Earlier this year, Bitcoin topped $30,000 for the first time. Over the past year, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have attracted plenty of new investors. More are looking at record-breaking prices and wondering when the right time to get into the market is.
If you’re already investing in cryptocurrencies, you have a different concern. You want to know what platform is the best option for managing your cryptocurrencies. Maybe you’ve tried one or two, or you’re dissatisfied with the one you’re using.
To that end, you’re wondering about Gemini vs Kraken, among others. How do these two platforms stack up against each other, and which is the best? We put together this complete review to help you make the right decision.
An Overview of Kraken
Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange that started in 2013. The company started earlier, but it didn’t focus on the trading platform until a few years later. Its management team worked with currency systems in online video games.
Before Kraken, the company’s CEO assisted another platform with tightening their security. In 2011, hackers hit Mt. Gox and stole a large number of Bitcoins. Kraken’s CEO helped the platform get back on its feet.
This gave Kraken’s team some powerful insight into the importance of security. That’s reflected in Kraken’s commitment to transparency and security. The team knows this is fundamental to creating trust for Kraken’s users.
One of Kraken’s strengths is its support for fiat currencies. As a “fiat gateway,” it provides a portal for users to turn “real-world” currencies into crypto. As such, Kraken is currently the leading Euro-to-Bitcoin platform.
Pros and Cons of Kraken
Kraken has been in the game for quite some time now. As a result, it offers a wide range of supports for crypto investors. It supports a multitude of coins, including:
It also supports more advanced trading options. That makes Kraken a good choice for experienced investors who are looking for more.
Kraken tends to have limits for withdrawals and deposits. If you can provide proof of funds, you can transfer up to $25,000 a day into Kraken. The withdrawal limit is the same.
This is good news for those looking for high-volume trading. The only downside is deposits can take a few days to process.
As noted above, Payward Inc., Kraken’s parent company, emphasizes trust. The company’s trading volume continues to grow at a rapid pace, indicating investors have a lot of confidence in it.
Kraken also has a commitment to security. It stores all new coin deposits in encrypted cold wallets. This kind of offline storage makes it more difficult for hackers to access your coins. The company states they have full reserves to prevent bank runs.
Kraken takes another step in adding two-factor authentication. It also adds “Master Key,” which locks certain account functions. You even have the option to block certain IPs from your account.
On the downside, Kraken doesn’t maintain FDIC compliance. That makes it a slightly riskier option for storing US currency.
The platform uses a maker-taker schedule of fees, with makers enjoying lower trading fees than takers. It also charges for wire transfers into accounts, as well as withdrawing from the account. The withdrawal fees are higher than deposit fees.
The biggest drawback, though, is Kraken doesn’t have a mobile app.
An Overview of Gemini
Of these two platforms, Gemini is the newer one. It was started by the Winklevoss twins in 2015.
Gemini tends to offer fewer options than other platforms like Kraken, but what it does do, it does relatively well. The platform allows for trading of a limited number of coins. The current list includes:
- Bitcoin Cash
Gemini is selective about its list of coins, because it only wants to deal with the safest currencies.
Much like Kraken, security is a top priority for Gemini. It uses two-factor authentication and cold storage, as well as hosting its platform on AWS. That means the platform has the added protection of AWS’s servers.
Gemini is also highly regulated, even when compared to Kraken. It’s licensed in the US, as well as regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Pros and Cons of Gemini
As noted, Gemini’s strengths are how secure the platform is. It’s regulated, which make it a better choice than some other platforms. It also deals only with the safest cryptocurrencies, providing traders a more selective list.
Gemini is also mobile-friendly, which means you can trade on the go with this platform.
That said, there are quite a few downsides to Gemini. If you’re looking for a less popular cryptocurrency, you won’t find it here. The platform only supports one fiat currency as well, USD.
The fees associated with Gemini also tend to be quite a bit higher than platforms like Kraken. It uses a maker-taker schedule as well, but the trading fees tend to be higher. Volume of trades does influence the rate you’ll pay.
You won’t be charged for your first 30 monthly withdrawals. There are withdrawal fees after you reach this limit. Deposits are always free.
There are also much lower deposit and withdrawals limits. That may appeal to low-volume traders, but it’s unlikely to appeal to those doing a lot of deals. Finally, you can only make deposits via bank transfers.
Gemini vs Kraken: Which Is Best?
When it comes to choosing a crypto exchange, the “best” platform usually depends on what you want to do and how experienced you are. This is definitely the case when it comes to deciding between Kraken and Gemini.
Security is high with either of these platforms, so you should feel confident choosing either of them. Gemini might offer a slightly safer option, owing to it being licensed and regulated in the US. Its pared down list of currencies also appeals to those traders looking for a surer thing.
If, by contrast, you want to invest in some lesser-known coins, then Kraken offers you much more freedom. With a more expansive list of coins, you can diversify your crypto wallet much more.
Kraken’s lower fees and high deposit and withdrawal limits will appeal to those looking to do a lot of trading. The platform’s advanced trading options also make it a good choice for experienced traders.
Considering Ease of Use
Gemini might appeal to those who are just getting started in the crypto market. It offers fewer trading options, as well as fewer currencies. Despite that, it’s not usually recommended for beginners.
That’s because its interface can be more difficult to get the hang of. Despite that, it may still be a better interface for the novice than Kraken. Kraken's advanced options can make it more difficult to navigate.
Kraken also lacks a mobile app right now, which means you can’t trade when you’re on the go. Gemini does offer a mobile app, which may be one good reason to consider it.
Both Kraken and Gemini score well on customer support. Both have “Support” features, as well as FAQs. Kraken offers a 24/7 chat feature to help you solve issues.
Gemini support usually resolves issues in mere hours. For both platforms, email is the preferred communication channel.
Gemini focuses on the US market. It’s regulated in the US, based in the US, and offers USD as its only fiat currency.
That said, you can get an account if you live in another country. You’ll just need to remember you’re conducting all your activity in USD.
Kraken has a more global approach, although it’s not available in every country. Before you sign up, the platform will check your eligibility. Banking regulations are often the issue keeping the platform out of certain countries.
Currently, Kraken isn’t available in Japan, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, and a few other countries.
Kraken does offer more than one fiat currency. It’s especially popular for those who want to fund their accounts with the Euro. The platform also offers debit and credit card deposits in Canadian dollars.
In short, if you’re outside the US, you might want to look at Kraken.
Pros and cons of Gemini
- Incredibly fast and easy onboarding and verification. Probably the best in the industry at the moment.
- No other company in the crypto industry is as regulated and certified as Gemini.
- Never been hacked and has arguably the best-in-class security standards
- Competitive transaction fees
- Apps are available for both iOS and Android
- Customer support is available via web, app, phone, or Twitter
- On Gemini ActiveTrader, many fiat currency trading pairs are not available yet
- Higher fees for transactions less than $200
- Access to Gemini’s ActiveTrader (which has lower fees) needs the support team’s manual approval
Pros and cons of Kraken
- When it comes to security, no exchange can outdo Kraken
- Users who are new to the crypto world will find it quite easy to start trading on Kraken as it is beginner-friendly
- Kraken is one of the most liquid crypto exchanges today as it is quite popular among both professional traders and crypto enthusiasts
- Regulated in the US and they have a US banking license
- Kraken is very transparent, and that is how it has become one of the most trustworthy exchanges in the world. In fact, Kraken is the first exchange that carried out proof of reserves.
- There are 50+ cryptocurrencies on Kraken for buying and selling, which includes the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and much more
- Kraken supports trading in six different fiat currencies, which gives Kraken an advantage over many other cryptocurrency exchanges that only supports 1-3 fiat currencies
- There have been many complaints from Kraken users about the slow verification process of new users for intermediate and pro-level accounts
- Kraken is suffering from the same issue that many multi-exchange platforms suffer from - sluggish customer support. But we have to give credit to Kraken as the company is trying its best to improve its customer support
Frequently asked questions about Gemini
We’ve compiled some answers to questions we often get. Should you have any other questions, feel free to reach out below in the comments.
How long does it take to be verified by Gemini?
It depends on the quality of your documentation and things like your country of residence, however, in our case it was extremely fast. In fact, it was probably the fastest out of all the exchanges we tested.
This was due to the technologies Gemini uses for verification as well as their deep focus on regulation and certification. You can really tell Gemini has invested heavily in this and we think it will pay off for them in the long run.
They state that verification usually occurs within 24 hours, however, in our case it was 10 minutes and it was a relatively painless experience
Where is Gemini based and are they regulated?
Gemini is based in New York City, New York. It is a New York trust company that is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS)
Which cryptocurrencies does Gemini support?
Gemini supports the following cryptocurrencies:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Basic Attention Token (BAT)
- Dai (DAI)
- Orchid (OXT)
- Maker (MKR)
- Decentraland Mana (MANA)
- 0x (ZRX)
- Kyber Network Crystal (KNC)
- StorJ (STORJ)
- Paxos Gold (PAXG)
- Compound Token (COMP)
- Amp Token (AMP)
- Balancer (BAL)
- Curve (CRV)
- Ren (REN)
- Synthetix (SNX)
- Universal Market Access (UMA)
- Uniswap (UNI)
- Yearn. finance (YFI)
- Aave (AAVE)
- Filecoin (FIL)
Which countries is Gemini available in?
Gemini is available in the following countries:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
- The British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- South Africa
What products does Gemini offer?
Gemini offers the following products:
- Gemini Mobile
- Gemini ActiveTrader
- Gemini Wallet
- Gemini Clearing
- Gemini Custody
- Gemini Dollar
- Gemini Pay
What documents are required for verification?
For US applicants, you need your proof of identity for verification.
For international applicants, you need your proof of identity and proof of address, for verification
Is Gemini insured?
Yes, Gemini is insured. A portion of Gemini’s assets is stored in their online Hot wallet. The rest is stored in their offline, air-gapped Cold Storage facility. The portion stored online is insured against security breaches.
How do I contact Gemini support?
Gemini’s customer support is available through the following channels
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (for press related inquiries)
- Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/GeminiDotCom
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/GeminiDotCom
- An online helpdesk
- Live Chat
What payment method does Gemini support?
Gemini supports the following payment methods:
- U.K. bank transfers (via Faster Payments)
- U.K. bank transfers (CHAPS or SWIFT)
- Debit cards (excl. prepaid versions)
- ACH bank transfer (in the U.S. only)
Frequently asked questions about Kraken
We’ve compiled some answers to questions we often get. Should you have any other questions, feel free to reach out below in the comments.
Is Kraken Safe to use?
To safeguard the funds and privacy of their users is a number one priority of Kraken. They have a team of experts who have implemented multiple safeguards to prevent theft of money or information.
Any users that decide to trade on Kraken can be rest assured as Kraken ensures that the cryptocurrency exchange is stable, has full reserves, and meets the highest standards of legal compliance. With two factor authentication and email confirmations to withdraw funds, along with round the clock monitoring for any suspicious activities, Kraken is committed to its mission of being the most secured crypto exchange in the world.
Is Kraken licensed or regulated?
Kraken announced in September that they received a U.S.bank charter. This is a first for any crypto company. They stated that Kraken Financial “will be the first regulated, U.S. bank to provide comprehensive deposit-taking, custody and fiduciary services for digital assets.”
They comply with legal and regulatory requirements in all he jurisdictions they operate in.
Kraken is registered as a Money Services Business (MSB) with:
- FinCEN in USA — registration number 31000176593851.
- FINTRAC in Canada — registration number M19343731.
In Australia, Kraken (as the entity "Bit Trade Pty Limited") is registered as a Digital Currency Exchange and regulated by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)
Payward Asia, Inc. is registered as a Crypto Asset Exchange Operator with the FSA in Japan. Registration Number: Director-General of Kanto Local Finance Bureau No. 00022
Is my Personal Data Secured?
Kraken's security team has ensured that the personal information of its users remains protected through their dedicated design efforts. It is not possible to access the encrypted sensitive client data of Kraken through their website. At the same time, it is almost impossible to decrypt the encrypted client data. A hacker will have to access multiple highly secured systems first to get their hands on the sensitive client data.
When it comes to document security, all user documents are watermarked. Hence, these documents cannot be used elsewhere. For account-related security measures, the most likely scenario that can come true is the leakage of client-specific data. That, too, is only possible if someone manages to access a user's login credentials. Even in this scenario, Kraken has put a safeguard measure as very limited information is viewable.
What fiat currencies and crypto coins and tokens Kraken support?
Kraken supports seven fiat currencies and 54 cryptocurrencies. This number may be less for markets where the ability of trading in some fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies has been restricted by Kraken. The supported fiat currencies include USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, GBP, CHF, and JPY. As for cryptocurrencies, Kraken supports popular ones, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, among others.
How can I deposit funds to Kraken?
Kraken supports both fiat currency deposits and crypto-asset deposits. Depending on your resident country and verification level, the availability of fiat deposits and withdrawal may be restricted. Multiple fiat deposit methods are available for users, but it again depends on your residence. Users in the United States can deposit USD to their Kraken accounts via Fedwire, whereas users in Europe can fund their accounts via SEPA & SWIFT. Australian users can opt for bank transfers to fund their Kraken accounts.
To deposit cryptocurrency supported by Kraken, you can select the cryptocurrency that you want to deposit and an address will be generated for it. You can either copy the address or scan the QR code and paste the address on the transfer page of the place where your funds are located.
Size up Your Crypto Options With the Right Advice
Which platform wins the Gemini vs Kraken debate is really a matter of your perspective as a trader. On the whole, Kraken is likely the superior platform. That said, if you’re a low-volume trader looking for a mobile experience, then Gemini should be your pick.
These aren’t the only options you have when it comes to trading crypto. There are plenty of other platforms that could suit your needs more than either Kraken or Gemini. Discover how either of these platforms stack up against other competitors with our reviews, so you can choose the best platform.