Billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, known for their legal battle with Mark Zuckerberg over the inception of Facebook, are contemplating establishing a UK foothold for their substantial cryptocurrency venture, citing an unfavourable environment in the US.
The Winklevoss brothers mentioned the potential creation of a “secondary headquarters” for their crypto exchange, Gemini, in London.
In the past week, the duo met with representatives from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England as they survey potential sites for Gemini’s investment focus.
The failure of FTX, the insolvent exchange managed by Sam Bankman-Fried, has led to growing grievances among US cryptocurrency firms about an increasingly challenging regulatory landscape.
Cameron Winklevoss expressed concerns about the significant challenges currently being faced in the US that hinder progress, which is forcing them to explore international opportunities to keep their business expanding and to invest in hiring. He mentioned the UK as a potential choice for this expansion due to its favorable market conditions.
The Winklevoss twins envision a future where they employ more people overseas than in their home country, with some locations possibly surpassing the size of their US operations. Despite this, they don’t intend to fully abandon their US operations; rather, they aim to strategically respond to adversarial conditions by leveraging their right to take their business where it is more welcome.
Cameron described the UK, where their firm, Gemini, was among the first crypto-related companies to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, as a ‘second home’. He praised the country’s long-standing traditions and expressed optimism about its potential leadership in the crypto space based on its current approach.
However, Tyler Winklevoss voiced concerns about the inconsistent attitude towards cryptocurrency companies in the UK, citing a recent report that likened the industry to gambling. He emphasized their desire to further invest in this market, given more consistent regulatory attitudes.
The twins, known for their legal dispute with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, which resulted in a $65 million settlement, founded Gemini in 2015. They bet early on Bitcoin with an $11 million investment, which has made the 41-year-old brothers billionaires.
As part of their global expansion strategy, they are also considering investments in Ireland, Switzerland, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Earlier this year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission accused Gemini of dealing in unregistered securities. This is part of a series of US clampdowns on cryptocurrency firms, a move which Gemini labelled as “entirely counterproductive”.
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