Winklevoss twins get OK to open exchange for trading Bitcoins

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have won approval to open their Bitcoin exchange, Gemini.

The twins announced last week that they had received approval for their exchange from the New
York State Department of Financial Services.

The agency had already approved another company, ItBit, to operate under a similar regulatory
framework as a banklike trust company.

The Winklevoss twins have been working on their exchange for more than a year with help from
veterans of other large technology companies.

Gemini will hold customer money in federally insured bank accounts. The exchange aims to make it
easier for large institutional investors to buy and sell Bitcoin.

Wall Street banks have recently expressed growing interest in harnessing the technology
underlying Bitcoin. But it is still unclear whether large financial players will want to trade
Bitcoin itself, as the Winklevoss twins are betting. Much of the interest from Wall Street is in
the technology that allows direct digital transactions.

The price of Bitcoin has been largely stagnant for most of this year and sits around $240 for a
Bitcoin. ItBit, the other exchange, has not experienced outsized trade volumes.

The
Winklevoss twins have been actively working with Bitcoin since 2012. The first
company they backed, BitInstant, did not survive. They quickly began working on a Bitcoin-backed
exchange-traded fund, which is expected to trade on the Nasdaq exchange. That fund is waiting for
regulatory approval.

The twins have been vocal about the importance of working with regulators rather than
challenging the authorities, as some Bitcoin advocates have wanted to do.

“Bitcoin is an island right now, and Gemini is building a bridge to the financial mainland,”
said Tyler Winklevoss, the chief executive of Gemini.

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