Winklevoss Twins Become First Official Bitcoin Billionaires

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Gareth Jenkinson

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold – in this case, perhaps with a side of Bitcoin?

While Mark Zuckerberg’s stake in Facebook has made him one of the richest men in the world, his rivals, the Winklevoss twins, found another way to become billionaires. The twins sued Zuckerberg in 2011 and received a $65 mln payout. While that number was paltry in comparison to the company’s worth, it was enough to take the twins’ net worth past the billion dollar mark.

According to The Telegraph the twins invested $11 mln of the payout in Bitcoin in 2013. Fortunepoints out that the twins paid about $120 each for their approximately 91,666 Bitcoins giving them about one percent of all the Bitcoins that had been mined at the time.

Fast forward five years and the price of Bitcoin has skyrocketed. As of press time, Bitcoin is sitting above $11,400. It’s believed that the Winklevoss twins are the first investors to make a billion dollar return on their investment.

The industrious entrepreneurs sit at or near the top of a prestigious list of Bitcoin owners. They are also in the process of launching their own Bitcoin ETF – which was rejected earlier this year. Their very own Bitcoin exchange, Gemini, has been operating for around a year following a lengthy battle for approval.

This time for real

We have to fess up – in early November we published an article stating that the Winklevoss had then become billionaires. As it turns out, that was based on an inaccurate estimate of their total Bitcoin holdings. They owned 1% of all Bitcoin back in 2013, not 1% of all Bitcoin in November 2017. It’s probably more accurate to calculate their holdings using the amount they invested ($11 mln) and the price per Bitcoin at the time ($120). Thus they own approximately 91,666 Bitcoins, not the 120,000 Bitcoins we were estimating at the time.

Of course, the twins never released the exact number of Bitcoins they own, so any estimate is likely to be off by a small amount. Assuming the 91,666 estimate is correct, at press time, the value of their holdings is $1.063 bln.

But nobody cared?

In early November, a number of crypto news outlets published similar stories to our own, but mainstream media never took note and apparently didn’t care. It took them an entire month to catch up with the story, and though their estimates are likely more accurate, their reporting is behind.

Math aside, it’s truly extraordinary that a pair of Bitcoin investors have made over a billion dollars from their investment. It’s exactly this type of story that’s fueling the flames of mainstream adoption, and that’s driving mainstream media into a frenzy of Bitcoin reporting.

Maybe not the richest

Because of the pseudo-anonymous nature of Bitcoin, there may be others who own even more Bitcoin than the Winklevoss twins. Satoshi Nakamoto, if he is still alive and has access to his private keys, is believed to own about one million Bitcoins, or about $11 bln worth.

Other early Bitcoin investors are candidates for billionaire status as well. Roger Ver is widely believed to have 300,000 Bitcoins. Trace Meyer is another candidate for billionaire status, having purchase Bitcoin when the currency was trading for around 25 cents each. A few months ago, Ver and Meyer made a 25,000 Bitcoin bet over the future of the Bitcoin scaling debate (Ver sided with the big blockers and now supports Bitcoin Cash). Clearly they are both very wealthy.

High-profile twins good for Bitcoin

Given the twins’ high-profile around the world, they are likely to continue playing a major role in the uptake of Bitcoin and altcoins into mainstream consciousness. Their influence carries weight among multiple spheres, in business, academics and sports. Yes, sports. The twins competed in the men’s pairs rowing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.