The Winklevoss Twins have been making waves in recent days with a marketing blitz for the couple's Gemini cryptocurrency exchange. Using the slogans including "Crypto Needs Rules" and "Crypto Without Chaos", the duo has irritated some inside Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency communities by presenting Gemini as the legitimate face of cryptocurrency. Gemini is one of the few exchanges to have obtained a license to operate in New York. New York City has been the epicenter of a promotional campaign that includes posters, billboards, a full-page ad in the New York Times and a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA).
The Winklevoss Twins (or Winklevii, as they have been so memorably nicknamed in The Social Network) announced the launch of Gemini in January 2014, describing it as "a fully regulated and fully compliant bitcoin exchange in New York for both individuals and institutions. "In July 2014, the New York State Department of Financial Services introduced the requirement for all virtual currency operations that offer services in the state to acquire a bit license. Gemini has waited for regulatory approval before a license or Bit status has been granted to Twelve entities, with Gemini becoming the second company to receive a charter in 2015. Today, Gemini is one of the few methods by which New York residents can legally interact with cryptocurrency.
The latest marketing campaign has focused heavily on Gemini's regulatory compliance and the belief of the twins that "the revolutions that build a lasting set of rules for a better future are the ones with the greatest chance of success." This has sparked some backlash among some within the community cryptocurrency, which see regulatory compliance and the vision of the government as an anathema for the financial revolution that Satoshi Nakamoto had predicted with the creation of Bitcoin.
Revolutions require rules …?
The focus of Winklevii's recent marketing push was a full-page ad in the New York Times with the heading "Revolutions Need Rules." While the full text of the announcement is difficult to trace online, Tyler Winklevoss followed the announcement with a medium post outlining "Principles of Gemini for the Crypto Revolution". The five principles of Winklevii are:
1. Work with regulators to establish a "cryptic" cryptocurrency regulation
2. Operating with the approval of government agencies and regulators – "Ask for permission, not for forgiveness"
3. Enhance security on profit and provide a platform free from hacking or fraud
4. Be principles and transparent
5. Bring crypto "to the people and places that need it most.
The average post has been widely shared and debated online. Outlining the first principle – "Play for the rules" – Tyler Winklevoss outlined the types of rules and oversight with which Gemini complies, including "a partnership with Nasdaq to implement Nasdaq's SMARTS Market Surveillance technology to monitor the Gemini market. " This type of market supervision has attracted predictably negative responses from strong believers in Satoshi Nakamoto's vision of a form of financing that can not be controlled by the government. The most upvoted comment on the discussion of / r / ethtrader subreddit on the post compares the tagline "Revolutions Need Rules" with George Orwell's neo-language of 1984: "War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strong. Centralized authorized exchange is a revolution. "
Winklevii answered a question about potential Orwellian concerns of market control in their AMA Reddit session:
"Q. Marketplace Surveillance "plays Orwellian … is not contributing to the surveillance state, where every purchase made is known to the" authorities "? This is what Crypto intended to prevent, no?
R. I know, it looks worse than it is, lol. The term suffers from a branding problem, but it is not Big Brother. Marketplace Surveillance is commonplace in stock and derivative markets – so we're not reinventing the wheel here, simply by bringing good practices into the crypt. "
This answer seemed to do little to satisfy the doubts of Redditors, with the answer voted high that attacked the downplaying of the Winklevii term:
"" Marketplace Surveillance "looks exactly like it is.I am quite disappointed to hear you say it is a problem with branding … You are recreating exactly the same problems that Bitcoin would have to solve and it is heartbreaking to see you (and others) do it."
Much of the Gemini marketing campaign has been focused on the financial district of Manhattan. A short survey of Breaker bystanders suggests a much more receptive view of the revolution linked to the rules of Gemini in their target market: "among the four people who responded to my Billy-on-the-Street pesting style, three expressed interest in the idea of a more regulated cryptocurrency exchange. "An interviewee quoted in the article suggests a measured amount of enthusiasm for Gemini's approach:
"I am intrigued by what will happen in terms of proper regulation, because for me there will be regulations regardless," said Alec Cohen, who passed the advertising on Fulton Street around 10:45. He admitted his job as a manager in "internet services and technology consulting" meant that he knew more than the average person on crypto. Cohen "would not say [he’s] enthusiastic about regulation by itself ", but is enthusiastic about the" overall potential "of the most widespread adoption of cryptocurrency.
And the article also clarifies that the enthusiasts of the encryption are not the public expected for the advertising campaign:
Chris Roan, Gemini's marketing manager, wrote to BREAKER: "We have dedicated significant time and resources to hyper-targeted media on an ongoing basis, but we believe this campaign can help bring new investors into the category."
But some of the strongest negative reactions to the campaign stem from the feeling that the Winklevii are striking a pseudo-revolutionary tone to get rich. A piece of opinion on Bitcoinst.com suggests that Gemini has a constrained market due to the strong position of the New York State Department of Finance on cryptocurrency licenses and therefore benefit far more from regulatory oversight than any of their potential customers:
"… the regulations primarily protect the Gemini, keeping" unregulated "competitors at bay.In the meantime, users have to deliver their personal information to Gemini in order to access the platform based on the know-your-customer rules ( KYC) … So who actually protects those here? "
Bitcoinist's piece is particularly harsh on the introduction of Gemini in dollars by Gemini, the stable currency of the US dollar-backed currency. In their recent AMA Reddit, the Winklevii have explained that their objectives for Gemini extend far beyond the typical use of the US dollar, that traders on other cryptographic exchanges generally transfer their funds when they want to secure profits or defend themselves. from the volatility in the evaluation of other cryptocurrencies:
"We built the Gemini dollar to bring US dollars to the blockchain, from which it can potentially power decentralized apps and cryptographic native services, yes, it can also be used for money transfers, but we consider it more like giving power to a new future compared to existing payment networks based on legacy banking. "
The age of the twins?
The Winklevii clearly have great ambitions for Gemini. In opening their announcement to Reddit AMA and Media, which outlines the principles of the exchange, the Gemini openly state that they hope to create a "Centurion": a company that will survive for a hundred years or more. They are also committed to pursuing their long attempts to create an ETF (Bitcoin or Cryptocurrency Exchange Traded Fund), which is widely regarded as more attractive to established investors than the assumption of the risks associated with being custodians of its individuals encrypted funds.
In August 2018, Cameron Winklevoss announced via Medium that Gemini was joining the Virtual Commodity Association (VMA), a self-regulatory organization (SRO) aimed at providing oversight and promoting investor confidence in the cryptographic markets of the Member States. US. Asked about the VMA plans for the coming year during Reddit's AMA, the Winklevii have made it clear that they consider this as a necessary step towards guaranteeing the approval of their long-proposed ETF:
"VCA is trying to establish lead leads, including experts in the field in various areas, for each of the Sound Practices (eg market surveillance, custody, market-based rules) … These rules will form the basis of how to encrypt the exchange[s] and custodians should conduct business, promoting customer protection and transparency … these rules are a direct response to SEC's concerns as they evaluate ETFs for approval, market manipulation and lack of transparency. "
The SEC – the United States Security and Trade Commission – is responsible for determining whether the Winklevii's long-term goal of a cryptocurrency ETF will ever become a reality. And the Breaker article about their New York ad campaign suggests that the SEC could be the real goal of this latest marketing blitz:
"… perhaps the" prop value "of these advertisements is not really aimed at" humans walking the streets of New York ", as Mike Dudas of The Block says," He could target regulators, the Winklevii hands up like the brown noser class, telling the SEC that their ETF is blocked several times, "Look, we're legitimate. We like the rules and we are playing on the book "."
But Breaker suggests that this will not be easy, linking an article on a November speech by SEC President Jay Clayton in which he claimed that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fail on "at least two of the SEC's standards for ETF approval: a reliable way for the underlying asset to be kept safe (what is known in the industry jargon as "custody") and freedom from price manipulation "By clearly refusing a comparison between volatility and market manipulation 39. Inside the cryptocurrency and the price fluctuations within the share price of established companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, Clayton said:
"These securities were exchanged in exchanges where rules and surveillance existed to prevent manipulation … This type of guarantees do not currently exist in all the places of exchange where digital assets are traded".
One of Gemini's main objectives seems to be to establish the kind of guarantees that Clayton and the SEC consider as a necessary precursor for Winklevii, which has obtained long-awaited regulatory approval for its ETF.
Winklevii's AMA also saw a number of questions related to their position on Bitcoin in relation to other cryptocurrencies. Their answers show a firm belief that Bitcoin will remain the most important cryptocurrant for a long time:
"Bitcoin is definitely the OG crypto! It is difficult to defeat the network effects – so in terms of" hard money "(that is, value deposit), Bitcoin is most likely the long-term winner".
The Winklevii have previously said they see $ 40,000 Bitcoin – ten times its current market price, and double its record high – not just as a possibility, but a low-end bullish forecast. Asked if they continue to believe it, their answer could not have been clearer:
"Our thesis on the positive side of bitcoin remains unchanged We believe that bitcoin is better than gold and gold If we are right, over time the market capitalization of bitcoin will exceed the gold limit of about 7 billion dollars ".
When it comes to adding more cryptocurrencies to Gemini, it is clear from an answer regarding Gemini's Zcash list that Bitcoin is the first of their thoughts:
"Zcash is a fork of Bitcoin so it's part of the Nakamoto family tree.Technology of privacy is very important for an open and democratic society and the Zcash team is experimenting with some amazing privacy technologies."
They also rated Bitcoin's flagship Cash Satoshi Vision. Craig S. Wright claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto: "It is probably Wright who believes it is Satoshi."
As is typical of AMAs with important public figures, some of the most strongly disadvantaged issues have been ignored. These include questions that Gemini was looking at the NANO list, as well as enjoying the fact that their alleged nemesis Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has become a public figure of hate and ridicule. There have also been some criticisms heavily addressed to Gemini that the Winklevii have chosen not to address, including the fact that Gemini's fees are twice as high on its mobile app as well as for those who access using a web browser. An answer to this last question states that Gemini is "exploiting the less sophisticated user". The comment section of a post on the Winklevoss Capital website announcing the formation of Gemini is full of many criticisms of the platform's response.
Revolution or a return to normality?
The heated debate unleashed by the twins and twins Winklevoss is part of a broader long-term argument that has grown in step with the rise of cryptocurrency in the general conscience: cryptocurrency should be incorporated into existing financial structures, or is it a betrayal of its original revolutionary purpose? By adopting phrases like "Revolutions Need Rules" and "Money has a Future", the Winklevii have cleverly fueled the debate and drew a lot of attention to Gemini. Whatever your position on the cryptocurrency relationship with regulators, it is clear that this will play a crucial role in shaping the future of cryptocurrency. With Gemini and their long-proposed ETF, the Winklevoss Twins position themselves as important figures in the continuous evolution of space.