As the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cThe Gemini Trust Company is getting into the cryptocurrency industry, and is the latest company to announce plans for international expansion.
Bloomberg reported Monday that the company, founded in 2015 by billionaire twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, plans to open a derivatives exchange in a foreign jurisdiction.
The twins had high hopes for the Gemini Trust Company, which reportedly lent them $100 million of their personal fortunes. But Gemini is operating in a climate where high-profile SEC actions against crypto operators are fueling a feeling among some investors and traders that cryptocurrencies are best avoided.
In January, the Securities and Exchange Commission Accused Gemini Trust and another entity, Genesis Global Capital, for securities law violations. The agency claimed that it made sales of unregistered securities through the Gemini Earn crypto-asset lending program.
Not only did Gemini charge an agent fee of up to 4.29 percent, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gemini Earn’s management has raised some serious issues. In November 2022, Genesis announced that Gemini Earn investors could not withdraw their crypto assets, citing liquidity issues. The market was very volatile. This was bad news for the 340,000 Gemini dividend investors with an investment of $900 million. Gensler has publicly criticized Genesis and Gemini for their lack of disclosure and compliance.
“It’s not optional, it’s the law,” Gensler said.
Now, the Winklevoss twins appear to be the latest players in the industry to react to the tone of the SEC’s directive. Not to mention the rigors of enforcement. They have decided to move a large part of their operations abroad. And do not deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The news about Gemini is the second announcement in the past few days to reinstate support for cryptocurrencies amid a regulatory retaliation.
Late last week, Coinbase won a license from the Bermuda Monetary Authority. This is a huge step in the international growth of Coinbase. and deregulate at least some of its operations from the jurisdiction of the SEC.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong praised the UK’s pursuit of “reasonable cryptocurrency regulation”. He tacitly contrasted this moderate approach with that of US regulators.
The SEC charges Bittrex
Gemini Trust and Coinbase are not alone. At the end of March, Bittrex CEO and co-founder Richie Lai announced the exit of his exchange from the United States. In his March 31 announcement, Lay blamed organizational conditions for making the US base of operations difficult.
Lai stated, “Regulatory requirements are often unclear and imposed without proper discussion or input, resulting in an uneven competitive landscape.”
“Working in the United States is no longer possible,” Lai said.
The Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, spoke last week before a US House of Representatives committee about his opposition to cryptocurrency.
Almost every week brings news of a high-profile action from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Just weeks after Lai’s announcement, the SEC moved to indict Bittrex over alleged securities law issues. The agency alleged that six of the Bittrex tokens were securities and thus were traded without proper registration. Shortly after the SEC announced its move, the prices of four of the tokens plummeted.
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