Two of the longest-lasting options in the cryptocurrency exchange market are Gemini and Kraken among large number of different cryptocurrency exchanges launched over the years.
We are going to take an in-depth look into the both of them to help you with choosing the best option for your trading.
Although the founders of these exchanges have different views when it comes to working with sometimes overbearing regulations, both platforms have been able to provide secure, trustworthy environments for trading cryptocurrencies.
With Kraken launching in 2013 and Gemini launching in 2014, both of these bitcoin exchanges were viewed as promising replacements for the crumbling Mt. Gox at a time when the bitcoin exchange market was desperate for new entrants. Seven years later, Gemini and Kraken are two of the most trusted brands in the overall cryptocurrency space, and their quality of service have helped bring a higher degree of stability to the crypto markets.
- One of the most trusted cryptocurrency exchanges
- The only crypto exchange founded by the famous Winklevoss twins
- Lightning-fast deposits in the USA
- Working hard with regulators for widespread cryptocurrency adoption
- Trustworthy exchange
- Supports many different funding options
- Accepts users from across the globe
- High trading volume
Both Gemini and Kraken are not necessarily strictly targeted towards beginners, but both options are more than capable of getting the job done. While these two cryptocurrency exchanges started out as more advanced options for trading cryptocurrencies, they’ve done a better job at building simpler interfaces for beginners over time. Of course, the level of beginner friendliness of Gemini and Kraken will depend on the specific interface that is used to interact with the underlying exchange platform.
For Kraken, you will want to use the default Kraken app if you are a beginner. This will allow you to purchase bitcoin and other crypto assets via a payment card or bank account at the click of a button, and you can also set up automatic purchases of a predetermined amount of crypto on a regular basis. Kraken’s other apps, such as Kraken Pro and Kraken Futures, are for more advanced traders, so those should be avoided if you’re just getting your feet wet with crypto for the first time.
Gemini takes a similar approach when it comes to making crypto easy for beginners. While the options for trading via a desktop computer can get pretty advanced, the process is much more beginner-friendly when the Gemini mobile app is used. When the mobile app is used, Gemini acts more as a brokerage platform with a simple buy and sell interface rather than a full-blown trading engine.
Trust & Security
Gemini and Kraken are two of the best options in the entire world when it comes to trust and security. In terms of the security of user funds, neither Gemini nor Kraken have ever been hacked, so they both have relatively long, strong track records when it comes to protecting user funds. That said, Gemini takes an extra step when it comes to protecting their users, as digital assets held by Gemini on behalf of their users in hot wallets are insured against various types of potential loss.
When it comes to trust, Gemini and Kraken, again, both have strong track records; however, they’ve taken different approaches to the regulatory landscape around cryptocurrency. Kraken CEO Jesse Powell does not pull any punches when it comes to his thoughts on how exchanges are regulated, and he’ll pull his company’s financial services out of a jurisdiction if he does not agree with the regulatory restrictions put in place. For example, residents of New York are not allowed to use Kraken at all due to the onerous regulations that have been placed on the crypto industry in that state by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).
Gemini has taken the exact opposite approach in New York by working closely with regulators and following their every demand. In fact, Gemini is regulated as a New York trust company. It should be noted that Kraken is more than willing to work with lawmakers to help create new regulatory environments that are favorable to the crypto industry, such as their work in the state of Wyoming to create a new framework for the operation of crypto banks.
When it comes to choosing between Gemini and Kraken based on trust and security, you’ll need to decide if you want to work with the exchange that follows the regulators’ every order or the one that is blazing a new trail and willing to stand up to the regulators when they take things too far.
If trading fees are your main concern, then you’ll prefer Kraken over Gemini. While the trading fees on the Kraken Pro version of the website aren’t groundbreaking at 0.16% for Makers and 0.26% for Takers, the reality is this is still cheaper than Gemini, which starts fees at 0.35% for Takers and 0.10% for Makers.
It should be noted that there are different fee structures used for different types of trades on both Gemini and Kraken. Like any other crypto exchange, the more convenient purchasing options, such as those found on the mobile apps for beginners, are going to have higher fees than than the more advanced trading platforms.
Neither Gemini nor Kraken want to get in trouble with the regulators, so they both require users to hand over a large amount of personal information to get access to the full range of trading options available on each platform. However, with Kraken you can create an account by providing a small amount of personal data and start swapping between different crypto assets right away. Of course, your withdrawal and deposit limits will be rather low with this type of setup, and you won’t be able to connect a bank account for deposits and withdrawals without providing more detailed information about yourself.
The amount of information you have to hand over to Kraken will also depend on your country of residence. The setup on Gemini is rather similar; however, this exchange is a bit more strict when it comes to what you can do with an unverified account. For example, you won’t be able to do any trading on Gemini without first verifying your identity with the proper documents.
Gemini and Kraken are both not at the top of the list when it comes to the exchanges that have the largest number of different crypto assets available for trade. That said, Kraken has support for roughly double the amount of cryptocurrencies as Gemini. Here are some of the most popular cryptocurrencies that are found on both exchanges:
If you’re an advanced trader who wants to be able to use all of the tools that you’re used to using in traditional markets, then Gemini is likely going to be the better option for you, especially if you’re comparing the platform to Coinbase. Coinbase Pro does have more features aimed at advanced traders than what is available on the base Coinbase brokerage platform; however, Coinbase Pro is still somewhat limited in terms of advanced trading functionality when compared to Gemini. It’s also difficult to overlook the fact that Gemini comes with lower fees for those who trade more often.
In terms of operating with a similar level of trust and security as traditional financial institutions, it’s difficult to compete with Gemini.
The Winklevoss twins and everyone else at Gemini works closely with regulators to make sure everything about the platform is above board and there will never be any regulatory issues that lead to the exchange being used for illicit financial activity. Additionally, the level of security offered to Gemini users is rare in the crypto industry, with Kraken being one of the few alternatives that can stand toe-to-toe with Gemini in this regard. In other words, Gemini users can rest easy knowing their money is safe with Gemini.
In terms of additional perks of trading on Gemini, the ability to transfer money from a bank account in the United States to the crypto exchange instantly can be extremely useful for those situations where you want to buy the dip. There will undoubtedly be more crypto financial services offered in the future on top of their base trading services, as users are already able to stake their crypto through Gemini and a credit card with crypto-denominated cashback rewards is expected to be offered by the institution in the near future.
For Kraken, the standout features are quite similar to what’s found with Gemini.
At the end of the day, all of the top crypto exchanges appear to be making the transition to become more like bitcoin banks. Kraken is leading the charge in this regard with their work in the state of Wyoming to create the perfect regulatory environment for crypto banking.
Staking and margin trading are two additional features that are already available through Kraken, and they’ll also be providing more financial services as they transition to bitcoin banking. Much like Gemini, security is a key selling point of Kraken, as the exchange has never been hacked. Since they were founded in 2011, this long track record of not having security issues is unmatched in the crypto industry.
A final standout feature of Kraken is the Cryptowatch platform, which Kraken owns and can be used by traders to make trades on a variety of different crypto exchange from a single interface.
Conclusion: You Can’t Go Wrong with Gemini or Kraken
There are many different crypto exchanges to choose from these days, but the reality is that they’re all starting to offer rather similar features to their users.
This makes it more difficult to make a decision between the likes of Gemini and Kraken, as they offer many similar services and you can’t really go wrong with either option. For this reason, it’s important to think about the specific needs you have in terms of crypto trading.
For some, Kraken’s lower fees will be enough to make that the obvious choice. Others will prefer Gemini’s low-time preference approach when it comes to building a trusted crypto financial institution through close cooperation with regulators like the NYDFS. Maybe it will be support for a particular crypto asset or maybe you find the Kraken CEO’s negative stance towards New York’s crypto regulator environment as something you can get behind, but whatever the case, you’ll have to look closely at the unique features offered by Kraken and Gemini to figure out which one is right for you.
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