Winklevoss’s Gemini Buys Omniex Platform in Prime Services Push
(Bloomberg) -- Gemini Trust Co., the cryptocurrency platform run by the Winklevoss brothers, has acquired trading technology provider Omniex to aid its push into services for institutional investors.
Omniex’s technology is used for price discovery on more than 35 exchanges and over-the-counter trading desks. The platform is going to be folded into Gemini Prime, a suite of institutional services ranging from lending and borrowing to clearing and custody that’s expected to be fully rolled out in the second quarter. Gemini said it has thousands of institutional clients, whose ranks have swelled in the last two years.
“They want to sort of have one entry point and be able to trade wherever they can,” Dave Abner, Gemini’s global head of business development, said in an interview. “Access to the entire crypto ecosystem is what people want. It’s a bridge between traditional finance and crypto finance.”
Omniex, based in Santa Monica, California, already connects to exchanges including Gemini, Binance, Coinbase Global Inc. and Bitfinex.
Gemini is joining the ranks of Coinbase and FTX US in making acquisitions to expand and diversify while coin prices feel pressure after several years of double-digit gains. Spot trading volumes that many exchanges heavily rely on for revenue can dip sharply along with coin prices.
Historical price slides such as the almost 40% drop in Bitcoin since early November traditionally drive retail investors to the sidelines. Institutional investors’ activity tends to be more stable. Big investors also usually generate revenue from services such as lending and custody. Gemini said last year that it custodies more than $30 billion in crypto assets.
This is Gemini’s sixth acquisition. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Just last week, Gemini bought Bitria, a digital-asset portfolio management platform for wealth and asset managers.
Gemini is beefing up its prime brokerage services in competition with rivals like Coinbase and Galaxy Digital. Coinbase launched its prime services last year, and is continuing to aggressively invest in them; for instance, by developing a mobile app for prime users.
Despite the recent crypto price slump, more institutions are researching cryptocurrencies in preparation for investing, Abner said.
“We spend a lot of our time now educating institutions that are getting ready,” he said. “It’s like turning a cruise ship, working with an institution, it’s a slow process. We are starting to see them getting ready to enter this market. That’s why we think that now is an opportune moment.”
Gemini raised $400 million in a round of funding in November that valued the company at $7.1 billion, and gave it a war chest of funds for acquisitions.
Omniex was founded in 2017 by two State Street Corp. employees. Omniex’s Chief Executive Officer Hu Liang most recently oversaw the bank’s Emerging Technologies Center, focused on crypto and blockchain. With the latest acquisition, Gemini is adding 25 employees to its staff.
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