Brothers Winklevoss have introduced Gemini, a New York-based bitcoin exchange aiming to promote the spread of virtual currencies in the US. The new platform is intended to be fully compliant to Benjamin Lawsky's BitLicense regulation and linked exclusively with American regulated banks.
The proposal for the regulation virtual currencies was introduced in July 2014 by New York State Department of Financial Services. Following the initial open-comment period, when stakeholders’ feedback on the proposal was collected, the regulator has prepared a revised version of the license, to be published early in 2015.
When answering a question about the Winklevoss brothers’ exchange during a panel on ‘Regulating Digital Currency: BitLicense and the Internet of Value’ in October 2014, NYSDFS superintedant Lawsky mentioned some well-funded institutional exchanges launching early 2015 in NYC under current banking regulations. “Several months back, parallel to the BitLicense proposal, we also put a call-out for companies that were interested in starting institutional bitcoin exchanges in New York and we are doing that not under a new money transmission law … we're doing it under existing banking law”, Lawsky said.
Winklevoss are major venture capital investors who,according to rumour, own 1% of world bitcoins. Their last bitcoin startup BitInstant closed down in 2013. They are still waiting for regulatory approval by the SEC of their other initiative, The Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, a bitcoin exchange-traded fund planning to list on NASDAQ.
In a blogpost, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss reveal that they had been building a team for the new US-based exchange, the “Nasdaq of Bitcoin”, as they call it, since last February in response to “a growing number of US investors, traders, financial institutions and businesses wanted to get involved with bitcoin directly”. Security is the number one priority for the Winklevoss brothers. They promise that the customers' US dollars will never leave the country and will be eligible for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance.