Winklevoss twins name Dublin as European HQ for Gemini crypto exchange

Company founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss expects to ramp up headcount from current low levels

The Irish Times – Gemini, the crypto trading platform founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, has announced plans to establish its European headquarters in Dublin ahead of the introduction of the world’s first comprehensive set of regulations for crypto assets across the European Union over the next two years.

Launched in Ireland and 11 other EU countries last year, the platform allows customers to buy, sell and hold crypto assets such as Bitcoin and Ether as well as digital non-fungible tokens and currently employs about 12 people in Dublin.

Speaking to The Irish Times on Thursday, Cameron Winklevoss said that Dublin will be Gemini’s “entry point” into the rest of Europe once the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation is fully implemented across the bloc by 2025.

The move is supported by IDA Ireland.

Under the framework, which was overwhelmingly backed by the European Parliament in April, firms that issue and trade crypto assets will have to apply for a licence from a national regulator, effectively giving them a “passport” to serve customers in other jurisdictions across the bloc.

In Gemini’s case, it will have to apply to the Central Bank of Ireland for its licence. In 2022, the platform became the first crypto asset exchange to be registered with the Central Bank under the Virtual Asset Service Provider regime, bringing Gemini under the regulator’s supervision for the purposes of anti-money laundering and criminal financing rules. It also received an e-money licence from the Central Bank in February of last year.

In a statement, the company said that the decision to establish Gemini’s European headquarters in Dublin was partially based on its “positive view of the Irish regulatory landscape”.

“The Central Bank has a very strong reputation,” Cameron Winklevoss told The Irish Times. “There’s also a community of technologists and an ecosystem in Ireland, which made a lot of sense. So we did look at a number of different countries in the region. We felt this was the right fit.”

On the outlook for Gemini’s Irish headcount, Mr Winklevoss said that it is “very possible” that its team here will grow by “a multiple if not magnitude” over the next two years as MiCA is fully rolled out across the EU. “I think you’re gonna get a Cambrian explosion of innovation [in Europe as a consequence of MiCA].”

The brothers – best known for suing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he stole the idea for the social networking site from them when they were undergraduates at Harvard – said that Europe’s approach to regulating crypto compares favourably with the US.

Emboldened by recent industry scandals, including the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, US regulators have cracked down on the sector over the past year, launching a spate of enforcement actions against companies including Gemini.

In January, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Gemini with the offer and sale of securities without prior permission. The company is facing a similar complaint in the Philippines where local authorities said this week that a derivatives exchange launched by the New York-based company in the jurisdiction had allegedly been operating without authorisation.

Gemini would not comment on the developing situation in the Philippines. On the subject of US enforcement actions, Tyler Winklevoss said: “Being sued by the SEC today, it’s a rite of passage. I mean, they’ve sued the most highly regulated, best actors who are compliant in crypto in the US. They’ve diluted their brand. It used to mean when the SEC sued a company, they probably did something wrong. Now when the SEC sues a crypto company, it probably means they’re doing something right. So it’s completely lost its meaning and we’re in good company.”

Image by: The Irish Times (Maxwells)

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