Winklevoss Twins Net Worth and The Story of How They Became Bitcoin Billionaires

While they were already known for their exploits as rowers at Harvard University and the Olympics, the Winklevoss twins attained superstardom in 2008 when they won a lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook Inc. In later years, the brothers began investing in crypto, becoming early adopters of Bitcoin. This investment later turned out to be very successful as they ranked among the first Bitcoin billionaires in the world. The surge in the price of Bitcoin in 2021 has ensured that the Winklevoss twins have an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion each, as the cryptocurrency is being sold for over $40,000 per coin.

Having described buying Bitcoin as the trade of the century, the Winklevoss twins have moved on to establish a cryptocurrency exchange called Gemini Trust Co., and a venture capital firm called Winklevoss Capital Management through which they bolster their net worths annually.

What is The Winklevoss Twins’ Net Worth?

Widely considered as the first Bitcoin billionaires, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are among the top richest people in Bitcoin (BTC). They began investing in the cryptocurrency as early as 2012 when a coin was sold for single digits. In the next year, they revealed that they had purchased one percent of all the Bitcoins in circulation at the time. They went on to establish a venture capital firm and digital currency exchange before gaining billionaire status in 2017 due to an increase in the price of BTC that year.

Afterward, the price of BTC declined and they went back to being millionaires. This only lasted till late 2020 when the Winklevoss twins reentered the billionaires’ league as Bitcoin was sold for over $15,000 per coin. The surge in the price of the cryptocurrency in early February 2021 resulted in Tyler and Cameron accumulating an estimated total wealth of $1.6 billion each. Their net worths are bound to increase in subsequent years as they have invested in other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and equally in startups and real estate.

Key Takeaways:
  • The Winklevoss twins are among the first Bitcoin billionaires. They have an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion each.
  • The Gemini founders began investing in Bitcoin in 2012 and purchased $11 million worth of Bitcoin in 2013.
  • Apart from owning Bitcoins, the brothers also own Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies.

The Twins First Gained Recognition as Olympic Rowers

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Before becoming known for their achievements as investors, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss first stole the limelight for their exploits as rowers. They started rowing while in high school and joined the Saugatuck Rowing Club. They eventually made their debut as professionals in the summer of 1999 when they competed in the coxed pair event at the World Rowing Junior Championships as members of the United States Junior National Rowing Team.

While at Harvard studying Economics, the twins were members of the school’s notorious rowing team dubbed “God Squad” which won the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship and the Eastern Sprints. The team later traveled to Switzerland in 2004 to participate in the Lucerne Rowing World Cup and finished 6th. Three years later, the Winklevoss twins participated in the Pan American Games held in Rio de Janeiro as members of the United States Pan American Team and claimed a silver medal in the men’s coxless fours event. They moved on to win a gold medal in the men’s eight boat event. Competing at the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing as members of the United States Olympic Team, they ended up at the sixth spot.

The Winklevoss Brothers Made Their First Millions From Facebook

In December 2002, the twins, along with their Harvard classmate Divya Narendra, conceived an idea to connect with their fellow students at Harvard and other schools. They named the social networking site they created HarvardConnection before later renaming it ConnectU.

After enlisting the help of different student programmers that worked on the project before abandoning it, the three eventually got connected to Mark Zuckerberg in November 2003. Mark reportedly became part of the team and promised to help them complete the project. After multiple delays on his part to finish up the project, the twins along with Divya found out that Zuckerberg had launched a similar social networking site and named it Facebook.

As such, they were disappointed and asked Zuckerberg to desist from working on their HarvardConnection project. Discovering that he had used the source code intended for the website without their consent, the Winklevoss twins’ ConnectU filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg and Facebook Inc. for stealing ConnectU’s social networking idea and illegally using the intended source code for the website.

By February 2008, an agreement was reached between the two parties as the Winklevoss twins grew their net worth with the settlement of $65 million given to them by Facebook. They received a cash payment of $20 million while $45 million came in the way of Facebook stock. Facebook later went public in 2012 and the brothers became multi-millionaires as their stock was valued at almost $300 million. They subsequently invested a portion of their legal settlement with Facebook in cryptocurrency.

The Duo Own One of The World’s Largest Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss in the year 2014, Gemini Trust Company LLC became the first licensed Ether exchange in the world in 2016. Two years later, the company emerged as the first licensed Zcash exchange in the world. With its operation regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), Gemini has emerged as one of the world’s biggest digital asset exchanges and holds BTC for regulated banks and asset managers.

Although the brothers reportedly sold some of their BTC to set up Gemini, their effort has eventually proved productive as their crypto exchange now processes digital assets trades of approximately $300 million every day. The crypto exchange is now available in many countries such as Singapore, United Kingdom, South Korea, Canada, and Hong Kong. They have also applied to create a Bitcoin traded fund on multiple occasions but their application has been turned down by the Security and Exchange Commission.

With their recent consideration for a public listing for Gemini which could be in the form of a direct listing, initial public offering, or merging with a special purpose acquisition company, the Winklevoss twins’ net worth would definitely have a raise. Asides from BTC, Gemini also trades in Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Zcash, and Gemini dollar.

Are Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss The Highest Bitcoin Owners?

Since 2012, the Winklevoss twins have been investing in cryptocurrency. They first purchased Bitcoin when the cryptocurrency was sold below $10 per coin. In the next year, they revealed that they had purchased $11 million worth of Bitcoin which left them in possession of one percent of the entire Bitcoin supply. Although the quantity of BTC they bought at the time is yet unknown, many believed that it was up to 170,000 with a few citing 1.5 million tokens. Notwithstanding, their $11 million BTC purchase has enabled them to be ranked among the highest BTC holders in the world, as they reportedly haven’t sold much of the coin to date.

The highest owner of BTC in the world is the creator of the cryptocurrency who is known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. He owns about 1.1 million Bitcoins in his wallet and is regarded as the world’s richest BTC billionaire, with his net worth estimated at over $40 billion. Other crypto investors who also own thousands of Bitcoins include Barry Silbert, Valery Vavilov, Brendan Blumer, and Roger Ver.

Barry Silbert who founded Digital Currency Group has a company called Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) that holds 450,000 BTC. Valery Vavilov’s company, BitFury, on the other hand, has mined over 800,000 BTC, while Brendan Blumer’s BlockOne holds more than 130,000 Bitcoins. Roger Ver who is popularly known as Bitcoin Jesus owns up to 100,000 Bitcoins.

The Winklevoss Twins Increased Their Net Worths By Working As Venture Capitalists

In 2012, the twins established a venture capital firm called Winklevoss Capital Management which invests in diverse asset classes, offering seed funding to early-stage startups in the software, retail, and commercial services sectors. Through their company, the twins alongside other investors raised $1.5 million in seed funding for New York-based Bitcoin exchange startup, BitInstant in 2013. The company has since gone on to invest in several other early-stage equity companies such as Protocol Labs, MemeBox, Flexport, Rowing Blazers, and Bitski.

The Billionaire Brothers Have Also Invested in Real Estate

Winklevoss twins net worth
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The Winklevoss brothers made their first real estate investment in the year 2012 when they bought a luxury home in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles for $18 million. The 8,000 square foot mansion has five bedrooms and features a six-car garage, swimming pool, built-in wet bar, and a well-furnished media room. After three years of purchasing the property, it was reported that the twins would be leasing out the modern mansion for a monthly fee of $150,000, targeting the upper class in the society.

More so, the two reportedly purchased a three-bedroom penthouse in the swanky Soho neighborhood of New York City for $14.5 million in 2014. The house spans 4,300 square feet and has a wraparound terrace with sweeping views of Manhattan.


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