Cryptocurrency Exchange Gemini Acquires Crypto Custody Firm Shard X

Cryptocurrency Exchange Gemini Acquires Crypto Custody Firm Shard X

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has acquired cryptocurrency custody specialist Shard X.

Per an official blog post, Gemini disclosed that it would use Shard X’s multi-party computation (MPC) technology to speed up its efficiency.

Gemini To Use Shard X’s MPC Technology

The technology would help increase the speed at which the exchange transfers customer assets on its platform, the New York-based firm said.

“We’re excited to announce the acquisition of Shard X, a leading developer of secure multi-party computation cryptographic technology. Gemini will integrate Shard X’s MPC technology into our distributed, multi-site key management and signing infrastructure.” Gemini stated.

MPC is a type of cryptographic technology that is fast and secure. It breaks up private keys into shards or parts and distributes them between various parties to execute a transaction.

Shard X was founded in 2018 by Yaniv Neu-Ner, Nikita Lesnikov, and Navaho De Wet in London. The firm claims to be the first company to offer multi-party computation (MPC) on hardware security modules (HSMs).

This acquisition would enhance the security of Gemini’s crypto custody platform, which surpassed $30 billion of crypto assets under custody last month.

The addition of Shard X’s MPC will work in concert with all other aspects of Gemini’s custody offering, including Gemini’s key security, like role-based governance protocols, biometric access controls, and physical security.

It will also expand Gemini’s reach to decentralized finance (DeFi) and other applications. Basically, this acquisition is set to beef up Gemini’s custody tech.

The terms of the deals were not disclosed. However, the exchange’s Chief Operating Officer Noah Perlman revealed that Shard X would join Gemini’s UK affiliate.

Gemini was founded by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in 2014. The company, which has more than 440 employees, is known for its regulated platform that allows users to buy, sell, store, and earn interest on more than 40 cryptocurrencies.

Shard X Joins Growing List Of Gemini’s Acquisitions

The Shard X deal is the third acquisition for Gemini in the last two years.

In November 2019, Gemini acquired the popular non-fungible tokens (NFTs) marketplace Nifty Gateway. The platform, which launched in 2018, facilitates nifty purchases for some of today’s most popular crypto-games and applications, including OpenSea, Gods Unchained, and CryptoKitties.

Fast forward to January this year, Gemini also acquired crypto credit card company Blockrize to accelerate its plans of launching the Gemini Credit Card. A card that offers rewards in digital currencies.

Meanwhile, there have been a couple of crypto custody acquisitions lately. A notable one among them is Galaxy Digital’s $1.2 billion acquisition of crypto custodian BitGo and PayPal’s acquisition of Curv.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Alameda’s Beef with Reef Finance, A Case of “Trust” and “Misunderstanding”

This week, besides the on-chain war over who is responsible for the movement of 18,969 BTC on the Gemini crypto exchange, the market saw another drama unfold when Alameda Research, a trading firm by Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of popular crypto exchange FTX, said they do not affiliate with or endorse REEF.

This resulted in the prices of the REEF falling about 32% to $0.0384 from its ATH on the day at $0.057460, as per CoinGecko. The token is currently trading above $0.040.

According to Adam Cochran of Cinneamhain Ventures, “There isn’t some sneaky backroom plot here.” There was just some “misunderstanding” between both parties. “The irony here is that crypto may be trustless, but investing in crypto and managing OTC trades is all about trust and reputation,” Cochran said.

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REEF is the governance token of Reef Finance, a Polkadot-powered liquidity aggregator and yield engine which is listed on Binance and Huobi.

On Monday, the Reef team shared what exactly went down between them and Alameda, with whom they engaged in September regarding raising funds to bootstrap the platform.

While at the time Alameda passed on the opportunity to invest, this month, their investment arm reached Reef for a strategic investment of $80 million. In response, $20 million worth of tokens were sent to market-maker, wrote the Reef team.

“As previously stated, Alameda secured investment in Reef Finance token for $20M at a 20% discount to create various long-term synergies with Serum and Solana,” led by Alameda’s VC team member Brian Lee, reads the official account of what went down from Reef’s side.

As per Alameda, the $20 million tranche “represented a settlement and not the culmination of a $20m trade.”

These $20 million worth of tokens were then offloaded to the Binance exchange by Alameda. “We could not understand why Alameda, our long-term strategic investor would offload their tokens immediately after purchase to Binance,” said the team.

But Alameda says, “it is not true that Alameda immediately sold all of the REEF,” although it is not relevant for the terms of the deal. According to Cochran,

“As a market making trade desk, they spread their tokens out to trade and maximize them. It’s impossible to tell if “they were dumping them” just by an onchain transaction.”

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So, the cross-chain DeFi operating system decided not to go forward with the additional $60 million because of their “doubts” around Alameda’s interest. The team said Alameda then “threatened” to delist the Reef token from FTX; the exchange later deleted the tweet regarding the same.

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Reef claims “additional threats and legal ramifications” were also thrown around, which were later deleted.

Reportedly, the deal was based on “trust,” and no legal contract for the transaction was offered by the Alameda team, which the latter says is commonplace in crypto, and they have done so before as well.

Also, “All agreements on terms are “contracts” something doesn’t need to be a written legal contract to be a “contract.”

Denko Mancheski, CEO at Reef Finance, is currently promoting #BoycottFTX.

“This action hurt retail investors and should be a cautionary tale akin to the Wall Street Bets GameStop saga. The actions of one centralized entity such as Alameda and FTX should not and can not influence the future of a community-driven project like Reef,” said the team adding that it will launch its next products on the Reef chain and seek less centralized alternatives to work with.

Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried said because at times one team has “way more reputation to lose than another…that creates an asymmetry in PR fights.”

“Definitely fucked that one up,” he added.

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Author: AnTy

Winklevoss Twins Considering Taking Gemini Public; Acquire Blockrize to Launch Crypto Credit Card

Winklevoss Twins Considering Taking Gemini Public; Acquire Blockrize to Launch Crypto Credit Card

Bitcoin HODLers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss offering up to 3% reward in BTC and other cryptocurrencies on their Gemini Credit Cards while “still committed” to Bitcoin ETF but not looking to increase their BTC position.

It’s the season to go public!

After Coinbase, Bakkt, this time its cryptocurrency exchange Gemini.

Bitcoin billionaire brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss told Bloomberg that they are considering taking Gemini Trust Co. public amidst the heightened demand in the crypto market.

“We are definitely considering it and making sure that we have that option,” said Cameron Winklevoss, co-founder of the New York-based digital-asset firm.

“We are watching the market and we are also having internal discussions on whether it makes sense for us at this point in time. We are certainly open to it.”

With this news on Thursday came the announcement of the launch of the Gemini Credit Card.

The card will function like a traditional one but with an additional feature to earn crypto rewards on everyday purchases with up to 3% back in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These rewards will be deposited into cardholders’ Gemini’s accounts automatically.

“Cash is trash,” said Gemini chief executive Tyler Winklevoss. “So as you spend your cash, you get Bitcoin — it’s a pretty good trade-off.”

The launch of these upcoming cards has been accelerated by the acquisition of Blockrize, a fintech startup building a credit card with crypto rewards, for an undisclosed sum. Customers can sign up to the waitlist for the cards that will come later this year.

This the second acquisition by Gemini as back in Nov. 2019, the company acquired Nifty Gateway.

Gemini is making a lot of waves and is further looking to make more with its Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

The Winklevoss twins were the first to file for a Bitcoin ETF in the US years ago but got rejected by the SEC in 2017. But they are still interested and hired David Abner as Gemini’s global head of business development in December. Abner previously ran ETF efforts at Bear Stearns, BNP Paribas, and WisdomTree Europe.

“We still believe in this product, we are still committed to this product,” said Cameron Winklevoss, but only to add that they don’t have anything to share in this regard at the moment.

Gemini is actually the sub-custodian of the Bitcoin held by the ETF filed by Arxnovum Investments Inc. on Monday with the Ontario Securities Commission in Canada.

Meanwhile, the crypto market is rejoicing all the bullish development going on in the crypto space, with Bitcoin going back to $40k today. While the Winklevoss brothers predict Bitcoin reaching $500,000 in a decade, they are “not actively looking to increase our position” because they have “a lot of exposure as it is.”

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Author: AnTy

Nexus Mutual Now Covers Binance, Coinbase, Gemini & Kraken Users Against Security Breaches

Nexus Mutual’s Insurance Now Covers Binance, Coinbase, Gemini & Kraken Users Against Security Breaches

Decentralized finance insurance protocol Nexus Mutual has updated the list of cryptocurrency exchanges that are eligible for incidence protection. The company’s services will now include customers of centralized exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, and Kraken.

More Custodians Welcome

The update, which was announced on Monday, will allow these exchanges’ customers to purchase protection against certain hacks or asset withdrawal issues.

It’s part of the Custody Cover initiative, and it provides compensation for users who lose over ten percent of their funds in the event of a security breach on any of the supported exchanges. Users can also claim cover if an exchange suspends withdrawals for over 90 days.

Nexus Mutual launched Custody Cover in December 2020 to provide insurance cover for centralized crypto. At the time, the company explained that it was branching out of DeFi to build its insurance marketplace. The company’s long term goal is to use blockchain to provide cover for companies and individuals within and outside the crypto space.

“We’re focused on the longevity of Nexus Mutual and want to become a marketplace that covers diverse risks both in and outside of the crypto space. We want to use the benefits of blockchain to protect all underserved communities and this is our first step in that direction.”

Custody Cover launched with support for six custodians – Celsius, BlockFi, Hodlnaut, Nexo, inLock, and Ledn.

With Custody Cover, Nexus Mutual is looking to solve the issue of overly high insurance coverage prices in the crypto space. While premiums for insurance vary based on the platform, numbers appear to be too high for everyday customers and traders.

A Spotlight on Custody

Nexus Mutual’s branching out into the centralized space is coming amid significant growth in the crypto custody space. In response to increased institutional crypto demand, custody providers have also done their bit to improve security.

Recently, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch conducted a survey showing increased Bitcoin activity from Wall Street players. The survey interviewed fund managers with $534 billion in assets under management. They found that institutions were increasingly trading in Bitcoin. Only the dollar and tech stocks saw more trades.

report from Fidelity Investments also revealed that a third of institutional investors now own crypto assets. This increased enthusiasm from investors means asset custodians need to ramp up their security infrastructure to protect against hacks and other mishaps. In a report, auditing giant KPMG explained that custodians’ top action will be to enable next-generation compliance and security measures.

The company recommends incorporating leading cryptographic techniques like sharding, multi-signature wallets, and multi-party computation. Essentially, cryptocurrency security will require input from both hardware and software solutions.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Gemini Partners with ClearBank to Provide Banking Services for UK Exchange Users

In September, U.S.-based Gemini announced its intentions to expand fully into the U.K., to offer trading and custody services. It seems the crypto exchange is now turning its words into action.

Today, cloud-based clearing bank Clearbank announced that it had become the UK banking services provider of top crypto exchange and custodian Gemini.

ClearBank will provide its single API integrated secure infrastructure for Gemini, including securing sort codes and dedicated account numbers. It will also offer express access to payment mediums like CHAPS and Faster Payments.

There have been increased numbers of crypto holders in the U.K., especially now that there is uncertainty regarding the stability of the dollars after Brexit.

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently revealed more than 1.9 million holders of crypto assets.

Last month, Gemini rolled out its full services in GBP after receiving an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license from the FCA.

The license and the present partnership with ClearBank will enable Gemini U.K. customers to deposit or withdraw their GBP balances through the bank. Gemini is offering its customers a secured ClearBank API platform for the complete safety of their accounts.

Apart from protecting the account of the users, Gemini will also maintain the highest regulatory compliance.

Partnership with address issues consumers are facing

ClearBank chief executive officer Charles McManus says the bank is happy to be chosen as Gemini’s banking partner. He pointed out that Gemini has proven that it’s a market leader in the exchange industry over the years. The crypto exchange is also one of the first the bank has worked with, confirms McManus.

In the deal, the role of ClearBank is to provide payment rails and access to accounts, which will help Gemini deliver the best customer experience. He revealed that the partnership aims to help address some of the biggest issues consumers have faced in the industry.

Head of Gemini UK Blair Halliday also commented on the development. According to him, its customers’ high needs in the U.K. have prompted the need to opt for ClearBank as its official banking partner for its U.K. customers.

He said customers in the U.K require fast and easy access to their funds at all times. With faster payment methods, it grows the relationship with customers, and that’s exactly what Gemini has set out to achieve.

Blair also said its shared innovative technology with Clearbank makes the arrangement possible. He pointed out,

“With our shared focus on rigorous compliance, robust security, and innovative technology, ClearBank is an obvious partner for Gemini.”

As cryptocurrencies increase in popularity in the U.K, consumers are always exploring faster and more efficient methods to store their funds.

As a result, users of trading platforms should instantly fund their accounts without being forced to pay extra FX charges. They also want to know their funds are safe and secure, which can only be achieved with a high-risk management standard. Gemini said by choosing ClearBank’s banking services, it hopes to address its customers and crypto holders’ underlying needs.

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Author: Ali Raza

Winklevoss’ Crypto Exchange, Gemini, Partners With European Payments Processor, BCB Group

The Winklevoss-owned crypto exchange, Gemini, is expanding its presence in the U.K., aiming to provide more efficient payment systems to its clients. The NYFDS regulated exchange announced a partnership with BCB Group, a payment processing service provider, to consolidate and enhance payments from U.K based clients.

Having previously partnered with top crypto exchanges, including Coinbase and Bitstamp, as well as crypto custodial firms such as Galaxy Digital, BCB Group’s rapport in the crypto industry is well established’. The partnership with Gemini will enhance the liquidity provisions and fiat-to-crypto conversions to the exchange.

BCB Group is an institutional-grade payment processor offering cryptocurrency-focused companies, accounts, and liquidity to boost financial transactions. The company received it’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) license to act as an authorized payment institution (API) in the U.K. This provides a regulatory cover for Gemini clients in the U.K.

Read More: Gemini Crypto Exchange Opens GBP for Buying, Selling, & Trading in the UK

The partnership with Gemini aims at improving conversions of fiat (i.e., British Pound) to crypto with faster and safer payment processes. According to Blair Halliday, Gemini’s chief compliance officer in Europe, partnering with BCB Group will simplify the payment process for its clients and improve the relationship with banks and institutions in the U.K.

Notwithstanding, Blair believes BCB Group’s partnership will further “secure access to real-time settlement infrastructure, enabling us [Gemini] to integrate with banking partners.” Halliday said,

“Gemini is focused on creating the smoothest experience possible for our UK customers to make deposits into and withdrawals out of their accounts instantly in GBP via Faster Payments, CHAPS, and SWIFT transfers.”

The crypto exchange is known for its regulatory approach, having recently acquired its FCA license granting it an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license. This followed the company’s insistent nature is following the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) crypto-asset registration process.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Gemini Crypto Exchange Opens Up GBP for Buying, Selling, and Trading for UK Customers

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini is now expanding into the UK.

The launch follows obtaining an electronic-money institutions (EMI) license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after the agency declared that all crypto exchanges operating in the country are required to register with it as per its Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD) by Jan. 10, 2021.

Now that Gemini is open for business in the UK, the users in the region can buy, sell, store, and trade crypto using their local currency pound sterling (GBP).

“London is one of the birthplaces of modern finance and has a rich tradition of regulation, but also fosters an environment of innovation,” said Tyler Winklevoss.

The New York-based firm founded by Tyer and Cameron Winklevoss will now let its users buy Bitcoin and other cryptos using debit cards. Supported cryptos include Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Dai (DAI), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), ChainLink (LINK), Orchid (OXT), Amp (AMP), Pax Gold (PAXG), and Compound (COMP).

Cryptocurrency investors can also fund digital wallets via bank payments such as CHAPS, Faster Payments, and Swift wire transfers without incurring foreign exchange fees.

Gemini is among the few registered firms — already operating — in the UK, with Archax being another one approved by the US regulator and due to launch in the fourth quarter.

The crypto exchange, which is also a New York State Department of Financial Services regulated custodian, is also in the licensing process in Singapore.

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Author: AnTy

Gemini Debuts DeFi Listings in New York Market With Amp, Compound, and Pax Gold

Gemini crypto exchange has announced that New York users will now be able to trade Compound (COMP), Amp (AMPL), and Pax Gold (PAXG) against the USD. The Winklevoss brothers’ led crypto exchange noted that it worked in collaboration with the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to receive approval for listing these digital assets. According to the official announcement, active trading of the newly added pairs is scheduled for September 15.

This move is quite significant for the New York market, which had been left out of the DeFi space when it comes to listings on centralized crypto exchanges. Coinbase, for instance, has been quite active in listing ‘hot’ DeFi tokens, but yet to cover prospective users in New York. With COMP’s listing on Gemini, crypto investors and enthusiasts in the big apple will now be able to acquire positions in DeFi through the exchange.

COMP made waves in May when the decentralized protocol debuted this governance token to be used in running the platform. The protocol has since risen to become one of the leading DeFi lending and borrowing platforms; currently, its market cap stands 544 million while the price of one COMP token is $163 as per Coingecko metrics. Tyler Winklevoss, Gemini’s Co-founder, tweeted bullish sentiments as well,

“The #DeFi revolution is upon us. @Gemini is now accepting deposits for $AMP @amptoken, $PAXG @PaxosStandard, and $COMP @compoundfinance. Trading to begin on 9/15!”

Amp and PAXG, on the other hand, propose value in digital collateralization and gold tokenization, respectively. The former will expose Gemini’s clients to Flexa’s Network collateral token ‘AMP’ whose underlying is to act as a form of collateral, supporting the fundamentals of Flexa’s payments network. This innovation allows users to pay merchants’ in crypto while Flexa handles ‘under the hood’ to convert these payments to the merchants’ preferred fiat currency.

Gemini’s venture into the DeFi space has scaled its range of tradeable digital assets to 12; notable mentions that were already featured include BTC, LTC, ETH, and BCH. The exchange highlighted that its updated trading portfolio would be available via API connections and the platform’s Active Trader.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Brave Adds Gemini Trading Widget; Privacy-Focused Users Can Buy Crypto Directly In the Browser

Brave browser has added a Gemini Trading Widget to its main interface, a move that will allow the users of this privacy-focused browser to access Gemini’s crypto listings without a hustle. According to the announcement by Brave, their partnership with Gemini is a significant step in making crypto purchases, sales, storage, and rewards more interactive at a basic level.

Notably, Gemini’s Trading Widget is not the first to be integrated with Brave; the browser had already featured a Binance Widget that has been functional since April.

A Brave Opportunity in Crypto!

Following a successful pitch based on privacy, Brave has been on the rise, with its number of active users increasing every quarter since the start of 2020. The latest stats from June show a monthly active usage of 15 million while daily active users stood at 5.3 million. Interestingly, this browser is also crypto-friendly and runs its own token-based ‘BAT’ reward ecosystem for viewing ‘privacy ads.’

The addition of Gemini’s Trading Widget, which was originally testest on the Nightly version, comes as no surprise to the crypto community, given the crypto exchange listed BAT tokens a few months ago. This widget is pretty seamless and accessible on Brave’s opening tab; users just need to connect to their Gemini accounts, after which they can use Gemini’s card on the Brave interface to initiate trades and manage their accounts as well.

Other than crypto trading activities, the collaboration will enable Brave-verified content creators to leverage Gemini’s content creator wallet to custody their BAT rewards.

“That means Brave creators can receive their BAT payments into their Gemini Creator Wallet, or in any other fiat or crypto asset supported on Gemini’s Exchange.” Reads the blog.

While the integration with crypto networks seems to be going smoothly, Brave has encountered its fair share of challenges with a recent call out for profiting from affiliate company links. The company’s CEO, Brendan Eich, however, apologized and reassured Brave users that they would no longer alter links automatically.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Winklevoss Twins’ Gemini Onboards Eventus to Detect Manipulation on the Exchange

Cryptocurrency exchange and custodian Gemini has chosen Eventus Systems to provide it with surveillance and anti-market manipulation tools. Austin-based Eventus already provides its services to Coinbase and ErisX, and three other exchanges.

Currently, a less regulated space, crypto, is seeing increased scrutiny from the regulators. Manipulation has been the primary reason why the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has repeatedly rejected the Bitcoin ETFs.

“The digital asset space is a constantly changing environment,” Noah Perlman, Gemini’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Eventus has a great track record.”

Gemini was founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in 2014. They also created the Virtual commodity Association in 2018 to work with regulators, including CFTC, to prevent fraud and manipulation in crypto markets. That year, Gemini hired Nasdaq to provide market surveillance.

“As digital assets grow in popularity, it’s more important than ever that marketplaces like Gemini establish comprehensive trade-surveillance programs and procedures to ensure they remain constantly vigilant,” said Eventus chief executive officer Travis Schwab.

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Author: AnTy