The Winkelvoss Twins made their fortune investing in Bitcoin. Over the course of the last six years, the two have become arguably the most famous Bitcoin investors and advocates. But what did Tyler and Cameron Winkelvoss do before investing into Bitcoin? And what are the twins up to now?
The first time the twins made headlines was when they sued Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their idea for a social network. The two had funded ConnectU, a social networking platform, together with a classmate, Divya Narendra, and had hired Mark Zuckerberg to aid in programming the network. Allegedly, Zuckerberg delayed completion of the project to steal the idea from the twins and later turn it into Facebook.
Eventually, the two parties agreed on a settlement of $65 million. The twins later tried to sue Facebook again for a sum of $425 million.
The twins claim that they own almost one percent of all Bitcoin. Cameron and Tyler’s current cryptocurrency assets are predicted to have a value of over $1 billion. Much of their current business ventures deal with this cryptocurrency and rely on its success.
In 2013, the twins invested heavily in BitInstant, which was a platform to use traditional funds and bitcoin in a transaction. When the founder of the platform, Shrem, was arrested, the twins claimed to have little involvement in developing the platform. They also sued him for $32 million over the loss of 5,000 Bitcoin.
In 2014, they launched Winkdex to track Bitcoin’s performance and its price. More recently, they have launched Gemini as a secure way to store the cryptocurrency. It helps with encrypting private keys and tries to keep them safe from hackers. When asked about how they plan to beat Coinbase, they stated, “We want to be the fastest tortoise in the race.” Gemini seems to be growing in popularity as more people find its security a welcome addition to storing their wealth.
Early Advocates of Cryptocurrency
They have been firm believers in cryptocurrency since 2013, stating that to stop Bitcoin, you would need to “shut down the internet.” During a panel discussion, they expressed that both Ethereum and Zcash may increase in potential alongside the original cryptocurrency. Today, they think that Bitcoin holds the future and will only increase in influence and value.
Their net worth is somewhere over $1 billion due to their substantial investment in the cryptocurrency. Much of the funds for earlier investments in Bitcoin came from the cash settlement after the dispute with Facebook. When they purchased Bitcoin in 2013, the price of a single unit was $120. Now, the price is hovering above $10.000
Some call it luck, while others believe the twins are natural investors. Having taken part in this lucky gamble and investing in cryptocurrency at its earliest stages, the twins are now self-made billionaires. They work on their newest business ventures, all of which deal with cryptocurrency in one way or another, and focus on increasing their wealth through capitalizing on Bitcoins growing popularity.