Winklevoss-led Gemini announces a self-regulatory group for crypto

Gemini, run by the Winklevoss twins, is one of the most Wall Street oriented exchanges on the crypto markets. Originally envisioned as “bitcoin in a suit,” it is now leading the way in self regulation with a new Virtual Commodity Association, a self-regulating group that aims to take the guesswork out of crypto in the future.

“We believe a thoughtful SRO framework that provides a virtual commodity regulatory program for the virtual commodity industry is the next logical step in the maturation of this market. We look forward to engaging with industry leaders, participants, regulators, and legislators on this proposal,” the write.

The group will perform the following functions:

Foster financially sound, responsible, and innovative virtual commodity markets through a system of industry sponsored standards, sound practices, and oversight that promotes price discovery, efficiency, and transparency.
Incentivize the detection and deterrence of manipulative and fraudulent acts and practices, including partnering with regulators and particularly the CFTC to share or refer information, as appropriate.
Require member firms to commit in writing, upon joining VCA, to operating their virtual commodity markets in compliance with Sound Practices, described below; and provide a sanctions based accountability program to compel ongoing member compliance.

Members of the group will follow “Sound Practices” including the transparency, responsible financial management, and security/surveillance associated with more established financial systems. In short, they’re putting the tie on “Bitcoin in a suit.”

Whether or not the twins can pull together this group is anyone’s guess but it could be gathering steam especially considering the slow and piecemeal fashion with which the SEC has been working on federal crypto regulation.

XPrize announces a $10M contest for remotely-controlled robotic avatars

XPrize announced today that it’s teaming up with Japanese airline All Nippon Airways on a new $10 million competition.

XPrize founder and chairman Peter Diamandis said the ANA team was interested in an XPrize around “reinventing travel,” which eventually turned into a prize for developing technology that would actually eliminate the need to physical travel in some situations.

The idea is that instead of jumping on a plane, people could use goggles, ear phones and haptic suit to connect with a humanoid robot somewhere across the globe, and through that robot, interact with people and the environment.

Diamandis said this could be particularly helpful after disasters (he pointed to Fukushima as an example), where experts might have difficulty reaching dangerous or remote locations: “When time is of the essence, you want to be able to transmit senses and motor skills. … We see an extremely powerful future in which you can bring an expert from any place on the planet.”

I also brought up the question of the Internet connectivity needed to connect with and control these robots, but Diamandis said that as new 5G infrastructure rolls out, that won’t be an issue.

Teams will be able to register for the competition through October 31 of this year, with awarding the $8 million grand prize in October 2021 (there will be two $1 million prizes awarded at milestone competitions before that). Diamandis emphasized that XPrize is looking for teams from around the world, and that it’s also accepting feedback on the competition guidelines.

And while ANA is sponsoring the prize, Diamandis said the winning team will retain control of its intellectual property. For the airline, the benefit is to get a “front row seat” to the development of this new technology.

“It’s very rare for a company in any place on the planet to ask the question: How could our industry get disrupted?” Diamandis said. “It’s one of the most advanced, mature forms of thinking.”

Featured Image: Red Maxwell/Flickr UNDER A CC BY 2.0 LICENSE