Gemini vs Uphold: Exchanges to Level Up Your Trading Experience

Are you ready to take that next step forward in your crypto journey?

Two similar robots posing for the camera surrounded by floating crypto coins.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin

After learning the basics of crypto investment, there will inevitably come a time when you will start thinking about taking that “next step” in your journey. The best way to go about this is by seeking out cryptocurrency exchanges, and it’s fair to say that when it comes to helping investors move from beginner to advanced, Gemini and Uphold are two great options.

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Both exchanges provide different pathways for investors to explore, but at the end of the day, they’re still going to be handling your precious assets, which is why it’s worth learning how they work, and what they offer. 

Gemini vs Uphold: On-Chain and Off-Chain

Before we take a deep dive into the differences and mechanics that make up these two crypto exchanges, let’s first cover what they’re all about to uncover their purpose and goals. 

Gemini Overview

The Gemini website dashboard. Under the title is an explanation that the Gemini exchange makes it easy to research crypto, buy crypto, and build a portfolio. There is an example of the clean and simple user interface on the right.
Source: Gemini.com

The Gemini Trust Company is an American crypto exchange which was designed to act as an all-in-one platform for all crypto users, regardless of experience. 

It was first founded in 2014 by the Winklevoss Twins, who are widely recognised for their involvement in the creation of Facebook, which is claimed to have been their own original idea. 

The twins created Gemini as nothing more than a way to facilitate Bitcoin transactions, but after continuous updates and support, it has molded into a sort of open “Training course” where investors can learn the tricks of the trade and deeper mechanics of investing as they go.

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Sign up at Gemini.com

Uphold Overview

A man looking at his phone with the slog 'Anything to Anything' in the foreground. Underneath is an explanation that Uphold allows for trade between crypto, precious metals, and U.S equities.
Source: Makeuseof.com

Though Uphold allows its users to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrency like any other exchange, it goes a little bit further by letting customers trade outside of blockchains, and into multi-asset markets. 

The mission for Uphold ever since it started in 2015 was to become a mixture between a crypto exchange and a stock brokerage so people could have more options for the kinds of assets they could buy and sell. 

Make no mistake though, Uphold still supports and prioritizes its crypto users, it’s just that it also acts as a springboard towards some of the more “mature” markets that aren’t typically involved within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Sign up at Uphold.com

Gemini & Uphold: Key Differences

Both exchanges are designed to support investors along their crypto journey, but as we’re about to see, the way they go about this is drastically different. Here’s how the one-stop shop Uphold stacks up against the Gemini, the crypto aficionado’s dream. 

Supported Assets

A box of "Asset types" including commodities, fiats, utility tokens, stablecoins.
Source: Uphold.com

If you’re someone looking to broaden the number of assets you can buy and add to a portfolio, then you’re going to feel right at home with Uphold. 

Alongside supporting more than 130 cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH and XRP, it also lets users invest in digital assets outside of crypto, including fiat currencies such as USD, stock equities, and precious metals including gold and silver. 

When booting up Uphold, you’ll be able to find a full list of available assets by clicking on the “Asset type” on the market dashboard.

Gemini on the other hand is solely concerned with good ol’ crypto, supporting over 80 cryptocurrencies. Sure, this may be a smaller total amount, but it also keeps Gemini from ever becoming too complex or overwhelming. It also has the Gemini Dollar which, like other stablecoins such as USDC, is designed to be a crypto equivalent of the US dollar which follows the same market value. 

There’s also an open NFT marketplace known as Nifty Gateway for enthusiasts to browse, sell and trade a variety of non-fungible tokens

To put it simply, Gemini supports the most popular coins that most people are looking for, while Uphold focuses more so on its quantity. 

Security

They may deal with slightly different types of assets, but both Gemini and Uphold still have a duty to protect its users, regardless of what they’re trading. As a result, they both feature top-notch security measures, albeit, in different forms. 

Gemini for example is considered secure and reliable primarily thanks to its regulators, such as the New York Department Financial Services, who can provide oversight and introduce compliances to keep users safe. 

It also features two-factor authentication where investors must approve transactions and withdrawals before they happen as a safeguard from hackers. In some cases, if someone feels under threat from being exposed on Gemini, they can even disable withdrawals from their account entirely for a brief period. 

Uphold on the other hand uses layer defenses and a 24/7 overwatch system to seek out any problems and resolve them as soon as they occur. Additionally, it features a bug bounty program where users are rewarded for reporting any issues they find, and it too comes with two-factor authentication. 

There’s no clear winner in this scenario, but always remember that no centralized exchange can ever be fully safe from outside threats, so it’s always advised to keep this in mind.

Fees

Neither Gemini nor Uphold are going to be blowing anyone away with their fees, but they are far from being the most expensive exchanges out there. Here’s a full breakdown of how they compare:

FeeGemini Uphold
Bank Account Deposit FreeFree
Debit Card Deposit3.49%3.99% Credit Card / 2.49% Debit Card
Crypto Conversion 1.49%Free
Trading FeesBetween 1.49% and 2.99% depending on the amount being spent. $200 or less will incur 2.99%, while over will be 1.49%Between 0.8% and 3% depending on asset being traded 
Wire Transfer Free$20 for deposits less than $500, free transfers over the limit, and free withdrawal 
ACH TransferFreeFree

As we can see, Gemini can get a little pricey, especially with its transfer or trading fees, but anyone who would like to cut the fees down a bit can do so with the ActiveTrader feature. 

Just as the name implies, the ActiveTrader platform is a more technical and complex trading platform than the standard version which comes with several in-depth features, such as trading pair selectors which are designed to be lightning-fast for quick and sudden investments. More importantly though, it also comes with lower overall fees. 

Uphold’s fees tend to be more manageable, but the one area where it can catch investors out is its total spread, especially for low liquidity crypto like Ripple and Dogecoin, or when buying or selling precious metals. 

So to put it simply; Uphold starts off fairly cheap but gets more expensive once you start moving on to the more advanced non-blockchain markets, while Gemini gradually becomes cheaper upon reaching its ActiveTrader platform. 

Staking

Staking refers to when a user locks up or “bonds” a certain number of their tokens in exchange for rewards, and it’s important for keeping a network secure and reliable. 

Similarly to its fee structure, Gemini offers two options that customers can pick from when it comes to staking. The first is the Basic version where users can stake without having their hand forced by any minimum amount requirements, though they will only earn rewards depending on how much they decide to put down, and only Polygon, Ether and Solana are available for staking.

The other version is Staking Pro which is designed to be more advanced and ideal for those who don’t want to share their stake rewards, but are okay with having a minimum staking amount, which in the case of Ethereum, would be 32 ETH tokens. 

Uphold takes a more traditional approach with its proof-of-stake (PoS) model, which essentially means that those with high staking amounts locked away have a chance of becoming validators. A validators’ job is to verify transactions on the network, and in return, they can earn network fees as a reward. 

As an added bonus, Uphold supports a sizable nine tokens for staking, including Cardano, Ethereum and Solana. 

Uphold will introduce you to the widely recognised PoS staking system right from the get go, while Gemini allows users to learn as they go until they feel comfortable to start using Staking Pro.

Accessibility

Gemini trading screen, using the example of Bitcoin market. On the right is a menu to choose between Basic Gemini trading or AsctiveTrader
Source: Gemini.com

Accessibility is where Gemini truly shines as an exchange. Most crypto exchanges will focus on one particular demographic, but Gemini goes the extra mile and uses a structure system where many of its features are split up so that users can pick the right one for their experience level. 

This had been shown previously with ActiveTrader and Pro Staking being separated from the “basic” versions which are less complex and easier to understand. 

Despite how many extra features it contains, Gemini still manages to deliver an easy-going user friendly interface which organizes everything neatly into sub menus, and even contains a full price menu to keep an eye on how markets are performing. 

The exchange is also readily available as a payment or mobile app for iOS and Android, and doesn’t require a minimum staking amount to avoid new users risking too much when they first start trading. 

Uphold can take a bit more time and effort to fully grasp, especially when interacting with its tricky multi-asset market interface. On top of this, Uphold requires a minimum trading fee of $10, and doesn’t feature many additional resources to help newcomers get up to speed. 

Don’t let this be a dealbreaker though, if you’re someone with dreams of exploring markets outside of simply crypto, then it will be worth learning Uphold in the end, but when starting out, Uphold provides a comfortable experience overall. 

Pros & Cons of Gemini and Uphold

As we’ve seen, Gemini and Uphold are two very different exchanges in terms of what they offer, and as a result, they also come with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. 

Gemini Pros

  • Maximum Accessibility: Gemini separates several of its core features into different tiers so that anyone, regardless of experience, can start investing and work their way up as they go. 
  • Support for Popular Cryptocurrencies: Supports over 70 cryptocurrency tokens including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. 
  • NFT Support: NFT marketplace known as Nifty Gateway.
  • Security: Regulators like the NY Department of Financial Services add an extra layer of external protection to the Gemini exchange and its users.

Gemini Cons

  • High Fees: The fees for buying, selling and transferring crypto on Gemini can be fairly high when not using the ActiveTrade platform.
  • Basic Wallet: Gemini’s dedicated crypto wallet is basic and takes a while to set up.

Sign up at Gemini.com

Uphold Pros

  • Multi-Asset Trading: Uphold allows its users to trade crypto, alongside other non-blockchain bound assets such as equities, stocks, and precious metals. This can help bulk up a portfolio, and introduce crypto users to other enticing marketplaces.
  • Wallet Variety: There are three Uphold wallets to choose from which are all designed for investors of different skill levels and experience. Uphold Wallet (Custodial), Uphold Vault (Assisted-Custodial) and UPHODL (Cold Storage). 
  • Security: Uphold deploys a 24/7 overwatch system and several stacked layer defenses to keep the exchange tightly secured.
  • Quality of Life Features: Users can set up repeated transactions, payments for a specific order, maximum price limits, and can deposit digital currencies into a single Uphold account.

Uphold Cons

  • Lack of Accessibility: Uphold’s multi-asset markets can be hard to break into, and the exchange lacks educational resources.
  • Limited Customer Support: There is no customer support available outside of a ticket support system which makes it difficult to report personal issues as soon as they occur. 
  • Expensive Spreads: When dealing with low-liquidity crypto and precious metals, the total spread fee can be very high.

Sign up at Uphold.com

Choosing Between Gemini or Uphold

Both Gemini and Uphold provide pathways for crypto investors to move onto the “next phase” of their journey, but choosing between one or the other depends on a simple question: how eager are you to start investing off-chain?

If you’re someone who simply wants to learn the ins and outs of cryptocurrency in order to get a good grasp and understanding of the many blockchain networks that occupy the ecosystem, Gemini is going to be more ideal for you. 

On the other hand, if you have ambitions of learning and interacting with markets outside of the blockchain, while also still dealing with cryptocurrency, and you feel that you are confident enough to manage all this, Uphold can get you there with a little time and practice. 

On the Flipside

  • Uphold doesn’t contain as many non-crypto assets as traditional stock markets.
  • Gemini’s 80+ supported crypto assets is a little on the smaller side. Coinbase.com for example, another popular exchange, offers over 200.

Why This Matters

The crypto journey doesn’t end when you start trading, there’s so much more to learn and so many avenues that can be explored, especially now that blockchain and crypto technology is evolving at such a fast rate. Therefore, having an exchange that facilitates your growth will help you stay ahead of the curve.

FAQs

Who Founded Uphold?

Halsey Minor founded Uphold in 2014 when it was initially known as Bitreserve.

What Precious Metals can be Bought on Uphold?

There are currently four available metals available on Uphold: gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

Why are There Three Uphold Wallets?

Uphold is trying to appeal to three different investors; those who want full control over their assets, those who don’t mind a little extra support, and those who prefer handing over their keys to an exchange for safe keeping.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Ewan Lewis

Ewan is a British crypto writer with a focus on long form content. His underlying love for tech eventually ushered him into the world of crypto, and now, he’s determined to provide crypto enthusiasts with all the information they need to stay up to date with the ever-growing infrastructure that continues to evolve on a daily basis.