How Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss Became Bitcoin Billionaires

The year is 2002. On a cold December day, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, along with their boyfriend Divya Narendra, have an idea that will change their lives forever. Students at the famous elite Harvard University want to develop a website through which other students can interact socially. He arises Harvard Connection.

A year later, the main responsible developer leaves the project, but the three already have a successor in sight. A thin boy, with slightly red hair and freckles adorning his pale face.

In November 2003, there will be a first meeting. The boy introduces himself as Mark Zuckerberg. The trio explain to the 19-year-old how HarvardConnection works, introduce him to plans to expand to other universities and always stress the importance of being “first to market”. Zuckerberg needs to get the website ready for launch. He agree.

Dispute with Facebook

However, instead of working on completing the social platform as promised, Zuckerberg is programming a competing product and likely using source code from HarvardConnection as well. He’s postponing the Winklevoss investigations. January 11, 2004 Reports Today Meta PDG the domain for its network – The site is launched on February 4 and hits like a bomb.

Tyler and Cameron embark on a lawsuit that will later make them world famous. Zuckerberg brazenly copied their idea, illegally using source code originally intended for the website he was hired to create.

In February 2008, a settlement was reached in an office tower in San Francisco’s financial district. After that, the brothers are $20 million richer in cash and $45 million in Facebook stock.

The path to becoming a bitcoin billionaire

With the capital of the colony, the Winklevoss twins established Winklevoss Capital Management in 2012. Through the family office, the siblings invest in various start-ups in the technology industry. Around this time, a technical innovation of another kind caused a stir – Bitcoin. A friend’s acquaintance drew his attention to cryptocurrency.

We talked about digital currencies while on vacation. When we got home, the acquaintance sent us material about Bitcoin. I looked at Tyler and said, “Either this is all a prank or we have something really big here.”

Cameron Winklevoss

The brothers deal intensively with cryptocurrency. They are quickly convinced of the potential and ready to invest. In 2013, the twins injected 11 million US dollars into Bitcoin, at the time: around 120 US dollars. In an interview in June of the same year, they claim to hold about 1% of the total amount in circulation – the current equivalent: 6.35 billion US dollars.

But it doesn’t stop at just investing. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss want to be pioneers in the field and are focused on building an ecosystem that will open institutional and retail investors to cryptocurrencies. They laid the first stone in 2015 Gemini (in German: twin). The first crypto exchange regulated and licensed by New York State. The exchange platform is now a renowned address within the crypto scene.

Winklevoss versus Zuckerberg

Over the past year, however, an old conflict has threatened to flare up again. In October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg took the stage and announced the creation of his own virtual parallel world – the Metaverse. By the end of the year, Meta (formerly Facebook) will invest US$10 billion.

Tyler and Cameron respond a month later. After a funding round, Gemini raises $400 million. The Winklevoss twins announce that they want to invest all their capital in the creation of their own digital space.

This is the next chapter to be written in the epic competition between Zuckerberg and Winklevoss. While Meta strives for a centralized solution, Gemini relies on a decentralized approach. With Nifty Gateway, the expertise for this is under the umbrella of the crypto exchange. In addition, they are cooperating with the Metaverse game The Sandbox and bought several lands there in April 2021. It remains to be seen who will ultimately win the battle for the Metaverse.

Other than that, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss enjoy rock star status within the scene. Mark Zuckerberg’s betrayal brought the twins down, bitcoin brought them back. Facebook millions associated with a good flair for digital trends have immortalized the siblings in the annals of crypto history books as the world’s first known Bitcoin billionaires.


The article has undergone editorial review and was first published in the January issue of BTC-ECHO magazine. More information can be found here.

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The BTC-ECHO Magazin has been the leading German-language magazine since 2014 on the topics of Bitcoin, Blockchain, NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

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