Last month Gemini Exchange was approved to deliver crypto services by the Central Bank but what exactly is it?
If the name ‘Winklevoss’ rings a bell, it’s probably from their $65 million settlement with Mark Zuckerberg over who really came up with the idea for Facebook. The Winklevoss twins’ crypto exchange Gemini became the first company to receive approval from the Central Bank of Ireland to provide crypto services here. But what exactly is Gemini?
Launched in 2014 by the Winklevoss twins, Gemini is a cryptocurrency platform with a website and a mobile app for buying, selling, storing, and spending cryptocurrencies. You can also trade more than 120 cryptocurrencies including Gemini’s very own stablecoin.
Many consumers have been hit with big losses as some crypto exchanges have folded in recent months. This is something that Gemini strives to avoid which is why security is a big part of their offering. Most users’ crypto is stored in offline “cold storage” while the ready money is held in an insured “hot wallet.” This provides users with reassurance that if something was to go wrong, they would receive compensation which isn’t always a given when it comes to crypto.
So what does the Central Bank approval awarded last month mean for Gemini? Gemini has been awarded a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) registration from the Central Bank. This means they’re now allowed to provide crypto services to individuals and institutions in Ireland.
The VASP registration was introduced in Ireland in 2021. It requires the Central Bank to review the effectiveness of crypto businesses’ anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing policies and procedures and the fitness of management teams. The VASP adds to their Electronic Money Institution (EMI) authorisation from the Central Bank that they recently received, the first such authorisation granted since 2020.
Essentially the Central Bank is saying that Gemini’s anti money laundering procedures pass their test. However, the Central Bank is still sceptical of crypto assets as a whole, warning earlier this year “Crypto assets are highly risky and speculative, and may not be suitable for retail customers.”
With Gemini being awarded a VASP, expect to see more crypto exchanges follow suit. However, the interesting thing will be to see how many jobs are created in Ireland through these companies. Gemini couldn’t confirm how many people it employs in Ireland, if any at all. Watch this space.
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