At 9:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, Gemini Trust began trading as a Bitcoin exchange in New York. Gemini is only the second bitcoin exchange to be granted a trust charter by the New York State Department of Financial Services. The trust charter allows Gemini to operate in all 50 states as a fully regulated financial services entity, part of a regulatory strategy put in place by the co-founders, early Bitcoin investors Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
"We're licensed and regulated as a trust company so we have basically the highest policies and capitalization requirements. That should give comfort to customers. We're also a fiduciary, so we have to have an obligation to keep the interests of customers first and foremost," Gemini Trust President Cameron Winklevoss explained in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Thursday.
The Winklevoss brothers launched the Gemini project in January 2015, and applied to operate as a trust company with the Department of Financial Services in July. In an effort to attract institutional investors, the brothers pursued the trust charter and are emphatic about their commitment to security.
"We're regulated by probably the same people that regulate your bank or other top-tier financial institutions, but we built with a security mentality from day one, with security experts from Google Wallet, Microsoft… people who have a lot of experience securing information and data," said Gemini President Tyler Winklevoss.
The Winklevoss brothers are probably best remembered for their lawsuit against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he stole their idea for a social networking website while they were students together at Harvard. When asked about Zuckerberg, the brothers were sanguine.
"He's proven to be quite a capable leader, and I think that Facebook's an amazing company and he probably deserves a lot of credit for that,"said Tyler Winklevoss.