Ethereum hit the Gemini Trust Company’s digital currency exchange at 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, providing those interested in purchasing or selling the cryptocurrency its first state-sanctioned market — funded by the Winklevoss twins of Facebook lore — to test out the rising digital coinage. Though the May 5 announcement that New York State had approved the sale of Ethereum on Gemini did not set off a significant rise in the price, the price may rally Monday after the market actually opens for the first time on a verified platform. According to coinmarketcap.com, ether was trading at USD $9.55 an hour before the Gemini market was slated to open.
The currency is currently popular among software developers, who see the platform as offering a new opportunity to decentralize the web. The blockchain-based system has taken Bitcoin’s concept to its logical conclusion, allowing not just digital currency transactions, but the complete functioning of apps, or self-automated computer programs that carry out “smart contracts,” to occur publicly and without a central host. Since the blockchain officially launched less than a year ago on July 30, 2015, billing itself as the “World Computer,” the currency alone has reached a market capitalization of $795 million, the second most valuable digital cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin itself, which is worth $6.9 billion altogether.
To purchase ether, you need to set up a trading account with Gemini.
“There is a place for ether on our platform. It does what bitcoin doesn’t do,” Cameron Winklevoss told Reuters. “So that is the sort of criteria: that it is different enough from bitcoin and the proposition is great enough that this makes sense for us to include it in our platform.”
Ethereum’s debut on the Gemini market will mark a major step toward opening the currency to a broader audience. The huge vote of confidence from New York State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo resolves much of the legal ambiguity any young digital currency faces. As only the second digital currency approved for trading in New York, and only the second currency on the Winklevoss’ Gemini market, it’s telling of ether’s potential that it reached such coveted status after only 10 months.
“With robust regulatory oversight, we are maintaining our status at the forefront of this technological revolution and ensuring that users have a safe and secure experience,” Cuomo said in a New York State release.
The remarkable rise of Ethereum is set for a major test on Monday. The opening on Gemini is somewhat akin to a young startup’s IPO, and an early rally could speed its adoption and have long term implications for its use. It certainly offers unique capabilities, but the market will decide whether the cryptocurrency is fad or phenomenon.