Winklevoss twins ‘donated’ $130,000 to New York Governor prior to BitLicense procurement

According to campaign filings that were made public recently, the Winklevoss twins, owners of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, donated to the cause of Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, weeks before receiving approval of their exchange. While the implications of this are strong, the spokespersons for the Governor have denied that the donation influenced his decision.

The twins reportedly donated a total amount of $130,000 one month before Gemini exchange got approval to list ZCash as a cryptocurrency for trading. This was made in payments of $50,000 each by the twins in April of this year, with an additional sum of $30,000 donated in June. The donations were made ahead of the third term of elections for Cuomo, who has been governor since 2011. The filing shows the donations made, stating:

“”A31966″”04/24/2018″,”CAMERON”,”WINKLEVOSS”,”APT 9, 704 BROADWAY”,”NEW YORK”,”NY”,”10003″,”Wire Transfer”,”50000″,”07/17/2018 11:22:04″
“A31966″”06/20/2018″,”CAMERON”,”WINKLEVOSS”,”APT 9, 704 BROADWAY”,”NEW YORK”,”NY”,”10003″,”Wire Transfer”,”15000″,”07/17/2018 11:22:04″
“A31966″,”04/24/2018″,”TYLER”,”WINKLEVOSS”,”APT 9, 704 BROADWAY”,”NEW YORK”,”NY”,”10003″,”Wire Transfer”,”50000″,”07/17/2018 11:22:04″
“A31966″,”06/20/2018″,”TYLER”,”WINKLEVOSS”,”APT 9, 704 BROADWAY”,”NEW YORK”,”NY”,”10003″,”Wire Transfer”,”15000″,”07/17/2018 11:22:04″

Notably, the cryptocurrency exchange acquired the license to list ZCash in May. The license was granted by the New York Department of Financial Services. The Department created the license, which is called the BitLicense, in August 2015. This license reportedly costs ‘tens of thousands of dollars’ to apply for.

When asked about this, the spokeswoman for the campaign, Abbey Fashouer stated:

“We appreciate their support. No contribution of any size influences any government action.”

The Department of Financial Services also stated that there was no influence at play, stating:

“DFS takes care in reviewing every application. The department has no knowledge of political contributions and such contributions have absolutely no bearing on DFS’s independent authority and decision making.”

The Winklevoss twins have had a long history with regulation, especially after March of last year. Their proposal for a Bitcoin [BTC] Exchange Traded Fund was rejected by the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission, citing reasons of volatility. The hope of an ETF has gained prominence recently, however, a Van Eck and SolidX proposed a new ETF for the cryptocurrency. The SEC has opened the matter for public comments.

A spokesperson for the Winklevoss Twins stated:

“Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have supported — and continue to support — many effective leaders around the country. They contributed to Gov. Cuomo’s campaign because they believe he’s doing a great job, is a problem-solver, and is definitely the right person to lead New York in the years ahead.”

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