Winklevoss Bitcoin Exchange Eyes UK Expansion: Report

After being snubbed by U.S. regulators, Gemini exchange, which was founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, have set their sights across the pond. According to the Financial Times, the twins are eying an expansion into the U.K. market even as other blockchain startups have left Canary Wharf amid this year’s market struggles. According to sources cited in the FT, Gemini has already engaged a consultant about the potential expansion and is readying an application with UK regulators.

Their decision to pursue a UK expansion with the bitcoin price still a far cry from its peak is a sign of confidence in a market where institutional interest has seemingly reached a tipping point.

Founded more than four years ago by the Winklevoss twins, Gemini’s trading volume is currently hovering at $16 million. A UK expansion would pit it against U.S. rival Coinbase, both of which offer custody solutions and both of which target institutional investors. Coinbase recently unveiled a feature that gives British investors the ability to buy crypto with the GBP.

Meanwhile, U.S. regulators have been throwing shade at cryptocurrency exchanges, with the SEC having rejected the Gemini bitcoin ETF not once but twice as the regulator struggles to get a grip on the industry. In New York, where Gemini holds a BitLicense, the attorney general’s office released a scathing report of crypto exchanges, suggesting they’re not doing enough to combat “manipulation” and “conflicts of interest.”

Gemini has been proactive about blocking these activities, as evidenced by its partnership with Nasdaq to weed out possible abuse. It’s also had the regulatory wind at its back with the approval of its new stablecoin, the Gemini Dollar, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar.

The Winklevoss twins would be entering UK territory where the nascent crypto industry is viewed as a “Wild West,” with lawmakers spewing concerns of fraud and investor protection.

Canary Wharf

While it’s unclear where Gemini exchange would lease office space, Canary Wharf has attracted hundreds of blockchain startups since year-end 2017. Since that time, however, many have left amid the market downdraft, leaving players like crypto brokerage BCB Group standing.  BCB Group Founder Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie told the FT it’s not uncommon to “see a whole vacant area where there was once a flourishing team.”

Distributed workspace startup Primalbase, which is behind the PBT tokens and which Forbes described as a “tech ecosystem,” will make its UK debut on Oct. 4. The office space is designed for fintech firms.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Gerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.