Gemini, the New York-based bitcoin exchange currently being developed by investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, has received two key approvals from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).
Gemini Trust Company received approval on 23rd September for its Articles of Organization, and was granted an exemption from the deposit insurance requirements of Section 32 of the Banking Law, steps president Cameron Winklevoss said put it on the "one yard line" for completing its current goal of entering the US market.
Cameron Winklevoss explained that, with its Articles of Organization approved, Gemini Trust Company is now an established entity, which he said positions it to potentially begin formalizing its relationships with banking providers and vendors.
Cameron Winklevoss told CoinDesk:
"This doesn't mean we're open for business. It's a formality, it's one step. It does not mean we can serve customers."
He specified that the exemption means Gemini will not be eligible to provide FDIC insurance on accounts, though he said this responsibility will be shouldered by the exchange's partner banks, which will hold fiat deposits.
Gemini CEO Tyler Winklevoss stressed that its decision to form as a limited liability trust company in New York was simply one strategy to market, one that he suggested would reduce the length of time needed for the company to securing licensing.
"Going beyond that type of license into lending, that's a whole new process. It's not something we couldn't do, but if you look at perspective, it's another year or two at minimum to be successful at it," he explained.
Gemini's continued bid for licensing comes at a time when competitor itBit is already active in the market, offering not only exchange services, but an over-the-counter (OTC) trading option as well as a permissioned ledger product, announced in August.
A spokesperson for the NYDFS indicated that Gemini would need to pass subsequent approvals before being able to serve US customers, adding:
"There are still additional steps for final approval of a charter."
Still, both Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss defended their decision to file for a banking charter, as opposed to the recently enacted BitLicense, arguing that those who are approved for this licensing will not be able to serve institutional clients.
"I don't know if anyone has made this distinction enough. If you want to service institutional customers in New York, the BitLicense is not sufficient," Cameron Winklevoss said. "There's a good chance that when you get one you'll have to curtail or stop actually servicing NY institutions."
Further, he said that restrictions on fiat lending were unlikely to apply to its bitcoin activities, suggesting that this leaves the company open to adding other financial instruments like derivatives, swaps and futures pending dialogue with the CFTC.
Image via Pete Rizzo for CoinDesk