Their names are Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, identical twins and Olympic athletes, described in the movie "The Social Network" as a favored pair of handsome Harvard jocks who thought their classmate Mark Zuckerberg had stolen their idea for Facebook.
Tyler Winklevoss said about their interpretation in the 2010 film: "They were a bit stiff and may not be full size."
Cameron added, "These characters are interesting, but they are not really us."
The Winklevoss twins are once again in the limelight, this time as high-performing investors in the bitcoin field, after turning their $ 65 million settlement into Facebook in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Cameron said, "If you believe that bitcoin is the beginning of the internet money, you can buy some of it. Anyone in the world can do it. And there is lots of people who have bought this future a lot. "
And there are almost as many people who have lost a lot.
Ben Mezrich wrote the book on which the movie "The Social Network" was based. A decade later, the news that the Winklevoss twins had bet and won by investing in bitcoin had drawn his attention: "That made me think that they were not at the helm. two revolutions by chance. "
For him, the second act of the Winklevosses was too good to be missed. Mezrich said: "They are rich, they are essentially Greek gods, they have everything you would think they would need.Why do not they just ramify at dusk?"
Indeed, the "Winklevii" seemed to have everything: pretty girls, private planes, invitations to all the best parties. Why did two guys – Olympic athletes raised in Greenwich, Conn., Educated at Harvard and Oxford – play on something as slippery and almost incomprehensible as bitcoin?
According to Mezrich, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, everything starts again. "They go to Silicon Valley to become venture capitalists and nobody wants their money, because everyone ends up selling your business to Facebook," he said. "And as Zuckerberg hates the Winklevoss twins so much, it becomes an impossibility.
"So, they are heading to Ibiza – like one of them, is not it? – and someone joins them and offers them the idea of bitcoin. . "
Correspondent Nicholas Thompson asked the twins to stage Ibiza in 2012: "Someone tells you the following: A currency that can be sent as an email.Everything is based on mathematics. You do not need to trust a banker or a president, you just have to trust the code, and then you make an important decision: buy 1% of all the bitcoins in the world? "
"Yeah, you know, some people could dive from a diving board, I think in that case we took a cannonball from the diving board," laughed Cameron.
The price of a bitcoin was then in the highest numbers, $ 8 or $ 9 a piece. It is currently trading at around $ 9,000 apiece, up from $ 20,000 at its peak.[Thompson noted that he does not invest in it, and wouldn’t advise his mom to, either.]
Tyler said, "Our thesis at the time was that bitcoin was going to disrupt gold." And gold has a market capitalization of $ 7 trillion today. Bitcoin will be worth $ 7 trillion or more, it seems like a cheap asset. "
"A cheap asset sold in a place where people sell Magic cards!" said Thompson, "as opposed to, like, in a bank. "
"It was the current state of play. It was a real Wild West," said Tyler.
The Wild West … a currency free of any government oversight or regulation – the perfect place for all kinds of illicit behavior. Thompson, said: "This is a group of anarchists who want to break the state, whose identity is unknown, who sell drugs, is not it? "Your first trading partner is going to jail for several years."
"That's exactly what taught us do not do, and what should change, "said Tyler.
If you do not understand the bitcoin virtual currency, you are not alone. "It's hard to digest all at once," Tyler said.
Bitcoin is an asset that moves on the bitcoin network. By buying a bitcoin, you buy a piece in the bitcoin book that represents a fixed digital asset. "It's like buying a gold bullion, but there's no physical component," said Tyler.
Thompson said, "So you buy a gold bullion, but it's not a gold bullion. It's just a bunch of numbers. So there's a big book that is worth a certain amount of money that changes over time.
"Exactly," said Cameron.
The twins point out that most people do not know how the Internet works, but we all use it.
"It's money that works like your email," said Tyler. "And that was the Ah-ha! moment for us ".
Easy to use, fast, it sounds good! Cameron added, "I think I turned to Tyler and told him:" Hey, that's either the next big thing, or the total BS! "
Thompson asked, "Was there a moment in the Wild West period when you looked at yourself and said," What are we doing? Let's just go out and get back to what most people in Greenwich and Harvard do, "who works in a hedge fund instead of betting on that crazy thing?"
"Instead of looking and saying" Let's go out, "we said," Let's go in, " Tyler replied. "And that's when we started funding Gemini."
Arousing the enthusiasm of the common dead against Bitcoin is one of Gemini's goals, crypto-currency exchange that the brothers are launching. Their offices occupy 50,000 square feet on Park Avenue South in New York, where some 200 employees work tirelessly to make bitcoin as easy to buy and sell as possible.
And while there are other exchanges of bitcoins with far more traffic than Gemini, the brothers hope that their application will encourage ordinary people to get their feet wet.
Thompson easily bought $ 10 worth of bitcoin using his phone. But there are a lot of risks and costs. Turning around and selling his bitcoin eventually cost Thompson: "Dude, I lost $ 2.09 with you guys!" Thompson said.
"You should hold!" Tyler replied.
Later in the week, the twin's former enemy, Facebook, will announce its own cryptocurrency launch, Libra. The brothers say that they are not worried. "There is so much to do, I mean, at this point, we have to be frenzied," Cameron said.
"But Facebook has penetrated many markets in order to grow, and it usually eats them," Thompson said.
"I think this pie is different," said Tyler.
"One of the possible scenarios with Facebook would be that they come in and that they change things in a way that hurts Gemini, but that also validates things and drives up the price of bitcoin. lose your business but earn a lot more money.How do you feel?
"We should hire you to play the war with us!" Tyler laughed.
How will everything be played? We may have to wait for the next movie.
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Story produced by Mary Lou Teel.