It’s 2002. It’s a cold December day when Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, along with their boyfriend Divya Narendra, come up with an idea that will change their lives forever. The students at the renowned elite university Harvard want to develop a website through which fellow students can interact socially. It arises Harvard Connection.
A year later, the main developer responsible leaves the project, but the three already have their sights set on a successor. A slight boy, with slightly reddish hair and freckles that adorn his pale face.
In November 2003 there will be a first meeting. The boy introduces himself as Mark Zuckerberg. The threesome explain to the 19-year-old how HarvardConnection works, initiate him into expansion plans to other universities and always emphasize the importance of being “first to market”. Zuckerberg is to get the website ready for launch. He agrees.
Litigation with Facebook
However, instead of working on the completion of the social platform, as promised, Zuckerberg is programming a competing product and is probably also using the source code from HarvardConnection. He puts off the Winklevoss’ inquiries. On January 11, 2004 reports today’s Meta CEO the domain for his network – thefacebook.com. The site launches on February 4th 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 richer by $20 million in cash and $45 million in Facebook stock.
The road to becoming a BTC billionaire
With the capital from the settlement, the Winklevoss twins set up Winklevoss Capital Management in 2012. Through the family office, the siblings invest in various start-ups in the tech industry. At about that time, a technical innovation of a different kind caused a stir – BTC. The acquaintance of a friend drew her attention to the cryptocurrency.
We talked about digital currencies while on vacation. When we got home, the acquaintance sent us some material about BTC. I looked at Tyler and said, ‘Either this is all humbug or we’ve got something really big here.’
The brothers deal intensively with the cryptocurrency. They are quickly convinced of the potential and willing to invest. In 2013, the twins pumped 11 million US dollars into BTC, at that time: around 120 US dollars. In an interview in June of the same year, they claim that they own about 1 percent of the total amount in circulation – today’s equivalent: 6.35 billion US dollars.
But it doesn’t stop with the investment alone. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss want to be pioneers in the space and are focused on building an ecosystem that will open both institutional and retail investors to cryptocurrencies. They laid the cornerstone in 2015 Gemini (in German: twin). The first crypto exchange regulated and licensed by the State of New York. The exchange platform is now a renowned address within the crypto scene.
Winklevoss vs Zuckerberg
In 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 10 billion US dollars.
Tyler and Cameron reply a month later. After a round of financing, Gemini raises $400 million. The Winklevoss twins announce that they want to put all their capital into creating their own digital space.
It’s the next chapter yet to be written in the epic contest 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 plots of land there in April 2021. It remains to be seen who will ultimately win the battle for the Metaverse.
Aside from that, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss enjoy rock star status within the scene. Betrayal by Mark Zuckerberg made the twins fall low, BTC brought them back. The Facebook millions coupled with the right flair for digital trends immortalized the siblings in the annals of crypto history books as the world’s first known BTC billionaires.