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. This past Monday, Gemini opened its doors to the world. We are super excited for Gemini's journey ahead and look forward to sharing it with you. Please AMA, or rather AUA!


PROOF: https://twitter.com/winklevoss/status/651566752187457536

PHOTO PROOF: http://i.imgur.com/W7w5qf1.jpg

EDIT: Thank you Reddit for the interest in our story and hearing what we have to say. It's been a lot of fun answering questions. It's certainly and honor and flattered to be here. We appreciate the fact that you're taking time to learn more about us as people and entrepreneurs and about Gemini. We're working hard to build the next thing, which is Gemini, and super passionate about making sure that Bitcoin reaches its full potential.

Comments: 662 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

diddy403115 karma

What have you done with Gemini to ensure I'm not "gox'd" out of my coins if I choose to use your service?

vinyl_steelworks119 karma

So we built from ground one with a security first mentality, our first 3 hires were security experts. Our chief security officer was the head of security for AirBNB, something like a 15 or 20B company so it's quite large. He also worked on Google Wallet and at Microsoft with the highly touted security group. We've used the best practices, multi-signature technology, hardware security modules, geographically distributed vault systems we've spent about a year and a half building state of the art both to prevent from external hacks and internal malfeasance and any type of errors. You know this has been the most important thing for us to think about. We take security really seriously and we recognize that security has been pretty much the downfall of Bitcoin companies before and we've tried to learn from that and build the best product possible.

vinyl_steelworks2 karma

So we built from ground one with a security first mentality, our first 3 hires were security experts. Our chief security officer was the head of security for AirBNB, something like a 15 or 20B company so it's quite large. He also worked on Google Wallet and at Microsoft with the highly touted security group. We've used the best practices, multi-signature technology, hardware security modules, geographically distributed vault systems we've spent about a year and a half building state of the art both to prevent from external hacks and internal malfeasance and any type of errors. You know this has been the most important thing for us to think about. We take security really seriously and we recognize that security has been pretty much the downfall of Bitcoin companies before and we've tried to learn from that and build the best product possible.

fiat_sux477 karma

What's the latest on the ETF?

vinyl_steelworks77 karma

Unfortunately the ETF regulatory process is a close process and we're not allowed to discuss the latest and greatest with it. We are working incredibly hard to make this happen as quickly as possible, and rest assured that nobody wants this to come to market quicker than myself and u/winky_pop.

DoYouKnowIKnow74 karma

What is in the immediate future for Bitcoin?

vinyl_steelworks48 karma

I think that the immediate future for bitcoin (at least in the U.S.) is regulated businesses – licensed businesses, like Gemini. It's impossible to totally see the future but if you look back to the early days of the Internet, I feel like we're in the first or second inning of bitcoin so it's almost like 1993 or 1994 so there is tremendous potential and we think it's just the beginning.

TheHandyman116 karma

I'll piggy back on this Winklevii, how did/do you feel about the craziness that has been Dogecoin and other altcoins?

vinyl_steelworks41 karma

I haven't personally looked that much into altcoins. I think that with a protocol like bitcoin there's a huge first mover advantage and a lot of network effects and bitcoin has a great head start in that regard in terms of the size of it's mining network and how much infrastructure it has going for itself. I think that the altcoins are very interesting. Some of the other blockchain efforts like Ripple and Ether are interesting, but we haven't spent a whole lot of time with them because we think there's a lot to be done still in bitcoin blockchain 1.0 if you will.

Jenksz65 karma

Do you have a relationship with Mark in any capacity today? What would you say to him if you could? What do you think of what Facebook has become?

vinyl_steelworks132 karma

We don't have a relationship with Mark. The last time we saw and spoke with him was at the settlement in 2008, and before that was back at Harvard. We do have a relationship with Dustin Moskovitz, we saw him at Burning Man three years ago, and we've kept in touch with him. We've grabbed coffee with him in SF and also got a tour of the Asana offices (his start-up). We're pretty friendly with a lot of people around Mark, but we don't have a relationship as of this moment with him.

Hindsight's always 20/20, but it seemed like a lot of the things that happened were unnecessary. There was a way for everyone to be happy and kind of win, and it didn't have to be a zero sum situation. Hopefully we can all learn from that as we move forward and become better people and learn to find the path of least resistance.

It's certainly quite an amazing company. I don't think any of us had any idea of how big it could actually be. I think the scariest thing is that it's probably not done growing anytime soon. We're really proud of the part we played, which we think was certainly material to getting it going and I think Mark has certainly done an incredible job shepherding it and leading the company to what it is today. I think that I'm really impressed with what it is and what it most definitely will be.

ChemicalRain50 karma

First of all, great site design. It was super easy to sign up, and everything seemed to work well. The only

problem I had was the first identity verification didnt have any of the right answers on there the first time around.

I am a btc trader, and I can speak for a lot of people when I say we are sick and tired of shady offshore

chinese/whatever exchanges. They have a history of problems.

I have a few questions regarding the exchange:

  • Is gemini currently a spot market only exchange?

  • What is the launch date of the ETF?

  • Do you plan to add futures contracts like OKC/or a margin/swap system like BFX?, or both possibly?

  • Any deposit/withdrawal limits?

  • What is the plan to bring initial liquidity to the exchange?

  • Do you expect institutional investors to bring a large influx of new money into the bitcoin market?

  • What other cryptocurrencies would you like to see traded on the exchange?

  • Do you have any plans to bring Ether trading to the exchange?

  • Do you have any plans to bring Ethereum based coins to the exchange? ex. Augur REP

  • Do you plan to add MT4 support, or will you create your own mobile trading app?

These are the things, in my opinion, that will make or break the exchange. There is a lot of demand for a

fully regulated and compliant US based exchange that can do everything, a one stop shop if you will. There is

lots of hype, and a lot of people have high hopes for Gemini and I hope you don't let us down.

  • Final question: What makes your exchange different than all the other ones, and why should we trade on it?


vinyl_steelworks14 karma

  1. Yes.
  2. We're not allowed to publicly discuss the ETF regulatory process, but rest assured we're working as hard as possible to make it happen and we want this as much as anyone else.
  3. We're definitely looking at expanding the exchange offering but we want to stay super focused on first things first – and that was getting licensed in the state of New York and having a successful launch but suffice to say we are working hard to expand our airs of operation.

vinyl_steelworks11 karma

(5) We have institutional market makers who are going to be providing liquidity on the exchange and we have a lot of demand from just retail and individuals and also other institutions who want to buy and sell bitcoin, so we think the combination of all the customers and also institutional market makers will make a lively and liquid market.

vinyl_steelworks13 karma

(6) We worked really hard to bring in the players which are the deepest pockets that were sitting on the sidelines (the institutional players) in to bitcoin who currently really aren't there – despite how well known bitcoin is and talked about, it's still very small and the biggest players are not in. They're not in because there aren't licensed regulated onramps and gateways to get into bitcoin and so we worked really hard to make Gemini one of those. Fiats on deposit are eligible for FDIC insurance (subject to applicable limitations) and we wanted this to feel like any top-tier financial institution in the world that other top-tier financial institutions in the world were used to dealing with. That was definitely our goal from day one.

vinyl_steelworks12 karma

(7) We purposely built our cold-vaulting system to be able to store any type of cryptocurrency, so we took pains to be able to expand beyond bitcoin and as Cameron mentioned, we're cryptocurrency agnostic in the sense that we don't have 'bit' in our name – we really want to be a platform for any and all digital currencies.

vinyl_steelworks12 karma

(8) We're definitely considering it – right now, we have a lot of work cut out to us just to launch successfully with bitcoin, but certainly Ether seems like a really promising asset to be traded on Gemini and we will consider it for sure.

vinyl_steelworks7 karma

Dear u/chemicalrain – I would say that that's a compound question, but I don't even think that would do it justice.

vinyl_steelworks5 karma

(10) We completely agree that there's a need and demand for a highly regulated, compliant and one-stop shop type exchange and we've been working hard to meet that demand for the past year and a half. In terms of what features we end up adding, we're really going to listen to our customers so don't be shy to send us any suggestions to [email protected] – or contact us any other way such as Reddit...and make suggestions to us and we'll certainly discuss internally and if there's enough demand and it makes sense, we'll include them.

d4d5c4e548 karma

Do you have any thoughts about the ugly contention that's been going on the last several months in the Bitcoin dev community over hardforking to relax the blocksize cap?

vinyl_steelworks38 karma

We're definitely watching the block size debate, I don't have a super strong opinion, I think everyone agrees that the block size in some way or another should increase and will have to increase in order for Bitcoin to fulfill its promise. We're keeping a close watch, I think its really interesting how the community's is proposing things and it's working in a very democratic process and people are free to propose things and obviously it's a consensus-based system. I think we're seeing that at play and it'll be exciting and interesting to see it unfold. I think that Bitcoin will get through this, it's weathered a lot already and I think its here to stay. I think its just one more of those things we'll get through.

BadLeroyBrown42 karma

Is it true that you regularly fellate each-other?

vinyl_steelworks52 karma

You know I can't tell you the answer to that question.

Luz3r41 karma

When either twin owes for lunch do you use Bitcoin?

vinyl_steelworks84 karma

So I don't usually buy my lunch with bitcoin because I'm worried that I'll be overpaying down the road so right now I'm holding my bitcoin.

winky_pop52 karma

I always have Tyler buy me lunch.

vinyl_steelworks53 karma

That's not true.

hellyeahent29 karma

When will you offer gemini to EU people ?

vinyl_steelworks24 karma

We're working really hard to expand our offering and areas of operation to Europe and Asia. Unfortunately I can't give you a specific date, but we know that Gemini is more interesting to our customers if it's open in as many jurisdictions as possible. So we want this to happen as much as you guys do so we're working very hard to get to Europe and Asia as soon as possible, but we need to do so in the right way and work with regulators and make sure we're licensed and ready for you guys.

ohmahgoshjosh26 karma

How has your relationship as brothers affected your business endeavors over the years?

vinyl_steelworks38 karma

The fact that we're twins and best friends has been a huge asset. We've definitely always used it to our advantage. It's obviously not always easy getting along all the time, but we've managed to do it and we've made a great team. Both in sports during our rowing career and now financially working together in business. I think trusting your partners is something that's super important, and we have that built in because we're twins and if I do something wrong to him then it's pretty much like doing it to myself. So it's been a great asset and we've tried to make the best of it.

LetsHearItFor20 karma

What's the cheapest thing you've bought with Bitcoin?

[deleted]10 karma


LarryCoinSobe11 karma

who else has seats on ur flight?

vinyl_steelworks19 karma

I thought you'd be there, you didn't let me down. So thanks for your support and showing up for the AMA. I'm definitely going to be on the flight - this is Tyler. I don't know how big the flight is. I think its 7 people. I think Bieber is astronaut 500. Maybe Ashton Kutcher is somewhere up there. We have to go to a 3-day astronaut camp before we do this. We'll get to know who we're going up to space with. I should probably email Sir Richard Branson and figure out what company we'll have up there. Should be interesting.

howtodoit20 karma

What are you doing (if anything) to push 'consumer' awareness of bitcoin and remove the 'scary technological hurdles and requirements' or the huge amount of assumed technical jargon / understanding that the average Joe needs to know in order to get involved with bitcoin and use it in their daily life?

vinyl_steelworks23 karma

So first off we're here on Reddit, taking about bitcoin – we've learned about bitcoin and been in bitcoin for three years and I can tell you initially it's a lot to wrap your head around, but we've been working hard building Gemini and also we're working on our ETF that will trade under the ticker 'coin' – and so both should be friendly ways to get either bitcoin exposure or actually buy and sell bitcoin. We're trying to make very regulated, safe and secure environments for people to enter into the bitcoin ecosystem so that's what we've been putting our time towards.

SethLevy20 karma

What is the Gemini use case for the regular Joe trying to diversify his assets?

vinyl_steelworks14 karma

Where Gemini comes into play is that we're New York-headquartered, U.S.-based, U.S. regulated and licensed platform to buy bitcoin. So if you make the decision to take the plunge and actually bitcoin for your portfolio and you think it's a good financial investment, then Gemini is a safe and secure home and platform to actually go and execute and buy bitcoin.

spgreenwood15 karma

Forgive me for asking a question that might seem out of context, but I'd like to briefly see a human side of both of you –

What do each of you desire? What motivates you to make Gemini a success? What do you mentally focus on to stay engaged and push every day?

winky_pop17 karma

If the goal was to hang out on an island and sip piña coladas all day, we'd already be down in Margaritaville. I think we just enjoy the struggle and the challenge of building and creating.

vinyl_steelworks44 karma

Yeah, I think when you recognize that life is about struggling and that the struggle is the interesting part – that is when you're at your happiest, then you really start tapping into a higher level of being and operating. We worked really hard to put ourselves in situations and environments where we had to work really hard. Making the Olympics games in rowing and also making it to a final – nobody cares what your name is, what your bank account is, they don't care where you came from...it's what do you have now? How good are you? And are you the right person for the job? Those are environments that we weren't forced into, we made a choice to be inside – very merit based and difficult because we think that's the most exciting. We chose a path and we've always done that – whether that's working hard in High School to get into Harvard or beyond Harvard to become Olympians, or now to build a great startup and business called Gemini, we've always picked the difficult path and hopefully that says something about who we are. It certainly wasn't easy, but I don't regret a second of it.

You're defined by what you do every day and I think that time is your only asset. If you think you have money, what you really have at the end of the day is time. If you think you have friends, you have time. Because once you run out of time, you've got nothing. How you use your time, which is your only and your greatest asset, will determine what you get out of this life and who you are and who you become. We're pretty proud of the way that we've spent our time and look forward to spending our time wisely in the future. That's what's interesting about life – as Cameron said, we could sit on the couch and play Xbox all day (which is totally cool and we do that too) but all the time it just seems a bit boring.

Sometimes people say 'why don't you guys do this or that' – to us, sitting around and not building towards something, not achieving something, not growing as a person seems sort of boring and you're checked out. I get that, maybe when you're 75 – but I think right now it's incumbent upon you as a person to really try and tap into how great you can be and we're all about that and tend to really find other people who see the world the same way to be the most interesting. I don't know, I think it's part of your duty to do that and also give back at the same time. Leave something better off than it was when you got there.

vinyl_steelworks6 karma

Human side? I'm a robot.

I think that 1. we're passionate about what we're doing, which is always key. We were passionate about rowing when we were rowing and now we're passionate about entrepreneurship and building companies – whether it's as an investor or as an entrepreneur, so I think the excitement and electricity of finding the next big thing or helping to find the next big thing is really what gets us up in the morning. I think we're the type of people that really get a kick out of pushing our own limits and our own potential and trying to figure out what is our breaking point – whether that's a physical effort in the gym, whether that's how big of a mountain can I climb, how awesome of a company can I build...I think that we are trying to realize and actualize what exactly our potential is – so what is that outer limit where we are at our plateau, we're at our top. As long as we don't feel like we're anywhere close to meeting that, we're going to keep on going.

Why we are that way? That's probably a question that is really difficult to answer – is it nature, is it nurture. How much of it is your experiences, your role models? Whatever the reason is, the fact remains is that's what makes us tick. That's what interests us. Trying to be excellent at something. It doesn't matter if it's tiddlywinks or move a boat down the river a little bit faster each time, or trying to build a great company – we just are in the pursuit of excellence for the sake of excellence. Why we're that way it's hard to know, but I think that we at least know that's what we like to do.

ZigglersHEEL11 karma

Do you believe that Bitcoin will fall to a new form of technological currency? What are the chances that we find another source similar to Bitcoin?

vinyl_steelworks3 karma

I think Bitcoin's here to stay for the long term. We've already seen a lot of altcoins and other attempts at Bitcoin, but that was a pretty hot thing about a year ago and it feels like it's pretty much died out. I think that because protocols are winner-take-all in money and a money network has tremendous network effects I think you'll see something similar to what happened with Facebook. There isn't really room or need for more than one network. Myspace went by the wayside. Friendster and even when Google tried to compete with it with all their resources they couldn't. So Bitcoin has a huge head start and I think it's going to win. At least in the area where it does what it does best, and I think it's more likely that people will build applications on top of the Bitcoin to harness the security of its mining network, which is by far the largest in the world. Rational economic actors will choose to comply and work with Bitcoin as opposed to trying to build something new. There are certainly things that Bitcoin can't do today and may never do in the future, and that's where the opportunity lies to create something different in an entirely new blockchain. We're already seeing that with things like Ethereum and Zerocash and other efforts to fill the void.

potmaister8 karma

Thanks for doing this ama, I just have two questions this evening.

1.Would Gemini have a physical presence, a brick & mortar shop where people can come up and exchange cash for bitcoins?

2.How transparent would Gemini be in the sense what type of regulations will it follow and is there any backup plan if you go bust?

vinyl_steelworks5 karma

  1. Brick & mortar isn't on the immediate roadmap. We're building effectively a digital exchange and bank if you will. So going brick & mortar is kind of the opposite direction, but there are people who are putting out Bitcoin ATM machines that may very well plug into Gemini so that people can go to a physical kiosk and exchange Fiat cash for Bitcoin and vice versa. I think there will be physical touch points for people to buy and sell Bitcoin in the future. I don't know if we'll be operating those or we'll just be the plug-in for those machines. I think in general the trend is that in banking and finance there's a lot of brick & mortar and it seems like everyday a new bank pops up on the corner, but I don't think that the younger generation really cares to do banking in a branch and go into an office. When you talk to someone who is in high school about Bitcoin they're so excited about it. They have no difficulty wrapping their heads around this currency that's only digital and has no physical form. They don't need to talk to a bank teller. They don't need to go into a physical bank. They're trading credits on their video games. They're totally comfortable in that world. I think the trend is moving in the opposite from brick & mortars. If I'm proven wrong then we would definitely consider that. We want to meet the demand of what our customers want. If that means gong in one direction or the other then we'll do that. We're here to make something that works for you guys.

  2. We've been really transparent from the beginning in terms of regulation. Cameron and I testified at a Bitcoin hearing with the New York State Department of Financial Services about almost two years ago and also opened up a dialogue with the regulators for over a year and a half. So we've been speaking with what was Ben Lawsky's office for over a year and a half. to get our license, which we finally just got a few days ago. Our whole talking point has been we need to go in through the front door and not trying to do an end run around the side. We have been pro smart regulation for a long time. We spent a lot of time educating the regulators on what Bitcoin is and how we thought it should be regulated. So we want to play ball with regulators. To really mainstream Bitcoin we're going to have to speak the same language with the legacy financial world and we'll have to look and feel as regulated and licensed as any other financial institution out there. We are now licensed by the state of New York. We've tried to check all the boxes so we feel as safe and secure as any financial institution you work with.

jimcrapo1 karma

Are you actually going to answer any questions?

vinyl_steelworks19 karma

Hey Jim, I think so. Yeah, why not. Here's your answer.

Edit: "you're" was a quick typing mistake sorry.