- Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange and platform.
- It's taking in outside funding for the first time.
The billionaire brothers who made a fortune off of Facebook have decided to finally raise outside capital.
Gemini, the cryptocurrency platform and exchange founded by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, has announced $400 million in funding in a round led by Morgan Creek Digital. Jay Z's Marcy Venture Partners, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, 10T, Newflow Partners, and ParaFi also contributed. The growth equity round rockets the value of Gemini to $7.1 billion.
While that's one-tenth of rival exchange Coinbase's $70 billion valuation and less than the $10-20 billion valuation Kraken seeks, it's a good bit of business for the brothers, who reportedly have increased their net wealth to $10 billion with the deal.
Gemini has standard plans for the money, saying in a press release that it "will continue to bring simple, innovative, and secure products to market, and advance its geographic expansion." It operates not only stateside but is available in five dozen countries, including the U.K. and Singapore, where global behemoth Binance has run into red tape and regulatory issues.
1/ gm. Today marks a new beginning for @Gemini.
We have raised $400 million dollars at a $7 billion valuation.
— Tyler Winklevoss (@tyler) November 18, 2021
Gemini's dogged adherence to playing by the rules may have cost it market share in the exchange business, at least temporarily. In a 2019 ad campaign titled "The Revolution Needs Rules," it argued for regulations and industry standards, potentially alienating crypto natives while trying to appeal to a wider audience. It remains outside the top 10 exchanges by trading volume and—like most of it's U.S. cohort—has shied away from derivatives products that have proven major money-makers for Binance and FTX.
The company is expanding in other ways, however. The Gemini-owned Nifty Gateway gave it a relatively early foothold into the space. The marketplace for blockchain-based digital assets has recorded $420 million in sales, according to Gemini, and It recently adjusted its strategy away from just being a place for curated drops to allowing trading of outside NFTs, such as Bored Ape Yacht Club. Nonetheless, mintings of new NFTs on the platform have plateaued since August, according to data from Dune Analytics.
Gemini has other tricks up its sleeve, including a bid to help create a decentralized version of the metaverse, a version of the internet that blends virtual and augmented realities. That will pit them against their nemesis, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is hard at work on a for-profit version of the metaverse, even though the company's stablecoin ambitions have thus far foundered.
With $400 million more to play with, expect more to be coming from the firm.
"We are incredibly excited to continue to build on the frontier of crypto and give individuals around the world greater choice, independence, and opportunity through crypto," said Gemini President Cameron Winklevoss.