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Gemini Exchange: How To Use Winklevoss’ Bitcoin Trading Platform?

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A US-based cryptocurrency exchange situated in New York City and regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services, Gemini. In this review, we’ll walk you through key the features of the exchange as well as guide you on hoe to use the exchange.

What is Gemini?

Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange that offers crypto-to-fiat and fiat-to-crypto transaction. The Exchange was founded in October 2015 by the Winklevoss twins, thus the name Gemini comes from the owners of the company, Cameron Winklevoss, and Tyler Winklevoss. While they may be most famous for suing Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg over their idea for a social networking site, their interest in the crypto-space was evidenced by the creation of Gemini. The exchange is based in New York and holds the status of being a New York State limited liability Trust. Gemini is a fully compliant and fully registered enterprise that adheres to the peak of compliance with banking standards. As a result, the exchange deals with both institutional and individual clients and is a popular option for investors who prioritize security and efficiency.

The exchange accepts $USD bank transfers as a method of payment.  Unlike many other cryptocurrency exchange platforms, Gemini offers new users SandBox which acts as a practice account for people that are interested in knowing more about the website.

Features

Functionality

The Gemini platform is well designed for ease of use. Its interface is relatively simple and provides a smooth and efficient user experience when compared to other exchange platforms. The interface helps traders to keep track of important market data such as prices, and orders, which keeps the platform extremely responsive and allows users to stay on top of their transactions.

Trading Auctions

A unique feature of Gemini is the auctions, which are held twice a day. The auctioning works in a way similar to the ones which occur at the opening and closing transactions on stock exchanges (not to be confused with “the highest bidder wins the item” auctions). To some experienced traders who understand the logic, this is where relatively big, in terms of trade volume, transactions are usually made. The option allows traders to place buy or sell orders which are then matched at a single price.

This happens synchronously while trading on Gemini still occurs. It creates an interesting dynamic, just like it does on the New York Stock Exchange – after seeing the pending orders for the auction (known as the “imbalance”) traders can speculate on them moving the market in the short term. It should be noted that this type of trading is very risky, as new orders may come to meet an imbalance, even in the last second. Trading on imbalances is tricky, and because of the risks involved, this is definitely not recommended for beginners.

Security and Safety

Till today, Gemini maintains its status of being one of the most secure exchanges in the market and employs a number of methods to ensure a high level of security as regards the subject of traditional financial institutions. One of the prominent integrations employed is that users’ accounts are backed up with two-factor authentication, which means authentication from an additional device must be employed in order to access the account.

In addition to having the fiat (US Dollar) Accounts insured by the FDIC, and funds held in a New York-chartered bank, Gemini also puts all its digital assets into cold storage, while online assets are hosted on Amazon Web Services. This also provides a crucial extra level of security as Amazon Web storage utilizes some rare security features such as multi-factor authentication, tiered-access controls, as well as dedicated hardware security modules.

Additionally, when it comes to security breaches, Gemini does not have any record of large-scale hacks yet. This is generally a good sign, although it does not guarantee anything for the future.

Trading Fees

As regards transfer of funds, Gemini operates a low fee policy and platform users can deposit Bitcoin, Ether, and make bank and wire transfers free of charge. However, individual local banks may charge their customers a fee to wire money to their Gemini account. Withdrawals on the platform are also fee free, and all customers receive 30 free withdrawals per calendar month. However, any withdrawals above the specified amount will result in fees equal to the mining fees payable on the blockchain network. This is estimated to be approximately 100,000 satoshis (0.001 BTC) per transaction on the Bitcoin Network and 0 GWei (0 ETH) per transaction on the Ethereum Network. The detailed  structure as found on Gemini.com is described in the below:

Trading fees are set at 0.25% for both sellers (makers) and buyers (takers), however, they are reduced when certain trade volumes are met. The maker fee is discounted to 0% for 30-day trading volumes that exceed 5,000 Bitcoin or 100,000 Ether. For the same trading amounts, the taker fee drops down to 0.10%.
Gemini uses a dynamic maker and taker fee or rebate schedule, and traders can receive a rebate on liquidity-making trades. The specific amounts depend on gross trading volumes and the buy and sell ratio over a 30-day period. However, it should be known that the data is always reevaluated every 24-hours period. More detailed information on fees can be found here.

Customer Support

Gemini provides an in-depth FAQ that seeks to answer the most common questions, as well as a blog that provides its users with instructions on how to buy and sell Bitcoin. Yet, user inquiries are handled via email and Gemini support reply to customer queries within hours.

Supported Currencies

Gemini supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, and $US only. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum can be traded against the $US and against each other. However, traders who intend to buy altcoins can always transfer their Bitcoin or Ethereum to another exchange like Bittrex or Binance.

Countries supported

The exchange is currently available to the United states, Canada, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

SandBox Playground

The Sandbox playground acts as a practice account for people (especially, new visitors) who are interested in knowing more about the website. You can create a sandbox account here with just an active phone number for 2FA.

GETTING STARTED WITH GEMINI EXCHANGE

Sign-Up

Make sure you are in the right domain

It’s essential to ensure that you’re on the right Bittrex website before you get started. To ensure this, make sure you can see protocol label to be secured (HTTPS not HTTP) in the address bar of your browser as shown below. Making sure you are on the right Bittrex website will save you from entering your details to a cloned Bittrex website targeted at exploiting your privacy with varoius cyber-attacks.

Another solution is to use Cryptonite developed by MetaCert. You can learn more about meta cert here. Using Cryptonite, you must ensure that the black shield add-on logo on the toolbar from your browser turns green when you’re on the website. As shown below:

  • Click on the “register” button

  • Once it’s sure you’re on the right page, you’ll need to click the REGISTER button on the landing page and fill up the details as shown below.

  • Enter your name, email address, and password, and agree to the terms and conditions. Then, click the CREATE MY ACCOUNT button.

Note: If you are representing an institution in the creation of your account, click here.

You’ll then need to fill the institutional client registration form as shown below:

  • Verify Your Identity

You’ll need to verify your mail address by clicking the mail sent to you in your mailbox. It should be noted that, sometimes, you may need to check your spam folder from your mailbox if the mail seems not received. After verifying your email address, follow the below process:

– Enter both your location and phone number, after this, you can set up 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) which adds an additional layer of security to your account.
– Add the bank account that you will make transfers to and from. Gemini currently only accepts bank transfers and wires as the methods for depositing funds.
– Upload your ID. In order to verify your account, you are required to upload government-issued forms of identification. This allows Gemini to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations. This also allows users to deposit, withdrawal, and trade in US Dollars. The verification time depends on the number of applications being processed and can take anywhere from a few to several days.
– After this is done, the process is complete and you can move onto funding your account.

  • Make a Deposit

 You can either deposit cash or cryptocurrencies (BTC or ETH).

Make a Cash Deposit: To deposit cash, you can do this in two ways:

1. Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit:

This is only available to users in the US. The cool thing about ACH deposits is that you can begin trading with the funds right away.

Note that Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers are limited to a deposit maximum of $500 per day, and $15,000 per month for individual account holders. Institutions are limited to making ACH deposits of $10,000 per day, or $300,000 per month.

2. Wire Transfer

Wiring a deposit is more straightforward because wire transfers are irreversible, you can begin trading and withdrawing the funds once Gemini receives the money. According to Gemini, If your deposit is made before 3:00 pm local time, your funds will be ready for trading the following business day with no holds for withdrawing.

Depositing Cryptocurrencies: You can also deposit both accepted cryptocurrencies. All you need do is to simply select Deposit BTC or Deposit ETH, and Gemini will generate a deposit address for you. Initiate a transfer from your external wallet and scan the QR code that Gemini provides you or just copy the BTC or ETH address and paste it into your external wallet.

Do note that Gemini makes no charges on either deposit or withdrawal

TRADING ON GEMINI

On Gemini, trading is simply the process of exhanging your USD to either BTC or ETH and vice-versa

To Buy Bitcoin or Ethereum with your USD

  1.  Select Buy on the main menu bar as shown below.
  2. Choose USD, BTC or ETH pair to select which cryptocurrency you want to trade from the drop-down list.
  3. Fill up the price and quantity as per the amount you’re willing to buy. NoteBefore you click Buy and confirm your purchase, you can check to see the exact fee that will be charged and the total amount of USD, BTC or ETH that will be taken from your account to complete the transaction.
  4. Click on the BUY button.

Note: that you can also use the same process to purchase your ETH

Make a Withdrawal

Withdrawing means you are simply transferring your asset from the Gemini account to a private wallet. To transfer your assets to an external wallet or exchange:

  • Navigate to the “Withdraw BTC” or “Withdraw ETH” page via the ‘Transfer Funds’ drop-down menu on the Gemini dashboard as shown above.
  • Once you are there, you'll be prompted to input a “Destination Address” (The destination address is provided by your external wallet or exchange).
  • Input the deposit address copied from your destination wallet.
  • Wait for the network confirmations. Depending on the congestion on the BTC/ETH network. Currently, as at the time of writing, BTC transactions take an average of 40 minutes, and Eth transactions take an average of 0.2 minutes before getting confirmed on the network.
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Bitcoin Volumes Finally Grow Again and Bitfinex/Tether Issues Spark Systemic Risks, New Diar Report Affirms

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Diar has recently published its report of the crypto market for April. According to the company, Bitcoin volumes are finally growing again and the whole situation with Tether and Bitfinex showed the industry some of its systemic risks. DAI fee hikes and stablecoin projects were also highlighted in the report.

Bitcoin Goes Back To Growing Again

The main highlight of the month is, obviously, that Bitcoin is back on the action. After facing lows which started in 2018, the token has finally been able to effectively reverse the trends and have an actual price surge this month, going from less than $4,200 USD to over $5,200 USD during this short timeframe.

With this, the number of on-chain transactions has spiked for three months in a row, since prices started to get some of their value back in March and April. Now, transaction volumes are around their levels in June 2018 when the price of the asset was around $7,000 USD.

However, charts indicate that Bitcoin is yet to find more footing outside of speculative trading, so the bull market may not be as near as some think.

When looking at the volume of the whole quarters, Q1 2019 had lower volumes than Q4 2018, but Q2 2019 started considerably well.

Bitfinex and Tether Start Concerns of Systemic Risks

As you may have heard, Bitfinex was accused of using Tether funds to cover up its losses. According to Diar, there is a 26% shortfall of in-cash reserves to back Tether tokens (USDT). Tether loaned $850 million USD to Bitfinex to cover up losses and its general counsel Stuart Hoegner has affirmed that the company is operating with fewer reserves than the total market cap of the token.

This happened because Bitfinex had the $850 million USD “seized” by Crypto Capital, one of its payment processors. Unless Hoegner is lying, though, the company had the assets to back the stablecoin until recently.

While it is clear now that Tether simply does not have the money to back the funds, people simply keep buying the tokens. Now, instead of all cash, some shares of Bitfinex are being used to represent the rest of the value, which makes the stablecoin enter securities territory for the first time.

Curiously, the markets are all very tolerant now since the prices are still stable but the systemic risks are clear, especially if other companies are to follow Tether’s path.

DAI Hikes Fees Once More

Another situation highlighted by the reports is that DAI has decided to upgrade its stability fees once again as the community is desperately trying to make the prices of the so-called stablecoin go up again. DAI tokens are being sold for less than $1 USD, their official price, on secondary markets.

At the moment, the fees are 16.5%, after increasing three times in only one month. Before April, the fees were only 7.5%. This has resulted in a decrease of 4.9% in the circulation of DAI tokens.

Stablecoins Eye Wider Use Cases

Gemini and Harbor, a A16Z tokenized securities platform, have started a partnership in order to get more clients for the Harbor stablecoin. However, this was deemed “too soon” by Diar, as Harbor does not have any known token right now. The only one the company had was canceled.

TrustToken is also trying to get more stablecoins on its list, especially the ones that are not focused on USD, but on several other fiat currencies like HKD, CAD or GBP instead.

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#DropGold Campaign to Hit Your TV, Here’s A Breakdown of the Underlying Bitcoin Message(s)

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Grayscale, a leader in digital currency investing, launched an ad on Wednesday, May 1, telling investors that money should be contributed to Bitcoin holdings as opposed to gold. In a number of interviews, CEO of Grayscale’s parent company (Digital Currency Group), Barry Silbert and Managing Director of Grayscale, Michael Sonnenshein, have since expressed the underlying message of the ad.

The #DropGold Ad

According to news outlet, U Today, the ad starts off with a man holding gold bars in his arm, which he decides to drop. While doing so, a woman also does the same. Throughout the ad, people supposedly have their gold bars stacked in shopping carts, while “losing their gold coins.” Watching what’s about to unfold, the two individuals try to find their way out.

Advertising Bitcoin or Grayscale’s Services?

Despite being the one to have introduced this campaign, Silbert argues that it isn’t entirely about Grayscale services, but rather said services being a result of consumers’ decision. Yahoo Finance has since quoted the following comment made by Silbert himself:

“We do not see this as a Grayscale commercial. For us #DropGold is our ‘Got Milk’. This campaign is first and foremost focused on starting a conversation about bitcoin vs gold. If the ad makes people want to get into Bitcoin, we’re completely indifferent about how they go about doing it.”

Having said this, the commercial is evidently portraying Grayscale as an option, as towards the end, one is told, “Go Digital. Go Grayscale.”

Silbert’s and Sonnenshein’s Arguments Regarding Gold’s Limitations

Silbert believes that this campaign works towards addressing the fact that Bitcoin can serve as an equal asset class as gold, if not better. In particular, he was quoted saying, “But now you have Bitcoin, which, in our opinion, provides all the same attributes as gold – it’s fungible and scarce and you can’t counterfeit it – but the big difference is that Bitcoin has utility. Gold doesn’t have much utility beyond jewelry.”

He further argued that the goal here isn’t to replace fiat currency for shopping purposes, but rather to show the world that Bitcoin does a better job at doing gold’s job and this will be evident in the long run. Although he has acknowledged Bitcoin’s volatility as being concerning, he is hopeful that it will one day serve as both an ideal utility token and store of value.

As for Sonnenshein’s viewpoint, he sees this ad as revealing the “absurdity” associated with gold. More specifically, he said:

“We’re going after a narrative around gold being where investors should go when markets turn south or as a hedge against inflation […] we’re highlighting the absurdity of gold.”

As per The Block Crypto, Grayscale also tries to convince investors that the return earned from redistributing 5% of gold to Bitcoin will be greater than 5% yearly.

What are your overall thoughts on this ad? Did it leave you asking yourself, “Why did you invest in gold? Are you living in the past?” Share your thoughts below!

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Huobi Pro Bitcoin Exchange: Cryptocurrency Asset Trading Platform?

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Huobi Pro Cryptocurrency Exchange

Founded in 2013, Huobi Pro allows for a myriad digital currencies to be exchanged, at a 0.2 percent trading commission. Loyal users point to the low fees and stellar service that make the exchange stand out above others.

Although pitched at dedicated cryptocurrency enthusiasts since the site doesn’t accept fiat currencies many who enter the realm on the back of fiat end up at Huobi Pro, largely due to its diverse offering and favorable fee structure.

Huobi Pro in A Nutshell

A victim of China’s clampdown on digital currencies, the company might be registered in the Seychelles, but was originally founded in Beijing. As testament to the broad appeal of the platform, after the Chinese regime effectively banned all things crypto at the beginning of 2018, trading volumes have only grown.

While at first very much a Chinese company looking at the home market, Huobi Pro has been forced to find a wider marketplace on the international scene. Indeed, even prior to the official cessation of altcoins and their trading, the company heard the rumblings in 2017 and took its cryptocurrency interests abroad.

Huobi now provides exchange services to users in over 130 countries. Company offices are located in the USA, Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Although the Huobi Group also owns and manages the Huobi Autonomous Digital Asset Exchange (HADAX), Huobi Pro is more of a pure “login and trade” exchange.

Users can employ network tokens to cast votes on adding new altcoins on HADAX. On the Huobi Pro exchange, a simplified offer encompassing all of the mainstream altcoins greets visitors. Some more popular coins offered are Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), NEM (XEM), NEO (NEO), Qtum (QTUM) and Ripple (XRP).

That said, when one actually tallies the number of altcoins available for exchange, it becomes apparent why loyal followers value the site. A marriage of both simple ease of use and diversity in trading, the platform is largely welcomed by newcomers and experienced enthusiasts alike. In the current melee of regulation being contemplated, implemented and tweaked all the while, some users may be precluded from trading on the exchange based on their country of residence.

Huobi Pro accepts the funding of accounts only in digital currencies, and accepts deposits in any of its listed altcoins. Unlike other exchanges that have opted for a midway between crypto and fiat, Huobi Pro traders deal strictly in digital coins at every point of a transaction. Funds need to be withdrawn to a wallet, and fiat users looking to buy in will have to establish a wallet first in order to fund their Huobi Pro trading account.

Traders pay a maker or taker fee of just 0.02 percent using the exchange. There are more detailed offers, worth looking at for daily traders with volume.

Huobi Pro Membership Levels

VIP users get preferential platform trading fees if they buy the privilege with Huobi tokens. The Huobi Token (HT) was never an ICO token, but rather a system token that users only obtain by buying “Point Cards” on the Huobi Pro platform. Point Card is essentially a pre-paid Huobi card that keeps users liquid on service fees. One HT = 1 USD, therefore one “point” = 1 USD. The more points purchased, the more free points are added, although savings on 1000 points, for example, means only 10 HT for free.

Huobi Global minted a fixed total of 500 million tokens, with 300 million employed to facilitate the in-house VIP structure. A mark of the business group behind the platform is seen in their practice of buying back-sold tokens from the open market each quarter. Not only that, but those funds go towards the Huobi Investor Protection Fund (HIPF).

This is a planned fund that will compensate investors who suffer platform disruption and subsequent losses. It’s a tool that minimizes risk, smooths out the market overall and also goes towards protecting investor interests. This transparent and pleasing aspect of the platform is one reason traders have confidence in the exchange, and its popularity is rising worldwide.

By way of example, in order to glean a VIP status, a trader will pay 120 HT a month for First Level membership. This enables a 20 percent discount on trading fees. Running through toward the top end, a pricier option of 6,000 HT a month secures a 50 percent discount on fees. Overall, a diligent trader can optimize the system and come out with a substantial discount on the already low 0.02 percent base offer.

The company charges no fees to deposit funds, but there are withdrawal fees. Although there are reviews online listing withdrawal fees, it appears that, especially within the membership structure, users are advised to ascertain exact fees when establishing their account. Likewise, transfer limits need to established upfront to avoid disappointment later. There exist order size limits on the platform too, again becoming more malleable as one moves up the ranks of the VIPs.

Security And UX On Huobi Pro

All of the standard protocols including two-step Google Authenticator verification are at play on the platform. Unlike many other exchanges that offer a simple crypto-exclusive platform, Huobi Pro will need your personal details in the form of a passport copy and chat room comments are not devoid of complaints, although almost all of them take issue with the structure of the platform and its potential pitfalls. There are few allegations of lost funds or other negligence on behalf of the company. On the whole, Huobi Pro seems to be rubbing off its decidedly corporate ethos onto the exchange – good news for traders overall.

Another serious boon for the cryptosphere as a whole is that over 98 percent of holdings are stored in an offline cold wallet or vault. Imbued with a strict customer service ethic, the platform probably sports the best customer service to date for crypto exchanges. Available 24/7 365, there is a live chat option onsite.

The platform intel is sufficient although newbies might have to scratch to paint a clear picture of how exactly everything works. The FAQs are thoughtful and, again, testament to a polished offering. Huobi used to be one of the biggest Chinese crypto exchanges, based in Beijing. Started by entrepreneur Leon Li in 2013, since the move there has been mutual appreciation of its value. Worldwide users have taken to the exchange, as it too realized that it had global appeal.

Huobi Pro Conclusion

Huobi claims to have exceeded BTC 500,000 in daily trading approaching 2014. Although only in its fifth year, that’s a long time in cryptocurrency. Although frequently accused of embellishing trading volumes, these allegations have never been proven. In comparison to other digital exchanges that have suffered persistent user complaints and even been shut down due to criminal activity, Huobi Pro shines.

As an offering, it has low fees, great diversity and an unbeatable crypto-energy. No trader on the platform feels like they’re missing out on something else somewhere else, by most accounts. Possibly due to their prior involvement in the fintech world, the platform got it right first time around and user numbers prove it. The company Huobi also owns another trading platform, BitYes, more focused on USD/BTC and USD/LTC pairs trading. Great customer service and minimal technical glitches have made it appear positively top-tier, again in comparison to less polished outfits.

With a detailed offering, great client liaison – very unusual for most digital exchanges so far – and no legitimate proof of anything even vaguely dark hanging about them, the Huobi Pro project is recommended. Users are advised to always ascertain costs prior to trading – not hard with the customer support in this case – and sample a platform with small trades before trading greater amounts. To learn more, you can head to their official website: huobi.pro

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