Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini Trust Company LLC is expanding into the U.K. after being granted an electronic-money license from the Financial Conduct Authority.
The New York-based firm was founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who after claiming Mark Zuckerberg took their idea for a social-networking website to start Facebook Inc., moved on to become entrepreneurs in the digital-asset industry.
Gemini will now let U.K. consumers buy products with Bitcoin using regular debit cards as a funding source. Investors in cryptocurrency will similarly be able to fund digital wallets via bank payments such as CHAPS, without incurring foreign exchange fees.
“London is one of the birthplaces of modern finance, and has a rich tradition of regulation, but also fosters an environment of innovation,” Tyler Winklevoss said in an interview, adding that regulation and trust are central to the operation of an exchange like Gemini for consumers.
Bitcoin has been highly volatile since its 2009 debut, with few institutional investors seeing it as a viable long-term bet. Gemini will be secure, and offer protection against fraud and money laundering, the company said in a statement Thursday.
In Europe, Gemini will have to compete against a slew of players, some of them regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as well. In August, the U.K. regulator also approved Archax, an exchange that is due to launch in the fourth quarter. The agency said that all crypto exchanges operating in the country have to register by Jan. 10, 2021. But for now, Gemini is in a select club of registered firms, and it’s also already operational.
Gemini is also in the licensing process in Singapore, Winklevoss said.
On its home turf, Gemini faces off against its much-bigger rival, Coinbase Inc. It’s also a small exchange internationally, where crypto exchanges located in more loosely regulated jurisdictions rule. Globally, Gemini is the world’s 67th-largest crypto spot exchange, according to rankings site CoinMarketCap.com, which is owned by world’s largest crypto spot exchange, Binance. Gemini is also a New York trust company that’s regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
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