The Gemini Exchange was founded in October 2015 by the Winklevoss twins (hence the name). Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are probably best known for suing Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook and claiming that he stole their idea. In the end, they won over $65 million in court damages, of which they invested $11 million in Bitcoin – making them one of the largest internet currency holders with over $1 billion in current value.
Since then, however, the twins have focused on building one of the most respected exchanges in the sector, and Gemini has now gained a significant share of the crypto trading market. It has advanced to the top 20 in bitcoin trading volume.
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The Gemini exchange only supports Bitcoin and Ethereum. This is because Gemini is striving for a very trustworthy and institutionally friendly exchange. The selection is, therefore, one of the smaller among the competitors. In our opinion, Gemini is not recommended for all users who want significantly more choice when trading in Internet currencies.
Bitcoin: Bitcoin was developed so that users can save, send and receive money without banks or credit card companies. In 2008, a mysterious person named Satoshi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin. To date, Satoshi remains anonymous, and no one knows who he or she is. Bitcoin has advantages that make it better than traditional money, banks, and credit card companies. This includes decentralization or the solution of the double-spend problem; which means criminals cannot make fake bitcoins. Counterfeits are excluded.
Ethereum: Instead of using the computer system of a large company like Google (a central system), Ethereum runs software applications on a network with many private computers (a decentralized system). Company computers and cloud servers are replaced by an extensive, decentralized network of many small computers that are operated by volunteers from all over the world.
The big idea behind Ethereum is that anyone can use this new decentralized network to build and run decentralized applications. Approval is not required as third parties are no longer needed. The combination of smart contracts and blockchain technology makes Ethereum so valuable because it eliminates the need for an expensive third party (like Google and Microsoft) to run internet applications and send money. With blockchain, complete strangers can now use applications and transfer them inexpensively (such as money) without trust and without the need for third parties.
The Gemini Dollar (GUSD) is one of the latest stablecoins and was released on September 10, 2018. It is an ERC-20 token that runs on the Ethereum blockchain and is created and published by the Winklevoss Twins Gemini cryptocurrency exchange. With the US dollar pegged to Gemini, it will use the State Street Bank to hold the USD assets and has kept a pass-through insurance product to offer FDIC insurance within specified limits. The Gemini Dollar is also unique among stablecoins, as it is regularly independently audited by BPM Accounting and Consulting.
The audits are carried out to ensure that Gemini has an equivalent amount of USD for his GUSD, and the results of each examination are published publicly. As the experience from the test shows, there is information about the GUSD on the exchange, but it can only be traded on alternative exchanges.
Concerning transfers, Gemini has a favourable fee policy, and platform users can make Bitcoin, Ether, and bank and bank transfers free of charge. However, individual banks can charge their customers a fee for transferring money to their Gemini account. Withdrawals on the platform are also free, and all customers receive 30 free withdrawals per calendar month. Any withdrawal beyond this amount will result in fees equal to the mining fees payable on both networks. This is estimated at approximately 100,000 Satoshi (0.001 BTC) per transaction on the Bitcoin Network and 0 GWei (0 ETH) per transaction on the Ethereum Network.
Trading fees are set at 0.25% for both sellers (manufacturers) and buyers (customers), but these fees are reduced when specific trading volumes are reached. The manufacturer fee is reduced to 0% for 30 days of trading volume that exceeds 5,000 Bitcoin or 100,000 Ether. For the same trading amounts, the customer fee drops to 0.10%.
Gemini also uses a dynamic brokerage and participant fee or discount plan, and traders can get a discount on liquidity-providing transactions. The specific amounts depend on the gross trading volume and the purchase and sale relationship over 30 days.
Most transfer methods have no restrictions on deposits and withdrawals. However, Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers are limited to a maximum deposit limit of $500 per day and $15,000 per month for individual account holders. Institutions are limited to making ACH deposits of $10,000 a day or $300,000 a month. Concerning purchases, the minimum purchase amount for Bitcoin is 0.00001 BTC or 1000 Satoshis for ether, the minimum investment is 0.001 ETH.
Registration is straightforward, whereby the name, email address and a password must be entered in the form. After the users have checked their email, verification takes place. This is necessary to be active at all. The verification takes place in different steps:
Only then can users make deposits and withdrawals in USD and become active on the exchange at all. From our experience in the test, it is not possible to say precisely how long the period for the review is. It can happen very quickly so that the activation takes place within a few hours, but it can take several days even with a high number of inquiries. Account capitalization is only possible once the verification has taken place.
Gemini also operates a marketplace that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here, users can place any number of orders with a variety of trading options. These include:
Gemini acts as a full reserve exchange and all orders placed on the platform are fully funded. However, Gemini does not offer margin trading and any outstanding interest on its order books must never exceed a user’s account balance. It is also worth noting that all open orders reduce your available balance until they are fulfilled or cancelled.
According to our experience, the design of the exchange is well solved from the test. A high level of functionality awaits the users and even trading via smartphone or tablet is then possible on the innovative exchange without any problems. The new design of the website looks tidy, although it has nothing to do with the typical 3-column design of other exchanges. Instead, the navigation takes place via the left side area, where the users find all navigation points. Experience shows that all content is only available in English.
If you take a closer look at the right-hand side area, you will also find a menu bar in which the individual categories are listed in somewhat more detail. Here you will also find, for example, the FAQ area, the support options or the legal documents for the users. In our experience, the mobile application is also built intuitively and is available free of charge. It is positive that the focus on the essentials takes place without a lot of frills and the selection of topics is also well prepared “in portions”.
Although the website does not have a chat function, Gemini offers a detailed FAQ section. Users can find answers to frequently asked questions and other valuable information. Gemini also provides a customer service team that tries to respond to emails within a few hours. Gemini also offers its users a blog page for important information and announcements.
The blog allows users to keep up to date with the latest developments related to the exchange. Blog posts include updates on fees, regulations, and other relevant news that the website wants to share with its users.
The Exchange test also found that all information is only available in English. The same applies if users want to write a message to support. We tested and actually wrote a request in German, which led to a response after several days. Also, our concern was probably not recorded due to translation problems. Therefore a tip: All users who want to make a request to support should do so in English to avoid delays in the answers.
Users can deposit USD, BTC, ETH, ZEC, BCH and LTC on the Gemini exchange. US customers have the option to top up their accounts from their bank accounts using ACH deposits. This means that you can start trading immediately. Bank transfers are available to everyone. However, users may have to wait until the next business day to have their money available.
When choosing the payment methods, the offer in the crypto exchanges is significantly decimated compared to other exchanges. Instead of being able to use the credit card or electronic wallets, only the bank transfer or individual cryptocurrencies are available. This can also be seen in the payout of winnings, because here too the options mentioned remain.
In our experience, there are no special conditions or bonus programs at Gemini, for example, for attracting new customers. Nevertheless, users have the option of using the newly launched app to view price data as non-registered users and to compare it with other trading places. Trading via the Exchange is not possible without registration, but at least a look at the current prices in real-time.
We could not find any additional offers, such as a training area or helpful trading tips, in the test on the exchange. The same applies to an economic calendar or, for example, a free demo account.
In the test, we looked closely at regulation and security, because Gemini has a reputation for being one of the safest exchanges in the sector and uses several methods to ensure a high level of protection at the level of traditional financial institutions. User accounts are secured with two-factor authentication, which means that an additional device must be used to access the account, which provides an extra level of security.
Gemini ensures the security of its exchange and related funds by keeping all digital assets in the offline wallet. The website uses Amazon Web Services to protect its online resources. Also, all Gemini USD accounts are 100% insured by the FDIC.
With the Amazon Web Services, the website offers an additional level of security because the hosting platform uses functions such as fatigue-free access controls, dedicated hardware security modules and multi-factor authentication.
Gemini is committed to using only the highest security features available. This makes the exchange attractive for wealthy private customers and institutional investors.
In the test, we not only got an idea of the exchange ourselves but also took a look at the opinions in the press. It is striking that there are numerous international dishes on the stock exchange, especially the makers, the Winklevoss twins. However, many of these reports are not without exception positive, but also critical. Many media, for example, accuse the stock exchange of not working transparently and above all of trying to attract large investors. The introduction of the stable coin Gemini Dollar was not without controversy. Nevertheless, there are also words of appreciation, for example, because ambitious partnerships have been entered into with British Telecom or other companies.
According to our experience in the store, the feedback on the mobile application is also mostly positive. Above all, the innovative technology behind the application or the user-friendly design is praised.