Gemini, or Gemini Trust Company LLC, is a digital currency exchange platform that allows online users to buy, sell, and store digital assets. In 2016, Gemini became the world’s first licensed ether exchange and is widely known throughout the cryptocurrency universe ever since.
Founded in 2014, by twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of Facebook fame, the Gemini exchange is based in New York and available in almost all US states, as well as various countries around the world. It offers crypto to fiat payments as well as a BTC/ETH market. As one of the most respected and secure exchanges worldwide, Gemini prides itself on “[build]ing products that are simple, elegant and secure” to help both individuals and institutions enter into the world of cryptocurrency.
The company has four pillars designed to guarantee consumer trust and create a platform that users can believe in completely. A focus on product, security, licensing, and compliance allows users to get the most out of the platform without having to worry about safety and other risks generally found on various crypto platforms. Gemini believes they should be “asking for permission, not forgiveness,” and always put the consumer first. Last year, Gemini was awarded “Best Crypto Exchange” by the 2019 Markets Choice Awards; previously they attained an AICPA certification for being the world’s first SOC 2 Type 2 crypto exchange and custodian.
Gemini is different from other exchanges, primarily due to its regulatory compliance. As the first US exchange officially licensed for both ether and bitcoin trading, it aligns itself with many financial and legal institutions, giving it legitimacy and making it an overall trustworthy platform with much appeal.
Streamlined and Simplified
Gemini’s registration process is quite straightforward, and the platform’s interface is easy to use. To sign up, users simply input their personal information and create a password. Once signed up, Gemini leads the user through a three-step identity verification process which then allows them to link their bank account, fund their wallet, and start trading. Of course, there is a learning curve, but Gemini has features that make the process easier—some of these include the ability to set recurring buys and dynamic price alerts, a “Buy the Cryptoverse” option for one-click bundled buys, withdrawal address whitelisting, and easy downloadable account statements and transaction histories.
Safe and Secure
Built with a “security-first” mentality from day one and as it is a New York trust company, the New York State Department of Financial Services provides regulation and follow capital reserve requirements, cybersecurity requirements, and banking compliance standards set by New York Banking Law. Their three leading principles are: defending against external threats, protecting against human error, and guarding against misuse of insider access. With its use of multi-factor authentication, secure “hot (online) wallets,” multi-leveled cold (offline) storage, encrypted accounts, and full reserve separation to keep customers’ money separate from the company’s, Gemini is one of the most secure platforms out there.
Large Customer Support Focus
Gemini prides itself on putting its customers first. This year, they launched an educational campaign called #crypto20in2020 to educate the general population about cryptocurrency and make it easier to understand. Recently, the platform has also integrated Trading View on its platform. This gives users access to real-time data charting information that can help ensure better use of the exchange. Additionally, they have created an ever-evolving mobile platform to appeal to younger generations.
Although a top contender in many regards, Gemini is not without its own set of controversies, including the debate about whether or not cryptocurrency should be highly regulated and has faced critique.
Limited Availability of Cryptocurrencies
Compared to other crypto platforms of a similar size, Gemini has a tiny number of available cryptocurrencies. The top two cryptocurrencies, bitcoin, and ether, can be traded, but other popular coins are not available due to their inability to prove themselves as fully established and trusted coins. Although this is not too big of a deal for many, it does limit the markets that Gemini users can enter.
The exchange has previously had trouble staying online during high traffic periods. This has included outages from overload as well as various performance issues.
Few Payment Options
For the time being, purchases are not allowed via credit card, debit card, cash or cheque. Customers must link their bank account to the platform and initiate a wire transfer instead. This is for safety, but some users may find it inconvenient. If an international user wants to use Gemini, they face a more difficult time transferring their money between accounts as everything must be in USD currency.
Gemini believes that crypto is a movement and not just another form of technology. In the future, they hope that crypto will “redesign the internet, our financial systems, and money in a way that protects the rights and dignity of the individual.” With this belief, they hope to make significant contributions to the future personal freedoms that the world will adopt.
The founding brothers’ goal of creating a fully regulated and secure bridge between the crypto and fiat worlds is lofty, but perhaps a golden opportunity. Recent scams and hacks have left other platforms floundering as they struggle to assure customers of their safety. If Gemini continues to garner consumer support, they have the chance to remain one of the top exchanges in the crypto world as they expand their reach to even more countries.
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