Oleg Galeev

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Gemini Review: Is It A Scam Or A Legit Crypto Exchange For Canadians?

Last updated May 25, 2024

Gemini is an award-winning US-based cryptocurrency exchange that offers 80+ cryptocurrencies including its own stablecoin which is available for Canadians. We signed up for an account to see if it’s worth using (spoiler: it’s so-so). Here’s our Gemini review for Canadian users.

Gemini Crypto Exchange Summary

  • 6.5/10

  • Pros & Cons

    • Wide choice of cryptocurrencies
    • Secure exchange
    • Beginner-friendly
    • Advanced tools available
    • Staking available
    • NFT marketplace
    • Most of Gemini’s products are US only
    • No Interac e-Transfer
    • Fees could be lower
    • CAD not accepted
  • Fees

    • 1.49% transaction fee 
    • 0.30%/0.10% maker/taker fees (up to $10k in 30 days)
    • 3.49% debit card buy fee
    • Mobile fees up to 1.49%
  • Coins

    80+ of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies

Gemini offers 80+ of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polygon and its own US dollar-backed stablecoin. Founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Gemini is a beginner-friendly exchange that prioritizes security and ease of use yet also caters to experienced traders looking for an advanced trading platform. 

Canadians can buy crypto with Gemini using debit or credit cards. Interac e-Transfer is not available. However, Gemini is fully regulated in the US and Canada and security is one of their top priorities. 

Features

Gemini has some good features such as derivatives trading and a crypto cashback card. Unfortunately, these products are not available yet in Canada.

However, Canadians can take advantage of Gemini’s other features: an NFT marketplace and staking for Canadians. There is also an advanced exchange for experienced users and a “basic” platform for beginners, giving you the choice of how to trade. 

Does Gemini Offer Crypto Staking or Other Services?

Yes, staking is available for ETH and MATIC for up to 3.84% APR. Staking Pro is also available for those with a minimum of 32 ETH, whereby you receive all staking rewards. 

Does Gemini Have an OTC Desk?

Gemini does offer OTC services for Canadians looking to make a large trade of a minimum of just $1000. The platform also offers trading for institutional clients including banks and financial institutions. 

Gemini Liquidity

Gemini has deep liquidity with $2.8bn in assets mostly held in bitcoin and Ethereum, meaning you can trade knowing that the exchange has deep enough pockets to cover large trades and protect against price volatility. 

Registration/verification For Canadians with Gemini

Gemini is big on compliance so the KYC process requires a lot of information. To use Gemini you will first need to sign up for an account by entering your name, email, and phone number.

Once you’ve verified your phone you’ll be prompted to enter your Social Security Number which they say is used only to confirm your identity. Of course it’s not something that typically you would give out to companies. Next you’ll need to enter your address, then upload photos of your government-issued ID, and finally take a selfie. 

What you need to open an account:

  • Must be 18+
  • A government-issued ID
  • Your SSN

Fees

  • 1.49% transaction fee 
  • 0.30%/0.10% maker/taker fees (up to $10k in 30 days)
  • 3.49% debit card buy fee
  • Mobile fees up to 1.49%

Gemini’s fees are expensive for Canadians since Interac is not available. It means you must pay a hefty card fee when buying with debit or credit. On top of that you have the trading fees and a transaction fee. 

All of this adds up to roughly 5%, which is a lot when you compare it to other large exchanges. Even without the debit card fee, 1.49% is still a high fee compared to other exchanges. 

Moreover, when trading with Gemini’s mobile app you must pay additional fees as shown below. 

Fees for Canadians on Gemini crypto platform

Spreads

A spread is the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay (bid price) and the lowest price a seller is willing to sell (ask price). The spread goes to the exchange as profit. 

Spreads can often be hidden and the exchange won’t always be transparent. So you may think you are paying low fees, but you’re actually paying hidden costs. With Gemini, you can see the fees before you make a purchase with your debit or credit card. 

Currencies & deposit methods

When trading cryptocurrency with Gemini, Canadians are limited with their payment options. Unfortunately, Interac e-Transfer is not supported, meaning you’re stuck with using your debit card or making a pricey wire transfer. 

To buy your desired cryptocurrency, just click on it and hit the purchase button. You’ll then be guided to enter the amount you wish to buy and provide your card details. You will also need to enter your billing address and verify your card via photo scan or by checking your bank account for microtransactions.

Design and Usability

Interface of Gemini app

Gemini is one of the rare exchanges that is perfect for both beginners and experienced users. There is a clean, modern interface and equally good-looking mobile app. If you prefer a beginner-friendly interface then simply select the “basic” platform. You can see your portfolio and buy and sell crypto with just a few clicks. 

Trading tools on Gemini

Alternatively you can choose to use the more advanced platform designed for experienced traders. Here you can make advanced order types, see charts, the orderbook, and all of the other tools you would expect for an advanced trading platform. 

Gemini Mobile App Experience

Gemini mobile app screenshot

The app is easy to use and features simple navigation. You can view your portfolio, see the markets, and make quick buy and sell orders using your debit card.

The app has a 4.6-star rating on the App Store and a 4.3-star rating on Google Play. 

Security and safety

Wealthsimple Crypto, the Canadian trading platform, relies on Gemini’s crypto storage solution, backed by a substantial $200 million insurance coverage, the largest among all crypto custodians. This shows how trusted Gemini is as an exchange.

Gemini has excellent security practices, including the use of cold storage and multi-signature wallets, along with continuous access control measures for added protection. 

The exchange also offers transparency in the form of something called the Trust Centre. Here you can view the assets the exchange currently holds as well as other pertinent information. 

Trust centre metrics on Gemini

Compliance with Canadian Laws or Legislation

Gemini operates under comprehensive regulations and maintains full compliance within the United States, holding the status of a qualified custodian in the state of New York. Notably, several crypto exchanges refrain from operating in New York due to its rigorous regulatory environment. 

Gemini is fully audited and has stringent capital reserve requirements. Gemini appears to be fully compliant in Canada since Canadians are put through a rigorous KYC process, which is a requirement in Canada and it’s also registered with FINTRAC. We will point out however that Canada does not appear in the list of licenses on the Gemini website. Licenses appear for the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland and Greece, respectively. 

Customer support

Gemini bad review on Trustpilot

Gemini’s website hosts a valuable knowledge centre, and you can reach their customer support by submitting an online ticket or through email communication. Typically, you can expect a response within 24 hours, however, Gemini’s score on Trustpilot is severely lacking with just a 1.2-star rating.

Another Gemini bad review on Trustpilot

Many people are having issues withdrawing their funds or experience poor customer service.

Does Gemini Restrict or Freeze Accounts?

Gemini will freeze or restrict your account if they suspect unlawful behaviour such as money laundering or involvement with a scam. Restrictions can be put in place by any crypto exchange if your trading behavior changes such as trading larger amounts than usual or making more transactions than usual. 

It’s important to note that this is usually done to protect your funds in case a fraudster has got ahold of your account. This is why KYC is important. It ensures the safety of users’ funds. In the event of a scam, Gemini can potentially freeze the account of the scammer and they will have the scammer’s identity to pass along to authorities if requested. 

Can Gemini Track Where You Receive and Send Crypto?

Gemini can track where you have received and sent crypto since all transactions are recorded on public blockchains. The information available includes time and date, amount sent and both “to” and “from” wallets.

Since users must submit identity documents during the verification process, it is easy for Gemini to link wallets and transactions on the blockchain with their customer’s accounts. 

Gemini Alternatives

It is worth noting that Gemini is a US-based crypto exchange and therefore not necessarily the cheapest or most convenient for Canadians to use. There are many Canadian crypto exchanges to choose from such as Bitbuy, which is Canada’s first regulated exchange. It has free deposits and several of the most popular cryptocurrencies. 

Crypto.com is another large exchange that also offers Interac e-Transfer, which makes trading crypto easy for Canadians. Here is a comparison of Gemini against these other two exchanges. 

 

 

Gemini

Bitbuy

Crypto.com 

Trading fees

Up to 5%

0% to 1.5%

0.4%

Cryptocurrencies

80+

35+

150+

Additional features

OTC Desk, NFT marketplace, staking, Gemini dollar

OTC Desk

NFT marketplace, staking, cashback cards, CRO

Customer Support

Good

Good

Good

Security

Great

Excellent

Great

       

Common Crypto Exchange Scams

Ensuring the security of your cryptocurrency assets should be your top priority. We strongly recommend investing in a hardware wallet to safeguard your holdings. For a detailed understanding of wallet types, including hardware wallets, refer to our previous articles.

With the surge in fraudulent emails circulating online, it’s important to remain vigilant and refrain from clicking on any suspicious links. These links can lead to scam websites or download viruses that can steal your private keys and passwords. Always remember to verify that you are accessing the official website URL of any exchange before depositing funds.

It’s worth noting that scammers frequently employ fake social media accounts posing as representatives of crypto exchanges. To minimize risks, limit your interactions to the official social media accounts associated with the crypto exchange you use. By following these best practices, you can enhance the security of your crypto trading. 

Conclusion

Gemini is a security-focussed crypto exchange that emphasizes transparency. It goes above and beyond to gain and hold the trust of its users and the fact that it is US-based and operates there without regulatory problems, shows that it is a compliant and trustworthy exchange. 

However, it is one of the most expensive exchanges for Canadians and most of its features like the cashback card are only available to US customers. For that reason, it’s not worth it for Canadians to use. There are many cheaper Canadian exchanges for trading crypto out there that also offer great features and security. 

Gemini rated as a #25 in the list of the best crypto exchanges for Canadians

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Author

Oleg is a Canadian citizen & crypto expert who has been trading since 2016. He started out with Coinbase, Kraken and Peer-to-Peer exchanges. After some time, centralized exchanges started charging crazy fees to their users.

He decided to review different crypto exchanges that operate in Canada and start a Youtube channel in order to educate Canadians on what kinds of things are going inside each one while giving them unbiased advice. On top of that, Oleg also has experience with NFT, airdrops, and crypto staking and he is constantly checking on new crypto assets.

His writing has been featured in popular Canadian media sources such as Toronto Sun and Ottawa Citizen. 

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