The United States is known for being one of the most challenging markets for crypto exchanges to operate. As regulatory agencies continue to double down on crypto, this is likely to continue being the case.
However, American users will be happy to know 2 big names are operating in the United States. The best thing is that as both comply with regulators, you don’t need to worry about their legitimacy. We are talking about Kraken and Gemini!
In this Kraken vs. Gemini review, we will be taking a look at these two popular exchanges. Worry not. If you are not in the United States, you will still benefit from both platforms. Let’s get straight to the topic!
What Are Kraken And Gemini?
The crypto exchange you choose will determine many things. For that reason, if you put money into it, you should know how it works. Let’s start this Kraken vs. Gemini review by taking a quick look at what each of them is.
What is Kraken?
If you heard about exchanges before, you probably heard about Kraken. This cryptocurrency exchange has been based in San Francisco ever since being founded by Jesse Powell in 2011. The exchange became extremely popular due to its support for multiple cryptocurrencies, security, and features.
Kraken strives to be a ‘crypto exchange for everyone’. Given how complicated crypto can sometimes be, this is a bold mission purchase, but Kraken is not doing a bad job. Being the largest exchange by euro volume, it is trusted by many users each day.
What is Gemini?
Gemini is one of the most used exchanges in the crypto space. It was founded in 2015 by the Winklevoss twins. It supports multiple cryptocurrencies and features that make it a favorite for new and veteran traders alike.
The exchange currently sees over $200 million in transactions each day, ensuring enough liquidity to be a reliable platform. Kraken is also one of the leaders of educating people in the crypto community, being the platform behind Cryptopedia. This is one of the most extensive learning resources in the crypto space.
What Features Does Each Platform Offer?
An exchange might have a lot of liquidity and cryptocurrency support but fail on other aspects. One of these is features. As the crypto ecosystem grows, new tools are necessary to make the best out of it. This is something that both exchanges understand.
Let’s compare Kraken vs. Gemini in terms of features.
Kraken provides more than enough payment methods to fund your account. It is important to note that you must verify your account to the Intermediate or Pro level to fund it with fiat currencies. Let’s take a look at the funding methods.
When depositing into Kraken, your funds will often be available online in just one day. You can do this in US Dollars (USD), Euros (EUR), and Canadian Dollars (CAD), paying minimal fees. Japanese Yen (JPY), Pound sterling (GBP), Swiss Francs (CHF), and Australian Dollars (AUD) are also available.
Cash and debit card deposits into Kraken are only possible in person in Canadian Dollars (CAD). This has to be done in Canada Post locations, and the account has to be registered in Canada.
US domestic deposits via checks are not supported at this moment.
Visa And Mastercard Purchases
Considering a minimum transaction of €10, you can use your Visa or Mastercard to purchase crypto. You must own cards, and you have to reside in a supported country. Currently, this type of purchase is only available in euros.
Take into consideration that first-time card purchases will result in a 72-hour hold on your account. This is a one-time-only security measure, but make sure to plan accordingly.
Funding With Crypto
When funding your Kraken account with cryptocurrencies, your deposits will be credited instantly following account confirmation. A lot of coins are available for this operation, so your pair of choices is probably supported.
Kraken makes it possible to stake both cryptocurrencies and fiat to earn rewards. Rewards generated by the Proof of Stake process are paid twice a week.
You will find similar programs in other exchanges, such as Gemini Earn, which we’ll go over in a bit. Although the inner workings of these features are different, both behave comparably from the user’s point of view. You can start staking right away even if you are a new user, but it may be better for advanced users when compared to Gemini Earn.
Available currencies can vary depending on your country of residence, but there are several options:
|Bitcoin (BTC)||Cardano (ADA)||Cosmos (ATOM)||Ethereum (ETH)|
|Euro (EUR)||Flow (FLOW)||Kava (KAVA)||Kusama (KSM)|
|Polkadot (DOT)||Solana (SOL)||Tezos (XTZ)||US Dollar (USD)|
As this list is constantly expanding, we recommend you check Kraken’s staking web page’s latest information.
Given the vast amounts of information regarding price and volume in cryptocurrency trading, no human can see it all. Cryptowatch is a tool by Kraken which attempts to mitigate this issue.
This feature helps you keep track of your portfolio and 2000 crypto markets with relative ease. You can achieve this through personalized alerts and powerful data visualization. If you spend considerable time looking at data, this tool will probably help you be more efficient.
Kraken takes pride in having robust, stable, and trustable indices made with solid and well-managed data. Index methodologies and policies are available to the public, making transparency the focus once again.
Advanced Trading Features
Trading can take form in several manners. While most users will opt to do spot trading without leverage, many investors need a bit more. Kraken supports several types of trading in addition to spot markets. Let’s take a look at them!
Once you know how primary trading works, you may want to get into margin trading. In Kraken, you can get up to 5x leverage when using this feature, and this means you can use five times more funds than you have to place market or limit orders.
These are the currencies that you can use for margin trading in Kraken:
|Bitcoin (BTC)||Ethereum (ETH)||Tether (USDT)||Monero (XMR)|
|Ethereum Classic (ETC)||Augur (REP)||Ripple (XRP)||Bitcoin Cash (BCH)|
|Tezos (XTZ)||Litecoin (LTC)||Cardano (ADA)||EOSIO (EOS)|
|Dash (DASH)||Tron (TRX)||Chainlink (LINK)||USD Coin (USDC)|
The benefit of margin trading is that you can increase your earnings by using leverage. However, be wary of using this feature without the proper knowledge… Risks also increase!
Medium to advanced users can also make use of Kraken for futures trading. This is a way to speculate on future prices and achieve different goals while doing so. Doing well can minimize risk, especially since Kraken allows up to 50x leverage when using this option.
If you are looking to execute large trades, you can do that through Kraken’s OTC Desk. Over-the-counter trading is a service separate from the traditional open Kraken exchange, developed for institutions and high net-worth individuals.
OTC Desk clients get premium advice from experts and 1-on-1 service to achieve optimal use of their assets. Keep in mind, minimum order sizes have to be above $100,000.
Liquidity is the possibility to exchange assets quickly at a stable price on a certain market. When it comes to Kraken, liquidity is high compared to the alternatives, mainly due to its high trading volume, amount of active traders, and low fees.
Gemini probably has all the payment methods you can ask for, but check them out by yourself. Just like Kraken, the exchange strives to make crypto investing as easy as possible. As such, it offers several funding methods.
Apple Pay And Google Pay
You can use Apple Pay and Google Pay to fund your Gemini account if you prefer. This has to be done through the mobile app and provides one of the easiest methods of acquiring crypto.
Bank Transfer Deposits
In Gemini, you need to link your bank account to send fiat deposits in the form of ACH transfers. Bank transfer deposits are made available for trading instantly and can be withdrawn within five business days.
Fiat currency can be sent to your Gemini account through wire transfers as well. These often take one day to become available in your account but can take longer depending on the bank.
Debit Card Purchases
After linking your debit card and verifying it, you can use it to purchase up to $1000 in crypto each day. Verification is quick and straightforward, allowing for another fast funding method.
Of course, Gemini also allows you to deposit crypto directly into your account. Over 50 different assets are supported, which we will look into later in this Kraken vs. Gemini review.
If you have a Gemini account, you can opt-in to use its Earn option. When using Earn, you will earn interest on the funds you allocate but can redeem them at any time. Interests are compounded daily with some of the best rates and can produce an APY of up to 8.05%.
There is a practical calculator you can use to get an idea of how this works! You will find similar features in Kraken and other exchanges as well, like staking. Gemini Earn can be a bit simpler for new users; allowing fund withdrawal at any point is a plus.
Earn is available in every US state, which stands out as most financial institutions will lack nationwide coverage.
Advanced Trading Features
Like Kraken, Gemini makes it easy for advanced and new traders to make the best out of their crypto. In addition to offering spot, margin, and futures trading, it also included other features you are sure to love.
Gemini Active Trader
Advanced users can enjoy the features of Gemini Active Trader, such as advanced charting, multiple order types, auctions, and block trading. A great interface for mobile browsers allows you to operate comfortably even when you are away from your computer.
Like Kraken’s OTC Desk, Gemini Clearing allows two users to trade outside of the order book. Mediated by Gemini, it does not require a minimum trade size but offers additional service and control for clients who need it.
Anonymity is assured when using this service and provides the high level of security expected in all of Gemini’s products.
Using crypto for daily expenses gets easier each day, and Gemini Pay is one of the reasons. By using the mobile app, you can pay with crypto at over 30,000 retail stores all over the US. This is a game-changing feature if you can take advantage of it, as other exchanges usually do not offer this.
You will not be charged fees when using this, and Gemini’s stablecoin (GUSD) is equivalent to US dollars when paying. You can make payments with Bitcoin, Gemini dollars, Ether, Litecoin, Zcash, or Bitcoin Cash.
Gemini Credit Card
Have you ever heard of a credit card giving back crypto for your purchases? The Gemini Credit Card does that. With this card, you can choose one of over 40 cryptocurrencies available to get paid with. On every purchase, you can get 1%, 2%, and even 3% back to be deposited into your Gemini account.
While the APR Gemini Credit Card applies to their lending is not the best, this is a card to consider. The reason is you won’t pay any type of annual fees or foreign fees if you get it. So, even if some of your cards pay back better rewards, this one doesn’t add a burden to your budget!
Gemini offers an asset storage service with a level of security that is hard to match, called Gemini Custody. It is regulated, licensed, and audited, reaching some of the highest standards in the industry. This service offers high liquidity and no minimums, along with flexible pricing.
How Secure Is Each Platform?
We value the safety of digital assets and information a lot, and you should too. As you probably heard, millions of dollars have been lost in hacked exchanges. When comparing Kraken vs. Gemini regarding security, you will see both are doing an excellent job. That does not come as a surprise, given how much they have achieved through the years.
Kraken has more options to secure accounts, but Gemini stands out for its $200M insurance for cold storage.
Let’s see what these companies do to safeguard your account and funds.
Kraken recognizes that if we make the cryptocurrency scene safer it will benefit everyone. To back that philosophy up it has assembled several security teams. These experts rigorously check not only Kraken’s products but also other vendors. If they happen to find dangerous bugs, they work with the developers to fix them.
Measures taken to keep accounts under the control of the owner are extremely important. Let’s see what Kraken does directly to keep the assets of its clients safe.
- 2FA through Google Authenticator and Yubikey
- Withdrawals have to be confirmed by email
- Email communication is secured and encrypted through PGP
- Sensitive data is encrypted at rest and in transit
- Constant monitoring for suspicious account activity
- Configurable account timeout
- Time lock can be configured when you are not available
- Phone and SMS account recovery is disabled for improved security
- SSL encryption throughout the platform
- High focus on API key permissions granularity and boundaries
Even having full reserves, it’s important to take measures to protect coins. Kraken stores deposits in offline, geographically distributed cold storage wallets. These are some of the best available practices to safeguard digital assets.
Penetration Testing And Bug Bounty
Kraken works hard on identifying, testing, and securing all possible attack angles through an expert team. The exchange also runs a Bug Bounty program to incentivize external parties to report issues if they find them.
When an online service has money that belongs to you, it is paramount to know how they handle their reserves. Kraken not only claims to hold full reserves but also developed an industry-leading auditing process to prove it.
Transparency without compromise of user transparency is hard to achieve, but this company seems to move in the right direction. Any user can independently check that his funds were included in the latest audit. A detailed description of the process, as well as identifying weaknesses and future plans, is available here.
Gemini is another cryptocurrency exchange that prides itself on offering great security. Like Kraken, Gemini has never been hacked or lost its user funds, which is only possible due to the inclusion of several security features. Let’s take a look at them!
- 2FA is required to log in and to make crypto withdrawals
- Hardware Security Key support for the best 2FA protection
- You can whitelist addresses to prevent withdrawals to unknown destinations
- Rate-limiting protects accounts from brute force attacks
- Passwords are hashed and salted making them unusable even if the database is compromised
- Personal and other sensitive information is encrypted both in transit and at rest
Gemini uses hardware Security Modules (HSM) to store most part of its crypto reserves. These are devices that operate as hardware wallets with additional security features that prevent physical and digital tampering.
HSMs used by Gemini are only implemented if they pass some of the most demanding security ratings. The result is that no hacker could access the crypto reserves without physically interacting with the devices… Even then, they would have to jump through several security loops like security personnel.
Penetration Testing And Bug Bounty
In case cryptocurrencies have to be extracted from cold storage, multiple parties have to sign operations. Valuable information like private keys is stored in geographically distributed locations with rigorous monitoring and access control.
Services needed only from inside Gemini have separate access from the public website and are not exposed to the internet.
Gemini also has very sensible policies regarding bugs reported by external researchers, including a Bug Bounty program.
Gemini complies with cyber security regulations by the New York Department of Financial Services. It is the first crypto exchange to complete SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 exams and an ISO 27001 certification.
Which Customer Support Is Better?
Having a lot of great features is nice, but what if something fails? Customer support is one of the most valued aspects of crypto exchanges. Read this comparison of Kraken vs Gemini’s way to help their clients solve issues.
The first step if you have trouble using the platform should be Kraken’s support center. There you can find many articles regarding how to use the platform, funding, trading, mobile apps, futures, and much more.
Real-Time Customer Support
Although Kraken’s knowledge base should catch most of your inquiries, maybe you prefer something more personal. For those situations, you can rely on its 24/7 live chat, send an email, or call support. Phone support lines are available Monday to Friday from 6 AM to 6 PM EST.
Knowing clients’ satisfaction and peace of mind are valuable for its business, Kraken assembled a great support team. You will often find your issues solved in less than 24 hours.
Cryptopedia and Knowledge Base
Improving public knowledge on all things related to cryptocurrencies is certain to benefit everyone involved. Taking that into consideration, Gemini created the Cryptopedia, an excellent online resource that provides information to users of all levels.
For things directly related to Gemini’s products and services, you can go to its huge Knowledge Base. There you can find articles covering all sorts of topics about Gemini and more.
Real-Time Customer Support
If you need extra help, you can contact Gemini through a chat inside the platform or send a support ticket. However, it does not have phone support, which would add considerably to your peace of mind when using these services.
What About Fees? Which One Is Better?
Fees are not to be taken lightly, especially when working with crypto, sometimes costly. Additionally, we must get a sense of what our operations will cost beforehand, so let’s see
Instant Buy is the simplest way to fund your account to buy crypto in Kraken. Standard fees charged by the exchange are 0.9% for stablecoins and 1.5% for any other crypto.
On top of that, depending on your method of payment, you will be charged additional fees. Payment cards and digital wallet payments generate a 3.75% fee plus a fixed €0.25.
In the case of online banking or ACH transfers, you will pay 0.5% on top of the standard Kraken fee.
When performing exchanges on Kraken’s platform, your fees will be calculated according to your trading volume during the last 30 days. Maker fees start at 0.16% and can reach 0% of your volume is large enough. Taker fees start at 0.26% and can go down to 0.10% for big traders.
Wire transfers are free to deposit money into your Gemini account, but consider that your bank may charge its fees. Cryptocurrency deposits and ACH are also free from fees.
If you wish to deposit through a debit card transfer, you will be charged 3.40% of the total purchase.
When buying crypto in Gemini, you will be paying both a convenience fee as well as a transaction fee.
The convenience fee is 0.5% and is included in the quoted price before you place an order. Transaction fees are applied depending on the currency you use, starting at $0.99 for orders in US dollars and under $10.00. For transactions higher than $200, this fee will be 1.49% of the order value.
What Cryptocurrencies Does Each Platform Support?
Kraken supports over 90 crypto assets in total, so it probably has what you need. You will find all the well-known coins for sure. As this list is constantly expanding, you might want to check the latest information here.
At the time of writing, some of the currencies supported by Kraken are:
|0x (ZRX)||1inch (1INCH)||Aave (AAVE)||Aavegotchi (GHST)|
|Algorand (ALGO)||Ankr (ANKR)||Aragon (ANT)||Augur (REP)|
|Augur v2 (REPV2)||Axie Infinity (AXS)||Badger DAO (BADGER)||Balancer (BAL)|
|Bancor (BNT)||Band Protocol (BAND)||Basic Attention Token (BAT)||Bitcoin (BTC)|
Having 62 different crypto assets available, Gemini falls behind when compared to Kraken. This should not be an issue unless you need a rare coin since it supports the most popular coins. See the complete list of currencies here.
Some of the most popular include:
|Bitcoin (BTC)||Ether (ETH)||Litecoin (LTC)||Bitcoin Cash (BCH)|
|Zcash (ZEC)||Filecoin (FIL)||Dogecoin (DOGE)||Tezos (XTZ)|
|0x (ZRX)||1INCH (1INCH)||Aave (AAVE)||Alchemix (ALCX)|
|Amp (AMP)||Ankr Network (ANKR)||Axie Infinity (AXS)||Bancor Network (BNT)|
Which Platform Is The Best For You? Kraken or Gemini?
If you read the full article, you have a pretty good idea of how each of these exchanges works. Both of these companies run close in their well-designed structure.
Kraken has advanced trading features and all the financial tools you could ask for, and Gemini offers a simple Earn system to gain interest from your funds. When comparing Kraken vs. Gemini in terms of security, they both comply with extremely trusted standards and regulations.
Regarding customer support, Kraken seems to go the extra mile and offer phone support, which is excellent.
Kraken is also doing a bit better in crypto asset support, which can be vital to you. Costs are pretty similar on both platforms, but you should check availability and fees for your preferred payment and withdrawal methods.
That being said, we must say that both platforms are a solid choice for investing in cryptocurrency. This goes both for new and veteran traders! However, we believe Kraken is more likely to offer the best service for most traders.
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