Gemini, the U.S. cryptocurrency exchange founded by bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, is rumored to be eyeing an expansion into the United Kingdom.
Gemini Plots Transatlantic Expansion
Citing two sources close to the process, the Financial Times reports that the New York-based exchange operator has hired advisors regarding a move into Britain and may soon submit an application to the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for regulatory authorization to open an exchange in the country under the agency’s e-money licensing program.
Gemini has not confirmed the report, telling FT that it has “no immediate plans” but is evaluating opportunities to increase its global presence.
“Gemini continues to explore potential jurisdictions around the globe to provide a best-in-class digital asset exchange and custodian which will enable growth and infrastructure to the entire digital asset community,” FT cited the exchange operator as saying. “Although we have no immediate plans, we . . . will always evaluate opportunities that allow the global economy to buy, sell and store digital assets in a regulated, secure and compliant manner.”
In March, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase received such an e-money license from the FCA, authorizing it to provide payment and electronic money services to customers in the U.K. and 23 other European Union countries. Coinbase UK customers can currently trade GBP against BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, and ETC.
Gemini currently ranks as the world’s 61st-largest cryptocurrency exchange, according to CoinMarketCap, with a 24-hour volume of about $12 million and a 30-day volume of nearly $750 million. Binance, the highest-volume exchange, averages more than $1 billion in daily volume.
Recently, the exchange launched a fully-collateralized, USD-pegged cryptocurrency called the Gemini dollar (GUSD).
U.K. Lawmakers Call for End to ‘Wild West’ Crypto Markets
Earlier this month, FCA chief Andrew Bailey said that regulators need to take a balanced approach on cryptocurrency, mitigating risks and maintaining consumer protections while also leaving sufficient room for innovation. Lawmakers, though, have been more critical of the nascent industry, alleging that regulators need to cease with the “feeble warnings” and regulate the “Wild West” cryptocurrency markets.
Increased regulation would likely not be a major hurdle for Gemini, though, as the exchange is already one of the few cryptocurrency companies to receive a charter authorizing them to operate in New York under the state’s rigorous BitLicense framework. The firm has also partnered with Nasdaq to police its markets for illegal trading activities using the stock exchange giant’s market surveillance technology.
According to a recent survey, 30 percent of London residents plan to invest in cryptocurrency assets, compared to 13 percent of the national average. A previous survey found that 27 percent of male millennials living in the U.K. consider bitcoin a better investment than real estate.
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