Explore the critical differences between centralized vs decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges, and choose which is the right one for you.
We created this Kraken vs Gemini comparison guide to battle out the cryptocurrency exchanges. Both exchanges are extremely popular in the US. Many of you may not know that they also cover many countries worldwide, with a few exceptions.
Kraken and Gemini offer spot purchase and derivatives trading, allowing the users to unleash their full potential of gains from the Web3 space. In terms of security measures, both exchanges are regulated by appropriate authorities. They also have industry-leading cybersecurity practices in place.
As for differences, they can vary quite a bit in fees, available cryptocurrencies, and how you move your digital assets. They also have a separate product itinerary that targets different audiences, as in you.
All things considered, Kraken is slightly more expensive for investors, but it’s well worth it, thanks to the security. Gemini is not far behind with its unique offerings like GUSD and Custody.
You must use a crypto exchange to interact with the crypto industry safely. There is no way around it unless you have friends and peers who can send you digital currencies over the counter (OTC). Kraken and Gemini are well-known among traders and long-term investors for their wide array of services.
In this comparison, we plan to touch on all aspects you might be interested in. We’re about to go over everything from the security features that protect your assets to the user interfaces you interact with. Without any further ado, let’s get right to the comparison.
Characteristics of Kraken
Named after the legendary sea monster allegedly terrorizing the coasts of Norway, Kraken is one of the most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges out there. Although most Kraken users are US-based, it’s very popular in countries like Germany, the UK, Canada, and France.
You can purchase crypto with fiat deposits on the main Kraken platform and store it in the wallet. But we recommend storing your assets in a non-custodial wallet like Metamask for security reasons.
If you’re more interested in crypto derivatives like margin trading or futures trading, you must use Kraken Pro, the advanced trading platform. According to the website, it’s a “highly customizable” tool that allows you to track coins and tokens in real time.
The last thing we want you to know about is the NFT Marketplace. You will find it in the “Explore” menu listing all the other products.
- 0.01% – 0.16%
Kraken Exchange offers a robust platform for serious crypto traders. It stands out with its diverse coin selection, advanced trading features, and competitive fees. However, its complex interface may prove challenging for beginners. Strong security measures further reinforce its reliability.
Margin trading and staking.
Support/chat is one of the best.
Low trading fees to withdraw Bitcoin (BTC).
Provides tons of resources for learning.
Only a few fiat currencies.
Doesn't accept debit cards or Paypal.
Has three apps.
Characteristics of Gemini
From what we’ve seen in our Gemini review, the exchange has a more minimalistic approach to crypto. But don’t think you must compromise on features or security because you don’t.
According to the website, Gemini’s operations are based on 4 pillars. These pillars are:
Now, we all know that the power of crypto lies in its decentralization. A paradigm where no single authority can control everything. But the other side of this decentralization coin is that there is no way to hold any party accountable if things go south.
This is where Gemini is ahead of many of its competitors. As you can see, the final 2 pillars are licensing and compliance. This means the products you access might be decentralized on the platform, but the service is not. Gemini is licensed and regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services, so it can’t manipulate the market.
Gemini offers more products than the other contender in our comparison, Kraken. For example, it offers cold storage for your crypto assets under its service “Custody.” We’ll learn more about these products as we dive deeper into this Kraken vs Gemini discussion.
- 0 – 0.4%
Gemini is a good platform for traders of all proficiency levels due to its effortless and easy-to-navigate user interface. Even if it does not have as extensive token selection as other exchanges, it is a good choice for investors of all levels. It offers basic and advanced features. With its user-friendly interface and fee structure, Gemini makes trading cryptocurrencies more accessible than ever.
More than 100 cryptocurrencies.
Available in all U.S. states.
Highly robust mobile app.
Hot wallet insurance and strong security.
Higher transaction fees.
Weak customer service.
Cryptocurrencies like ADA and XRP not supported.
Kraken vs Gemini: An In-Depth Comparison
You’ve finally found the meat of this comparison. This section takes different important aspects of exchanges and sees how our contenders hold up against each other.
History of the Crypto Exchanges
Let’s start with where it all started. Did you know that Kraken is one of the oldest exchanges out there? It went live in 2011 from a small San Francisco, California office. The only notable players in the market then were Bitstamp and the Bitcoin market.
Conversely, Gemini is 3 years younger than Kraken, starting its journey in 2014. When it started, the services were limited to buying and selling crypto. Over the years, it added interest-based services, a trading platform, and launched its stablecoin $GUSD.
Available Fiat Currencies
Most people don’t have access to cryptocurrencies right away. Everybody has to start somewhere, right? That’s where a cryptocurrency exchange that accepts fiat currency comes into play.
Kraken accepts USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, CHF, and AUD when writing this comparison. Of course, different currencies come with different sets of payment methods.
Conversely, Gemini will accept USD, AUD, SGD, EUR, GBP, HKD, and CAD. As for the actual payment methods, it will vary depending on where you’re located. Bank and wire transfers are commonly used to deposit fiat currency worldwide.
Available Crypto Currencies
We know the availability of cryptocurrencies is more important to our readers than fiat currency availability. It’s simply because you’ll find a way to fund your exchange account, but it defeats the purpose if you don’t have the crypto you want to invest in.
When you hand on Kraken’s homepage, you’ll notice the headline, “Sign up today to buy 200+ cryptocurrencies easily”.
In case you didn’t know, there were over 10,000 cryptocurrencies in the world at some point! How do you think Kraken decided on the 200+ portfolio?
Well, it’s all based on security and reliability. Kraken is not your regular DEX, where anyone and everyone can list a token contract. The in-house team at Kraken thoroughly evaluates each project before making it available to investors and traders.
Let’s get to Gemini. The homepage claims you can buy and sell over 80 cryptocurrencies when writing.
With all of the coins and tokens you find on Gemini for spot purchase or crypto trading, you know you’re not investing money in a scam.
Where you plan to use the service is an important criterion before deciding on one exchange over the other. Thanks to the cross-border nature of crypto, you can access it from any corner of the world.
But we can’t say the same for even the most popular exchanges. As these are centralized companies with a team behind them, they must be registered as a business. And when you introduce legal compliance into the mix, some friction will occur.
Kraken, for example, is not available in Crimea, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Luhansk, and a few other countries due to the extreme policies of the governments.
As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to use Kraken if your government doesn’t criminalize purchasing crypto.
We can say more or less the same for Gemini. Gemini gets an additional point for having a dedicated page on the website labeled “Areas of Availablity,” where you pinpoint the 60+ countries exactly. If you don’t see your country in that list, we’re afraid you won’t be able to use it.
Security, Regulation, and Compliance
So, you’ve made up your mind that you want to get involved in crypto. You’re confident in your risk management and are now looking into the best crypto exchange for your needs.
Thankfully, both Kraken and Gemini do wonderful jobs of securing their platforms.
Let’s start with Kraken. It has earned the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification for its cybersecurity approach on the platform. A capable team works around the clock to protect your information and assets. It even has a “Bug Bounty” program where community security experts can point out the vulnerabilities in the ecosystem and fortify it.
Some common security features on Krake include:
- Two-factor authentication
- SSL encryption
- Real-time monitoring for suspicious activity
- No account recovery measure
- Email confirmation with self-serve account locks
Some common security measures by Gemini include:
- PCI DSS to protect card information.
- Multiple signatories to move funds from cold storage.
- All private keys are secured off-site.
- Level 3 or higher FIPS 140-2 rating.
As you see, this Kraken vs. Gemini battle of security is a tie. Both exchanges have a strong infrastructure to protect the consumer interest.
Kraken has a fairly straightforward interface with clear buttons and call-to-actions. You’ll find what you’re looking for as long as you have a basic understanding of the English language.
The Kraken Pro, however, has a slightly more complex and crowded interface. Then again, crypto traders know how complex trading is in the first place.
Gemini is more minimalistic when compared to Kraken. But the ActiveTrader product looks very similar to Kraken Pro as it’s a trading platform. There is something for the Gemini platform’s basic, intermediate, and advanced users. In our experience, it turned out pretty intuitive as well.
One thing many traders and investors forget to factor in is the fees. Be it trading fees, maker fees, taker fees, bank transfer fees, or withdrawal fees, they can add up over time. Both Kraken and Gemini have detailed fee structure pages on their websites. Let’s take a look at what to expect.
Kraken fees for spot trading are based on a maker-taker fee schedule. In case you don’t know, a market “maker” is a participant who places market orders at the best prices and waits for them to execute. Market “takers,” on the other hand, place market orders to take advantage of the concurrent price of the assets.
At Kraken, you pay 0.16% and 0.26% as a maker and a taker, respectively. As your trading volume increases, you save more on fees. For positions over $10,000,000, makers pay no fees, while takers pay a mere 0.10% fee.
Like spot purchase, the Kraken website has a detailed breakdown of fees for stablecoins, margin trading, and futures trading.
Gemini has a similar fee structure for the ActiveTrader program, where fees start from 0.20% and 0.40% for the maker and the taker, respectively. As you increase volume, you save more on fees.
We can conclude that Kraken offers more competitive fees by comparing Kraken and Gemini.
Trading Volume/Number of Users
Kraken has over 9 million users worldwide and an average quarterly trading volume of $207 billion.
Conversely, Gemini has 1.8 million active users with over $200 billion in volume. So, in this case, Kraken wins.
Both exchanges in our comparison and other exchanges offer a custodial wallet to store crypto assets. They follow the industry standard safety protocols.
Kraken vs Gemini: Products by Kraken
Before we wrap up this comparison guide, let’s take a quick look at the products offered by the contenders.
Crypto Exchange and NFT Marketplace
One of the main Kraken features allows you to buy, sell, and trade crypto assets. If you’re into NFT, you can use the NFT marketplace as a one-stop solution.
Derivatives Trading Platform
Kraken Pros is for trading options like margins and futures. The number of available currencies is lower than the spot simply because not all crypto coins are safe for leverage trading.
Last but not least, you can earn interest up to 24% APY by staking popular coins like Cardano (ADA), Algorand (ALGO), Cosmos (ATOM), Polkadot (DOT), Polygon (MATIC), and plenty of others.
Kraken vs. Gemini: Products of Gemini
Gemini has a similar set of features to Kraken. Let us take a deeper look.
The Gemini Derivatives is exclusively designed for non-US customers who can trade futures and margins with up to 100x leverage!
The usual marketplace where you buy and sell over 80 prominent cryptocurrencies.
ActiveTrader is the trading platform where you get to execute your derivative trades. This is your one-stop battle station, from drawing charts to setting price alerts to placing orders.
A unique Gemini feature is Custody. Gemini Custody is the alternative for offline storing your coins without a decentralized wallet. It has 24/7 customer support, instant liquidity, and $75 million in insurance coverage.
Last, Gemini has its own stablecoin, the Gemini Dollar (GUSD). It’s pegged to the US dollar with monthly attestation reports generated by independent accounting firms. If you want to use ActiveTrader, GUSD is the way to go.
Kraken vs Gemini: Final Verdict
In this Kraken vs. Gemini comparison, we’ve analyzed the main factors that go into crypto investments and how both exchanges fulfill those needs. It’s hard to pick a clear winner as both contenders have some impeccable features for the users.
In our humble opinion, Kraken is slightly ahead of Gemini thanks to its larger user base and long-time presence in the industry. It has little to no bad rep among frequent traders. Gemini has been in operation for more than a decade. But its recent withdrawal halt has raised some concerns among investors.
We have no objective reason to claim that one exchange is better. Both are considered top cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide with proven security features.
Transaction costs at Kraken are slightly higher than Gemini. But it may not be the same for you if you use different services.
You can buy crypto with fiat deposits in Kraken and Gemini.