Winklevoss-Backed Gemini Reportedly Eyes European Expansion With UK License

Gemini kicked off its international expansion by opening in Canada in 2016, but in terms of volumes the venue is

Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, is expanding into the UK, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

The New York-based exchange has not made an official statement on the matter, but sources close to the company’s operations said it has hired advisers to consult on offering crypto trading and custody services in the City. In addition, Gemini is reportedly filing an application with the FCA, exposing its business to a very respectable jurisdiction when it comes to regulatory oversight.

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Setting up in the UK will also provide access to London’s finance and technology talent pools for Gemini, though the country is not as lax as some other territories in Europe, such as Gibraltar or Malta.

Gemini’s expansion comes as cryptocurrency adoption accelerates in the region, following significant growth in the United Kingdom and Europe. Huobi, the third largest crypto exchange, reported previously that the trading volume from the UK already ranks fifth in the world, making the country its largest market in Europe.

Two years ago, Gemini kicked off its international expansion by opening trading in Canada, but in terms of trading volumes the venue is still young and lags other exchanges. Gemini handled nearly $14 million of cryptocurrency trades during the past 24 ‎hours, languishing around the 70th global rank, according to data provided by Coinmarketcap.

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The Industry Remains Thriving

Cryptocurrency seems a lucrative business in London, and Gemini is not the only major exchange on the move to set up operations in the Fintech-friendly hub. Earlier in March, the UK subsidiary of San Francisco-based exchange Coinbase was granted an e-money license by the financial watchdog FCA.

From London, Gemini will be able to build and launch products and services for the European customer base. Additionally, the exchange operator can build strategic relationships with the global banks, despite the ongoing uncertainty Brexit is still weighing on the ecosystem.

On the regulatory front, the UK has so far taken a watchful approach. The FCA itself doesn’t consider cryptocurrencies to be regulated assets, but derivatives based on them fall under its powers of oversight.

However, a recent report from an influential committee of UK politicians has called for regulation of “wild west” crypto assets. It said the space needs anti-money laundering regulation and possible consumer protection rules.

Gemini is, however, taking a proactive approach with regulatory clampdowns looming every now and then. It has recently hired Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance, an industry benchmark technology used across Wall Street, to add more security and identify criminal trading behavior in its venue.

As for Gemini’s creators, the twins are early investors in Bitcoin and have been highly bullish on its future value. They proposed an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that would track Bitcoin prices, allowing investors to gain exposure to bitcoin on a fully regulated venue. However, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) denied their application several times.

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