Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, twins who made a foresighted $11 million bitcoin investment in 2013, are now billionaires, according to reports. The brothers rose to prominence after unsuccessfully suing Facebook (FB) CEO Marc Zuckerberg for stealing the idea that would become the world’s largest social network more than a decade ago.
Their original BTC investment was supported by a settlement from a previous legal struggle. The identical twin Winklevosses are the first “bitcoin billionaires” having purchased 100,000 BTCs in 2013 when the digital currency’s price reached a high of $1,000 in November of that year.
The brothers went on to become some of the most outspoken proponents of digital currency. In 2016, they launched the Gemini exchange and suggested a bitcoin-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF). Cameron Winklevoss told that he and his brother were long-term investors, and that despite the cryptocurrency’s spectacular price climb, they haven’t traded any of their holdings.
On Nov. 29, when BTC surpassed $11,000, consumers had trouble accessing the Gemini website
Other exchanges, including Coinbase, the largest exchange for buying and selling BTC, faced similar problems. An email sent to Gemini seeking comment for this story was not returned. The brothers also declined to comment on the most recent.
Earlier this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected the brothers’ request to launch the BTC ETF on the grounds that the unregulated cryptocurrency market is prone to manipulation. Regulators continue to be concerned.
The SEC today obtained a court order to halt an initial coin offering (ICO) that a Canadian man named Dominic Lacroix claimed would provide investors a 13-fold profit in less than a month. ICOs are initial sales of cryptocurrencies, similar to initial public offerings for stocks.
BTC supporters are hoping that the introduction of futures based on the price of BTC would help to moderate the market’s erratic price swings. CBOE Global will begin trading bitcoin futures on Sunday. CME Group, a competitor, aims to enter the market a week later. According to Axios, more than 100 cryptocurrency-focused hedge funds have emerged this year.
Critics maintain that the market for bitcoin and crypto is an overheated bubble
Fans argue that digital money is preferable to traditional money because it is not controlled by a central bank such as the Federal Reserve and can be traded more readily because it is divisible to eight decimal places.
Some may question “bitcoin billionaire” claims, given that Satoshi Nakomoto, the secretive creator of bitcoin, is thought to have assets worth more than $19 billion. Nonetheless, market analysts say the twins should be commended for sticking with the currency despite its several setbacks.
“The Winklevoss twins are not the first bitcoin billionaires, but simply the ones with the biggest PR and media outreach, which cements their position as forward-thinking pioneers, and as a result, it will definitely encourage more people to buy bitcoin,” said Angel Versetti, co-founder and CEO of Ambrosus, which uses so-called blockchain technology used in bitcoin to check the quality of medicine and other products.
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