The Winklevoss twins have this week unveiled their new Bitcoin project – and it sees them take on the ever-expanding currency exchange market.
Their contribution, dubbed Gemini (Latin for ‘twins’), is being run out of their New York office in an interesting move to set up a high-profile digital currency business in the state known for its troubled regulatory environment.
“Right now we have to build the infrastructure,” Tyler Winklevoss told the New York Times. “You have to walk before you run.”
He was referring to what the Times described as “a few rows of desks in the Winklevoss Capital offices” where the exchange is being born. The concept currently seems inconsequential compared with the considerable publicity generated by the brothers’ previous Bitcoin ETF fund, which itself is yet to launch, but the first statement on the official Gemini blog reveals more of their grand scheme.
“When we began our ETF journey, we soon concluded that a US-regulated ETF wasn’t enough. A growing number of US investors, traders, financial institutions and businesses wanted to get involved with bitcoin directly, but had no options other than to trade overseas or sit on the sidelines.”
A surprise comes in the announcement that Gemini has the backing of a New York-based chartered bank, something which in the face of current regulatory uncertainty is unexpected indeed.
The Winklevosses have furthermore become perhaps the most outwardly upbeat spokesmen for New York’s future ability to harbor Bitcoin industry. Having been in discussion with the state Superintendent for Financial Services Ben Lawsky, it seems they are unfazed by what others have seen as the establishment’s attempts to stifle Bitcoin’s innovation in the state.
“…[I]t was clear to us that NYSDFS Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky and his staff understood the potential of this technology and were committed to building a regulatory framework that would both protect consumers and foster innovation in New York. It was also clear to us that Gemini had just found its home,” the blog post continues.
However, given that Lawsky is soon to be replaced in his post, such enthusiasm may strike many as premature.
As for the exchange itself, few concrete details have so far emerged. Its creators promise the requisite security protection and “full compliance with all Bitcoin regulations and consumer protection laws,” but how Gemini will distinguish itself from the huge number of other players on the market remains a mystery.
“The innovation of Bitcoin and widespread adoption of virtual currencies is not an if, but rather when. This was always going to happen,” the twins conclude.
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