I didn’t plan to write about Gemini, the large, well-respected cryptocurrency exchange, on the same day that China announced its ban on trading of Bitcoin and digital assets. This piece is also in the wake of the new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair, Gary Gensler, calling for heightened regulatory scrutiny of this space and prognosticators portending the demise of this asset class.
It’s apropos that this coincidentally happened. Bitcoin and the crypto sector has a history of wild, volatile swings. The professionals in this area have become accustomed to the jarring ups and downs. They take the long-term view, and don’t worry too much about the daily gyrations.
The history of Gemini can be traced back to a volatile situation. Undeterred by Mark Zuckerberg allegedly taking advantage of fellow Harvard classmates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, by running with the Facebook concept and cutting them out of the project, the twin brothers ultimately proved themselves as successful businessmen.
The Winklevoss twins accepted a multimillion-dollar settlement in the matter and used some of the proceeds to buy bitcoin, ether and to build the Gemini Trust Company in 2014. The cryptocurrency exchange and custodian provides customers the platform to buy, sell, trade and store digital assets. It is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
The company is built upon the belief that digital assets and blockchain technology offer the power to change the world. They are mission-driven to achieve this goal. The crypto exchange is working toward wider acceptance. Its Gemini Pay mobile app is accepted at about 30,000 retailers. It offers interest on digital assets and is rolling out a branded credit card with Mastercard with a 300,000 waiting list.
Jonathan Tamblyn, the director of talent at the exchange, has his work cut out for him. He’s actively searching for over 200 people to join the company. His needs run the gamut. They range from software engineers to compliance, marketing and business development.
Tamblyn says that job seekers don’t need to have crypto-related experience. He looks for people who are interested and passionate about this new and fast-growing asset class. Since the company is still relatively new, there is a large amount of upside potential for employees. Possessing an entrepreneurial mindset is important, as the company will keep innovating with new products and services.
The head of talent acquisition has a refreshing and progressive take on hiring and retaining people. While most human resources professionals want to be the point person for résumés and introductions, Tamblyn says that candidates who are interested in working at the company should reach out to a manager directly. This is a welcome change. A job seeker could then cut through all of the red tape and get right to the decision makers.
As the organization is dynamic and entrepreneurial, it understands that workers may elect to leave after gaining a few years of experience. Tamblyn is realistic about this, recognizing that young, motivated people want to learn, build knowledge and a network of cohorts and then pursue challenges at other places. There’s no hard feeling, as he understands that this mentality is a shift from past generations when it was de rigueur for workers to remain at the same corporations for decades.
The results of a survey of the state of the United States crypto market offered the following highlights:
- Roughly 14% of the U.S. population owns cryptocurrency. This translates to 21.2 million U.S. adults who own cryptocurrency.
- More women than men are among those interested in getting into crypto soon, making up 53% of those crypto curious reporting interest about investing in the asset class. Looking deeper, only a quarter of these crypto-curious women are under the age of 35, and 25% are near retirement at 55 or older.
- Education is crucial in converting crypto-curious consumers to actual holders with 39% of those who don’t hold cryptocurrency considering themselves “somewhat or very” knowledgeable about cryptocurrency, but 60% identifying as “not very” or “not at all” knowledgeable. A strong majority of U.S. adults (77%) indicate they are open to learning more about digital assets, whether they already own cryptocurrency or not.
- The number of crypto investors is set to nearly double this year with 13% of U.S. adults planning to purchase crypto in the next 12 months.
- The “average” crypto investor will be changing soon. due to these new entrants. The current profile is a 38-year-old male making approximately $111,000 a year.
- The next wave of crypto buyers are older and have slightly smaller yearly incomes with an average age of 44 and average household income of $107,000 a year.
Noah Perlman, a long-time Wall Street legal and compliance professional and former Assistant U.S Attorney, is the current chief operating officer at Gemini. He said about the study, “This new research signals a valuable and welcome diversification of crypto’s investor base. A broader set of participants establishes a positive long-term evolution of the market.”
Perlman added, “Trading platforms that prioritize security and smart regulation, while making it simple for anyone to use, make cryptocurrencies accessible and attractive. We believe digital assets are a strategic part of a well-rounded portfolio and providing crypto education will help remove barriers to entry.”
A career in the digital asset space won’t be a smooth ride. According to a statement from the Chinese government, it appears that cryptocurrencies and related transactions are now considered illegal in China. The People’s Bank of China claims that this is needed for national security and social stability. The government cited money laundering and illegal activities, among other reasons for the crackdown.
John Paulson, the billionaire who famously made a fortune shorting the market during the housing bubble in 2008, which led to the financial crisis, said in an interview that cryptocurrencies are in “a bubble” and a “limited supply of nothing.” He added, “Cryptocurrencies, regardless of where they’re trading today, will eventually prove to be worthless. Once the exuberance wears off, or liquidity dries up, they will go to zero. I wouldn’t recommend anyone invest in cryptocurrencies.”
Bloomberg reported that the Biden administration intends to nominate Saule Omarova, a vocal cryptocurrency critic, to head a key banking regulatory agency—the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Gensler, the newly installed head of the SEC, is emerging as a crypto critic. While the industry doesn’t consider digital assets as securities, it looks like he disagrees and plans to assert his authority over this sector. In a new interview with the Washington Post, Gensler said that he doesn’t believe the crypto market has a long-term future, stating, “History tells us that private forms of money don’t last long.”
Over the years, this industry has weathered many storms, including hacking, claims of harming the environment and tax avoidance. In the face of adversity, this marketplace keeps moving forward with new ideas and projects. Despite the challenges, this still represents an exciting growth opportunity—with some turbulence along the way.
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, believes bitcoin is the answer to the world’s problems.
At a conference in July, the chief executive touted bitcoin as the solution to world peace. Dorsey stated, “Elon [Musk] said it earlier. We have all these monopolies of violence, and the individual doesn’t have power. The amount of cost and distraction that comes from our monetary system today is real, and it takes away attention from the bigger problems, some of the bigger problems that Elon is trying to solve—like getting us to multiplanetary humanity. All these distractions that we have to deal with on a daily basis take away from all those bigger goals that affect every single person on this planet, increasingly so. It may sound a little bit ridiculous, but you fix that foundational level and everything above it improves, in such a dramatic way. It’s gonna be long term, but my hope is definitely peace.”