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Crypto Exchange Gemini Sets India in Sights

Gemini's decision to establish an engineering cluster in India parallels that of its competitor Coinbase from the previous year.

Photo by Sajad Nori / Unsplash

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Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange located in the United States, has announced plans to establish an engineering centre in India, with the appointment of Pravjit Tiwana as Asia-Pacific chief executive.

Tiwana said in a blog post that their upcoming Gurgaon, India headquarters would be the largest outside the United States.

Gemini said on Thursday that it would establish a team in Singapore and its presence in India as part of its effort to pursue expansion in Asia.

India has a large reservoir of engineering expertise, but it has shown hostility towards the crypto industry as a whole.

Founders secure $100 million to weather crypto bear market

Gemini, founded by billionaire brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, has suffered multiple losses over the past year as the value of digital assets has declined.

Amid a yearlong decline in digital assets, billionaire brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have invested their money into Gemini to help it weather the storm.

A Bloomberg report quoting two anonymous sources acquainted with the situation showed that the twins have just lent Gemini US$100 million.

According to the sources, Gemini moved after months of unsuccessfully seeking informal finance from outside investors.

When asked for comment, neither Gemini nor the Winklevoss twins responded to Blockhead.

PitchBook data shows that after the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX and slowdowns in the IT and crypto industries, venture financing for crypto firms plummeted 80% to US$2.4 billion in the first quarter.

In contrast to when it funded US$400 million at a valuation of US$7.1 billion in November 2021, Gemini has encountered difficulties during the crypto bear market.

Genesis Global Holdco, a cryptocurrency lender, went insolvent due to the FTX collapse, dealing a major blow to Gemini.

Since Genesis Global was Gemini's only partner on the Gemini Earn loan product, the latter was compelled to halt redemptions on Earn accounts once Genesis Global halted withdrawals in November.

A furious argument broke out between the Winklevoss twins and Barry Silbert, CEO of Digital Currency Group, the parent company of Genesis when the decision put $900 million in client funds in limbo.

In February, the two sides agreed in principle to settle the issue, with Gemini contributing up to US$100 million. Rather, the Winklevoss loan will be used to support ongoing operations.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a lawsuit against Gemini and Genesis over the Earn programme, claiming that it violates various securities laws.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had also filed an action against Gemini, claiming that the exchange lied to the derivatives regulator when it attempted to introduce the first US-regulated Bitcoin futures contract.

Layoffs and declining trading volume

There was a round of layoffs at Gemini in June, and another 10% occurred in January. Chief operational officer Noah Perlman left to take the position of a chief compliance officer at rival exchange Binance.

According to data aggregator CryptoCompare, Gemini's share of worldwide spot trading volume fell to 0.13% last year from 0.20% the year before. Gemini's 24-hour spot trading volume was US$13 million.

According to CoinMarketCap, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, Coinbase, made around US$660 million in the same period.

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