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Gemini Bitcoin Exchange Launches, Needs No BitLicense or FinCEN

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:45 PM
P. H. Madore
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:45 PM

The Winklevoss Twins have announced the launch of their long-awaited Bitcoin exchange, Gemini. Somewhat like itBit, which applied for a banking license rather than wait for the completion of the BitLicense, Gemini Trust Company, LLC is regulated as a fiduciary. This means they can service both individual and institutional clients, among other things.

Meeting the high-water mark of banking compliance is no small task, especially for a startup, but we felt that doing so was crucial — Bitcoin is an island right now, and, if we are going to build a bridge to the financial mainland, then Gemini must look and feel as safe, secure and compliant as any other top tier financial institution in the world.

A “robust anti-money laundering” program within the company is paramount to its retaining its banking license, so users can expect to go through all the usual hoops to verify their identity and trade bitcoins for cash. At the same time, Gemini is exempt from registering with FinCEN since it is a state chartered limited liability trust company.

Some in the industry have begun to buck back against what they consider repressive “know your customer” regulations, but Gemini and others have willingly embraced it, considering compliance one of their core principals of success.

[W]e take licensing and compliance very seriously and think that asking for permission, rather than forgiveness is the right approach in this case — and we think our customers will agree.

Gemini is currently open to clients in 26 states, including California and and Colorado, as well as the District of Columbia. As of today, users will need an invite code in order to sign up, but open enrollment is sure to follow soon.