On Monday (January 7th), the Winklevoss twins—Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, co-founders of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini— talked about Bitcoin (BTC), their seriousness about getting their application for a Bitcoin ETF approved, the Gemini exchange, the Gemini dollar stablecoin (GUSD), security tokens, and the future of money during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session (their first one since October 2015).
Cameron is the president of Gemini, which was founded in 2014 and opened for trading in 2015, and Tyler is the CEO of Gemini. In their 2015 Reddit AMA, the twins explained how they got into Bitcoin:
“We first learned about Bitcoin in 2012. Perhaps where you’d least expect — on an island off the coast of Spain in the middle of August — IBIZA. Our first impression was that this was either going to be really big or a complete zero. We were immediately taken in by Bitcoin’s elegance and enormous promise, and as we started to learn more, we became convinced that Bitcoin was the future of money. We began buying bitcoin, but quickly realized that there was no safe and easy way to buy and sell bitcoin in the US! So, a year and a half ago, we decided to do something about it. We began assembling a team of top engineers to build Gemini — a next generation bitcoin exchange.”
For the purpose of this article, we have highlighted the answers to the most interesting questions from this year's AMA session.
Price Prediction for Bitcoin
“Our thesis around bitcoin’s upside remains unchanged. We believe bitcoin is better at being gold than gold. If we’re right, then over time the market cap of bitcoin will surpass the ~7trillion dollar market cap of gold.”
Implementing the Latest Bitcoin Technology
“Our Bitcoin hot wallet was made before Segwit was but a twinkle in Pieter Wuille’s eye. It would be very tricky to retrofit Segwit into there. So we built a new hot wallet, from the ground up, with support for Segwit, transaction batching, Bech32 addresses, and all sorts of other goodies. We used that new system for Zcash, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash, which is why we’re already using both native and P2SH wrapped Segwit for Litecoin. We’re working on migrating Bitcoin to the new system, and it should be done in Q1.”
What a Successful Cryptocurrency Revolution Would Look Like
“Success is a future where the Internet looks dramatically different than it does today (i.e., decentralized and open) and your money does things that your current money cannot do (i.e., it works like your email).”
As for what “works like your email” means:
“Sure, open 24/7/365, and can send and receive any amount of money (e.g., micropayments) to anyone around the world instantly and for next to free. Imagine if your email worked like your money, that is to say it was available from 9-5pm Mon-Fri and it took sometimes up to 3-5 days for someone in another country to get your message?”
How They Are Planning to Get Approval for Their Bitcoin ETF Proposal
“We understand the Commission’s concerns and are working hard to address them (i.e., increased marketplace surveillance) w/ the following steps:
- Marketplace Conduct Rules – we implemented this to foster a rules-based marketplace.
- Marketplace Surveillance – we have have partnered with Nasdaq to implement Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance technology to monitor the Gemini marketplace.
- Market Surveillance Team – we have built an in-house team to monitor out marketplace for manipulative and deceptive practices.
- Virtual Commodities Association – we are helping stand up an industry-sponsored self-regulatory organization for virtual commodity exchanges.
We are committed as ever to making an ETF a reality!”
The Controversy Surrounding Their Latest Advertising Campaign in New York
“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.
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.”
Bitcoin: ‘Store of Value’ or ‘Medium of Exchange’?
“I believe bitcoin is a store of value (given its current properties) and I agree that being a really good store of value is in conflict with being a good medium of exchange. It’s hard for money to be good at both at the same time. However, I think decentralization (e.g., block size and remaining censorship-resistant) is the heart of the matter w/r/t the scalability debate, not whether or not bitcoin is a store of value.”
Tokenization of Traditional Assets
“I’m a big fan. I think we will definitely start to see some real and interesting crypto-native STO use-cases in 2019 and this will only continue to grow and pick up steam over time.”
Declining Bitcoin Price
“If you zoom out far enough, bitcoin has been to moving up and to the right since inception. We believe in the long game. Spartans hold!”
The ‘Gemini Dollar’ Stablecoin
“We built the Gemini dollar to bring U.S. dollars onto the blockchain. From there it can potentially power decentralized apps and crypto native services. Yes, it can also be used for money transfers, but we view it more about powering a new future than competing w/ existing payment networks built on legacy banking rails.”
Why Gemini Decided to List Zcash (ZEC)
“Exceptional team and technology. Zcash is a fork of Bitcoin so it is part of the Nakamoto family tree. Privacy technology is very important to an open and democratic society and the Zcash team is pioneering some amazing privacy technology.”
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