By Josiah Wilmoth
Thanks to a well-timed investment made just four years ago, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are believed to be the world’s first bitcoin billionaires.
Winklevoss Twins Become the World’s First Bitcoin Billionaires
Until now, the Winklevoss twins have been best known for suing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, claiming that he stole their idea to create a social networking website while they were all students at Harvard. The brothers received $65 million as a result of that suit, but what they did next will likely ensure that they are remembered for something far more distinctive.
In 2013, the brothers took $11 million of the funds from that settlement and invested in bitcoin — at just $120 per coin. This investment garnered them nearly 1 percent of all bitcoins that were in circulation at that time.
Fast-forward a little more than four years, and that initial investment — along with the price of bitcoin — has swelled nearly 10,000 percent, making Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss the world’s first verified bitcoin billionaires — that is, investors who have made the majority of their fortunes through an investment in bitcoin.
Of course, bitcoin addresses known to belong Satoshi Nakamoto — the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin — hold more than 1 million bitcoins, meaning that Satoshi is worth more than $11 billion. However, as Strategic Coin explained in a recent article, Satoshi has not accessed those wallets since vanishing from the Bitcoin project 2011, and many people believe that those coins will never be moved.
Going Long on Bitcoin
The Winklevoss brothers are long on bitcoin, but they have not restricted their investments to digital assets themselves. They have also founded and invested in a myriad of companies that operate within the blockchain space. In 2015, they founded Gemini, a New York City-based cryptocurrency exchange that is marketed to both institutional and retail investors. Winklevoss Capital also has positions in bitcoin wallet and storage service Xapo, as well as Protocol Labs.
They also filed to create the first Bitcoin ETF, but the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected their application earlier this year. However, now that bitcoin futures contracts are set to begin trading on a Cboe, a regulated exchange headquartered in Chicago, many analysts believe that the SEC will approve a Bitcoin ETF in the near future. Cboe, incidentally, is basing the price of its contracts on data from Gemini.
If bitcoin’s bull run continues — and many industry observers believe it will as more institutional investors enter the markets — it is likely that the bitcoin billionaires club will become much less exclusive.
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