The brothers are known for developing HarvardConnection, a social network that eventually changed its name to ConnectU. They successfully sued Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg for $65 million in 2004, claiming that he had stolen their social networking idea. Since then, they have taken a great interest in bitcoin. In fact, the twins even claimed they owned 1 out of every 100 bitcoins in 2013.
Their latest project, Gemini, describes itself as a “next generation bitcoin exchange”. The Winklevoss twins aim to make it fully compliant with regulations. They will operate entirely in the United States with American banks, and customer funds will never be sent overseas. The exchange advertises security to be its “top priority”.
When asked about the user experience Gemini will provide, Cameron answered, “We’re building the best product experience possible. If you want to think of this like how Google would approach bitcoin, so be it, Gemini is not going to be like anything else out there.”
The twins aim to ensure that Gemini operates in a fully legal manner. The exchange’s website says that the company is “working with federal and state governments to launch in full compliance with all Bitcoin regulations and consumer protection laws.”
Cameron said, “We aren’t interested in trying to find a way to be semi-operational, or operate around the fringe or hack our way in.”
“We’ve worked very hard to understand what it would take to be a fully licensed, regulated entity in all the states, and we’re making sure we get this right. We’re not pretending we’re kids that don’t have to play by certain rules, I don’t think that’s the right way to approach it,” added Tyler.
Tyler spoke about how the company aims to follow regulations: “We felt like the only way to do this was to open up an active dialogue with the regulators, which we have done, and to establish a relationship with a US regulated bank, which we have done, and approach this with a security-first mentality from day one.”
He also added that Gemini would not launch unless it is properly licensed. He acknowledged that there are some exchanges that operate in a legal grey area, but he said that he does not plan to do the same thing with Gemini. He said that the exchange is seeking licenses in all necessary U.S. states and he predicts that Gemini will be available anywhere in the U.S. after it is launched.
The brothers also spoke about the people they have employed to work for Gemini. They chose to hire people who have worked for large companies such as Google and Microsoft in the past. Cameron explained that they wanted employees “who have been in companies where there were lots of assets, and valuable information at stake.”
Tyler said that Gemini’s intended customers will be both individuals and financial institutions. He also said that Gemini aims to be able to serve institutional investors and traders well while remaining simple and easy to use.
The brothers said that Gemini has taken up a great deal of their time and it is a project they are very eager about.
“Gemini is what we are and have been working on 100% of the time,” said Tyler.