The Winklevoss twins are celebrities in the overlapping worlds of finance, investing and cryptocurrency. Having bought $11 million worth of bitcoin when it was still relatively unknown, the pair made headlines in the first week of December 2017, when they became the some of the first investors to be made bitcoin billionaires through the digital currency’s sharp spike.
When the brothers first started buying bitcoin, it was only worth $9 per coin. Naturally, at this price, individuals had not heard of it, and the majority of accredited investors opted not to touch it. With the technology brand-new and the concept unlike any monetary system, it is no surprise that bitcoin was met with trepidation in its early days.
Now that the Winklevoss’ initial investment of 120,000 bitcoins is worth close to $2 billion, people around the world are rushing to buy bitcoin for themselves.
Even though Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss racked up an unfathomable profit from one investment in just four years, the pair of like-minded individuals are not looking to sell. Incredibly, even if the digital currency were to reach a value of $380,000, they admitted that they still would not sell their bitcoin portfolio.
“Bitcoin is more than gold — it’s a programmable store of money. It may continue to innovate,” explained Tyler Winklevoss, who believes that bitcoin will evolve to overcome some of the current barriers it faces, such as scalability, slow transaction speeds, and high transaction fees.
Cameron and Tyler are not only linked to bitcoin through their investment. Their New York-based cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini, has had unbounded success, further amplified by bitcoin’s rapid ascent in 2017.
“We wanted to build an exchange that was similar to Nasdaq or NYSE for digital currency,” said Tyler in 2016. “We wanted something that both Wall Street and Main Street felt comfortable with.”
Merging with Traditional Markets
On August 2, 2017, Gemini partnered with CBOE in a contract to provide trading data to the latter. Once the partnership is approved by the CFTC, the second-largest operator for stock exchange in the United States, CBOE Holdings, will use this data to power indices and bitcoin derivatives across the platform.
Gemini is highly respected in the industry, serving both professional and casual traders and investors. Cryptocurrency analyst Ari Paul spoke highly of the exchange, confessing that it is one of the few exchanges that he can trust. The co-founder of cryptocurrency investment firm Blocktower Capital, Paul also shared that Gemini is an underrated exchange.
Winklevoss’ total outlay of $11 million sent shockwaves throughout the community, as an investment of that size spoke of enormous faith in bitcoin’s future. They continued to back the currency as the bubble burst in April of 2013, choosing not to cut their losses and cash out, but instead to HODL in the optimistic expectation that it would recover and continue to climb.
“Our basic thesis for bitcoin is that it is better than gold,” shared Tyler in November 2016. At the time of his statement, the digital money had not reached $1,000 yet.
In many ways, the unwavering faith that the brothers have shown in the cryptocurrency has had a catalytic effect on its growth. Their high-profile investment and continued positive press conferences on the digital currency has prompted many more people to invest in it, which in turn increased the value of bitcoin.