Gemini co-founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss started last year off with plans to go big with a risky type of crypto lending account. And they pushed ahead even as warning signs kept cropping up.
In the early months of 2022, the twins told the crypto startup’s growth team to come up with a more aggressive plan to market the crypto accounts, known as Earn, which resemble high-yield savings accounts, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said. Throughout much of the year, even as crypto bankruptcies mounted and crypto prices continued to drop, that message of growth remained unchanged, two people familiar with the matter said.
But some inside the company were growing uneasy with pushing Earn, two people with direct knowledge said. Part of the unease came when Gemini was going after bigger, savvier customers who raised questions about the risks associated with the product, one of the people said. After customers deposited crypto into Earn accounts, Gemini would lend the crypto to Genesis, a subsidiary of Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, which in turn would lend it to its own customers, including big crypto traders making risky leveraged bets.