According to the Telegraph, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss bought 1 percent of all currently mined bitcoin for a price of $11 million in 2013. Since then, the $11 million crypto-bet has ballooned by almost 10,000 percent, making the twins the first bitcoin billionaires.
The brothers first gained notoriety in 2006 after launching legal proceedings against Mark Zuckerberg, claiming the Facebook founder was a phony who stole their idea for the now-ubiquitous social media platform. In 2009, the Winklevoss twins received a settlement from Facebook valued at more than $65 million.
The twins used part of their settlement money to invest heavily in bitcoin. In October 2015, the brothers launched Gemini, a bitcoin exchange described by the Financial Times as “one of the first regulated and licensed digital currency exchanges in the developed world.”
“We wanted to build an exchange that was similar to Nasdaq or NYSE for digital currency,” Tyler told the FT in an interview. “We wanted something that both Wall Street and Main Street felt comfortable with.”
The twins describe bitcoin as “better than gold.” The cryptocurrency, which was introduced in 2009 as an alternative to government-controlled fiat, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in value over the last year.
Now up more than 12-fold for the year, one bitcoin was selling at below $1,000 on January 1. It remains to be seen whether Mark Zuckerberg will claim credit for the twins’ wise investment.