Winklevoss Twins’ Gemini Exchange Starts International Expansion

  • Digital currency exchange introduces service in Canada Monday
  • Another country to be announced within several weeks

Gemini Trust Co., the U.S.-based digital-currency exchange founded by entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, took a step Monday toward its goal of global expansion by starting to serve Canadian customers.

Within days, Gemini will also introduce service in another foreign country, Chief Executive Officer Tyler Winklevoss said in an interview. He declined to name the country. Gemini has operated in the U.S. since October, after being licensed by New York’s Department of Financial Services.

Gemini is moving beyond its home country as the technology behind bitcoin finds uses in industries ranging from supply chains to finance, and more people around the world open bitcoin accounts. The price of bitcoin reached $575.97 on Friday, its highest value in almost two years, as an outflow of capital from China continued, and investors prepare for a planned reduction in supply of new bitcoins that will take place this summer.

Canada is already home to half a dozen homegrown bitcoin exchanges, such as QuadrigaCX and Taurus. Last year. U.S.-based Coinbase Inc. began serving Canadian customers as well.

Gemini will first let Canadian customers deposit and trade digital currencies bitcoin and Ether, and then will roll out other services, such as the ability to exchange dollars for digital currencies. Canadian customers’ fees will be the same as those for customers in the U.S.

“The unique attributes of the Canadian market are the high penetration rates for electronic payments and smartphones that enable more activity in digital currencies such as bitcoin,” said Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

While Gemini doesn’t disclose its user numbers, in the last 30 days it handled about $30 million worth of ether and bitcoin trading, Winklevoss said. As a chartered limited liability trust in the U.S., Gemini can operate nationwide without having to apply for money-transmitter licenses from individual states that require them. The company can also potentially offer a variety of other services for institutional investors, such as holding assets in collateral in transactions.

“Our goal is to be a global digital asset exchange,” Winklevoss said. “How quickly we take the exchange globally is a question sometimes of regulation, and what’s on our development road map.”

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