Gemini is a digital currency exchange and custodian that allows customers to buy, sell, and store digital assets. Gemini is a New York trust company that is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). Gemini was founded in 2014, by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
In June 2016, according to CNBC report, Gemini became the world's first licensed ether exchange. In May 2018, it was announced that Gemini had become the world’s first licensed Zcash exchange. Currently, it operates in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Primary competitors include Coinbase, Binance, Bitstamp, and Kraken. All users are able to trade cryptocurrency and fiat currency on an open market. Users are able to transfer USD to and from their bank accounts.
Gemini began in order to facilitate the purchase and storage of Bitcoin through a complex system of private keys and password protected environments. Only a small percentage of the total bitcoin on the exchange is held online to minimize the risk of loss from hacking. As pointed out by the site Profit Confidential regarding compromised exchanges:
To be perfectly honest, there is no yes or no answer to the “Are Ethereum exchanges safe” question. Going purely on past records, they are safe though exchanges like Poloniex have been hacked. This does not make Poloniex any less safe than the others. People who hack exchanges are constantly upgrading their methods, and likewise, the exchanges are trying to stay a step ahead. The best bet is to use offline storage of ETHs once the transaction is complete.
The New York Times has reported that Gemini is trusted by Ari Paul, of the hedge fund BlockTower Capital, who deals in virtual currency. According to reports by both Bloomberg News and Fortune magazine, Gemini was the first exchange to launch bitcoin futures contracts in December 2017. Fortune reported that Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) uses Gemini "as the basis for the daily settlement for the bitcoin futures".
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss announced Gemini in June 2013 and the company went live on October 25, 2015. Gemini began adding to the financial services it offers thereafter, some of which include FIX and API support. On May 5, 2016 Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York State announced the approval of Gemini as the first licensed Ethereum exchange based in the United States. Additionally, in 2016, Gemini announced it would allow users to withdraw Ethereum Classic (ETC) from the exchange, following a hard fork in Ethereum's code.
In October 2017, Gemini announced that it was allowing registered users to withdraw Bitcoin Cash from the exchange provided they had a balance available on the exchange prior to the Bitcoin hard fork in August 2017.
Fortune reported that Cboe uses Gemini to settle its Bitcoin futures contracts, "XBT", in December 2017. Cboe partnered with Gemini so as to use Gemini's dollar denominated auction price for these contracts.
According to Bloomberg News, Gemini began offering "Block Trading" in April 2018. Block Trading enables Gemini users to buy and sell large quantities of digital assets outside of Gemini's continuous order books, creating an additional liquidity mechanism when trading in greater size.
The Winklevoss twins said that their main goal in 2018 was to add Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.
In March 2018, Gemini added a number of partnerships and products to its portfolio and network. It announced a partnership with Caspian, the full-stack cryptocurrency trading and risk management platform for institutional and complex investors.
In April 2018, it was reported by Reuters that Gemini would be utilizing NASDAQ's SMARTS technology to monitor trades and combat fraudulent activity and price manipulation on its exchange.
On May 14, 2018, the New York Department of Financial Services announced it had approved Gemini to offer Zcash (ZEC) on their platform. The NYDFS commented that its decision was a "continuation of New York's longstanding commitment to innovation and leadership in the marketplace." Gemini's CEO, Tyler Winklevoss, was quoted in the same press-release saying that Gemini "is proud to be the first licensed exchange in the world to offer Zcash trading and custody services."
On September 10th, 2018, Bloomberg News reported that Gemini had received regulatory approval for a new product, the Gemini dollar (GUSD) from the NYDFS and would launch trading of the coin that same day. Gemini described the product as a stablecoin which maintains a 1-to-1 peg with the American dollar.
On October 3rd, it was announced that Gemini had obtained digital asset insurance covering tokens and coins held on its exchange. Bloomberg Markets reported that the insurance had been brokered by Aon, a London based public risk consulting company, and underwritten by a consortium of global underwriters .
2019 Ad Campaign
Gemini launched an out-of-home ad campaign around Manhattan in January of 2019. The Wall Street Journal reported that the ad campaign was directed at providing wary investors with a "Shelter in a storm" that is fully regulated and compliant with existing American cryptocurrency regulation.
The site's primary challenge has been remaining online at times of excessively high volumes, a relatively common occurrence for any website receiving an unusual amount of traffic. On November 28, 2017, for example, both Gemini and Coinbase crashed for several hours. Gemini was showing a "504 gateway time-out" message, and the status page showed "Systems are currently experiencing degraded performance." Subsequently, the Gemini Blog offered this comment. "This is not the first scaling challenge we’ve encountered, and it won’t be the last. We’re continuing to improve our performance and infrastructure monitoring so we can anticipate potential problems more quickly in the future."
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