Winklevoss twins

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Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
The Winklevoss twins.jpg
Occupation Founder, CEO
Employer Gemini
Location New York, New York

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are American entrepreneurs. They are the founders of Gemini, as well as the owners of Winklevoss Capital, a venture capital and private equity company.[1] They also participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, placing second in the semi-finals for the U.S. Rowing Team.[2]


Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss grew up in Pennsylvania.[3] They attended Harvard University with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook. The twins graduated in 2004.[4] It was during this time that they began working on social media platform called ConnectU.[5] Tyler and Cameron later sued their classmate Zuckerberg, accusing him of stealing their idea to create Facebook; the resulting legal battle eventually led to a $65 million settlement in their favor.[6]

Shortly after settling the lawsuit, the brothers competed in the rowing finals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing China. They constituted one of the 14 teams that qualified that year. They placed sixth.[7]

The Winklevoss twins invested $11 million in bitcoin in 2013, when the price was around $120. By late 2017, when the value of bitcoin surpassed $10,000 per coin, that investment became worth over $1 billion.[8] Tyler Winklevoss has said that he believes it to be a "very real possibility" that the market cap for bitcoin could be in the trillions.[9]


Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are also majority owners of Gemini, the digital asset exchange they founded in 2015.[10][11]

Proposing a bitcoin ETF[edit]

In March 2017, the SEC rejected Gemini's proposal, publicly supported by the Winklevosses, to list a bitcoin ETF on Cboe's Bats BZX Exchange. The proposal was first submitted in 2013.[12][13][14] According to the SEC's statement, this was due in large part to the lack of regulation for bitcoin "to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices and to protect investors and the public interest."[15]

In June 2018, the twins tried again, submitting a second, amended proposal to the SEC to trade bitcoin ETF shares through the Bats BZX exchange. Once again, the SEC rejected the proposal, citing lack of sufficient market surveillance and the absence of strong evidence for the proposal's claims that the bitcoin market is "strongly resistant to manipulation." Following the news, the price of bitcoin dropped by 3.6 percent.[16][17]

Launching a stablecoin[edit]

In September 2018, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss received approval from the New York Department of Financial Services to launch the Gemini dollar, a stablecoin backed by funds held by the State Street corporation.[18]

Lawsuit against Charlie Shrem[edit]

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were investors in BitInstant, an early cryptocurrency exchange created by Charlie Shrem. In November 2018, the Winklevoss twins filed a lawsuit against Shrem in a federal court. The lawsuit accused Shrem of spending 5,000 bitcoin that Shrem had owed to them since 2012, which the Winklevoss twins suspected to be the source of funding for Shrem's multiple properties, cars, and boats. Some of Shrem's assets were frozen as a result, and his lawyer told the New York Times that Shrem was innocent.[19]

According to an affidavit filed in court, Shrem had also not paid the U.S. federal government the $950,000 he had agreed to pay in restitution as part of his plea in 2014.[20]

In February 2019, the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ordered Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss to pay Shrem $45,000 in legal fees incurred during the lawsuit.[21]

Fallout from the FTX Collapse and Gemini Earn[edit]

Like many other cryptocurrency companies, Gemini was affected by the collapse of FTX. Gemini's trouble came from a product called Gemini Earn, which let investors accrue as much as 8% in interest by lending out their cryptocurrency. It is a type of crypto product that acts somewhat like a high-yield savings account but with fewer safeguards.[22]

In January 2023 a feud developed between the Winklevoss twins and Barry Silbert, the head of the crypto brokerage Genesis, over a product called Gemini Earn, which took crypto from depositors and lent it to Genesis. Genesis in turn entrusted it to investors including Three Arrows Capital, which was badly hurt by the FTX collapse. When Three Arrows went bankrupt in July 2022, Silbert’s Digital Currency Group had to cover some of Genesis’ debts with a $1.1 billion promissory note. FTX’s downfall in November 2022 led to crypto platforms everywhere freezing withdrawals, including both Gemini and Genesis. Genesis ended up owing $900 million to more than 340,000 Gemini Earn customers, who could not access that money.[23]


Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss graduated from Harvard University in 2004.[24] Later they both attended Oxford University, graduating with MBAs in 2010.[25]


  1. Why Cameron Winklevoss drives an 'old SUV' even though the twins are bitcoin billionaires. CNBC.
  4. Pfamous Alumni. Harvard University.
  6. The Winklevoss Twins Now Appear to Be Bitcoin Billionaires. Time Magazine.
  7. Sixth place in Beijing for twin ConnectU founders. CNET.
  8. Winklevoss Twins Used Facebook Payout to Become Bitcoin Billionaires. Fortune.
  9. The Winklevoss twins are now Bitcoin billionaires. The Verge.
  10. How the Winklevoss Twins Found Vindication in a Bitcoin Fortune. The New York Times.
  11. How the Winklevoss Twins Found Vindication in a Bitcoin Fortune. CNBC.
  12. Winklevoss twins file for $20 Million IPO of bitcoin trust fund. Coindesk.
  13. SEC Rejects Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF Bid. Coindesk.
  14. SEC Orders Review of Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF Rejection. Coindesk.
  15. SEC Rejects Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF, Sending Price Tumbling. Forbes.
  16. Winklevoss twins bitcoin ETF rejected by SEC. CNBC.
  17. Winklevoss-Backed Bid for Bitcoin-ETF Rejected by Regulators. Bloomberg.
  18. Winklevoss Twins Receive New York Approval to Launch New Crypto Coin. Bloomberg.
  19. Charlie Shrem Says He Never Owned Bitcoin Claimed Stolen By Winklevosses.
  20. Bitcoin’s ‘First Felon’ Faces More Legal Trouble. The New York Times.
  21. Bitcoin’s ‘First Felon’ Faces More Legal Trouble. Coindesk.
  22. Winklevoss Faithful Have a $700 Million Problem in Genesis Halt. Bloomberg.
  23. Crypto's Hotel California Traps the Winklevoss Twins. Bloomberg.
  24. Pfamous Alumni. Harvard University.
  25. There’s now a billion more reasons to hate the Winklevoss twins. NY Post.