Trading crypto as a pastime and even as a profession has been growing for some time now. In the last year, the industry has grown even faster than usual thanks to the economic and lifestyle changes caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. These days, you can quickly find more than 500 places to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency.
With that many options, how can traders possibly figure out which exchange is the best one for them to use? There are several ways to narrow your options. First and foremost, you need to figure out which exchanges are available in your locale. Then you will want to look at such factors as user experience, offerings, fees, and security the platform offers.
Looking at these aspects of different exchanges, U.S. traders get a much more manageable list of realistic options. Among those options, Coinbase and Gemini reside close to the top of the list. Here we will give a basic overview of the important differences between Coinbase and Gemini to help you figure out which one crypto traders should use.
A Brief History of Coinbase
Coinbase Global, Inc. is the parent company for two different crypto trading platforms; Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. The original platform was founded in 2021 by cofounder Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam who came from Airbnb  and Goldman Sachs respectively. The idea was to create a way for people to use bank transfers to buy Bitcoin.
Fast forward almost a decade and the company has grown to earn over $1.1 billion in yearly revenue, employ over 1,000 employees, and operate in over 100 countries. They do all this while hosting two distinct platforms that cater to a wide range of crypto traders and investors’ needs.
A Brief History of Gemini
If you’ve seen the hit David Fincher movie, The Social Network , you already know at least a little about the history of Gemini. The movies’ antagonists (or protagonists depending on how you feel about Mark Zuckerberg ) are Harvard-educated, Olympic athlete twins, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. These are also the two founders of the Gemini crypto exchange.
The Winklevoss twins announced Gemini in 2013 and officially launched it in 2015.
The Big Differences Between Coinbase and Gemini
Gemini and Coinbase are two very different companies even though they are both crypto exchanges. They have very different histories and very different offerings for users. Below we will look at the major ways these two sites differ. For a helpful breakdown of Coinbase vs Gemini , Cove Markets goes into greater detail.
While significantly smaller than Coinbase, with around 100 employees, Gemini has struck some big deals through the years to facilitate this growth. The company was the first licensed exchange for both ether and Zcash. They also struck up a partnership with Samsung in 2020 to link Gemini crypto wallets to Samsung phones.
Coinbase is currently available in over 100 countries around the world. It is also available in most U.S. states, but not all. Hawaii, for example, does not allow residents to use Coinbase. Gemini, on the other hand, is only available in the United Kingdom, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore. It is available in all 50 U.S. states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Both exchanges provide a high-level trading experience to their desktop users. Coinbase and Gemini are perfect for newbie traders who want a clean, simple, and easy-to-navigate experience. Both Coinbase Pro and Gemini ActiveTrader offer advanced tools and charts experienced traders will love.
Maybe the biggest difference between the two platforms is the mobile experience. The Coinbase app is well-reviewed by users and is generally considered one of the best crypto trading apps on the market today. The Gemini app is fast but has received more mixed reviews from users who give it 3.4 stars as opposed to the 4.4-star rating of the Coinbase app.
Coinbase and Coinbase Pro both offer around 50 different crypto coins to buy, sell, and trade. The Pro version takes it a step further and offers almost 100 pairs to trade. The most popular pairs are BTC/USD and ETH/USD which make up about 50% of pairs trading. Gemini has about half of the coins and pairs that Coinbase offers. BTC/USD is the most popular pair on Gemini. This one alone represents about 50% of the trading on the platform.
The fee structure is very different when you compare Gemini and Coinbase. Coinbase uses an industry-standard tiered fee structure based on volume and whether you are a market taker or maker. Fees start at 0.5% at the lowest levels and go all the way down to 0 at the highest level of market maker volume.
On the standard Gemini site, the fees are much higher. They have a more complicated system that bases fees on not just the size of trade but how it is conducted. A transaction fee is added on top of any other fees. The result is a 1.4% to 1.99% fee depending on the trade. The Gemini ActiveTrader platform fees are similar to those of Coinbase Pro and are actually smaller in many instances. These fees range from .35% to 0 at the highest maker levels.
If these two platforms have one thing in common, it is their commitment to security. They both strive to be the safest places to trade crypto on the planet and they do a good job of meeting this goal. Both implement innovative security measures to help keep their users safe. Coinbase has a bug bounty program to encourage developers to share site security flaws. Gemini uses multi-signature technology. This creates redundancy that makes a single-point failure less catastrophic.
Both Gemini and Coinbase provide users with solid crypto trade exchanges. The fact that they both have sites for novice and experienced traders is something to like. Which one should you use? That depends on exactly what you’re looking for but if you find you prefer one over the other, you won’t be wrong.