Billionaire investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss aren’t too worried that Facebook’s cryptocurrency project will end up being a “bitcoin killer.” In fact, they maintain that it will have more impact on the world than Facebook ever did.
Speaking to the UK’s Daily Telegraph at the annual SXSW festival of film and music, the twins, who first bought the leading cryptocurrency when it was valued at around $8 per coin, pointed to how an emerging Amazon outmaneuvered retail giant Barnes and Noble before becoming the dominant business it is today.
Cameron Winklevoss said:
“We know how that played out. Cryptocurrency is so young, we are only a couple of years into this journey.”
The twins who were classmates at Harvard with Mark Zuckerberg, first came to fame after their much publicized legal spat with him, in which they accused him of stealing their idea for the social network that eventually became Facebook.
The case led to the publication of Zuckerberg’s emails in which he infamously described Facebook users as “dumb f****” for trusting him with their data, and which inspired the 2010 movie “The Social Network.”
The argument was eventually resolved with the twins settling for $20 million in cash and $45 million in Facebook shares.
The twins used the money to invest in bitcoin when it was priced at between $8 and $120 per coin, which at today’s prices give them a net worth estimated in the region of $1 billion.
They used some of that money to build the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange in 2015 and launched the dollar-pegged stablecoin the Gemini dollar (GUSD ) in September 2018, which has a current market cap of more than $65 million.
The US crypto exchange now employs more than 200 people, and the twins are betting on a prosperous future for digital assets, like bitcoin, despite what critics say.
Fighting back against some of the vitriol leveled at the cryptocurrency space from skeptics and the old guard of the financial industry, they predict ultimately crypto will outgrow the mega-corporations of today, like Zuckerberg’s Facebook.
But they said their old classmate is well aware of the potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and that was one of the main reasons his company is working on the much-rumored Facebook cryptocurrency, which when released is expected to be used, at least initially, to settle global remittances payments.
That, they said, was “cool.”
While the twins are clearly well over their battle with Zuckerberg, in understated comments that will no doubt cut deep, they said the digitization of markets that cryptocurrency was enabling went far above and beyond the importance of Facebook’s core service:
“Crypto is transferring value and putting markets on certain resources which … brings more people in, like, than, like, sharing photos right. Which is powerful. People want to connect and stuff, but if you actually pay people and things in value that’s almost … more significant.”
Whatever the eventual outcome, the twins are ultimately bullish on the future of crypto, and they appear to have weathered so-called “Crypto Winter,” where the price of a single bitcoin dropped to the low $3,000 mark, pretty well.