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Gemini platform

Gemini is a crypto exchange that was founded in 2014 and officially started its operation towards the end of 2015. The crypto exchange was founded by the Winklevoss brothers (Cameron and Tyler) in New York. Before the brothers ventured fully into the world of crypto, they had made a name with Facebook when they founded the social media giant predecessor ConnectU. When they sued Facebook for stealing their idea, they were awarded $65 million. It’s part of this money that they used to buy 1% of all circulating Bitcoin at $11 million, which is worth $2 billion in the current Bitcoin market rate.

Many have labeled Gemini as the unsung hero among the many crypto exchanges in the market today, because of its high compliance standards. While most crypto exchanges have histories of drama, intrigues, and mysteries, Gemini has maintained their image as a company with stability and unmatched clarity to the operations. New York is one of the states that have the strictest regulatory law, which has kept so many crypto exchanges away, except Gemini that has managed to comply. In 2016, Gemini was the first and only fully licensed and regulated ETH exchange in America, which went to show how serious the company takes their operations. Today, Gemini stands tall as one of the few crypto exchanges that have never been hacked and enjoy FDIC protection for USD. Regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), the platform is straightforward, hence easy to use, and puts security as their highest priority.


Signing up for a Gemini Account

Gemini allows for both personal and institutional signups. The company recommends that customers sign up for a personal account if they want to add a personal bank account. For an institutional account, you should prepare to add a business bank account and/or a trust account to your Gemini account.

The Gemini exchange platform is highly compliant with existing regulations, hence the requirement for verification to set up a personal account. The platform has three steps to verify your identity at this point: linking a mobile phone number for two-factor authentication, linking a bank account. A user is also expected to submit documents to verify your address and identity.

Registration steps

Gemini create an account

Step 1: The registration will require a user to provide a full name, your email address, and password.

Step 2: You’re expected to read the “user agreement” and “privacy policy”, which you will be expected to agree with to continue with the registration process.

Step 3: fill in your phone number, which is part of the ways through which the company verifies your identity. You’ll be sent a code to your phone to check it’s your actual number.

Step 4: Verify your identity- this will require you to submit various forms of documentation. The company emphasizes “Know your customer” (KYC) policy and strictly complies with every regulatory requirement put by the New York and United States regulatory authorities.

Step 5: Link your bank account to your Gemini account. This is an important step because it will make adding US dollars to your account easier and quicker.


Gemini requires every user to provide both a photo ID and a proof of address from new customers as seen in the screenshot above. They also want proof of address, which may include a full-page scan of a utility bill, a bank account statement, a cable bill, and a mobile phone or internet bill.

The verification process may take up to three days, although you may be allowed to use some features as you wait for the process to complete. These include the ability to deposit crypto and making trades between available pairs. However, they will restrict depositing or withdrawal in fiat currencies until your account is fully verified.

The tedious registration process tends to put off many users, who complain that the process is cumbersome and unnecessary. However, it is important to acknowledge that since their platform is based on high-level security and compliance, they are justified to apply the strict registration process.

Funding Your Account

Gemini allows users to fund their Gemini Account from a bank account. They do not allow a debit or credit card. As at the time of writing this review, the maximum you can deposit in a day is $500 and $15,000 monthly. A withdrawal limit of $100,000 is also applicable.
You can also deposit your cryptocurrencies from other off-site wallets (crypto-to-crypto transfer). However, you can only do crypto-to-crypto transfer if your crypto is in currencies supported by Gemini.

Currencies Supported and Deposit Method

Gemini markets
Gemini supports over 25 cryptocurrencies on its platform, including its own crypto known as Gemini dollars (GUSD). Gemini offers its customers the opportunity to trade and store cryptocurrencies.

Gemini Exchange supports USD as the only fiat currency, and digital assets such as BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, BAT, and LINK. It means you can deposit on Gemini through these currencies. The justification for restricting many cryptocurrencies on their platform could be because the company seeks to assure its users of its high integrity and trust, which is best suited for institutional investors. Many newer cryptocurrencies are yet to prove their worth over these principles, hence Gemini would only trade on currencies they deem are more stable and highly valued.

It also accepts deposits made by automated clearance house (ACH) in the US, AND wire transfer elsewhere.




Fees

For deposit, the crypto exchange does not charge any deposit fee for all the currencies supported. However, wire transfer may be subject to fees from the bank that the money is sent from. Additionally, users also pay a network fee for either Gemini Bitcoin or Gemini Ethereum deposits. However, you must note that this is just like making any other transfer on either a digital currency network.

Nonetheless, Gemini charges commission rates for trading on its platform. The fees charged are a little different from other exchanges because they largely depend on your trade volume per month. First is the convenience fee of 0.50% above the market rate. To understand the convenience fee amount, you will have to multiply 0.50% (1.005) by the amount of currency you want to buy.

The fees are laid down in a tier format, with the range starting from light traders to high volume traders. Fees are recalculated for every trading pair per day at midnight UTC.
Gemini also charges a flat transaction fee for orders placed via their web or mobile app. These fees range from $0.99 to 1.49% of your order value, as illustrated in the table below.

Order amount Fee
0-$10.00 $0.99
More than $10.00 but less than $25.00 $1.49
More than $25.00 but less than $50.00 $1.99
More than $50.00 but less than $200.00 $2.99
More than $200.00 1.49% of the order

The following fee structure is very similar to Coinbase

Some traders may want to custody (cold storage) crypto with Gemini, there is a 0.40% charge for customers with assets greater than $1 million. There is a $125 administration withdrawal fee too.

Gemini logo

Who should use Gemini Exchange?

Gemini is a fantastic exchange if you value security above everything else. As such, the exchange is ideal for those transacting large amounts of fiat currencies for either BTC or ETH. The fact that it is fully licensed and offers additional security features, Gemini is one of the most secure exchanges in the market today.

The exchange is also suited for those who want to make lots of trades daily. For example, professional traders undoubtedly enjoy the additional security features that protect their digital assets in their Gemini accounts. Large volume traders also enjoy the sliding scale fees that tend to favor high volume daily or monthly trades.

Is it suitable for first-time traders?

Gemini’s prominence in trade of BTC and ETH makes it a good start for rookie traders, adopted or investors as they will get nicely introduced into the world of cryptocurrency. However, the tedious registration process that requires a lot of personal details and verification process may put off many new traders. However that is becoming the standard of cryptocurrency trading.




Additional Features

Mobile Trading Features

Just like many other crypto exchanges, Gemini has a mobile app that you can trade from. The app is designed to make it easy to use the platform, except in situations where you want to execute complex trades that may require a desktop. Making complex transactions may be a bit tedious on the mobile app.

Gemini Dollar

The Gemini dollar is Gemini’s own stablecoin that users can transact by either spending or lending and investing. The stablecoin is backed by USD held at State Street Bank and Trust Company. It offers 1:1 transferability back to US dollars at any time. The exchange has also partnered with BlockFi to offer users savings accounts for their Gemini dollars, earning users interest rates of up to 8.6% APY.

Flexa Partnership

With Gemini, you can spend your digital assets directly through your wallet. The exchange has a partnership with Flexa, which allows you to purchase products at participating retailers using cryptocurrencies. The current participating retailers include Nordstrom, GameStop, Whole Foods, and Home Depot. You can spend your Gemini dollars (GUSD), Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ether.

Nifty Marketplace

Gemini has recently launched the Nifty Marketplace, where you can buy and sell digital art and collectibles. Digital artistic assets can also be stored in the marketplace. This increases trust and security for both the buyer and the seller.

Samsung partnership

Recently, the company formed a partnership with Samsung, where they power the Samsung Blockchain. This feature is available for customers in the U.S. and Canada, where they can connect their Samsung Blockchain Wallet to the Gemini app to trade cryptocurrencies.

Conclusion

Gemini is proving itself as one of the leading crypto exchanges, with its top-notch security and compliance policy. It makes it easy for users to buy, sell, or store their digital assets with tools to help both beginner and advanced traders. Other pros include an intuitive mobile app, professional trading features, US dollar insured by the FDIC, and funds kept safe in a chartered bank based on New York, professional high-end services and customer support, user-friendly interface, and low fees for exchanging digital assets.

The cons are that the platform requires lots of information to register, which is a turnoff to prospective users, although it’s part of the company policy to fully comply with the regulations and protect customers’ assets. It also has a limited section of funding methods, with credit/debit cards being excluded from the accepted means of funding a Gemini account. There is also a limited selection of coins available for users. Nonetheless, Gemini is proving to be an exchange worth considering if security and regulatory issues are your biggest concerns.