Today at FIA Asia 2017 in Singapore Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the co-founders of Gemini Trust, participated in a discussion about the cryptocurrency space along with Yvonne Zhang from the Aquifer Institute.  The session, titled Cryptocurrencies 101, was moderated by Nick Solinger from FIA Tech. 

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One of the first points made was that electronic money transfers between countries often take longer than physically moving cash.  For example, if you wanted to transfer money from New York to Singapore on a Friday afternoon, it may be quicker to fly the physical cash across 15 time zones as opposed to using banks for a transfer.  In the crypto space you can transfer bitcoin as quickly as it takes to send an email.

After giving a brief overview of cryptocurrencies the discussion turned to the motivation behind creating Gemini and how Gemini differs from other crypto exchanges.  The motivation came from the cumbersome process that was the only way to buy bitcoin just a few years ago.  A larger motivation is having bitcoin emerge in a regulatory framework and Gemini is a regulated trust company under the supervision of the New York State Department of Financial Services.

An interesting point made by Cameron was that as bitcoin becomes more widely accepted that actually enhances the value of bitcoin.  This is one of the arguments against bitcoin being in a bubble like other assets that have experienced a rapid rise in value.  Tyler noted as being disruptive, bitcoin is more about disrupting gold as opposed to disrupting currencies. 

An interesting question that relates to pending bitcoin derivatives was, “do traders need to fully understand the technical aspects of bitcoin?”  Cameron said not necessarily and that when they describe bitcoin they do their best to use analogies often with commodity markets being part of the illustration.  Part of the response was, “you don’t have to understand all the technical aspects of email to use it, the same is true with respect to using bitcoin.”

Finally, Cameron was asked about the relationship that Gemini has with Cboe Global Markets to develop a futures contract.  He pointed out that we are working together for surveillance of the market to assure a smooth and regulated futures market.  For traders it was also noted that shorting bitcoin is somewhat difficult, this will not be the case once bitcoin futures begin trading. 

Tyler and Cameron spoke at FIA Asia today as part of a trip to the region that will take them to Hong Kong next week.  While in Hong Kong they will be participating in a fireside chat at Cboe’s Risk Management Conference which will be held December 5th and 6th at the Conrad Hilton – www.cboermcasia.com.  Last time I checked there were a few spots still available to attend RMC Asia.

To learn more about Gemini you can visit www.gemini.com where they have a relatively new order book on their website.  

Finally, there is information about Cboe Bitcoin Futures which is currently under regulatory review at www.cfe.cboe.com