Gemini, a privately held cryptocurrency exchange, announced on November 18 that it had secured $400 million in a financing round led by hedge fund Morgan Creek Digital, valuing the company at $7.1 billion. Gemini is the latest cryptocurrency startup to raise money at a high valuation in recent months as a result of this. Users can purchase, sell, store, and trade Bitcoin, Ether, and DeFi (decentralised finance) tokens on the privately-owned cryptocurrency platform. It was founded by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who are best known for their fight with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg over whether he stole their idea for the social networking platform.
Those who have watched the 2010 Oscar-nominated movie The Social Network may remember American actor Armie Hammer playing the role of the twins.
Gemini Trust Co., LLC is the formal name of the company. Gemini offers its own currency, the Gemini dollar, which is a “stable coin” pegged to the US dollar, as well as a mobile app and a payment app. The cryptocurrency exchange is a direct rival to Coinbase and Kraken, among others. Gemini also hosts a digital art and collectibles non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace with 375 distinct artist partnerships. On its website, Gemini states that the platform offers “trading and custody for more than 60 tokens, with an additional 16 tokens available for custody”.
On its funding, Gemini said it will utilise the $400 million in capital to expand its geographical footprint and product offerings.
Cameron and Tyler, the Winklevoss twins, own Gemini. The company's name is the Zodiac sign symbolised by the twins. They are best known for accepting a $65 million settlement of a lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg. They had claimed that Facebook was their concept and Zuckerberg had stolen it when all three of them were undergraduates at Harvard University.
They even competed in the Olympics as rowers after graduating from Harvard University.
When asked about Facebook in a chat with Forbes earlier this year, Tyler Winklevoss had said, “The idea of a centralised social network is just not going to exist five or 10 years in the future. There's a chasm between the old world and this new crypto-native universe.”
According to a report in The New York Times, the twins used some of that money to load up on Bitcoin and Ether. That made them billionaires by 2017. Some of that went into the creation of Gemini.
On its website, Gemini says that when Cameron and Tyler first learned about Bitcoin in 2012, “there were very few safe, trusted ways to get into crypto”. Keen to “create a regulated, easy, and safe way to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies”, they conceptualised Gemini. “To comply with the NY regulatory framework, they waited to operate until Gemini received it's New York Trust license.”
At present, the exchange is available in over 60 countries worldwide.