Gemini’s Noah Perlman on Why He’s Not Spending His Bitcoin and Compliance as ‘Competitive Advantage’


Crypto exchange Gemini has gained a reputation for its ethos of prioritizing compliance and security over listing the latest memecoins. 

This focus starts at the top. Chief Operating Officer Noah Perlman previously worked as Morgan Stanley’s global head of financial crimes and as division counsel for the Drug Enforcement Administration. He shared his views on cryptocurrency exchanges, NFTs, Bitcoin, and stablecoins in an interview with Decrypt at Bitcoin 2022 in Miami on Friday.

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When asked about what makes Gemini different from other exchanges, Perlman had a simple response.

“At Gemini,” he said, “we’re very focused—as we always have been—on security, regulation, compliance. So our customers are people who put a premium on this.”

Gemini has a rigorous process for listing assets that includes code audits and security analysis, and Gemini is actively regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).

“We’ve never had to delist an asset,” Perlman added. 

Gemini’s focus on compliance is a top-down initiative that really began with co-founders and CEOs Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.

“Tyler and Cameron’s vision that compliance really could be a competitive advantage [is] a distinguishing feature in this market,” Perlman said. And to Gemini, regulation is a good thing because it means the government is embracing crypto, not outlawing it. 

Gemini may move slower to list assets compared with other exchanges, but Perlman said that due diligence is worth it in the long run.

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“Asking for permission as opposed to forgiveness does take time,” he said.

That said, Gemini isn’t afraid to push back against regulators.

“We seek out regulation, we seek out collaborative regulators. Doesn’t mean we just do what they say, and believe me we push back very hard, and we have spirited disagreements, but we want to work with them. And we actually believe this is what is best for the industry as a whole, not just for us,” Perlman shared.

When it comes to NFTs, Perlman said he wants skeptics to keep an open mind. He sees a lot of utility and potential in the space, calling those with the “right-click save” mindset “silly.”

Perlman also is bullish on Bitcoin as a long-term store of value and inflationary hedge. And while some like Peter Thiel and Michael Saylor might be more Bitcoin-centric, Perlman isn’t a maximalist. “Everybody should be able to get along here,” he added. “I do think it’s a big tent.”

“Personally, I’m not spending my Bitcoin,” he said on whether he’d use some on ecommerce sites like Shopify, a partnership Strike CEO Jack Mallers announced at Bitcoin 2022. “Sure, you could buy a cup of coffee with some gold nuggets, but why would you?”

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