Gemini vs Kraken: Two Heavyweights Face-off

Thanks for joining us. We’ve got two crypto exchange heavyweights to compare today! Gemini and Kraken both hail from the USA and, as such, are both US-friendly. This is important, of course, as many exchanges exclude American users due to financial regulations. 

Beyond the same passport, what do these exchanges have in common, and where do they differ? Read on as we delve into fees, design, security, crypto trading experience, the range of digital assets, their financial services, mobile trading, fiat deposits, and more!


Gemini Trading Fees

We should start up by saying that very few users are coming to Gemini for its trading fees. The reality is that the platform is highly regulated, funds are insured, and it offers the most advanced security in the industry. Fortunately, that security also comes with pretty fair fees.

Trading charges for beginners and low volume traders (deemed to be anyone trading less than $1m per month) are:

  • 0.1% for makers
  • 0.35% for takers

This table should make things a bit clearer, and as you can see, as trading volume increases, fees reduce:

Gemini trading fees

Kraken Trading Fees

Kraken also offers low fees on their trading platform:

  • The maker fee starts at: 0.16%
  • The taker fee starts at 0.26%

As a result, users can move on from the higher trading fees and reduce them by trading more than $50,000 per month, comparatively much lower than most cryptocurrency exchanges.

Kraken trading fees

Now, look at this second table and notice that all crypto pairs featuring a fiat currency (like USD, GBP, or EUR) or a stablecoin (like USDT or USDC) as the base currency are charged differently. 

Kraken fee schedule

Read Kraken’s guide to trading costs.

Gemini v Kraken: Kraken edges this round because the trading volume limits for reduced fees are so low.

Sign Up & KYC Experience

Opening a Gemini Account

Gemini could be the best cryptocurrency exchange for you, but you won’t know until you give it a try! 

Here’s how you join on a web browser:

  1. Click this link to go to the Gemini website
  2. Click ‘Get started’
  3. Give your email address, password, and full name
  4. Head to your emails and find the verification code
  5. Submit that code on the website and add your location and phone number
  6. Next, you’ll be sent a verification code via SMS
  7. Gemini encourages users to set up a banking API that connects your trading account to your bank. This helps prove your identity and gives you faster access to your funds for trading than anywhere else
  8. You’ll then need to upload some documents:
    1. One to prove your identity – passport, state ID
    2. One to prove your address – bank statement, utility bill, government-issued document
  9. Set up Two Factor Authentication with Google Authenticator
  10. Once approved (which can take just minutes), depositing from your bank account will be instant and you can buy digital currencies right away

Joining the Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange

Making an account with a Bitcoin exchange has never been more secure or straightforward, and Kraken is no exception! So let’s get you started:

  1. Click here to begin the process
  2. Find the ‘Create Account’ button and go through to the next page
  3. Provide an email address, country of residence, username, and password
  4. Accept Kraken’s T&Cs
  5. In a separate tab or window, find an email from Kraken and copy the long code sent to you
  6. Paste that code in the Kraken window and log in again using your username and password combo as instructed
  7. Once signed in to your new account, you will be able to trade without uploading documents for KYC checks, though with some limits in place
  8. To get the full experience, you must submit proof of ID, proof of residence, a selfie, and occupation details
  9. Wait for verification (~10 mins)

Gemini v Kraken: The two exchanges offer similar signups, through Kraken offers KYC-free trading.

Ease of Use & Feel of Website or App

Gemini UX/UI

Gemini allows users to choose their user interface based on confidence or competency, with the ‘Streamline Trading View’ below being where most beginners start:

Gemini UX/UI

Later, as beginners develop into frequent traders and look for more alternative coins, lower market cap projects, or better trading instruments, they typically progress on the advanced trading platform below:

Gemini advanced trading platform

You can find both interfaces in the Gemini mobile app, one of the highest-rated and most secure in the industry.

Using Kraken

It’s no wonder Kraken’s trading volume exceeds $1bn every day. The platform is a joy to use, with excellent graphic design, impressive UX, a fantastic user portal, three mobile apps to segregate services (more or less by complexity), and a great range of digital assets. 

Kraken UX/UI

The actual trading interface isn’t to everyone’s taste, but with retro styles (see below) and an exciting layout, it’s not too hard to get used to if you know no different, even better!

Kraken trading interface

Gemini v Kraken: This is hard to call because they’re both very well designed for new users, but overall, Gemini has a more trustworthy feel.

Deposit Methods

Deposit Fiat Currency into Gemini

For USD, Gemini accepts both:

  • *ACH transfers – free to deposit and up to $100,000 per day withdrawal limit
  • Wire transfers – variable deposit fees and no max withdrawal limit

For GBP, Gemini facilitates:

  • Faster Payments
  • SWIFT Wire

EUR deposits can be made by:

  • SEPA
  • SWIFT Wire

The banking API connection performs*ACH transfers made earlier. Wire transfer fees are always charged at the sender’s end.

Depositing Fiat Currencies on Kraken

Kraken offers compatibility for seven fiat currencies to all of their users, except for those living in New York or Washington. 

Here are the fiat currencies you can deposit and their accepted methods:

  • USD – Fedwire, SWIFT, SEN, Wire transfer
  • CAD – Wire, SWIFT, Cash/Debit at Canada Post
  • AUD – Bank transfer / Osko

Each method has different deposit fees, with some, if not most of them being free.

Gemini v Kraken: Kraken offers a more extensive selection of deposit methods and fiat currency.

Instant Buy Options (Buying with a Credit or Debit card)

Make purchases on Gemini

Gemini is quite an interesting case. Founded by the Winklevoss Twins, who are better-known for conceptualizing Facebook, it is a platform that values security, integrity, compliance, and regulation. For many crypto-rebels, these terms all equate to over-centralization. Still, for Gemini, it’s exactly the recipe that many skeptics, beginners, and institutions need to feel safe when making investments in digital coins. But, of course, playing by the rules is a good thing, especially if you consider what happened to popular exchange BitMEX (it was shut down for failing to stop money launderers). 

There’s even more good news. When it comes to making purchases, there are more than 50 digital currency options to choose from. Users can buy these crypto-assets with their debit cards for a 3.49% fee or make an ACH transfer (which is done speedily through the banking API). 

Purchasing crypto on Kraken

Like Gemini, Kraken’s origins are based on trust, security, and regulation, especially when you consider that the platform was built in response to the mega-hacking of Mt.Gox (850,000 BTC were stolen from cold storage). With great foundations, the platform could offer an excellent brokerage service.  

Debit and credit card transaction costs are 3.75% plus a €0.25 flat fee for each transaction. This works out to be pretty much in line with other exchanges, and so the competitive fees offer users the best market price, especially when the spread is low (low-liquidity coins can see spreads reach as high as 10%). 

In total, there are around 60 coins for purchase. These coins can be traded on around 350 market pairs on the website or mobile app. 

Read the full purchasing guide here.

Gemini v Kraken: Gemini offers lower fees for card purchases.

Trading Experience

Trading with Gemini

While Gemini is one of the few crypto exchanges that prioritizes American consumers, it has recently expanded into other territories, including the UK and the EU. This has benefitted the overall trading statistics of the platform, with the cryptocurrency exchange experiencing higher trading volumes each day. 

There are great trading features, multiple user interfaces, high-quality customer support, and a sufficient selection of digital currencies. What readers may find interesting is that Gemini currently has the highest-rated crypto mobile app, with a 4.8 rating for iOS and 4.5 for Android.

Trading is secure, seamless, and straightforward. Gemini is a safe bet if an older family member asks you which exchange they should sign up for. 

Trading with Gemini is secure, seamless, and simple

Kraken: Multiple apps, margin trading, and more!

Founded in 2011 and launched in 2013, Kraken has had a lot longer to do things right than most rivals. Fortunately, they’ve used that time well and are globally recognized among the top 10 exchanges (even higher for Americans). 

With 90+ coins and 370+ market pairs listed on this crypto exchange, you can ensure that diversity won’t be an issue unless you’re a dedicated altcoin hunter. However, a slight problem is the need for more advanced traders to download three separate apps. Why might this be? Kraken has one simplified and self-titled app for beginners, the Kraken Pro app for regular traders, and a futures trading app called Kraken Futures.

In truth, Kraken accommodates beginners very well and has a dedicated live chat function for any issues they may encounter.

Gemini v Kraken: In all fairness, neither deserves to lose this round.

Reputation and Security

Is the Gemini crypto exchange secure?

Gemini has never been hacked, which is why it’s institutionally recognized as an island for crypto investments. Instead, the exchange’s cybersecurity professionals store crypto assets in ‘cold wallets.’ Essentially, this means that most of their user funds (95+) are stored offline and are protected by military-grade defense systems. Security measures like these might appear excessive to some, but not for those who have witnessed the worst part of crypto history, hacking, corruption, and mistakes.

The word on Kraken 

Kraken has some excellent security measures of their own (including cold storage), which is why they also have never been hacked. However, it’s transparency and community that Kraken’s reputation is built on. For example, when Mt.Gox was hacked, Kraken jumped in to try and help the victims. 

A few years back, when the crypto industry started gaining momentum, Kraken introduced the concept of a ‘Proof of Reserves’ audit. This proves that they hold all of their users’ funds responsibly. Now, most of the top exchanges have followed suit. 

Gemini v Kraken: Let’s give a big high-five to both of them.

Gemini or Kraken: Who is our winner?

So, how does Gemini compare with Kraken? Pretty closely, in fact. On most counts, these two exchanges are well-aligned. Now, we aren’t here to dish out financial advice, investment advice, or tell you what to do, but we can say that if you’re looking for trust, go with Gemini. If you’re looking for style, go with Kraken. 

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