Gemini gets first license to operate crypto business in Ireland

abdelaziz Fathi

Gemini has received a licence serve as a Virtual Asset Service Provider from the Central Bank of Ireland, the country’s financial services regulator.

That makes the cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins the first exchange to register its digital assets business in Ireland.

“Gemini was founded on the ethos of asking for permission, not forgiveness. Since day one, Gemini has engaged with regulators around the world to help shape thoughtful regulation that both protects consumers and fosters innovation. We are excited to offer our products and services to individuals and institutions in Ireland and countries in Europe. Gemini’s exchange and custody services allow investors to buy, sell, and store over 100 cryptos with EUR and GBP,” the exchange said in a corporate statement.

Gemini’s Irish office, based in Dublin, is reportedly planning to grow further to become a key regulated hub through which significant aspects of its business across the EU can be conducted. It was opened last year and the exchange hired Gillian Lynch, former chief strategy officer at Leveris, to head up its operations there.

The VASP registration comes on the heels of Gemini’s Electronic Money Institution (EMI) authorisation in February of 2022, also from the Central Bank of Ireland. Alongside existing licenses in the UK, Gemini is able to process payments and issue e-money wallets via the Irish licence, for its ongoing activities in 26 countries across Europe. This also extends to money remittance and execution of payment transactions via telecoms, the ability to clear euro payments directly without the involvement of commercial banks, and the issue of IBAN accounts to its clients.

Gemini was the first company to receive the EMI license since October 2020. The crypto exchange first applied for the license earlier in 2020, following the footsteps of other well-known fintechs such as Coinbase, Stripe, Square and Meta. This further exposes its business to respectable jurisdictions when it comes to regulatory oversight.

Gemini lands $7.1 billion valuation

Setting up in Ireland will also provide access to the country’s finance and technology talent pools for Gemini, though the country is not as lax as some other territories in Europe, such as Gibraltar or Malta.

From Dublin, Gemini will be able to build and launch products and services for the European customer base. Additionally, the exchange operator can build strategic relationships with the global banks, particularly as the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit is still weighing on the ecosystem.

In November, the cryptocurrency platform raised $400 million at a $7.1 billion valuation. As for Gemini’s creators, the twins are early investors in Bitcoin and have been highly bullish on its future value. They proposed an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that would track Bitcoin prices, allowing investors to gain exposure to bitcoin on a fully regulated venue. However, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) denied their application several times.

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