Crypto exchange Gemini launches in UK armed with EMI licence
Gemini, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, has launched in the UK. Its arrival follows the approval of an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) licence from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Gemini has filed for a licence to operate in Ireland too, in case Brexit means a UK-issued EMI licence won’t be valid in wider Europe.
The expansion means UK customers can make GBP deposits to fund their Gemini account via Faster Payments, Chaps, and Swift wire transfers.
This means no more transacting in foreign currencies or incurring exchange rate fees for UK users.
A quarterly report published by Singapore-based banking giant DBS Bank brands 2020 as a milestone in the history of finance for digital transactions.
It also notes that China is the world’s leader in bitcoin mining, accounting for some 70% of the cryptocurrency’s computer power globally.
This means there is still a huge opportunity in regions outside Asia, such as Europe, to push crypto adoption.
All steam ahead despite no boss
According to Wired, Gemini has lost its European head Julian Sawyer, who led the start-up’s expansion strategy for less than a year.
Sawyer joined Gemini back in December 2019 after co-founding Starling Bank. Following his departure, two different execs now head up Gemini’s European expansion.
These are the start-up’s head of international business Michael Breu, and chief compliance officer for Europe, Blair Halliday.
But despite a loss of leadership, the start-up’s European arm is the second entity to land approval as part of the FCA’s Fifth Money Laundering Directive (MLD) crypto asset registration process.
As well as Europe, the New York-based fintech has also set its sights on Southeast Asia.
Similar to its entry into the UK, Gemini is taking a regulation-focused approach in Singapore, where it plans to file for a licence under the country’s new Payment Services Act (PSA).
Evolution of Gemini
Gemini was founded by the Winklevoss twins. The brothers waged a legal dispute against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. It landed them a $65 million settlement.
The two invested a large portion of this settlement into bitcoin. When bitcoin’s value shot up in 2017, the twins sought to make use their newfound success.
Whilst Gemini seems to be making headway with regulatory bodies this year, that hasn’t always been the case.
In 2018, America’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected a request to list Gemini. It argued bitcoin was too susceptible to market manipulation.
Fellow crypto trader Wilshire Phoenix got rejected from the SEC this year on the same grounds. It points to the unpredictable progress different firms are making in different regions with crypto.
In the last 18 months, Gemini has made some notable new hiring’s. It’s brought on execs from both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the International Securities Exchange (ISE).
And now it’s moving into the UK. “We’re proud to help usher the crypto revolution into this historic market and become a part of its rich tradition,” says CEO, Tyler Winklevoss.