Ireland’s central bank has granted an e-money license to cryptocurrency exchange Gemini Payments.
The license, which allows Gemini to issue electronic money, was the first authorized by the Central Bank of Ireland for a fintech firm since October 2020. Other well-known past recipients of such authorization include Facebook, Google and Stripe. Despite Coinbase already being the most popular cryptocurrency exchange platform present in Ireland, Gemini is notable for its efforts to align itself with regulators.
After applying for the local license in early 2020, partly as a reaction to Brexit, Gemini established an office in Dublin last year. Former Central Bank enforcement director Peter Oakes believes the company will complement its new license by registering for a crypto asset license. This way, he says, Gemini will be able to replicate its services in the UK, where it received authorization from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.
“The combination of an e-money authorization and a virtual asset services provider registration should provide Irish consumers and corporates a fuller range of Gemini’s digital assets and non-fungible tokens service such as buying and selling, interest on accounts, payments, credit cards and e-wallets,” said Oakes.
Earlier this year, Gemini announced a deal to purchase financial management firm Bitria for an undisclosed amount. Among the acquisitions include a digital asset platform and wealth management tools for financial advisors. The purchase signaled a major push into wealth management services for the $7 billion firm.
Oakes highlighted this business segment as having great potential for growth. “An interesting play for Gemini in Ireland could be institutional wealth management and custody,” he said. “Many large financial institutions, especially US banks operating in Ireland, have a strong interest in digital assets for both themselves and their clients.” Oakes said he also expects that Gemini will play a role in servicing Ireland’s €5.4 trillion assets under administration in the IFSC.
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