Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss say their approach with their new company was to “ask permission” rather than “ask forgiveness.” That’s why they waited for months to obtain licensing from the New York Department of Financial Services before launching Gemini, a bitcoin exchange that will open for trading on Thursday.
Regulation has been the hot-button issue in digital currency recently. In August, a slew of bitcoin companies cut off service to New York rather than apply for a BitLicense, the regulatory hall-pass created by the NYDFS to cover digital-currency business deemed “money transmitters.” The BitLicense went through multiple revisions and remains highly controversial in bitcoin circles.
But a BitLicense isn’t what the Winklevosses wanted. Rather, they sought authorization to operate Gemini as a chartered LLC trust company. To service institutional banking clients, the BitLicense, they say, isn’t sufficient—hence their play for a trust charter. Today, Gemini announced it has received that charter.
Even without a BitLicense, virtual-currency exchanges are expected to meet the requirements of the BitLicense framework, according to an NYDFS spokesperson. (Only Circle, Gemini, and ItBit have received NYDFS exchange licenses.) Deposits and withdrawals are free on Gemini, but the exchange takes a small fee (not yet announced) on