactions like you would on its web-based platform 

Winner: Gemini

Pros and Cons of Coinbase

Pros

  • Simplified transactions 
  • More deposit and withdrawal methods
  • Beginner friendly 
  • Regulated and secure with protected funds in the US

Cons

  • Slightly higher fees
  • Offers less cryptocurrencies 
  • Only one order type

Pros and Cons of Gemini

Pros 

  • Lower trading fees
  • Faster customer service response 
  • Regulation oriented 
  • Free deposits and withdrawals 
  • Higher selection of cryptos to trade
  • More order types 

Cons

  • Limited deposit methods
  • Not beginner-friendly 

Verdict 

Both exchanges are established companies that have been compliant and well regulated in the US, acquiring BitLicence from the New York Department of Financial Services. They are oriented towards bridging the gap between traditional finance and the decentralized economy and hold the highest of standards when it comes to security. However they are aimed at different users. 

Coinbase is for people just looking to enter the market with potentially lower amounts of capital. 

Gemini on the other hand is for more knowledgeable participants with their different products such as the simple exchange and a more advanced one called Active Trader. Coinbase has been interested in gaining global reach from the very start, while Gemini has been predominantly operating in the US market.