The Winklevoss twins remain committed at making exchange-traded funds (ETFs) a reality in the cryptocurrency space, following two failed attempts to gain the approval of US regulators.
In an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit today, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who founded the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini in 2014, said they were “working hard” at creating a space for a Gemini ETF. Cameron Winkelvoss said that they had set up of a market surveillance team to monitor trades on the Gemini platform, which they hope will address the SEC’s concerns.
He said: “We are committed as ever to making an ETF a reality!”
An exchange-traded fund is a basket of assets – usually at high volumes – that can be bundled together and sold as one product. Commonplace in financial markets since the early 1990s, the Securities and Exchange Commission needs to give approval for each and every application for them to be legally tradeable in the United States.
Although it has received multiple proposals, the SEC has yet to approve a Bitcoin ETF. The Winklevoss brothers have tried on two separate occasions to get their own ETF approved, but these have both been rejected by the regulator. The last proposal was rejected in late July.
Winklevoss twins stir up controversy
Gemini launched an advertising campaign last week, with the key message that cryptocurrency isn’t sufficiently regulated for investors yet. The new ads have been widely seen on multiple taxis and bus stops across New York, as well as in a full-page advertisement in today’s edition of the New York Times.
But the new campaign has been controversial. Messages like: “Gemini: The Regulated Crypotcurrency Exchange” and “Crypto Needs Rules” have angered some industry figures. Erik Voorhees, the founder of trading platform ShapeShift, criticized the campaign and argued that blockchain technology forms a better, more impartial basis for rules than any regulator:
Hey @Gemini… crypto has lots of rules already. Crypto IS rules. These rules are stronger than any political inscriptions; they are objective, open and knowable to all parties, they transcend borders, and they are enforced by mathematics. Crypto is a system of laws and not men. https://t.co/fblSPH0BZE
— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) January 4, 2019
Responding to a question from Crypto Briefing, Cameron Winklevoss defended Gemini’s new message as its “core focus.” He argued that a rules-based system would be the key to the cryptocurrency sector’s long-term prosperity.
“We know we aren’t going to please everyone but the healthiest and most vibrant economies have thoughtful rules to promote positive outcomes. You can’t point to a lawless economy that is thriving,” he wrote. “To be clear, there are exchanges and custodians that subscribe to our principles and it’s encouraging to see that we are not alone in this regard — but for us this is a core focus and something we have worked hard to be thought-leaders in.”
Too late for a Gemini ETF?
The anticipation surrounding a US-regulated Bitcoin ETF reached fever pitch in early August, when the market crashed more than $100bn after the SEC postponed a decision on the VanEck Solidx proposal.
Having pushed the deadline back by 240 days since it was first registered in mid-June, the SEC must now make a decision by a final deadline in late February.
But the focus may be moving away from the United States. The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA), which had previously rejected attempts to create cryptocurrency futures, is gauging interest among industry figures, according to Bloomberg.
Japan was one of the first country’s to regulate cryptocurrency; it could also be one of the first country’s to launch a Bitcoin, or crypto, ETF.
In trying to get on the right side of the SEC, the Winklevoss twins may be ‘two’ late.
The author is invested in digital assets, including BTC which is mentioned in this article.