Hundreds of cryptocurrency exchanges vie for users in the rapidly growing crypto ecosystem. Exchanges that have dominated the industry for years such as Coinbase and Gemini are forced to add new features to stay on top. Many investors use the same exchange for years without even considering the multitude of new and exciting platforms. Large trading platforms like Gemini are the best options for many users, but new platforms with different features and fee structures could be better suited to you. You may want to set up new accounts on multiple platforms to take advantage of the features that each provides.
What is a Cryptocurrency Exchange?
Cryptocurrency exchanges all offer the same base service, cryptocurrency trading. Most platforms can be funded with either fiat currency (for example, USD, EUR and GBP) or cryptocurrency. You could choose nearly any exchange to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum, the two largest cryptos by market capitalization. However, the platforms differ in security, features and supported cryptos and regions. Gemini may still be the best exchange for you, but you should learn the advantages of other major exchanges to make an informed decision.
Most top exchanges have expanded in functionality and features to compete in the quickly growing market. Platforms are also offering cryptocurrency trading to more regions as the market explodes in popularity around the world. As exchanges improve features and access, deciding which is perfect for you gets harder and harder.
What Makes Gemini Unique?
Gemini is available in more than 60 countries across the world and supports more fiat currencies than most cryptocurrency exchanges. Gemini supports USD, CAD, AUD, EUR, GBP, SKD and HKD. Gemini also plans on releasing a credit card with Mastercard, available to anyone in the United States. It charges no annual fee and can earn up to 3% back on dining, 2% on groceries and 1% on other purchases, paid in Bitcoin or other cryptos on Gemini.
Gemini has one of the best lending programs of all major exchanges. Other trading platforms only have a few supported cryptocurrencies and earn relatively lower interest. Gemini Earn lets you lend 38 different cryptos with a wide range of interest rates between 1.51% to 7.40% APY. One of Gemini’s largest competitors, Coinbase, has a lending program but it supports fewer cryptos.
Bitcoin has been criticized heavily in the news recently because of its high electricity usage, part of which is generated by burning fossil fuels. However, there is no need to worry about contributing to climate change when trading Bitcoin on Gemini. Recently the platform announced Gemini Green, a plan to offset Gemini’s small portion of CO2 emissions from Bitcoin. Gemini has plenty of unique features and everything most basic cryptocurrency investors need, but it still might not be right for you.
Why Gemini Might not be Right for You
Gemini is probably not the best cryptocurrency exchange for you if you fall into a few specific categories. Active users who trade with less than $200 often will suffer from high fees. Also, even though Gemini has a reasonable number of tradable altcoins, some exchanges offer many more. Customer support is also a bit bare, but the industry standard is about the same or worse. Overall, Gemini is a fantastic exchange. It just might not be perfect for your needs.
Common Complaint: Too few supported altcoins
Gemini supports most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization and more than 45 total, but it doesn’t offer many smaller tokens. If you want to invest in these less popular tokens you will have to set up an account with another exchange that supports them.
Crypto.com, Coinbase and Binance all have more cryptocurrencies listed than Gemini, but no exchange has all of them. You might want to check out a bunch of different exchanges and only sign up for accounts with the platforms that have the cryptos and features you want.
What to Look for in a Cryptocurrency Exchange
The first thing to consider when choosing a crypto exchange should be access. You should probably exclude exchanges that don’t support your country or the cryptocurrencies you want to trade. The second most important consideration is often security. Most of the time extra features don’t make up for poor security, especially if you keep funds in the exchange for a while. Cryptocurrency exchange hacks have been devastating for users in the past, so beware of platforms with inadequate security.
Fees should also be considered, especially for smaller or constantly active traders that would hemorrhage money to higher fees. Gemini is a good example because it charges relatively high flat fees for trades under $200.
Another important feature for many users is customer service, something that many exchanges skimp out on. Most platforms like Gemini have simple chat and email support, but if you want a real person to answer your call you’ll be hard-pressed to find an exchange with that service.
The Best Alternatives to Gemini
Gemini users looking to buy and sell the top few cryptocurrencies and use the other features the exchange provides might not need an account on other platforms. Nevertheless, there is no harm in exploring the advantages and disadvantages other platforms have. You might not know that different exchanges have lower fees or support the exciting cryptos you want to invest in. Why not check a few other options out just in case?
Some investors may not want to set up accounts on multiple exchanges, fearing that their personal information might be stolen. This has happened before on poorly secured exchanges, but the top exchanges today have minimized the risk by implementing immense security measures. If you just want access to nontrading resources like the guides and tutorials on Coinbase, you might not even have to provide your personal info.
Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world and has dominated the U.S. market for years. Coinbase has a strong reputation for security and user-friendliness. Coinbase can be accessed from a browser or on its app on iOS and Android. New investors in the cryptocurrency space may find Coinbase to be a vital stepping stone to new ideas and projects. The platform has vast educational resources such as simple tutorials on trading and complex break-downs of difficult topics. It offers guides ranging from how to pay your taxes on cryptocurrency returns to an explanation of popular slang terms in crypto.
If you want to trade stocks, ETFs and a select number of the top cryptocurrencies on the same trading platform, WeBull might be perfect for you. WeBull supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano and 6 other tokens. Some major benefits of WeBull are commission-free trading and fractional stocks. WeBull also offers paper trading, an incredibly useful tool for traders looking to practice before jumping headlong into stock trading. You can start with up to $100,000,000 in make-believe cash to try out trading strategies without risking your real money. WeBull also gives you a free stock just for signing up for an account. You can even claim a second free stock when you make your first deposit of over $5.
Crypto.com’s greatest advantage over other exchanges and Gemini, in particular, is how many altcoins it supports. It offers almost 100 different cryptocurrencies, about twice as many as Gemini. Crypto.com provides a series of debit cards with Visa that have increasingly attractive privileges depending on the amount of Crypto.com Coin (CRO) you purchase and hold. With the Obsidian card, which requires an enormous amount of held CRO, you earn 8% back in CRO on purchases, 100% back on Spotify and Netflix subscriptions and more. If you want to trade a large number of smaller market capitalization altcoins or take advantage of the debit card, Crypto.com is probably the better choice.
Robinhood attracted more than 30 million users over about 6 years with its simple user interface, fractional stocks, wide range of tradable assets and other features. Trading cryptocurrencies on Robinhood is completely free. It lets you buy and sell cryptos as much as you want with no hidden fees and no commissions. Unfortunately, Robinhood only offers 7 different cryptocurrencies and it doesn’t let you transfer them out of your account.
If you are looking for a diverse range of altcoins, Robinhood is not the exchange for you. However, if you just want to trade stocks and the few cryptos Robinhood has, it's a fantastic platform. One of Robinhood’s greatest advantages over other stockbrokers is its low margin rate — 2.5% for every bracket. Access to margin is locked behind the Robinhood Gold paywall for $5 per month, but the low rate should make up for the fee.
Voyager is an extremely easy-to-use cryptocurrency exchange with an app on iOS and Android. It uses its Smart Order routing system to get you the best prices on more than 60 different cryptocurrencies. This system lets Voyager provide commission-free trades and lower fees altogether than most other exchanges. The platform only takes trading fees as a small percentage of the price difference between the quoted price and the price its routing systems can achieve. If your trade is completed at the quoted price, no fee is charged. Voyager also has a news tab where users can stay up-to-date with new articles on important events in the cryptocurrency market. If you’re looking for minuscule fees on a user-friendly crypto trading app, Voyager is one of the best options.
Is Switching Crypto Exchanges Worth It?
If you are happy with Gemini and don’t want the extra features and supported cryptos other exchanges provide, there is little need to switch. However, there are few reasons not to open an account on another exchange beyond security concerns. You will have to provide personal information to any exchange you want to trade on. Although, if you trust the new exchange to keep it safe and want access to features Gemini doesn’t offer, you might try out other exchanges.
Frequently Asked Questions
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About Henry Stater
Henry is an expert in all things crypto. He stays up to date with all the latest coins, platforms and technologies in the field. He has particular expertise in the burgeoning decentralized finance ecosystem and loves trying out all the new platforms. He also always follows major events in other financial markets and geopolitics as a whole, especially when an event’s effects ripple through the crypto market.