Winklevoss twins' Gemini crypto exchange valued at $9.6 billion after latest fund raise

The Winklevoss twins have built Gemini into a compliance-focused crypto exchange. PHOTO: GEMINI/FACEBOOK

PORTLAND, OREGON, (BLOOMBERG) - Gemini Trust, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, said it has raised US$400 million (S$543 million) in a round of funding that values the company at US$7.1 billion.

The exchange's first-ever outside financing was led by Morgan Creek Digital with participation from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and other investors. The bank is also partnering with Gemini to give its customers safe storage for tokens they buy and sell.

In addition to supporting trading, Gemini already custodies more than US$30 billion in crypto assets, runs a marketplace for non-fungible tokens and lets users lend their digital coins. The company said in a statement on Thursday (Nov 18) that the funding will also be used to expand its geographical footprint.

Gemini is joining a slew of crypto-related companies, including bigger rival Coinbase Global and ConsenSys, in taking advantage of favourable market conditions and increasing interest from mainstream investors to raise money. Bitcoin hit an all-time high of US$68,991 on Nov 10 before giving back some gains in recent days.

Crypto start-ups' valuations are ballooning, and new funding can help with acquisitions or with hiring staff as businesses expand internationally or look to introduce new products. The extra funds can come in handy amid growing competition, and as more retail investors and institutions dive into crypto.

The Winklevoss twins, who first became known when they challenged Mr Mark Zuckerberg over the mantle of who invented social network Facebook, are early Bitcoin investors and believers.

In addition to investing in crypto-related start-ups, they have built Gemini into a compliance-focused crypto exchange. Gemini recently had about US$268.3 million in daily spot volume, per tracker, as compared with larger rival Binance at US$30.2 billion.

"Gemini is the portal into crypto for new and seasoned investors alike," Mr Tyler Winklevoss said in the release. "The investors that we have brought on in this round share our ambitious vision for the future."

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