Crypto exchange Gemini is opening a Chicago office as part of a fresh push into the nascent institutional market.

The exchange announced Thursday that it was hiring five employees as part of this effort. An individual familiar with the situation told CoinDesk that the team was recruited from a group of former Coinbase engineers, whom the rival crypto exchange laid off in April when it shuttered its own Chicago-based, institutional-focused engineering team.

The new Gemini employees will be focused on supporting the exchange’s primary products, including its professional trading platforms and custody solution.

Gemini co-founder and CEO Tyler Winklevoss told CoinDesk that the Chicago engineering team “has deep expertise in matching engines and marketplaces.”

“They’ll be primarily focused on that and building the core platform for our exchange and trading services that already exists,” he said, adding:

“When we think about our exchange we start with reliability, speed, robustness, but also the product offerings so we don’t have a specific deadline I can give you in terms of what we’re targeting but we’re continuing to build out our product offering.”

Prior to Coinbase, some of the new Gemini engineers worked at CME Group and other trading firms. They include product manager Andrew Page, who announced his hiring on LinkedIn and before taking the plunge into crypto worked seven years at Connamara Systems, a capital markets software firm.

Expansion plans

While Gemini is currently a spot exchange that lists five assets (bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, zcash and litecoin), Winklevoss said the company is looking to increase the number of order types on the platform, as well as “the way people can trade these assets.”

The exchange now has roughly 200 employees in Portland, Oregon and New York, in addition to the new Chicago branch.

In a statement, Winklevoss said Gemini has been “focused on building an institutional-grade platform … from day one.”

“[We] are continually investing in talent that will help us realize this” he said. “Chicago, one of the world’s major financial centers, is a natural place for us to be. We’re thrilled to formally expand our footprint there as interest in reliable, trustworthy, cryptocurrency trading platforms continues to grow among investors.”

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss image via Brady Dale for CoinDesk

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