Twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, 36, are the first confirmed bitcoin billionaires. According to reports from The Telegraph and The Times, the recent surge in bitcoin value put the brothers over the $1 billion mark.
Who are the Winklevoss twins?
While attending Harvard, the brothers co-founded HarvardConnection, which became ConnectU, Daily Wire reported. In 2011, the brothers filed a lawsuit against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whom they accused of stealing the idea for ConnectU and using it to make Facebook. They fought to gain control of Facebook, but came up short, winning $65 million in the lawsuit.
In 2013, the duo invested $11 million into bitcoin.
The brothers gained fame when actor Armie Hammer portrayed them in the 2010 movie, “The Social Network,” which detailed the creation of Facebook.
During an interview with Business Insider, Tyler Winklevoss described investing in bitcoin as being like a “child taking its first steps,” noting that “mature financial tools won’t happen overnight.”
The cryptocurrency has faced its fair share of hindrances. In the interview with Business Insider, the twins described these moments as part of a “difficult, awkward stage” — noting that they “don’t see how it gets much more awkward.”
In 2014, the venture capitalists invested in BitInstant, a bitcoin payment service that helped popularize bitcoin.
Shortly after the brothers invested in the company, BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem made headlines for his involvement with the Silk Road online black market, which served as a platform for selling illegal drugs.
In January 2014, officers from a joint task force of the FBI, IRS, and DEA arrested Shrem at JFK Airport in New York City as he was returning from a conference in Amsterdam. In September of that year, Shrem pleaded guilty to money laundering charges and had “knowingly transmitted money intended to facilitate criminal activity” with the sale of $1 million in bitcoin used on the Silk Road market.
The Winklevoss brothers had no part in the criminal charges against Shrem, and the incident did not mitigate their faith in bitcoin.
In a 2015 interview with CNNMoney, Tyler Winklevoss said, “If Bitcoin is a better gold or seen as a type of gold-like asset, then it could be in the trillions on a market cap. We do feel those are very real possibilities.”
According to Fortune, the brothers have not sold a single coin. When the brothers first invested in bitcoin, the cryptocurrency was worth $120 per coin. On Tuesday, bitcoin was valued at $11,790 per coin.
The brothers claim to own 1 percent of all existing bitcoins.