"In January 2014, I bought a space ticket at Virgin Galactic with Bitcoin (the price of 1 BTC is $ 800). I will not make that mistake again."
Six years ago they used about 312 Bitcoins to buy tickets for the " Space Ship 2" at Virgin Galactic, the British billionaire Richard Branson . The price of Bitcoin is $ 800, and they paid a total of $ 250,000 in Bitcoin.
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They are the founders of Gemini Exchange Gemini, a famous venture capitalist, and the Winklevoss brothers: Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss.
At current prices, the value of the spacecraft ticket at that time has now exceeded $ 3 million. For you and me, you must regret it more than the two brothers. If you hold these bitcoins, you have now turned 11 times.
However, the Winklevoss brothers are still leading the crypto market because of Bitcoin.
Both graduated from Harvard and Oxford, once an outstanding kayak athlete, took Zuckerberg to court for theft of ideas, and later became a venture capitalist, Internet entrepreneur …
So far, it still sounds like a story of genius becoming an entrepreneur logically. In fact, otherwise, because of Bitcoin, their lives have become very different.
Investing in bitcoin, creating a digital asset exchange, and issuing stablecoins … these are the stories in a new chapter in the Winklevoss brothers' life.
Let's discover how the Winklevoss brothers became Bitcoin billionaires. How did they seize business opportunities in the Bitcoin and crypto markets?
01 Commercial giant "delayed" by kayaking
The Winklevoss brothers were born in New York, USA on August 21, 1981. Their father, Howard, is a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and has a high reputation. The solid life and good education gave the Winklevoss brothers a good environment for growth, and the two brothers have shown extremely high learning talents since childhood.
At the age of 13, he taught himself the html language. In high school, he was proficient in Latin and ancient Greek. In 2000, both of them were admitted to Harvard Economics .
In addition to their outstanding learning ability, the two brothers also loved sports. When they were in junior year, because of accidental contact, they began to have an obsessive love for kayaking. Created a crew plan together, recruited those talented in rowing, and also participated in the men's kayak school team. Maybe it's a gift of talent. In addition to insisting on training in school, the Winklevoss brothers also represented the US team in the men's double sculls in the 2008 Beijing Olympics after graduation and won the sixth place.
However, these are not the reasons for their fame. What most impressed the public was the plagiarism dispute between the Winklevoss brothers and Mark Zuckerberg.
During college, an accidental conversation between the two brothers suddenly gave them an idea to design a social networking site for Harvard students to facilitate exchanges and discussions between Harvard students and other university students. This site was named HarvardConnection.
They found Zuckerberg, a Harvard student at the time, and described this innovative idea to him. After receiving the invitation, Xiao Zha expressed great willingness to join. Grid is responsible for writing the code.
But maybe because of some training or other things, the Winklevoss brothers did not focus on the website development. The progress of this project has been slow.
It wasn't until 2004 that Zuckerberg and the two brothers parted ways, forming Facebook, a software that was so popular that users skyrocketed. The Winklevoss brothers believed that Zuckerberg had copied their original social network ideas, and filed a plagiarism lawsuit to the court. The two finally reached a settlement with Zuckerberg and received 65 million compensation in the form of cash and Facebook stock ( Including $ 20 million in cash and $ 45 million in stock) , and Zuckerberg has also become a young and promising billionaire. The story between them and Zuckerberg was also made into a movie "Social Network", the content of the story is slightly different, you can check it out if you are interested.
In this way, the Winklevoss brothers and the "business giant" lost their identities, but they were not satisfied with the status quo of life. After participating in the Olympics, the two held the compensation and were admitted to Oxford University for MBA (Master of Business Administration) in 2009. Bachelor of Science.
Perhaps because of giving up the battle with Facebook, they encountered more important investment opportunities.
02 Becoming a Billionaire for Bitcoin
In 2012, Zuckerberg's Facebook was officially listed on the NASDAQ, and the value of Facebook shares held by the Winklevoss brothers has soared to about $ 300 million.
It was also this year that bitcoin started to become known to everyone, but most elites of Wall Street and Silicon Valley at the time scoffed at this emerging cryptocurrency and considered it to be of no investment value. The Winklevoss brothers did not have a clear understanding of Bitcoin at the beginning, but were willing to invest in it.
From the second half of 2012, the two brothers started investing in bitcoin. At that time, their average purchase cost was below $ 10. While being ridiculed by Wall Street's elite for being "stupid with more money", the brothers ignored the external evaluation and pointed out, but became more and more interested in Bitcoin. In the following months, the two brothers successively invested in bitcoin and stated that the bitcoins held by the two accounted for 1% of the total bitcoin circulation at the time (calculated based on the total circulation of 12 million at that time, the two (Personally owns about 120,000 bitcoins) , becoming one of the largest investors in bitcoin that was announced at the time.
In 2013, the Winklevoss brothers set up their own Bitcoin fund Winklevoss Capital, and invested $ 1.5 million to invest in a Bitcoin trading website called "Bitinstant". They wanted to invest and support Bitcoin in a way. Unfortunately, in 2014, the CEO of the exchange was arrested for participating in dark web trading and black market money laundering, and the brothers were almost implicated in the incident.
But this does not affect the Winklevoss brothers' belief in Bitcoin in any way, they seem to be stronger than most people. "If bitcoin is gold, or a gold-like asset, the total market value has exceeded one trillion US dollars," Tyler Winklevoss of the two brothers said in an interview with CNN Finance in 2015. "(Bitcoin exceeds the market value of gold ) We think this is very possible. " The two brothers have never sold a bitcoin, and they have several bitcoin wallets in their hands, with a total value of more than $ 1 billion.
In their mind, Bitcoin is better than gold. They believe that Bitcoin will definitely rise in the future. Cameron Winklevoss believes that in terms of "hard currency" (such as value storage), Bitcoin is the most likely winner in the long run.
In order to promote the mainstream of Bitcoin, the two brothers began to study the Bitcoin ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) in 2013 and took the lead in submitting an application to the US SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) to issue a Bitcoin ETF. Until 2018, they tripled Both applications were rejected by the SEC. Until now, the Winklevoss brothers have said they will remain committed to obtaining SEC approval for the ETF.
Maybe it's the magic that Bitcoin has to make them believe in its prospects. Or maybe it's because they have lost touch with the social network business and desperate. They seized the opportunity like Bitcoin and will not give up. Even if we don't seek to change the world, we can create a future we never imagined.
A few years later, according to the New York Times, Bitcoin has risen more than 1,000 times. On the day that a Bitcoin was worth about $ 17,800, the Winklevoss brothers confirmed that their Bitcoin wealth is currently about $ 1.3 billion.
According to Tyler Winklevoss at the time, "We have turned those laughter and ridicule into the oxygen and wind behind". The faith in Bitcoin made them billionaires.
03 Enter the trading market with "Gemini"
In 2014, the Winklevoss brothers set up their own digital asset trading platform Gemini (Gemini) exchange in New York (and also established a trust institution) , and in 2016 won the world's first A digital currency exchange license. In other words, Gemini can be said to be the world's first compliant exchange directly regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
It is also because of regulation that Gemini is mainly targeted at professional investors and traders. Currently it only supports BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC and Zcash transactions, and only operates in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.
"Gemini" means twins in Latin, and the Chinese name "Gemini" is also a metaphor. The "Gemini Project" is the second manned space program after the "Apollo Project", so the name also means "To the moon". The Winklevoss brothers also expect themselves and Gemini to rise all the way in the digital currency market and achieve some results.
With the continuous development of the crypto market and the blockchain industry, stablecoins have attracted more and more attention. The Winklevoss brothers realize that stablecoins may be a "big gold mine". The important new development areas of crypto assets are stablecoins and securities tokens. Therefore, in September 2018, they launched a stable currency GUSD anchored to the US dollar 1: 1 through Gemini, and have obtained a license from the New York Department of Financial Services. There is no doubt that due to the sensitive smell and early entry, the Winklevoss brothers have also won a share in the stablecoin market.
In addition to establishing exchanges and trusts, and issuing stablecoins, the Gemini brothers have also focused on patent applications and registrations. Perhaps it is the psychological shadow left by a lawsuit with Facebook. They have successively applied for patents related to the exchange with the US Patent Office and have been successfully registered.
In February 2020, the Winklevoss brothers revealed that they had won six US patents for stablecoin technology, and these patents may help commercial banks issue stablecoins and may even have a huge impact on crypto-collateral escrow.
Today, the 39-year-old Winklevoss brothers have become the leading figures in the crypto market, the enviable Bitcoin "big brother".
Suppose that a few years ago, the total value of Bitcoin assets they held exceeded 10 billion yuan. Now, look again, the Winklevoss brothers are already wealthy and free.
From the social business that they had missed tens of billions of dollars to the firmness in the bitcoin market later, it can be seen that first-class ideas are far less than first-class actions that can give people unlimited possibilities for success.
On February 15, Tyler Winklevoss still expressed bullish bitcoin on Twitter, while legends like the Winklevoss brothers still happen in different corners of the world.