DCI Director interviewed for The Wall Street Journal: "Winklevosses’ Cryptocurrency Exchange Says the ‘Revolution Needs Rules’" By Nat Ives

Winklevosses’ Cryptocurrency Exchange Says the ‘Revolution Needs Rules’.

By Nat Ives 01/04/19 of The Wall Street Journal

Gemini Trust Co., the cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2014 by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, argues in a new ad campaign that its chaotic sector should protect investors by adopting standard best practices and following regulations. At the same time, not incidentally, the campaign suggests that Gemini already provides shelter from the storm.

Subway, taxi-top and other ads deliver slogans like “The Revolution Needs Rules,” “Crypto Without Chaos” and “Money Has a Future.” A full-page ad in the New York Times on Monday will press the point, according to Gemini.

“We believe that investors coming into cryptocurrency deserve the exact same protections as investors in more traditional markets, adhering to the same standards, practices, regulations and compliance protocols,” said Chris Roan, head of marketing at Gemini.

“In our competitive set there are widely varying degrees of adherence to regulatory guidance from people that oversee the more traditional financial marketers,” Mr. Roan added. Some players are devoted to decentralizing authority over money, a key tenet of many cryptocurrency advocates, while others including Gemini believe there has to be a “bridge” between the old system and a new one, he said.

The ad campaign, which was created by the agency Interesting Development and is Gemini’s first notable effort aimed at retail investors, was timed to capitalize on a recently introduced mobile app, Mr. Roan said. But it arrives on the heels of a brutal year for cryptocurrency values. Allegations of manipulation and fraud in the market are common. The space could arguably use a dose of reputation repair.

Many existing regulations could apply to cryptocurrency but haven’t been applied consistently, said Neha Narula, director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. “There is a huge problem with market integrity, with consumer protection, and we definitely need to make sure that regulations are being enforced where they apply.” 

But regulation of the existing financial system sometimes thwarts innovation, Ms. Narula added. “I wouldn’t want it to get to a case with crypto where innovation is stifled because it’s too expensive for them to comply with regulation,” she said.

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