Coinbase is one of most well-known cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S., but Gemini has been gaining ground with top-level security, advanced features, and competitive fees for advanced traders.
This Gemini vs. Coinbase review is going to explore both of these U.S.-based crypto exchanges to rank each platform based on fees, user experience, features, and more.
Gemini vs. Coinbase - How Do These Crypto Exchanges Compare?
Convenience fee: 0.50% + transaction fee of $0.99 - 1.49% of your total order value
Gemini ActiveTrader: 0% - 0.35%
Flat fee: $0.99 - $2.99
Coinbase Pro: 0% - 0.50%
Supported fiat currencies
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, and HKD
USD, EUR, and GBP
Available in the U.S.
Gemini vs. Coinbase: At a glance
Gemini was founded in 2014 in New York City by the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler. It’s a New York Trust company — New York has some of the strict regulations for cryptocurrency in the U.S. — and is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Gemini has nearly 40 coins, including its own currency, Gemini dollars (GUSD). They have over 30 different GUSD trading pairs offered on the platform and 19 digital asset trading pairs. There are two different Gemini trading platforms, regular and ActiveTrader, which have multiple order types, auctions, advanced charting, and block trading.
Coinbase was founded in 2012 and based in San Francisco, CA. It’s quickly grown to become one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, thanks to its high liquidity, trading volume, 50+ supported cryptocurrencies, and easy-to-use trading platform.
Coinbase has two different trading platforms: Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. Both are very user-friendly, and you can use either platform (depending on your home country) at no additional charge. Coinbase Pro has more advanced trading functions, and customers can make crypto-to-crypto transactions.
Coinbase also offers a free crypto wallet, and you can use it to store your crypto without a Coinbase trading account. Users can also earn free crypto on Coinbase Earn by watching videos and answering a series of quizzes about different kinds of crypto.
Gemini vs. Coinbase: Trading fees
Gemini's fees depend on which platform you trade through. Gemini’s standard platform charges a transaction fee based on your order amount, plus a convenience fee of 0.50% of the current market price of the coin you’re buying.
Here’s how Gemini’s transaction fees look for mobile and web orders:
$10 or less
$10.01 - $25.00
$25.01 - $50.00
$50.01 - $200.00
More than $200
1.49% of your order value
The ActiveTrader platform charges a maker or taker fee based on the liquidity and order volume for the past 30 days.
When you place an order on Active Trader at the market price and it gets filled immediately, you’re considered a taker, and you pay the taker fee. But if your order isn’t immediately filled, it’s placed in the order book, and then once another customer places an order that matches yours, you’re considered the maker and pay the maker fee.
Here is the fee schedule for Gemini Active Trader:
30 day trading volume
Coinbase and Coinbase Pro have separate fee schedules like Gemini, but Coinbase’s standard trading platform fees are a little more confusing.
To understand the fees on the standard Coinbase platform, know that they charge a few different fees. One of the fees is a spread of about 0.5% for cryptocurrency sales and purchases, and that spread can change based on market fluctuations.
There’s also a transaction fee that’s the greater of either a flat fee or a variable one depending on the amount of crypto you purchase and how you pay for it.
Coinbase has these guidelines for the transaction fee:
Total trade amount
$10 or less
More than $10 up to $25
More than $25 and up to $50
More than $50 and up to $200
Additionally, there are fees for different types of U.S. payments:
Coinbase USD Wallet
$10 ($25 outgoing)
Coinbase Pro fees are easier to understand because they’re based on your monthly trading volume and the liquidity of the asset at the time of purchase. The liquidity of the asset qualifies you as a maker or taker and there are different fees for each.
Here’s the fee schedule for Coinbase Pro:
Less than $10K
$10K to $50K
$100K - $1M
$1M - $10M
$10M - $50M
$50M - $100M
$100M - $300M
$300M - $500M
The winner is...
Coinbase and Gemini charge nearly identical fees on their standard trading platforms, but Coinbase is less expensive for larger orders placed on that platform. However, Gemini is better than Coinbase because ActiveTrader charges lower fees than Coinbase’s advanced platform Coinbase Pro. It really depends on which platform you use.
Gemini vs. Coinbase: Accepted fiat and transfer fees
Gemini supports USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, and HKD. However, because of Gemini’s regulatory status, they can only hold GBP and EUR for European users.
You can fund your account with a wire transfer, and there are $0 Gemini wire transfer fees, although your bank may charge you a fee. You can also set up an ACH transfer, or connect up to two debit cards and fund that way.
There are also $0 Gemini withdrawal fees if you withdraw 10x or less each month.
Coinbase supports USD, EUR, and GBP. Coinbase has $0 ACH transfer fees, and wire transfer fees are $10 for incoming transfers and $25 for outgoing transfers.
Coinbase doesn’t charge a standard withdrawal fee, but they do charge a network fee of 1% on any withdrawals. They say that’s the cost of converting your coins into fiat.
The winner is...
Not only does Gemini support more fiat currencies, they have $0 wire transfer fees or withdraw fees as long as you don’t withdraw more than 10 time per month.
Gemini vs. Coinbase: User experience
Buying Bitcoin on Gemini, or any other coin is easy with their very user friendly platforms, especially the standard Gemini web exchange platform. It has a clear and attractive interface, and you can see the day’s market movement and access trading tools.The platform shows your account history, and you can download a list of transactions (helpful at tax time).
Gemini’s mobile app is very beginner-friendly with a straightforward interface. The mobile sign-up process only takes about 3 minutes, and you can place your first order as soon as you open your account. One of the nice features about the mobile app is that you can set dynamic price alerts so when conditions are met to purchase a certain asset, you receive a push notification from your phone.
ActiveTrader is Gemini’s more advanced crypto trading platform. It allows you to execute trades in microseconds, run block trades, trade advanced order types, and more.
New crypto traders can get a lot out of Gemini’s strong educational focus, and it can help you use the trading platforms and become more knowledgeable about crypto. Some of Gemini’s educational content includes:
- 5-minute cryptocurrency guides: Quick guides to for beginners who want to learn about crypto mechanisms, different coins, and confusing terminology
- Webinars: Free video webinars you can watch to learn more about the market. They’re all pre-recorded so you can go at your own pace.
- Crypto glossary: Quickly look up terms you don’t quite understand.
The standard Coinbase platform has an extremely user friendly interface, and it’s a good place for beginners to start trading crypto. Coinbase Pro is a much more robust platform with trading tools like charts, order books, and in-depth trade history, and more.
New users may feel slightly overwhelmed at first with all of Coinbase Pro’s advanced features, but overall, Coinbase Pro is still very intuitive, and the app has received extremely high reviews from users.
Coinbase also has an education program called Coinbase Earn that incentivizes learning about cryptocurrency and the market, which adds to the user experience. On Earn, you watch short videos and complete quizzes to test your knowledge, then Coinbase rewards you with free crypto. For example, you can earn $6 USD worth of Celo (CGLD) for completing a quiz about how Celo works.
The winner is...
Coinbase and Gemini have beginner-friendly trading platforms for cryptocurrency newbs. They also have robust trading platforms for more active users who need advanced trading tools.
Gemini vs. Coinbase: Security
Gemini keeps the majority of crypto in offline cold storage, although they don’t give an exact percentage. Coins kept in an online hot wallet have hardware security modules that have achieved a FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) 140-2 Level 3 rating or higher.
Two-factor authentication is required to log into your account and set up a crypto wallet. Users can also create an approved address list to restrict crypto withdrawals to certain addresses only.
Coinbase uses two-factor authentication, and protects users by storing 98% of funds offline in cold storage. What is kept online is insured against employee theft or cyber security theft.
U.S. customer cash balances are pooled together, and Coinbase has them held in custodial accounts at U.S. banks, in money market accounts, or invested in liquid U.S. Treasuries. Those cash balances are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per individual.
The winner is...
Neither Gemini or Coinbase have been hacked, so that’s a strong recommendation for either exchange. Both exchanges empower users to take their own security measures while also protecting customer assets and exchange software.
Gemini vs. Coinbase: Features
- Gemini Wallet: This is Gemini’s insured hot wallet.
- Gemini Earn: Gemini customers can opt-in to Gemini Earn and start earning up to 7.4% APY on cryptocurrency. Rates vary by coin.
- Gemini Clearing: Gemini will act as a confirming third-party for two parties to settle a trade off the order book.
- Gemini Custody: Institutions can tore and manage digital assets in Gemini Custody, which is regulated as a New York State Trust Company. Custody offers $200 million in insurance coverage and dedicated account representatives.
- Gemini Pay: Through a partnership with Flexa, you can use Gemini Pay to pay with crypto at more than 30,000 retail locations across the U.S.
- Gemini Block Trading: A block trading facility that enables users to buy and sell large block quantities of digital assets.
- Coinbase Learn: This is a user education program that includes short videos and quizzes about different types of crypto. You’re rewarded with a small amount of cryptocurrency for passing the quiz.
- Coinbase Wallet: You don’t need an account on Coinbase to use their decentralized wallet to store your crypto. It’s a free feature, complete with a separate app. You can use the app to buy crypto on other markets or send crypto to other users. The Coinbase Wallet also lets you store digital collectibles, like NFTs.
- Newsfeed: Coinbase’s newsfeed feature pulls in articles about cryptocurrency from around the internet. Users get news, breaking updates, etc.
- Price alerts: You can create a cryptocurrency watchlist on Coinbase that alerts you when there are big price swings one way or the other. You can set up alerts in your phone or the app.
- Trading API: This is a Coinbase Pro feature (customers can choose to use Coinbase Pro or regular Coinbase) that allows users to develop programmatic trading bots.
- Coinbase Card: Coinbase is getting ready to launch a debit card that allows you to spend the crypto in your Coinbase portfolio, and you can earn crypto rewards when you use your card to make purchases.
Gemini vs. Coinbase: The final word
Gemini and Coinbase are two of the top cryptocurrency exchanges right now, and both provide stellar security and features. Both exchanges offer a beginner-friendly user experience for new traders, while giving advanced traders the trading tools they need on Gemini ActiveTrader and Coinbase Pro.
Where these two exchanges differ are with the cryptocurrencies they offer and fees. Gemini is slightly less expensive, and if you’re trading on a large scale, those fees can really eat into your profit.
On the flipside, Coinbase has higher liquidity according to CoinMarketCap, so that’s a perk for advanced traders. Coinbase also supports more coins than Gemini -- at the time of writing this comparison, Gemini only has 38 coins compared to Coinbase’s 58.
The bottom line is that both exchanges are great places for new traders to get into cryptocurrency. Active traders will have to weigh up the difference in fees and support crypto to decide which platform is right for them.