Gemini, the U.S.-based crypto exchange founded by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, named a new chief executive officer for Asia-Pacific (APAC) and is set to open its first office in India as part of its "big plans" in the region.
Pravjit Tiwana, Gemini's global chief technology officer, has taken additional responsibility as APAC CEO, the Winklevoss brothers said in a blog post shared with The Block. As APAC CEO, Tiwana will lead Gemini's new product launches from the region and ensure financial stability.
"Gemini has big plans for international growth this year in APAC," the Winklevi said. "This initially involves building out product and engineering teams in India. We will also be expanding our business teams in both India and Singapore to execute GTM [go-to-market] strategies focused on growing our individual and institutional customer base in this region."
The news comes a month after reports that said Gemini is preparing to launch an overseas derivatives exchange to offer perpetual futures. The new derivatives platform will launch from APAC, a source familiar with the matter recently told The Block.
A number of U.S.-based crypto platforms are focusing on entering foreign markets as regulators in the country appear to have become hostile to the crypto industry. Earlier this week, Gemini rival Coinbase said it received a license to operate in Bermuda. Coinbase could launch a derivatives exchange in the British Overseas Territory as soon as next week, a source familiar with the matter told The Block at the time.
The collapse of the FTX exchange in November has opened the door for more companies to expand their trading platforms. Deribit, a crypto derivatives exchange, is set to launch its spot trading platform next week.
Gemini's first India office
As part of its APAC growth plans, Gemini is opening up its India office in Gurgaon, a city just southwest of New Delhi. The office will be Gemini's second largest engineering hub behind the U.S. and will add to its existing offices in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland and Singapore, the company said.
"Gurgaon has many advantages including a very dense talent pool (which includes all of the national capital region — Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida), proximity to policymakers, and the presence of other web3/crypto companies," Tiwana told The Block.
India has had a tough stance on crypto since it imposed stiff taxes last year. But the country hasn't declared crypto as legal, and thus, uncertainty remains. Earlier this year, India revealed that it is working with the International Monetary Fund on a paper that will focus on "aspects of the monetary policy and the policy approach to crypto assets."
Tiwana declined to comment on the regulatory situation in India but said the country is rich with tech talent and Gemini expects to hire "hundreds of full-time employees" there over time across functions including engineering, human resources and finance. Tiwana initially joined Gemini over a year ago from Amazon Web Services and has previously held product and engineering leadership roles at both Microsoft and Disney.
Gemini's lackluster trading volume
Whether Gemini's APAC growth plans will help it gain market share remains to be seen. The exchange has had underwhelming trading volumes over the last few years compared to its competitors. It is currently behind Coinbase, Kraken, Binance.US and other exchanges in terms of trading volume, according to The Block's Data Dashboard.
Earlier this year, Gemini also ended its Earn product after its lending partner Genesis stopped processing withdrawals in November. Some 340,000 Gemini Earn customers are still waiting to get their money back, worth about $900 million. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged both Gemini and Genesis over Earn, alleging they sold unregistered securities.
"We believe that crypto and web3 products will continue to have a strong growth trajectory in APAC," said the Winklevoss twins. "Crypto knows no boundaries, and it is important for Gemini to be present and active globally."
Updates to include Gemini Earn details.
© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.