Winklevoss Twins Seek to Create ‘Regulated’ Bitcoin Exchange in the U.S.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are known as those who invested millions in the Bitcoin virtual currency; the twins are strongly convinced that Bitcoin will stay alive only if it has regulatory control.

Photo: Brad Boad/Flickr

Photo: Brad Boad/Flickr

The new year started in a rough way for bitcoin. The Silk Road trial makes people doubt of a legal bitcoin application’s existence. Now, the price of each bitcoin is approaching $200. It has been swinging for the last few years and in November, 2013, bitcoin hit the $1,200-high.

Then, since late 2013 the value per unit has been plummeting. For this reason, some miners can’t stay in that business anymore. Anyway, many online firms and stores exchange bitcoin for services and goods.

But in any difficult situation there are those who are able to see the way out of the chaos. In this case, the probable heroes of the day are the twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. The technology inspired brothers are building the first regulated Bitcoin exchange in the U.S.

The name of their exchange is Gemini which is the Latin word for “twins”. As the twins themselves explain in the company’s blog, “this word inherently explores the concept of duality”.

Cameron and Tyler say that they are attracted to this definition “because of the two worlds of money (old and new) that will intersect on the Gemini platform as well as the two-way nature of trade that it will facilitate.”

The brothers stated that such things as the Silk Road trial or Mt. Gox crash don’t make them doubt of their willing to stay in business. Moreover, the twins are sure that all these problems show that it’s necessary to build a regulated and reliable exchange.

The Gemini staff is located in the Winklevoss Capital offices in Manhattan. The team includes Michael Breu, who previously worked as head of information security in the research department at Bridgewater Associates, head of security Cem Paya, who previously held the same position at Airbnb, Katten Muchin Rosenman, a specialist of financial regulations.

In general, the company is cooperating closely with regulators. That fact helped them have a very important thing: a bank account with an American bank. Again, the twins believe that Bitcoin will survive only if it has regulatory oversight.

Speaking about the security experts working at Gemini, it’s necessary to say that they, like any Bitcoin firm, have been focusing on the ways to keep the private keys in multiple offline and physically guarded locations.

As for the software, the twins hired a developer from the hedge fund Two Sigma, who is building a system suitable for both small investors and institutions that look for direct access to the trading system.

But if the current lack of confidence lasts, all of these ventures risk to amount to nothing. “This time around we are betting on ourselves,” Tyler Winklevoss said to The New York Times.

Obviously, the twins have already faced others’ mistakes. The last big start-up that the brothers backed was BitInstant which collapsed in 2013, its founder Charlie Shrem was arrested in January last year and was sentenced to two years in prison. Now, the tech enthused brothers prefer keeping their eyes wide open and do the things on their own.

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