Who Are The Winklevoss Twins?


The name keeps cropping up in the world of cryptocurrency, but few people know much about the famed Winklevoss twins.

Here, the lid is lifted on who they are and why they are significant to the development of digital currencies.

Can you name the twins?

You probably don’t have their names on the tip of your tongue, but the Winklevoss twins are Cameron and Tyler.

They were born in the USA in August 1981, making them 37 years old at the time of writing.

What’s their claim to fame?

They went to university at Harvard with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. They claim they developed software called ConnectU which he ‘appropriated’ as the basis of Facebook.

ConnectU was a social networking site.

In 2004, they sued Zuckerberg for stealing their idea and won $65 million in compensation.

In 2008, they represented the USA as rowers in the Beijing Olympics.

What’s the Winklevoss link with bitcoin?

The twins have been involved in one way or another with several bitcoin start-ups.

In 2013, they seeded payment processor Bitinstant with $1.5 million, but within a year, the CEO Charlie Shrem was arrested and charged with money laundering relating to the FBI’s Silk Road criminal investigation.

Bitinstant closed after Shrem’s arrest amid thousands of complaints about the service and lost cash. The Winklevoss twins were not involved in Shrem’s criminal activities.

They also run a bitcoin price tracker, Winkdex and an exchange in New York, Gemini.

To avoid controversy, the twins have hired the firm that operates security for the NASDAQ stock exchange to root out bad actors on Gemini.

Cameron Winklevoss has also called on regulators to tighten up the trading environment for cryptocurrency to stamp out rogue traders and crooks.

“Policing markets should be required as the industry matures. We don’t want to be the only player with a market-surveillance program,” he said.

NASDAQ said its Smarts surveillance system “automates the detection, investigation and analysis of potentially abusive or disorderly trading”.

Twins with a sense of humour

The Winklevoss boys have been the butt of several American comedy shows.

They include The Simpsons and Family Guy. They appeared in the latter and TV series Silicon Valley.

Actor Arnie Hammer played them in the Facebook movie The Social Network.