IIAwards - Review of Gemini USD
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16 November
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As part of the recently announced IIAwards, in which we celebrate innovations in the fintech and crypto industry, today we will analyze Gemini USD taking into account different aspects.

General information

The Gemini USD (GUSD) was created by cryptocurrency exchange Gemini in 2018. The company has claimed that GUSD is the first regulated stablecoin. The Gemini Trust Company LLC holds USD deposits that correspond to the number of tokens in circulation. The Gemini Dollar is an ERC-20 token built atop the Ethereum network, and its smart contracts are audited by security company Trail of Bits Inc.

Commissions & fees - (5/5)

The Gemini USD is financed from the operations of the crypto exchange of the same name - Gemini. Gemini has a highly competitive fee structure. It has no deposit fees. However, wire transfers may be subject to fees from the bank that the money is sent from. In addition, users will have to pay a network fee for either Gemini Bitcoin or Gemini Ethereum deposits. This is the same as making any other transfer on either digital currency network, however. Gemini fees are a little different from those found at other digital asset exchange platforms. They depend on your 30-day trade volume. There are six tiers of fees. These range from light traders to those exchanging huge volumes of Bitcoin and Ether. Every day at midnight UTC, fees are recalculated for every trading pair.

The fees charged by this exchange are a bit more complex than other exchanges, as they consist of two parts the first being the "Convenience Fee." This is a percentage of the purchased/sold amount. The Convenience Fee is what is closest to what the normal trading fee charges at most other exchanges. The global industry average trading fee is around 0.10%-0.15% today (previously a bit higher, up to 0.25% as average). Gemini charges 0.50%, so it's a fair bit higher than industry average. In addition to the 0.50% trading fee, you also have to pay a transaction fee, which is a fixed USD-amount for smaller purchases. The USD-amount ranges from 0.99 USD to 2.99 USD for purchases between 0-200 USD. However, above that (for any purchases above 200 USD), you need to pay 1.49% of the order value. To conclude, for any orders above 200 USD in value, you pay 1.99%.

Markets & products - (2/5)

The Gemini Dollar launched in September 2018, with the Gemini Trust Company as the sole issuer. Gemini holds the US dollar reserves that back its stablecoin in Boston’s State Street Bank. The currency is insured through an FDIC deposit insurance program. Registered customers are able to convert USD into Gemini Dollars and deposit them to an Ethereum address, while Gemini adjusts their holdings to correspond to the number of tokens in circulation. The Gemini Dollar is built on Ethereum, meaning token creation is the result of executable smart contracts.

The contract responsible for increasing the supply must be signed by an online key up to a certain limit. To mint coins beyond that limit, an offline signature is required. This is intended to increase the security of token issuance. The Gemini dollar does not have a set circulation schedule or hard cap on supply. It is pegged to the US dollar with a reserve backing the token 1:1. Gemini dollars are created at the time of withdrawal from the Gemini platform and are transferable to any Ethereum address the user specifies. The US dollar amount of Gemini Dollars is debited from a customer’s account upon withdrawal, and credited at the time of deposit.

Innovative account opening - (2/5)

In order to begin trading GUSD, it is necessary to set up a Gemini account. Since the Gemini exchange platform is so compliant with existing regulations, verification is required. There are currently three steps to verifying your identity: linking a mobile phone number for two-factor authentication, linking a bank account, and finally, submitting documents to verify your address and identity. The verification process is a vital part of setting up a personal account. It can be argued that the mandatory regulatory compliance significantly encumbers registration. As previously mentioned, Gemini accepts only limited funding methods. While individual customers are given the default, zero-fee, depository account type, large institutional customers can opt for a segregated custody account type which offers an offline, secure and auditable storage called Gemini’s proprietary Cold Storage system. The latter service is chargeable, and is ideal for institutional customers like mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and hedge funds.

Customer service - (1/5)

There is a blog and a lengthy FAQ section that help to deal with issues. When neither of these things is enough, complaints and issues are dealt with using e-mail. The exchange usually replies within a matter of hours, rather than days. Unfortunately, there is no phone line and no live chat option.

Trading - (2/5)

The GUSD can be traded from Gemini's mobile and web-based app. Gemini’s mobile app is accessible both to Apple and Android users. It offers the same functionality as the web version, with minor differences. The app allows its users to create price alerts to stay on top of the market, set recurring buys, build crypto portfolios and maximize their trading strategies. Additionally, it is possible to schedule recurring buys for any amount and at any frequency, similar to how you contribute to your 401K or traditional savings account. An important addition is Gemini Pay that is a simple, secure and private way to spend Bitcoin, Ether and other cryptocurrencies for purchases at retail stores across the United States. At the moment, the function is available at over 30,000 locations. The app is among the only one of its kind, allowing users access on Apple Watch. Indeed, it is possible to check your watch for crypto prices and receive price alerts and notifications on Gemini for Wear OS. The app requires two-factor authentication (2FA) for every account. You can secure your mobile app with a passcode and/or biometrics.

Digital security - (4/5)

Smart contract execution requires a multisignature scheme of approval for "high-risk action," which includes an offline signature for added fault tolerance. After approval, these particular actions are time-locked for a period of detection or response to security incidents. Any pending actions can be revoked to avoid malicious actors.

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