Winklevoss Twins Discuss their Foray into Bitcoin and Facebook’s New Currency
The Winklevoss Twins are two of the most popular people in the cryptocurrency sector. The two co-founders of the Gemini Trust Company, LLC, are both identical twins and popular athletes.
For people outside of the finance sector the Winklevoss twins became more popular after “The Social Network” movie was released which showed the brothers as classmates of Mark Zuckerberg eventually accusing him of stealing their idea for what we now know as Facebook.
Most times, many film depictions of real life people and events do not sit well with the real people involved so much that in many cases, these people or their families – in the case of a deceased person – go the way of a lawsuit.
This is a bit of a different case with the Winklevoss twins as even though they disagree with some parts of their depiction in the movie, they weren't too offended. Tyler spoke on the portrayal and said “they were a bit stiff and maybe not full dimensional”.
His brother, Cameron, also agreed, saying “those characters are interesting, but they're not really us”.
Back in 2004, the twins sued Mark Zuckerberg with the claim that their original idea – initially called HarvardConnection and later renamed ConnectU – was stolen by Zuckerberg who eventually used it to create Facebook.
After the case went back and forth for a while, the twins where eventually awarded a sum of $65 million. Between then and now they have successfully created a fortune, heavily investing in Bitcoin.
A few years ago, the twins said they had well more than 1 billion dollars in Bitcoin and claimed in 2013 that they owned almost 1% of all the existing bitcoin at the time. Basically, the twins have successfully multiplied 65 million dollars into a few hundreds of millions.
Speaking on their Bitcoin optimism, Cameron expressed that:
“If you believe that bitcoin is the beginning of the internet of money, you can actually buy a piece of it. Anybody in the world can. And there's tons of people who have made a lot buying a piece of that future.”
Definitely Not a Fluke
The Social Network movie was based on a book called “the Accidental Billionaires: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal” which was published in 2009 by Ben Mezrich. Now that the Winklevoss twins are billionaires, Ben has stated that:
“It made me start to think that they weren’t at the helm of two revolutions by accident.”
However, Mezrich has since wondered why they didn’t just take all of their money from the settlement and pretty much retire forever. According to Mezrich,
“They’re wealthy, they’re Greek gods essentially. They’ve got everything anyone could think one would need. Why don’t they just row off into the sunset?”
The answer to that as you’ve probably already guessed is Bitcoin. After they twins got paid they really did have everything anyone would want.
Becoming venture capitalists at the beginning was a little difficult because at the time, people weren’t interested in taking the money because everyone had a goal of becoming a part of Facebook or at least selling to social network. Also, because there was so much friction between them and Zuckerberg, they made no headway.
Introduction to Bitcoin
The editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, Nicholas Thompson, recently spoke to them about how they came into Bitcoin. According to them, it happened in Ibiza.
“Somebody tells you about this thing: Currency that can be sent like email. It's all based on math. You don't have to trust a banker or a president. You just have to trust the code. And then you make a big decision, which is to buy 1% of all of the bitcoins in the world?”
Jokingly Cameron added that it may have been more than just a big risk at the time because:
“Yeah, you know, some people they might dive off a diving board. I think in this case we took a cannonball off the diving board”
Journey so far
Based on their calculations at the time, the twins believed that Bitcoin would eventually displace gold. It's obvious to everyone now that their investment paid off because at the time they invested, 1 BTC was about $9. Right now, it's over $9000, 1000x increase.
Another attraction was most likely the fact that it was a great means of exchange that was completely deregulated and free of any form of government influence. Comparing it to the Wild West, Tyler said:
“It's a bunch of people who are anarchists, who want to smash the state, whose identities aren’t known, who was selling drugs, right? Your early business partner goes to jail for multiple years.” As crazy as the comparison is, it helped them because “that's exactly what informed us in what not to do and what had to change.”
You Don’t Have to Fully Understand It
Tyler has explained that “it's hard to digest it all at once” suggesting that an expert understanding might not be completely necessary. He also compared it to gold saying:
“It’s like buying a bar of gold, but there’s no physical component to it.”
Defending their view on the fact that a technical understanding might not be required, they added that not everyone really knows how the internet works but everyone uses it in some way or another.
Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
The twins are obviously very bullish about Bitcoin and hope that their efforts along with their exchange firm will convince many regular people to get into the Bitcoin market.
The twins currently have a 50,000 square feet office located on New York’s Park Avenue South and have about 200 people in their employ.
Are They Worried About Facebook’s New Cryptocurrency?
Very soon, Zuckerbeg’s Facebook will launch its one cryptocurrency called Libra. When asked by Thompson whether they have any fears about their old rival, the twins expressed no worry at all. According to Cameron “There’s so much pie to grow, I mean, at this point, we need to be frenemies.”
Thompson still tries to get a response from them and adds that:
“One possible scenario with Facebook would be they come in and they change things in a way that hurts Gemini, but that also validates things and drives the price of Bitcoin way up. So, you guys lose your company but make a ton more money. How does that feel?”
Instead of replying directly, the jovial twins laughed it off with Tyler joking to Thompson that “we should hire you to come in and war game with us!”
From this conversation, we can assume that the twins are still very bullish about the number one cryptocurrency and aren’t the least bit bothered about any competition. Why should they, aren’t they already multi-billionaires?