Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the identical twins who claimed Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook, are the world’s first Bitcoin billionaires.
The pair, who sued Zuckerberg over Facebook in 2009, received a settlement of US$65 million (A$85.5 million) and used some of that money (A$14 million) to invest in Bitcoin in 2013. The brothers reportedly bought 1 percent of all Bitcoin that was in circulation at the time.
Since then, the digital currency has increased in value by 10,000 percent, making the 36-year-old brothers billionaires. They reportedly described the cryptocurrency as “better than gold”. When compared to gold, Bitcoin shares all the same nine foundational traits, including scarcity, durability, and portability, and it matches or beats gold on all of these traits.
“We see Bitcoin as potentially the greatest social network of all,” said Tyler in 2016. According to the Financial Times, the brothers viewed Bitcoin as a missing piece of the digital economy that would change the way transactions are made.
The pair first learned of Bitcoin while on holiday in Ibiza in 2012, and in 2015 they launched a digital currency marketplace, known as Gemini, that allows investors to buy, sell and store Bitcoins.
“We wanted to build an exchange that was similar to Nasdaq or NYSE for the digital currency,” Tyler Winklevoss said at the time.
“We wanted something that both Wall Street and Main Street felt comfortable with.”
Despite a few hitches over the years and ongoing speculation from financial experts, Bitcoin recently broke the US$10,000 (A$13,150) barrier.
“I remember when people said Facebook was a fad,” Tyler told the Financial Times.
“We saw this movie play out already with Facebook. We feel like we’re in the same movie again, just with a different cast of characters.”