Gemini gets regulatory greenlight in Italy, Greece amid lending halt

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Winklevoss brothers’ cryptocurrency exchange Gemini continues expanding in Europe, announcing new regulatory approvals in Italy and Greece.

Gemini has registered as a virtual currency operator with Italy’s payments services regulator, the Organismo Agenti E Mediatori (OAM), the firm announced on Nov. 30.

The crypto exchange has also received registration as a custodial wallet provider and provider of virtual currency exchange with Greece’s Hellenic Capital Markets Commission (HCMC).

According to official data, the OAM registration was issued on Nov. 3, while the HCMC granted its approval to Gemini on Nov. 7.

The new registrations, combined with Gemini’s electronic money institution authorization from the Central Bank of Ireland, officially allow the exchange to provide crypto services to their customers in Italy and Greece. The approvals also aim to demonstrate Gemini’s compliance with applicable Italian and Greek Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing regulations.

As of November 2022, Gemini operates in more than 65 countries, including new jurisdictions like Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and others, the firm said.

The latest registrations came before Gemini encountered major issues on its lending platform known as Gemini Earn, which is designed to allow investors to get 8% in interest by lending their cryptocurrency. The product has reportedly halted withdrawals due to its connection with the troubled crypto trading firm Genesis Global Capital, with Gemini allegedly having $700 million of customer money locked in it.

According to Gemini status, Gemini Earn started experiencing issues with deposits on Nov. 16, a few days after initial reports on FTX’s liquidity issues surfaced. At the time of writing, the product remains unavailable, while all other Gemini services, including exchange trading engine, Gemini Credit Card and others operate normally.

Gemini Earn was launched in 2021 in the United States, providing services through a partnership with Genesis Global Capital, which halted withdrawals on Nov. 16 as a consequence of the ongoing FTX contagion.

“We continue to work with Genesis Global Capital — the lending partner of Earn — and its parent company Digital Currency Group to find a solution for Earn users to redeem their funds,” Gemini said in a tweet from Nov. 21.

Related: American regulators to investigate Genesis and other crypto firms

On Nov. 29, Gemini also took to Twitter to announce Gemini Trust Center, assuring its customers that their accounts’ assets are segregated from Gemini’s assets. “Gemini is a full-reserve exchange and custodian. This means that all customer funds held on Gemini are held 1:1 and available for withdrawal at any time,” the company stressed.

As previously reported, Gemini was one of exchanges hit by the ongoing crypto bear market, cutting up to 20% of its staff this year. The exchange is also among platforms targeted by the United States Senate Finance Committee as part of the information request regarding customer protection measures in the aftermath of the FTX collapse.