Gemini, the exchange founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, continues to make inroads toward its goal of becoming a mainstream, respected financial institution. It has recently announced that it has passed a high level security audit conducted by Deloitte, which marks a significant milestone in the crypto space. Whereas Gemini’s accomplishments are impressive, they highlight the significant challenge of merging blockchain assets with legacy economic systems.
The audit in question is known as Service and Organizational Controls 2, Type 2. This achievement completes a two part examination, the first of which Gemini passed last year. Gemini is the first crypto exchange or custody provider to successfully take this step, although others will no doubt soon follow.
Whereas there is no shortage of dishonest or poorly managed exchanges across the crypto space, Gemini is clearly not one of them. It has also independently verified the fiat backing for its stablecoin, and has secured insurance for its clients against losses up to two hundred million dollars.
Gemini’s quest for true legitimacy is commendable, and it is far from the only exchange moving in this direction. The larger exchanges and those serving as fiat onramps understand the need to cultivate a reputation of trust and competence. Moreover, their operators understand that following appropriate financial regulations is a must.
Although impressive, this plan carries risk, and may prove difficult to sustain long-term. Blockchain technology is not designed to be centrally regulated, and exchanges such as Gemini are not needed to securely store crypto assets. Gemini’s moves toward legitimacy also bring it closer to the type of government interference that many crypto advocates seek to avoid.
Importantly, many crypto advocates value privacy, and thus avoid exchanges that have chosen to become integrated with the legacy financial system. Although using unregulated exchanges carries significant risk, they also are more in-tune with the libertarian ideal that comes with crypto adoption. Should laws or regulations make crypto ownership burdensome, Gemini may find itself at a competitive disadvantage.
One notable challenge faced by Gemini and similar exchanges is convincing customers of the potential value of their custodial services. In fact, the more developed these institutions become, the more they resemble traditional banks. In the short term this may be advantageous, yet over time crypto users may come to realize that their assets can be securely held by personal wallets.
With an ever increasing chorus of analysts predicting a 2020 bull run, the crypto space may soon find itself flooded with new investors. Thus, all of the many means by which blockchain assets can be purchased and stored will be put to the test. This latest milestone is proof positive that Gemini is positioning itself to become an attractive option for adopters.
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