Exchange Comparison: GDAX vs. Gemini

GDAX and Gemini are great platforms to begin trading cryptocurrency. If you have an intermediate understanding of investing these platforms are perfect for you because they provide a simplified exchange experience with enough bells and whistles to keep the average customer happy. Also, if you’re looking to move beyond the more simple and limited features of exchanges such as Coinbase, then both these platforms are also a good next step.

In this review, I will provide an overview of each exchange, so that you can make an informed decision of which is best for you.

 

GDAX vs. Gemini: Key Information

 GDAX  Gemini
Site Visit GDAX Visit Gemini
Company Launch 2012 2015
Company Location San Francisco, CA, USA New York, USA
Available Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH)
Buy/Deposit Methods Crypto Deposits, Bank Transfer (ACH), Bank Wires Crypto Deposits, Bank Transfer (ACH), Bank Wires
Fees Very Low – (Maker Fee 0%; Taker Fee Up To 0.25%) Very Low (Max of 0.25%)
Security Great Great
Leverage 1:3 N/A
Community Trust Great Great
Regulation NY BitLicense US Trust regulation
Customer Support Good Good

 

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Company Trust

Both GDAX and Gemini are US-based crypto currency exchanges and they have both continued to successfully navigate the strict U.S. rules and regulations.

GDAX was founded in 2012 and is a part of Coinbase and more specifically the part of the company, which is targeting more active traders. GDAX is headquartered in Silicon Valley, and since their launch they’ve served over 8 million customers and they’ve successfully exchanged over $20 Billion worth of digital currency. It’s also important to note that they also have the backing of several notable investors such as the New York Stock Exchange, Union Square Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz.

A few months ago, a multi-million dollar sell order caused the price of Ethereum to drop from over $300 to 10 cents almost immediately on GDAX, which triggered an avalanche of around 800 automated stop-loss orders and margin-funding liquidations. The company proceeded to halt trading and later claimed this was merely a “fat finger”, but several users lost a huge amount of money because of this bizarre incident. To regain market trust, GDAX took responsibility for the flash crash and honored every single transaction using company funds.

Gemini was launched in 2015 in New York City by the Winklevoss twins (hence its name). Although the Winklevoss twins are arguably most well known for suing Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook claiming he stole their idea, the brothers have been active in the Bitcoin community since early 2013. They’ve funded several Bitcoin-related projects and invested $11million into Bitcoin – placing them as one of the largest holders of Bitcoins with a current valuation of over a billion dollars. Gemini has gained a significant portion of the cryptocurrency trading market in just two years, and has broken into the top 20 in relation to Bitcoin trading volumes. Gemini is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), which requires them to meet compliance, capitalization, consumer protection, anti-money laundering, and cyber security requirements set by the NYSDFS. One more thing worth noting is that Gemini was also the first U.S. exchange licensed for BTC and ETH trading.

 

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Available Cryptocurrencies

GDAX allows its users to purchase and sell three of the most popular cryptos – Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. There have been rumours that GDAX plans to add more cryptocurrencies in the future. However, the company has not released an official statement saying so.

The trading instruments available at Gemini are only Bitcoin and Ethereum, and the company has yet to mention any plans on adding more in the immediate feature.

 

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Supported Countries

GDAX currently serves customers in the following countries: the United States, Europe (including the United Kingdom), Canada, Singapore, and Australia.

Gemini is currently available to approximately 45 U.S. states, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Puerto Rico.

 

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Fees

Gemini and GDAX are similar in fee structures and both platforms have extremely low fees. Both sites have a maximum trading fee of 0.25% for Bitcoin trades, but if you’re looking to trade Ethereum, then Gemini could be a better option for you. On GDAX, the maximum trading fee for ETH is 0.3%, while on Gemini the maximum trading fee for ETH is slightly less – 0.25%.

Both platforms use a fairly complex system to calculate your trading fees and this model is a bit different than others. These calculations are primarily based on the percentage of monthly volume. The important thing to note, though, is that, when trading on GDAX, market “makers” (the people who place passive orders and wait for other traders to trigger them) do not pay a fee.

You can find a more detailed explanation of the GDAX trading fees here and the Gemini trading fees here.

As I already said, these fees vary based on volume. That’s why it’s recommended to use these resources to estimate the fees on a few trades you’re thinking of doing, and from there, you can decide if the difference in fees is enough for you to choose one site over the other.

 

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Interface

GDAX comes with a very intuitive interface and offers a slightly more advanced trading experience than Gemini with options such as stop orders and margin trading. Due to the constant movement of buy/sell orders across the screen, the exchange may look intimidating to new investors at first glance. However, after the first use, I found that the trading is very simple, and the connection speed is good enough for real-time trading. The interface is very well adjusted to user needs and many features are just a click or two away, allowing users to easily use the interface. I have to say that this is one of the best-designed layouts of the exchanges I’ve used.

GDAX UI

Subjectively, the Gemini platform is aesthetically pleasing and it has a simplified design that makes learning how to place orders a breeze. The order book table is hidden behind a small button and Gemini also has a unique ability – to order coins in an auction format. Also, the order book chart follows an unorthodox design putting buy orders under the x-axis.

Gemini platform

Gemini is a good choice if your goal is to simply make a purchase and hold it for a while. On the other hand, for experienced traders, institutional investors, and professional investors, GDAX is a better platform for analysis and advanced trading options.

 

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Funding Methods

Both GDAX and Gemini allow you to fund your account via wire transfers, bank transfers (ACH), and cryptocurrency deposits.

Additionally, you can transfer funds from your Coinbase account to your GDAX instantly with no fees, which makes for a smooth transition if you had previously been using Coinbase but want to switch to an exchange with more robust features.

On the other hand, Gemini allows you to purchase and trade before your funds are approved in your account, which means that this platform is a solid option if you’re trying to invest as soon as possible. Although you cannot withdraw from the exchange until your deposit is fully processed, you can lock-in coins at a certain price without worrying about their price going up in the meantime.

 

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Transfer Limits

Gemini restricts the amount you can deposit via ACH (Automated Clearing House) to $500 per day, and $15,000 per month for individual account holders. However, there is no limit for the other deposit methods such as cryptocurrency deposits and wire transfers. Gemini also sets their withdrawal limit at $10K per day and $100K per month.

Gemini ACH deposits typically take 4-5 business days to be approved, but you can use the funds to trade right away.

GDAX is not as straightforward about their daily deposit limits, and their daily ACH deposit limits are determined by your account verification, buying history, and account age. These deposits typically take 3-5 business days after your transfer is sent to the bank. Cryptocurrency deposits are unlimited while wire deposits are capped at $250,000, and these funds are FDIC insured, meaning your balance up to $250,000 is protected.

The GDAX withdrawal limit is also $10K per day.

 

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Safe and Secure

Both Gemini and GDAX keep all U.S. dollar funds held in banks that are FDIC insured, meaning your balance up to $250,000 is protected.

However, there is an inherent but small risk of your account being hacked, so it’s highly recommended to keep your assets off exchanges. If you do choose to keep your coins on an exchange, though, GDAX and Gemini hold the reputation as being the most secure exchanges in the sector. Both platforms employ a number of methods to ensure a high level of security on par with more traditional financial institutions.

GDAX holds less than 2% of the customer funds in hot wallet, while the rest of the funds are held in cold (offline) storage using a combination of encrypted USB drives and paper backups stored in safe deposit boxes around the world. On top of that, the few digital assets that they do keep online are fully insured by a syndicate of Lloyd’s of London.

Gemini is one of the safest cryptocurrency exchanges. They don’t specify the number of assets kept online but states that the majority of cryptocurrency funds are stored in offline cold storage, rather than hot wallets. User accounts are backed up with two-factor authentication (2FA). Gemini operates at a high level of security and professionalism and their system uses secure hardware security modules (HSMs) with multi-signature technology to eliminate single points of failure.

 

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Customer Support

It’s not a secret that customer support can be a problem on some lesser known exchanges. However, GDAX and Gemini have great customer support and they provide you with the resources you need to navigate their platforms successfully.

Both exchanges have a very extensive FAQ pages that are perfect resources for the beginning investor. These pages not only cover common support issues but also explain investing terms.

Both platforms also offer ticket submission and email support and have a response time of 2-3 business days.

Gemini also has a blog that provides its users with instructions on how to purchase and sell Bitcoin.

 

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GDAX vs. Gemini:  Final Thoughts

Both GDAX and Gemini have similar functionality, fee structures, and funding options. This means that you couldn’t go wrong choosing either platform, and the decision comes down to personal preference.

GDAX would probably be best for those who are looking to trade Litecoin or move away from your Coinbase account.

On the other hand, Gemini is perfect for those who want to get started trading right away.

 

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GDAX vs. Gemini Pros and Cons

GDAX Pros

  • Very low fees
  • Highly liquid
  • Fully regulated in the US
  • International market
  • Hasn’t been hacked

GDAX Cons

  • Fewer available altcoins to choose from
  • Suspicion regarding the Ethereum spike
  • GDAX is owned by Coinbase which is known for lack of privacy


Gemini Pros

  • Easy to use
  • High volume exchange
  • Transparent and competitive fees
  • Secure
  • Trustworthy
  • Fiat Deposits and Withdrawals
  • Auctions available

Gemini Cons

  • Only Bitcoin and Ethereum available
  • Only USD transfers
  • No margin trading
  • No phone support available

 


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CaptainAltcoin's writers and guest post authors may or may not have a vested interest in any of the mentioned projects and businesses. None of the content on CaptainAltcoin is investment advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified financial planner. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CaptainAltcoin.com

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