Gemini vs Coinbase: Which Site is Better for Buying Cryptocurrency?

As the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to rise, many new investors are looking for a good place to buy cryptocurrency.  In this post, we’ll be comparing two of the most popular options: Gemini vs Coinbase.

Gemini vs Coinbase: Two Different Products

Gemini and Coinbase are two very different sites, each offering different products to their users.

Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange, operating similarly to a forex or stock exchange.  Users can create accounts, make a deposit, then trade cryptocurrencies and fiat currency (USD with other users on the exchange.

Coinbase operates more like a cryptocurrency retail store and tries to give users the simplest way to purchase cryptocurrency.  When you purchase or sell cryptocurrency on Coinbase, you’re making a transaction directly with the company.  Coinbase sets the price and your order is immediately executed at that agreed upon price.  This means that you do not risk placing an order that doesn’t get filled, like you would on an exchange.

The prices Coinbase sets for buying and selling cryptocurrencies, are correlated with the price of those cryptocurrencies on exchanges.  Coinbase does, however, charge small fees for facilitating this easy method of buying and selling cryptocurrencies.  You can see a comparison for Gemini vs Coinbase fees in a section below.

Gemini vs Coinbase Key Information

Reviews Gemini Review Coming Soon Coinbase Review
Site Type Cryptocurrency Exchange Simple Buy and Sell Methods
Beginner Friendly?
Available Cryptocurrencies BTC, ETH BTC, ETH, LTC
Company Launch 2015 2012
Company Location New York, USA California, USA
Trustworthiness Excellent Excellent
Security Excellent Excellent
Customer Support Good Good
Fiat Deposit Methods Bank Transfer Credit/Debit Card, Bank Transfer
Fiat Withdrawal Methods Bank Transfer Paypal, Bank Transfer
Verification Required? Yes Yes
Fees Low Medium
Bonus None $10 Worth of Free Bitcoin

When Buy $100 or More Cryptocurrency

Site Visit Gemini Visit Coinbase

Coinbase is More Beginner Friendly

The entire goal of Coinbase is to allow users to purchase and sell cryptocurrency, in the easiest way possible.  With that said, there’s no surprise Coinbase is a more beginner friendly option.

With Coinbase the price and fees are clearly set when placing an order, which keep users from entering incorrect values.  The site and app are both very intuitive, allowing users to purchase cryptocurrencies in just a few steps:

  1. Create your Coinbase account.
  2. Add a Payment Method (Credit/Debit Card or Bank Transfer).
  3. Users will then need to verify their identity (verification is required on all legitimate sites, where you can purchase cryptocurrency with fiat currency (like USD).  This is necessary to comply with laws and regulations of the United States, as well as some other countries.  Verification is also required on Gemini).
  4. Buy Bitcoin or Ethereum at the established price.

You will receive the amount of Bitcoin or Ethereum you purchased a few days after your order, at the predetermined rate you bought it at.  This processing time is necessary to prevent fraudulent charges from users.  During this processing time, you’re unable to transfer your cryptocurrency from your account.  Keep in mind, this processing time is similar to the time it would take for a deposit of yours to hit an exchange.

Gemini can require a bit more technical knowledge, as is the case for most exchanges.  In order to buy Ethereum or Bitcoin on Gemini, users must create and verify an account, make a deposit, and then trade for cryptocurrency on the exchange.

buy ether gemini

Both Options are Trustworthy and Secure

Both Gemini and Coinbase are trustworthy and secure options, for buying cryptocurrency.  These two sites are both based out of the United States and they adhere to U.S. regulations and laws.  Coinbase has been around for over 5 years, while Gemini was founded in 2015.  Despite Coinbase being around longer, both sites have a good reputation in the cryptocurrency community.  Coinbase has served over 7.7 million customers, while we didn’t find any data for Gemini.

Gemini and Coinbase both segregate customer funds from company operational funds.  Additionally, both sites store the majority of users’ cryptocurrencies in secure offline cold storage.  This protects cryptocurrency funds from hackers.

User accounts can be secured on both sites through a variety of 2-factor authentication methods.  Both sites take extreme caution in securing users’ personal information.


Coinbase offers users $10 worth of free Bitcoin, when they create an account and purchase $100 or more worth of cryptocurrency.  Gemini does not have any bonus offer.

Customer Support

With the rapid increase in cryptocurrencies’ prices, there’s also been a huge increase in demand to buy them.  This has left all the major sites, who facilitate the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies, struggling to keep up with customer support.  Coinbase and Gemini, are among a group of sites, that have done a relatively good job at keeping up with their growth.  While neither have flawless support, they’re doing a much better job than their competitors.

Both sites offer support primarily through email.  Typically, you will receive a response within a few days, at worst.  Other competing sites have had users complaining of responses taking weeks or even over a month.

Available Cryptocurrencies

Coinbase currently offers the ability to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.  While they’ve mentioned plans to add more cryptocurrencies, it’s unlikely they ever offer as many options as some exchanges.

Gemini offers even less cryptocurrency option, only currently listing Bitcoin and Ethereum on their exchange.  If you’re looking to trade more cryptocurrencies, there’s many other exchanges with more options.

Coinbase vs Gemini: Deposit and Withdrawal Methods

While Gemini only allows users to deposit and withdraw to fiat currencies, via bank transfer, Coinbase offers additional options.  Users can buy cryptocurrencies on Coinbase using Credit and Debit cards (as well as bank transfer).  They also allow users to make withdrawals to PayPal (as well as bank transfer).

Both sites allow you to host wallets on them, where you can receive cryptocurrencies.


When comparing the two sites’ fees, Gemini comes out on top.

Gemini does not currently charge users deposit or withdrawal fees, and their trading fees are fairly low.  Trading fees are typically below .25%.  You can read more about their trading fee structure here.

Coinbase typically charges users 1.49% when using bank transfer methods, and 4% when using a Credit/Debit card or PayPal.  The increased fees are partially due to the services they provide, that exchanges don’t.  Their fees also must account for the fees charged to them, by Credit Card companies and PayPal.

You can see more information on Coinbase’s fees, in the picture below and on their site.

Gemini vs Coinbase: Final Verdict

Both sites we’ve compared are great options for buying and selling cryptocurrencies.  The decision of which site to choose, should be a matter of your personal preference.

If you want to quickly and easily buy cryptocurrencies, then Coinbase is likely the best option.  It’s also the necessary option between the two, if you’re planning to use a Credit/Debit card.

For those of you concerned about spending as little as possible on fees, Gemini is a better option.

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