Gemini-Owned Nifty Gateway's Founders Head for Exit Amid Crypto Crisis

Gemini-Owned Nifty Gateway's Founders Head for Exit Amid Crypto Crisis

The Cock Foster twins are leaving the NFT marketplace they sold to Gemini in 2019, planning to take a break and then 'brainstorm' their next startup.

Gemini-Owned Nifty Gateway's Founders Head for Exit Amid Crypto Crisis

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The founders of Nifty Gateway are departing the Gemini-owned NFT marketplace as its parent exchange reels from the collapse of its crypto lending partner Genesis.

Twins Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster founded Nifty in 2018 and sold it to Gemini — owned by twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss — in 2019, well before the NFT market exploded in 2021.

In a Jan. 25 Twitter thread announcing the departure, Duncan Cock Foster said the move was because he and his brother "are founders at heart" and want to start a new company — although their immediate plans are a break and then begin "brainstorming new startup ideas."

Nor, he added, had they ever intended to say more than four years at Gemini, and had expected less. The departure had been in the works "for months" he said, and they plan to "publicly outline a roadmap and a plan for the future of Nifty" within a few weeks.

In October, Nifty pivoted from offering curated collections of NFTs created for and dropped on the site to becoming a broader marketplace. The NFT market was hammered in 2022, with top collections bringing in a fraction of the soaring values they had seen a year earlier

Cock Foster said he and his brother are "extremely confident" Nifty Gateway is in good hands, adding:

"@cameron and @tyler are visionaries who saw the potential in NFTs well before almost anyone else. Under their leadership, Nifty Gateway will continue to thrive."

Troubled Waters

The Winklevoss twins have bigger problems, however. When crypto lender Genesis became insolvent in November, 340,000 customers of the exchange's Gemini Earn program saw $900 million frozen, and as of last week locked in bankruptcy.
Gemini Earn accounts offered up to 8% interest on deposits in a program run by partner Genesis, which was crushed by collapses of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital and crypto exchange FTX. Gemini President Cameron Winklevoss has been locked in a war of words with the CEO of Genesis' parent company, Digital Currency Group's Barry Silbert, who he has accused of flat-out fraud for concealing the state of the company's finances.

Earlier this month the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued the two firms, saying the crypto earn accounts were unregistered securities. On Monday, Gemini announced a third round of layoffs, cutting 10% of its staff.

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