Kraken and Gemini are both well-regarded cryptocurrency exchanges based in the United States that has grown in popularity in recent years. But which one should beginners use? In this Kraken VS. Gemini review, we will provide a summary of each exchange, a brief overview of the products and services offered, pros and cons, supported cryptocurrencies, a comparison of their fees and how safe they are to use.
|Overall Rating||Visit Kraken||Visit Gemini|
|Review||Read our full Kraken review||Read our full Gemini review|
|Promotion||None available at this time||$10 BTC when buy/sell > $100|
|Fiat Currency||USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, CHF, JPY & AUD||USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, SGD, HKD & AUD|
|Deposit Method||Bank transfer, wire transfers, SWIFT||Bank transfer, wire transfers, debit card|
|Max. Trading Fee||0.2% (fiat), 0.16% / 0.26% (crypto)||0.5% (fiat), 0.35% / 0.25% (crypto)|
|Live Chat Support||No||Yes|
Kraken is a digital asset exchange that connects willing cryptocurrency buyers and sellers on an intuitive trading platform. The company is based in San Francisco after being founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell and officially launched in 2013. The exchange offers its products and services to individuals around the globe with support for several countries and fiat currencies that can be swapped into digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
- Regulated exchange in the United States
- Buy, trade and sell over 54 different cryptocurrencies and even Forex (e.g. EUR/USD)
- Multiple payment methods to deposit fiat
- Advanced trading platform to trade crypto
- Competitive fee schedule for traders
On the other hand, Gemini is a private New York trust company that was founded in 2014 by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, commonly known as the "Winklevoss twins". The company is a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian that provides a simple, elegant and easy to buy, trade, store and sell digital assets. The exchange was voted as the best crypto exchange in 2019 and maintains a high level of security that has built a solid reputation in the industry as a trusted digital asset provider.
- Beginner-friendly, elegant and simple to use
- Licensed and regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS)
- Supports fiat deposits in USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, SGD, HKD and AUD
- Ability to earn interest on crypto up to 7.4% APY
- Can set recurring orders and price alerts
Kraken is ranked 4th largest in terms of traffic, liquidity, trading volumes, and confidence in the legitimacy of trading volumes reported. Based on data, Kraken has a 24-hour trading volume of $2,470,937,971 at the time of writing. The largest volume trades are for the Bitcoin/USD pairs on the leverage derivatives market followed by the spot exchange which is approximately $368,944,498.
In comparison, Gemini has a smaller market presence than Kraken and is currently ranked 14th largest. Approximately 58% of the exchange's volume is the buying and selling of Bitcoin against the US Dollar with a 24-hour trading $149,721,464.
Based on the spot trading volume and liquidity, Kraken is a significantly larger exchange than Gemini for cryptocurrency buyers and sellers using fiat currency such as the USD and EUR. But which exchange is better for beginners? To make this assessment, we will need to compare the exchange's features and benefits.
Kraken and Gemini are US based cryptocurrency exchanges that are highly regulated by FinCEN and other Government authorities around the world. Both exchanges allow citizens in multiple countries to buy and sell crypto with local fiat money using a bank transfer or debit card purchase. Accepted countries include the United States, Europe, UK, Australia, Singapore, Africa, New Zealand, Canada and many others.
The user experience is an important consideration for beginners that are searching for a fiat-to-crypto exchange to buy their first Bitcoin with local currency. The process to create an account, complete identity verification, link a payment method and purchase cryptocurrency should be fast, simple and safe to use. Kraken and Gemini offer very different user-interfaces, so which is better for beginners?
Taking a look at Kraken first, the user-interface to purchase crypto with fiat is designed like a cryptocurrency trading platform. Kraken's features an advanced trading platform that comes with a variety of orders such as market, limit and stop-limit to time and entry or exit.
However, this may come across as confusing at first for new users that don't understand these types of orders. Using Kraken to place orders is basic and takes time to get used to. While Kraken is a superior exchange for trading, is not suitable for beginners as it can result in significant losses.
By comparison, Gemini does not offer a trading platform for crypto-to-crypto swaps. The exchange is purpose-designed to streamline the fiat on-ramp process for new investors. The entire website is visually appealing, easy to understand and quick to use. In our opinion, Gemini has a better fiat to crypto service due to its ease-of-use and speed to make a trade using the web or mobile app.
Most beginners will know of Bitcoin, but there are hundreds of other altcoins and DeFi tokens that can be bought and sold. Therefore, the availability of supported cryptocurrencies can influence the decision of which exchange to use, as well of the supported fiat currencies to purchase them with.
Kraken supports 94 digital assets on its trading platform that can be purchased with fiat or other digital coins. These include the major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, LINK and XRP as well as up and coming DeFi tokens. In contrast, Gemini exchange is limited to 26 coins, however includes the major coins by market capitalization.
A major consideration for anyone that wants to find a cryptocurrency exchange is the fees. Various fees can include costs to deposit funds, foreign conversion rates, transaction costs (e.g. buy and sell), and fees to withdraw funds from the exchange.
Kraken charges a 3.75% + €0.25 transaction fee to purchase cryptocurrency instantly using a debit card. There is also a spread cost added which can vary depending on the market conditions. For crypto-to-crypto traders, Kraken uses a maker and taker fee structure that starts from 0.16% (maker fee) and 0.26% (taker fee) that reduces with volume over a 30-day period.
Using the USD or USDT as the base currency has a different trading fee that begins at 0.2% per trade and reduces with volume which is quite competitive in the market.
On the other hand, Gemini uses a simple fee structure for depositing funds, purchasing crypto and withdrawing funds to a bank account. Essentially, there are zero fees to deposit fiat currency or crypto to Gemini. For debit card purchases, there is a 3.49% fee on the total purchase amount that includes the trading fee which is cheaper than Kraken.
Gemini charges a flat 0.5% (or 50 basis points) trading fee above the prevailing Gemini market price for all buy and sell transactions using the web or mobile trading applications. This fee is slightly higher than the fees on Kraken. There are no withdrawal fees for transferring digital assets (e.g. GUSD, Bitcoin) or fiat using a bank account transfer apart from the standard blockchain network fee.
For beginners that intend to spend more than $200 at a time, overall the fees on Kraken are slightly cheaper. Just be mindful of the payment method as the deposit and withdrawal fees on Kraken can add up over time.
|Bank Transfer (USD)||$0 - $25||None|
|Debit Cards||3.75% + €0.25||3.49%|
|Fiat Trading||0.2%||0.5% +1.49%|
|Crypto Trading||0.16% / 0.26%||0.35% / 0.25%|
|Withdrawals (USD)||Up to $40||None|
A thorough customer service section on the website is usually the first point of call for beginners to find answers to common questions or troubleshooting issues. Kraken and Gemini both provide an extensive support page that provides comprehensive guides and FAQ's for its customer base, as well as a general knowledge section.
Both exchanges are on-par in our overall exchange rating system, however, Gemini is slightly ahead for best cryptocurrency exchange for beginners. The fees are marginally higher compared to Kraken but a clear point of difference with Gemini is its ease of use and simplicity. The process to create an account, link a payment method, browse the available cryptocurrencies and purchase with fiat is beginner-friendly on both the website and mobile app. Gemini is also a highly regulated and safe platform so the security of personal information and funds stored on the exchange should not be a concern.
Each exchange includes a live chatbot for individuals to ask questions, however does not appear to be 24/7 and redirects to articles in the support center. There is an email address for Kraken and Gemini that can be used, which we have tried and experienced significant delays in receiving a response due to high demand. This is one area of improvement for both exchanges to guide and assist beginners make their first purchase.
The security of customer information and funds is crucial for investors and traders using a cryptocurrency exchange. As expected, both Kraken and Gemini take security very seriously and feature world-class security teams and measures such as two factor authentication (2FA) to ensure the highest standard in security.
Kraken stores approximately 95% of its assets in cold storage to provide an air-gap between potential hackers and its customer's funds. This is considered the bench-mark for cryptocurrency exchanges to ensure the protection of funds. Gemini utilizes a similar hot and cold wallet architecture, however, the website does not state the percentage kept offline.
A point of difference between the two exchanges is that Gemini undergoes regular bank exams and is subject to the cyber security regulations. Gemini was also the world’s first cryptocurrency exchange and custodian to earn an ISO 27001 certification and first crypto exchange to introduce hardware security keys for its mobile devices via WebAuthn. These features make Gemini the best for security in this exchange comparison.
Score. Kraken 5 points. Gemini 6 points. Winner: Gemini.
|Ease of use||Gemini|
|Features & Products||Gemini|
|Cryptocurrency Trading Fees||Kraken|
|Fiat Trading Fees||Kraken|
Gemini is slightly ahead for best cryptocurrency exchange for beginners. The fees are marginally higher compared to Kraken but a clear point of difference with Gemini is its ease of use and simplicity. The process to create an account, link a payment method, browse the available cryptocurrencies and purchase with fiat is beginner-friendly on both the website and mobile app. Gemini is also a highly regulated and safe platform so the security of personal information and funds stored on the exchange should not be a concern.
Kraken is an excellent platform however is geared towards customers that have some knowledge of investing and trading. The user interface is a little confusing and is not as streamlined as Gemini. In terms of value for money, high net worth individuals and investors can benefit from the low fees on Kraken. With its advanced trading platform and a wider selection of coins to buy and sell, Kraken is better suited for intermediate to advanced users and altcoin traders in our opinion.
This post contains affiliate links. Read our disclaimer for more information.
Kevin is the founder and chief editor at HedgewithCrypto that he started in 2019 which has reached over 1.5 million visitors worldwide. He is passionate about cryptocurrency as an emerging technology and is heavily involved in the fast-growing fintech space. An experienced trader growing his portfolio since 2016, he has a strong understanding of investing in the crypto market using exchanges, brokers and derivatives platforms.