Gemini Review (2021)

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Gemini Review (2021)
  • Ease of Use
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Payment Options
  • Speed
  • Fees
4.2

Summary

Established in 2014, Gemini is the latest cryptocurrency platform to open its arms to individuals and institutions in the UK.

It supports Bitcoin (BTC) and more than 20 other cryptocurrencies via the mobile app or its Web Exchange, with competitive fees of about 2% (if you buy or sell more than £150 with a UK bank transfer). Gemini’s cryptocurrency exchange (ActiveTrader) has lower fees (max 0.35%) but doesn’t support many GBP trading pairs.

What is Gemini? How does it all work? What are the fees like?

In this Gemini review, I’m going to cover everything you need to know – including the pros and cons, the list of supported cryptocurrencies, the fees you’ll be charged, and much more!

Let’s get to it.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Verification is usually quick (within minutes unless it requires manual review).
  • Fees of approx. 2% for all supported cryptocurrencies (on Web Exchange or mobile app), which is competitive with a number of UK alternatives.
  • Supports 41 cryptocurrencies – including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and many other popular coins.
  • Granted Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in August 2020.
  • Cryptocurrency stored in Gemini’s hot wallets is insured. Funds in Gemini Custody are insured too.
  • Available to individuals and institutions in the UK.
  • Browser-based and mobile apps (iOS & Android).
  • Customer service available via email, phone, or Twitter.

Disadvantages

  • Higher fees if you buy or sell less than £150 of a cryptocurrency (on Web Exchange or mobile app).
  • Access to Gemini’s ActiveTrader (which has lower fees) requires manual approval from its support team.
  • Not many GBP trading pairs are available on Gemini ActiveTrader.
  • It’s possible to buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC) cheaper elsewhere.

What Is Gemini?

“Gemini is your bridge to the future of money”

Gemini was established in 2014 by the Winklevoss twins (Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss). It’s headquartered in New York City, but now has offices in Chicago, Portland, and London too (with a team of about 300).

Gemini’s mission is to “build a world-class, regulated digital asset exchange and custodian based in the United States” which has a “security-first” approach.

Gemini has been granted an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in August 2020 and allows UK individuals and institutions to buy numerous cryptocurrencies using GBP. You can learn a little more about how Gemini is regulated here.

There are some reviews on Trustpilot for Gemini, but it mostly seems like spam that hasn’t been moderated. I wouldn’t pay much attention to it until that changes.

They’ve recently won the:

  • ‘#1 Cryptocurrency Exchange’ in the 2020 CryptoCompare Exchange Report.
  • 2020 Crypto AM Award for the ‘Best Custody Exchange’.
  • 2019 Markets Choice Award for the ‘Best Cryptocurrency Exchange’.

How Does Gemini Work?

Gemini allows you to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). You can access Gemini using your laptop with the Web Exchange or via its mobile app.

The Web Exchange and mobile app are simple, responsive, and easy to use. When you use either of these, Gemini is acting as a broker – which means you’re dealing directly with them.

For an overview of how to buy cryptocurrency using the Web Exchange, check out this post.

There’s also Gemini’s ActiveTrader. This is a “high-performance crypto trading platform” that gives you everything you’d want and expect – including advanced charting, multiple orders types, auctions, and block trading.

To get access to ActiveTrader, you’ll need to send an email to Gemini’s support team. I was granted access within about 24 hours of requesting it via email (and didn’t need to provide any additional information).

Unfortunately, you can only buy Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) with GBP on Gemini ActiveTrader – but it sounds like more are coming in the near future.

You can find more details about ActiveTrader here or see it in action here.

What other services does Gemini provide?

Here are a few of the other things that Gemini currently provides:

  • Gemini Custody: Store numerous popular cryptocurrencies with Gemini’s custody solution, which is regulated, licensed, and regularly audited. Assets in Gemini Custody are covered to the value of $200 million, but you can purchase additional insurance to cover your assets too. There’s a 0.4% annual fee and a flat $125 withdrawal fee (charged each time).
  • Gemini Clearing: This allows two different parties to securely and efficiently make a pre-arranged trade (with Gemini acting as the trusted middleman).
  • Gemini Pay: This looks interesting but isn’t available in the UK right now. Working with Flexa (which helps retailers accept cryptocurrency), users in the United States can easily buy things with their cryptocurrency in-store.
  • Gemini Earn: Similar to BlockFi and Crypto.com Earn, this allows you to earn interest (of up to 7.4% APY) on your cryptocurrency balances. At the time of writing, this is only available in the United States – but they are planning to roll it out elsewhere in the future.
  • Gemini Dollar: Like Tether (USDT) or USD Coin (USDC), the Gemini Dollar (GUSD) is a 1:1 USD-backed stablecoin issued on the Ethereum (ETH) network. An independent audit is performed (and published) every month to confirm their USD reserves. Despite this, it’s not as widely used as alternative stablecoin projects.

Supported Countries

Gemini is currently available in 50+ countries. This includes the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, most countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), and more.

To check if you’re able to use Gemini in your country, check out this page.

What countries in the EEA are supported by Gemini?

These are the countries within the EEA that are currently supported by Gemini:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

Supported Cryptocurrencies

Gemini currently supports 41 cryptocurrencies in the UK, which includes Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and other popular cryptocurrencies.

You can find the full list here, or just expand the section below.

Full list of supported cryptocurrencies

Some of these cryptocurrencies might not be available unless you have access to Gemini’s ActiveTrader exchange.

Gemini currently supports the following cryptocurrencies in the UK:

  • 0x (ZRX)
  • 1inch (1INCH)
  • Aave (AAVE)
  • Amp Token (AMP)
  • Balancer (BAL)
  • Bancor Network (BNT)
  • BarnBridge (BOND)
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT)
  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Chainlink (LINK)
  • Compound Token (COMP)
  • Curve (CRV)
  • Dai (DAI)
  • Decentraland (MANA)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Enjin Coin (ENJ)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Filecoin (FIL)
  • Injective Protocol (INJ)
  • Kyber Network (KNC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Livepeer (LPT)
  • Loopring (LRC)
  • Maker (MKR)
  • Orchid (OXT)
  • Paxos Gold (PAXG)
  • Polygon (MATIC)
  • Ren (REN)
  • Skale (SKL)
  • SNX (SNX)
  • Somnium Space (CUBE)
  • StorJ (STORJ)
  • SushiSwap (SUSHI)
  • Synthetix (SNX)
  • The Graph (GRT)
  • The Sandbox (SAND)
  • Uma (UMA)
  • Uniswap (UNI)
  • Yearn.finance (YFI)
  • Zcash (ZEC)

Payment Methods

Gemini currently supports these payment methods in the UK:

  • UK bank transfers (via Faster Payments)
  • UK bank transfers (CHAPS or SWIFT)
  • Debit cards (excl. prepaid versions)

I’ve made two deposits with a UK bank transfer, but they are taking longer than I’d expect to credit (7 – 14 hours).

Buying cryptocurrency with a debit card is expensive. It’s cheaper if you just stick with making UK bank transfers (more on that below).

Adding a UK bank account

You can link a UK bank account by selecting: Account > Settings > Funding Sources.

You can link your bank account using Open Banking, but this isn’t supported by all UK banks just yet.

Alternatively, you can just link your bank account to Gemini by making a deposit. Just tell them what account you want to link by providing some details and then send over GBP to the account details they provide.

Even if your bank supports Faster Payments, it can take a while for Gemini to process and verify the first deposit you make. You should get an email once it’s sorted.

Adding a debit card

You can add a debit card by selecting: Account > Settings > Funding Sources.

Before you can use a debit card to instantly buy cryptocurrency on Gemini, you’ll need to verify it.

You’ll receive a couple of small transactions (between £1 and £1.99 in value), which you’ll just need to confirm with Gemini. Once you have, the charges will be reversed and you’ll be able to use your debit card to buy cryptocurrency on Gemini.

FYI: these micro-deposits might not immediately appear in your online banking portal. It might take 1-2 days for them to show up.

For more information, check out this page.

Limits

There are no limits on how much cryptocurrency you can deposit or withdraw from Gemini.

There are no limits on how much you can deposit or withdraw with a UK bank transfer. If it’s under $250,000, it’ll be sent via the Faster Payments Service (FPS). Over that point, it will be sent via CHAPS.

For debit card purchases, there’s a limit of $500 per day.

Gemini Fees

Trading Fees

The fees you’re charged on Gemini depend on how much you’re buying. In short, you’ll get the best rates on Gemini if you purchase more than £150 at once.

Order AmountTransaction FeeEquivalent % (Range)
Less than £7.50£0.7510% or more
£7.51 - £20.00£1.256.3% - 16.6%
£20.01 - £50.00£2.004.0% - 10.0%
£50.01 - £150.00£2.251.5% - 4.5%
More than £150.001.49%1.49%

On top of this, you’ll pay a ‘convenience fee’ of about 0.5% (or 50 basis points). This is added to the exchange rate that you’re quoted when using Gemini. This means that the lowest fees you’ll pay on Gemini are 1.99%.

I don’t like that these fees aren’t combined (as it’s easy to miss) or that you’ll pay higher percentage fees if you purchase smaller amounts of cryptocurrency.

I would also avoid using a debit card, as you’ll be charged an additional 3.49% (on top of the other fees you’d normally pay) if you do.

ActiveTrader Fees

Fees on ActiveTrader are much lower than the Web Exchange or via the mobile app, but you’ll have to manually request access before you can use it.

But anyhow, these are the fees you’ll be charged on ActiveTrader.

30-Day Trading VolumeTaker FeeMaker FeeAuction Fee
< $500,0000.35%0.25%0.25%
≥ $500,0000.25%0.15%0.20%
≥ $2,500,0000.25%0.15%0.10%
≥ $5,000,000≤ 0.15%≤ 0.10%≤ 0.10%

For more details, check out this help article.

Withdrawal Fees

Here’s something I really like about Gemini.

For the first 10 cryptocurrency withdrawals you make each month, you won’t be charged any fees.

Once you go over this threshold you’ll have to pay withdrawal fees like you would elsewhere. But not having to worry about your first 10 withdrawal fees when you use Gemini is a BIG plus – as it can be expensive to withdraw Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and ERC-20 tokens from other places.

Security

If you’re trusting a cryptocurrency platform with your money, then it’s important that they’re doing as much as they can to keep it safe.

And it’s evident that Gemini has taken a lot of steps to protect its platform from attack.

Here are some of the highlights from my research:

  • Gemini was the world’s first cryptocurrency exchange to complete SOC 1 Type 1, as well as SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2, examinations. Together, this essentially means that Gemini has consistently demonstrated a high level of security compliance.
  • Most cryptocurrency assets on Gemini are kept in an offline, air-gapped cold storage system. Only a little is kept in ‘hot wallets’ to cover Gemini’s operational needs (e.g. handle withdrawals).
  • Private keys (required to spend funds) for cold-storage and hot wallets are generated on hardware security modules (HSMs) that have a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 (or higher) rating.
  • These HSMs are distributed across numerous secure and guarded locations. Redundancies exist in case facilities/equipment in an entire region become inaccessible.
  • Funds can’t be transferred from cold storage of hot wallets without multiple signatures (i.e. multisig).
  • Cryptocurrency stored in Gemini’s hot wallets is fully insured (by multiple parties).
  • You can secure your account with two-factor authentication (2FA) using Authy or a security key (e.g. Yubikey). You can also restrict cryptocurrency withdrawals to specific addresses.

Customer Support

You can get in touch with Gemini’s support team via:

I reached out to Gemini’s support team twice (on weekdays). I received a reply to my first message within about 24 hours, and my second within about 4 hours – which seems pretty good.

Customer satisfaction seems to be something that Gemini really care about, with prompt and accurate answers to everything I asked.

Alternatives

The closest alternative to Gemini is Coinbase.

Coinbase Twitter header

UK residents have been able to use Coinbase to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies with GBP for years. Like Gemini, you can deposit GBP using a UK bank transfer or use a debit or credit card to make a direct purchase.

Coinbase charges similar fees to Gemini. You’ll pay a fixed fee of 1.49% if you make a purchase over $200 (equivalent in GBP), but there’s usually at least another 0.5% hidden in the exchange rate you’re provided. If you buy less than $200 (equivalent in GBP), then you’ll pay higher fees. Head over to the Coinbase website to learn more.

A cheaper alternative to both is CoinJar.

With this, you can quickly and easily buy Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies with GBP via your browser or their mobile app. You’ll be charged a fixed fee of 1%, but I’ve found that the exchange rate you’re offered is usually a little higher (about 0.2% when I checked last).

Check out my CoinJar review to learn more.

Summary

“Gemini is a safe place to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency — not because we say it is — but because of the measures we have put place to protect your crypto and the independent third parties that verify them.” (Source)

With the introduction of GBP deposits, Gemini is a great choice if you’re a beginner looking to get started with your first purchase or a crypto-enthusiast with a few miles on the clock.

Here’s what stood out about Gemini to me:

  • It supports more than 40 cryptocurrencies, which includes many of the largest ones available (e.g., BTC, ETH, LTC, etc).
  • The Web Exchange and mobile app are simple and easy-to-use. You can also easily setup price alerts or regular automatic purchases.
  • Fees are approx. 2% on the Web Exchange and mobile app, but you can get lower fees on ActiveTrader (max 0.35%).

Head over to the Gemini website to learn more or get started.

There an ever-growing number of ways that you can buy Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies in the UK with GBP. To explore my favourite places to buy Bitcoin (BTC) in the UK, check out this post.

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Thanks for checking out this Gemini review!

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2 thoughts on “Gemini Review (2021)”

  1. Yeah the thing with the time taken to deposit via bank transfer is very frustrating.

    My first small transfer took 2 hours and now my bank account is verified – great. But second transfer for same small amount initiated a day later is still pending – over 14 hours now!!

    No idea how they can be getting this process so wrong when there’s a lot to like about the rest of the service from the low fees (on active trader) to the 10 fee-free withdrawals per month.

    We all know how faster payments work in the UK. This money will definitely get to the Gemini account almost instantly. What they do for the rest of the time is anyone’s guess. Even Coinbase get this part right – I’ve never had to wait more than a few minutes for a bank transfer in with them!

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your experience, MK!

      I’m puzzled by what’s going on with this too. I’ll reach out to them and see if I can get some details.

      Reply

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