The World’s First Bitcoin Billionaires- The Winklewoss ...

r/Bitcoin recap - March 2018

Hi Bitcoiners!
I’m back with the fifteenth monthly Bitcoin news recap.
For those unfamiliar, each day I pick out the most popularelevant/interesting stories in Bitcoin and save them. At the end of the month I release them in one batch, to give you a quick (but not necessarily the best) overview of what happened in bitcoin over the past month.
And a lot has happened. It's easy to forget with so much focus on the price. Take a moment and scroll through the list below. You'll find an incredibly eventful month.
You can see recaps of the previous months on Bitcoinsnippets.com
A recap of Bitcoin in March 2018
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Who is the richest Bitcoin owner?

Technically, Bitcoin was worth less than 10 cents per bitcoin upon its inception in 2009. The cryptocurrency has risen steadily since then and is now worth around $6000 per Bitcoin. This is the most remarkable appreciation of the value and has created many millionaires over the last eight years.
Here are the top ten people/institutions that held a large amount of Bitcoins over time:
1. Satoshi Nakamoto
The creator of Bitcoin, who hides behind the moniker Satoshi Nakamoto, remains the major holder of bitcoins. The number of bitcoins that Nakamoto owns today is estimated at around 1.1 million, based on the early mining that he did. This is the equivalent of about $6 billion at today’s exchange rate of 1BTC to 6,098 USD. At least Nakamoto has never touched most of his bitcoins, and neither converted them into real-world currencies nor used them for any other purpose. If he were to sell his entire stash, the value of Bitcoin could plummet in an instant.
2. Bulgaria
Bulgaria is currently sitting on one of the biggest stashes of Bitcoin in the world. How did the European nation come into the possession of this enormous sum of money? A crackdown on organized crime by the Bulgarian law enforcement in May 2017 resulted in the seizure of a stash of 213,519 Bitcoins, enough to pay off a quarter of the country’s national debt.
According to Bulgarian authorities, the criminals used their technical prowess to circumvent taxes. As of June 2018, the virtual coins would be worth more than $1.2 billion. The Bulgarian government has declined to comment on the status of the coins.
3. BitFinex
BitFinex, a crypto exchange, has one of the largest bitcoin wallets with 163,133.38 BTC that are worth approximately $1 billion at the current price of $6,098.24 per bitcoin. The coins are believed to be kept in a cold wallet to protect them from cyber hacks, unauthorized access and other vulnerabilities that a system connected to the internet is prone to.
4. The FBI
The FBI is one of the largest renowned holders of Bitcoin. In September 2013, they brought down Silk Road, the infamous dark web drug bazaar, and seized 144,000 Bitcoin owned by the site’s operator Ross Ulbricht, better known as, “Dread Pirate Roberts”. Ulbricht made critical blunders that allowed investigators to locate the site and link him to it. Users of Silk Road are said to have traded around 9.5 million bitcoins since Ulbricht launched the site in 2011. Even thought the FBI sold a large amount of their Bitcoin holdings or even all, the FBI worth mentioned as they had a fortune in Bitcoin at some point. A large portion of the Bitcoins seized and sold went to Barry Silbert.
5. The Winklevoss Twins
Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron Winklevoss were among the first Bitcoin billionaires. The duo had first gained popularity when they sued the Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing the idea of creating Facebook from them. They were contacted by Zuckerberg to develop the ConnectU site, which was to become Facebook later on.
They used $11 million of the $65 million cash compensation they received from the legal dispute with Zuckerberg to purchase 1.5 million Bitcoins in 2013. Back then, one Bitcoin traded at $120. That investment has increased more than 20000% since then.
The twins allegedly own around 1 percent of all Bitcoin in circulation. Their combined net worth is approximately 400 million. They created the Windex, funded several bitcoin-related ventures and invested $1.5 million in BitInstant.
6. Garvin Andresen
Although bitcoin is the brainchild of Satoshi Nakamoto, Garvin Andresen is credited as the person who made it what it is today. Garvin is one of the people who has been suspected to be Satoshi, a claim he denies. Rather, he says that he had a close relationship with the anonymous cryptographer for many years. The real Satoshi Nakamoto picked him as his successor in late 2010. Garvin became the chief developer of the open source code that determines how Bitcoin operates – and whether it can survive. He was once paid over $200,000 in Bitcoin by the Bitcoin Foundation for his contributions. He had already cashed out multiple times.
7. Roger Ver
Roger Ver, otherwise known as Bitcoin Jesus, is one of the first Bitcoin billionaires and believed to hold or held at least 100,000 bitcoins. The renowned libertarian allegedly dropped out of college to focus on his bitcoin-related projects. Unlike other crypto billionaires out there who are throwing their cash in the typical private Islands or luxury jets, Ver’s dream is to establish his own libertarian nation where every individual is the absolute owner of their own life and are free to do whatever they wish with their person or property. The controversial bitcoin evangelist renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2014 and relocated permanently to a small Caribbean Island.
8. Barry Silbert
Silbert is a venture capitalist and founder of Digital Currency Group. He was an early adopter of Bitcoin. He purportedly walked away with an eye-watering 48,000 Bitcoins in an auction held by the U.S. Marshals Service in 2014. The US government had confiscated much of the crypto coins from Ross Ulbricht, the alleged operator of the dark web marketplace for drugs and other illegal products. Bitcoin was then worth $350, which means Silbert’s coins have skyrocketed in value from $16.8 million to $288 million.
9. Charlie Shrem
Charlie Shrem is no doubt one of the most controversial Bitcoin millionaires. He invested in a large quantity of Bitcoin in the early days of the cryptocurrency. Shrem was also an active member of the Bitcoin Foundation and founded BitInstant when he was just 22 years old. By the end of December 2014, Shrem had been found guilty of money laundering and received a two-year prison sentence. After his release from federal custody, he unveiled a startup called Intellisys Capital, a company that sells investment portfolios in blockchain companies.
10. Tony Gallippi
A famous business magnate Tony Gallippi is also believed to be one of the big holders of bitcoins. He is the brain behind BitPay, one of the most popular Bitcoin payment service providers in the world. The company was launched in May 2011 and processes over one million dollars per day. Bitpay is also one of the companies to sign contracts with major companies including Microsoft, Dell, TigerDirect, and Newegg. By 2014, the company had employed approximately 100 people.
Conclusion
It is estimated that the top 1000 bitcoin addresses own approximately 35% of the total bitcoin in circulation. There are also thousands of individuals who hold large stashes of bitcoin but have chosen to remain anonymous.
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In case you missed it: Major Crypto and Blockchain News from the week ending 12/14/2018

Developments in Financial Services

Regulatory Environment

General News


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The Future Of Blockchain: Fintech 50 2019

The Future Of Blockchain: Fintech 50 2019
As the price of bitcoin collapsed last year from a high of $19,000 to less than $4,000, skepticism fell over many other applications of blockchain, the technology that powers most cryptocurrencies by recording transactions without a central authority.
Much of the hype surrounding promises that sounded too good to be true is dissipating as reality and regulations set in. What remains however, are proven teams, flush with cash from mainstream investors, and increasingly, actual revenue.
Going forward, the blockchain selections from this year’s Forbes Fintech 50 2019 picks will undoubtedly form some unusual alliances as they evolve past competing against other blockchain startups, to competing in mainstream finance against long-established players.
Axoni co-fonders Greg and Jeff Schvey.AXONI
Axoni
New York City
Using blockchain-based smart contracts to overhaul the back office of the world’s biggest derivative markets. Its distributed ledger will allow counterparties to see payments, calculations and other vital trade information in real time, improving efficiency and lowering risk. Already partnering with world’s biggest banks and financial intermediaries.
Funding: $59 million from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and others
Bona fides: It is currently putting the $10 trillion credit derivative market onto smart contracts working with DTCC and a steering committee of 15 of world’s biggest banks. It’s already settling foreign exchange trades using the blockchain.
Cofounders: CEO Greg Schvey, 32 and CTO Jeff Schvey, 33. The brothers also cofounded TradeBlock, which provides institutional trading tools for cryptocurrency

Bitfury CEO Valery VavilovBITFURY
Bitfury
Amsterdam
This full-service blockchain firm expanded from its roots providing bitcoin mining hardware to launch its own blockchain, plus software designed to help U.S. law-enforcement and others investigate illicit activity using bitcoin.
Funding: More than $150 million from Korelya Capital, Macquarie Capital, Dentsu & others.
Latest valuation: $1 billion plus
Bona fides: $500 million in revenue in 2018
Cofounder & CEO: Valery Vavilov, 39, a Latvian-trained computer scientist.

Circle co-founders Sean Neville and Jeremy AllaireCIRCLE INTERNET FINANCIAL
Circle
Boston
Crypto finance giant Circle last year entered the exchange business with the purchase of Poloniex and now offers services for cryptocurrency trading, investing and payments. Last October partnered with Coinbase to launch USDC stablecoin — a crypto asset using the Ethereum blockchain and backed by U.S. dollars.
Funding: $246 million from IDG Capital, Bitmain, Breyer Capital, Goldman Sachs and others.
Latest valuation: $3 billion
Bona fides: 8 million customers from more than 100 countries; USDC has a $335 million in recent market value, making it recently among the 20 most valuable cryptos..
Cofounder & CEO: Jeremy Allaire, 47, previously founded publicly traded Brightcove online video platform

Coinbase CEO Brian ArmstrongCOINBASE
Coinbase
San Francisco
Expanding beyond its roots as a bitcoin wallet and retail exchange, Coinbase now offers cryptocurrency custody, professional and institutional trading platforms, and an institutional trading platform. Last year bought Earn.com, a service where users pay in bitcoin to contact experts via email, for a reported $100 million.
Funding: $525 million from Tiger Global Management, Andreessen Horowitz, YC Continuity & others. Latest valuation: $8 billion
Bona fides: The most heavily funded startup in crypto; has opened 25 million wallets for customers.
Cofounder & CEO: Brian Armstrong, 36, whose Coinbase holdings make him a billionaire.

Tyler Winklevoss, chief financial officer and co-founder of Gemini Trust Company LLC, right, and Cameron Winklevoss, chief executive officer and co-founder.© 2016 BLOOMBERG FINANCE LP
Gemini
New York City
Founded by twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange is licensed as a New York trust company, making it a qualified custodian and a fiduciary under New York Law. Now licensed to do business in 49 states, Gemini is leading the fight for an SEC approved bitcoin ETF, and launched the Virtual Commodities Association to promote cryptocurrency industry self-regulation.
Funding: Winklevoss Capital Management, wholly owned by Tyler and Cameron
Bona fides: Employs 200 people and just moved to a new 50,000 square foot office
Cofounder & CEO: Tyler Winklevoss, 37, a former Olympic rower

Brad Garlinghouse, chief executive officer of Ripple Labs Inc.© 2018 BLOOMBERG FINANCE LP
Ripple
San Francisco
Its blockchain based global settlements network aims to replace SWIFT, the interbank messaging platform that has long connected nearly every bank in the world. Ripple has also launched a service that lets companies make cross-border payments in XRP, the cryptocurrency created by its founders, which was recently second to Bitcoin in value.
Funding: $94 million from IDG Capital, SBI Investment, Santander InnoVentures & others.
Latest valuation: $5 billion
Bona fides: 200 RippleNet customers, including Bank of America and American Express
Cofounders: Jed McCaleb, Chris Larsen and Arthur Britto
CEO: Brad Garlinghouse, 48, former president of AOL
For full Forbes Fintech 50 2019 coverage, see:
Full list of the Fintech 50 2019
The Future Of Personal Finance: Fintech 50 2019
The Future Of Lending: Fintech 50 2019
The Future Of Real Estate: Fintech 50 2019
The Future Of Investing: Fintech 50 2019
The Future Of Payments: Fintech 50 2019
The Future Of Wall Street: Fintech 50 2019
Fintech 50 2019: The Newcomers
The 10 Biggest Fintech Companies In America 2019
Ryan Williams, 30, Started A Revolutionary $800M Fintech. But Can He Escape His Kushner-Trump Connection?
A 29-Year-Old Dominican Immigrant Is Teaching Fintech Startups How Real People Relate To Money
This Startup Is Creating A Real-Time Data Map Of The Global Economy. BlackRock And PayPal Are Buying It
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Weekly Crypto Recap for the week ending July 27

Developments in Financial Services

Regulatory

General News

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Weekly Crypto News Recap for the Week ending July 27

Developments in Financial Services

Regulatory

General News

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A Brief Biography and the Current Ginancial Situation of the Winklevoss Brothers

A Brief Biography and the Current Ginancial Situation of the Winklevoss Brothers
https://preview.redd.it/v739ylzjl4e11.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=49fb003f0a406574a02e5ded004754570930c2bd
One of the first in the history to own a billion-dollar fortune are the American brothers Taylor and Cameron Winklevoss. The scale of their condition is really significant - about 100 thousand bitcoins, which is commensurate with 1.18 billion dollars. Financial opportunity for their initial investment in the crypto currency Taylor and Cameron gained thanks to the peaceful decision of the trial with the founder of the social network "Facebook" Mark Zuckerberg. Twins accused him of stealing their intellectual property, most of the ideas for creating a social network.
Brothers Winklevoss have already built two companies operating with bitcoins. At this stage of the development of the crypto-currency market, Taylor and Cameron own about 1% of the bitcoins produced tiill now. And they bought them in mid-2013 paid about $ 11.5 million. At that time the price of one bitcoin was $ 125. By now, the bitcoin rate has increased by 10 000%, so, the financial reserve of the brothers has increased to $ 1 billion. It is believed that the brothers Winklevoss are one of the first billionaires on the planet who built their own fortune with the help of bitcoin, not taking into account a group of programmers who uses the name Satoshi Nakamoto, who are the developers of cryptocurrency.
The Winklewoss brothers and their fellow student Divya Narendra planned to develop a private HarvardConnection social network for students in Harvard in the winter of 2002. In the fall of 2003, they applied for help to Mark Zuckerberg, explaining the plan and opening access to the already developed software code. About three months Mark eschewed the brothers, most likely working on the development of his social network. In the winter of 2004, he opened the site thefacebook.com. Tyler and Cameron asked for help from the Harvard administration, they filed a complaint about the theft of their intellectual property, but the management advised them to go to the court.
The outcome of the court proceedings was an amicable agreement, it is believed that Zuckerberg paid the brothers about $ 66 million compensation. It was thanks to these money that the brothers made their first investments in the cryptocurrency.
In 2013, brothers invested $ 1.5 million in BitInstant's bitcoin analysis system, and later opened their financial index to track the Winkdex crypto currency rate. In the spring, the brothers planned to launch a bitcoin investment fund on the exchange, but they did not get a positive result from the chairmen of the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Brothers Winklsvoss purposefully do not sell the crypto currency, referring to long terms of their investments. They are considering Bitcoin as the replacement and better version of gold.
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5 Most Selling Books To Learn Bitcoin-easy for beginners.

5 Most Selling Books To Learn Bitcoin-easy for beginners.
5 Best Books About Bitcoin
Nathaniel Popper, a reporter at The New York Times who covers finance and technology, chronicles the history of the earliest bitcoin supporters in his 2015 book, including the stories of key players like the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (who reportedly became the first "bitcoin billionaires" when the cryptocurrency's value breached $10,000 in November) and bitcoin's mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
"Bitcoin may be a product of computer science, but it is a very human story. ... This highly entertaining history reminds us yet again that truth can be stranger than fiction," former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers says of the book.
2. "Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond" by Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar
Chris Burniske, partner at crypto-focused venture capital firm Placeholder Capital, and Jack Tatar, a frequent author on personal finance, published a "how-to" guide for investing in bitcoin and other digital assets. Their 2017 book discusses how to value cryptocurrencies, when to invest, and "tips to navigate inevitable bubbles and manias," according to the book's website.
"Informative and actionable, Cryptoassets is a must-read for crypto-enthusiasts and capital market investors alike," Arthur Laffer, a member of former President Ronald Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board, says of the book.
3. "Blockchain Revolution" by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
Bitcoin uses a technology called blockchain, which is a digital ledger. (Check out CNBC's explainer here.) Blockchain experts Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott explore how the technology could impact global systems in their 2016 book. The father and son pair co-founded the Blockchain Research Institute, a Canadian think tank with backing from companies like Microsoft, IBM, FedEx and PepsiCo. Forbes named Don Tapscott the second most influential business thinker in 2017.
"The Tapscotts have written the book, literally, on how to survive and thrive in this next wave of technology-driven disruption. Likely to become one of the iconic books of our time," says Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen.
4. "The Age of Cryptocurrency" by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey
Wall Street Journal reporters Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey seek to explain how a world run on digital money would differ from today's system of tangible cash, banks, checkbooks, gold and credit cards in their 2015 book.
For example, the book's opening anecdote about a woman in Afghanistan with no bank account accessing money through cryptocurrency shows the kinds of change technology can bring, Fortunenotes in a review.
"Vigna and Casey's thorough, timely and colorful book is a rewarding place to learn about it all," according to a review in The New York Times.
5. "American Kingpin" by Nick Bilton
American Kingpin
This book tells the story of Ross Ulbricht, creator of the Silk Road, who built the dark web e-commerce site into a $1.2 billion platform for drugs, guns and anything else illegal.
One of Amazon's 100 Best Books of 2017, Apple's Best Book of 2017 and a New York Times "Editor's Choice" best-seller, bitcoin enthusiasts can read about the role cryptocurrency played. Nick Bilton is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, a former reporter for The New York Times and a contributor to CNBC.
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The wilkelvoss are trying to make bitcoin legit according to esquire magazine

Every idea needs a face, even if the faces are illusory simplifications. The country you get is the president you get. The Yankees you get is the shortstop you get. Apple needed Jobs. ISIS needs al-Baghdadi. The moon shot belongs to Bezos. There's nothing under the Facebook sun that doesn't come back to Zuckerberg.
But there is, as yet, no face behind the bitcoin curtain. It's the currency you've heard about but haven't been able to understand. Still to this day nobody knows who created it. For most people, it has something to do with programmable cash and algorithms and the deep space of mathematics, but it also has something to do with heroin and barbiturates and the sex trade and bankruptcies, too. It has no face because it doesn't seem tangible or real. We might align it with an anarchist's riot mask or a highly conceptualized question mark, but those images truncate its reality. Certain economists say it's as important as the birth of the Internet, that it's like discovering ice. Others are sure that it's doomed to melt. In the political sphere, it is the darling of the cypherpunks and libertarians. When they're not busy ignoring it, it scares the living shit out of the big banks and credit-card companies.
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It sparked to life in 2008—when all the financial world prepared for itself the articulate noose—and it knocked on the door like some inconvenient relative arriving at the dinner party in muddy shoes and a knit hat. Fierce ideological battles are currently being waged among the people who own and shepherd the currency. Some shout, Ponzi scheme. Some shout, Gold dust. Bitcoin alone is worth billions of dollars, but the computational structure behind it—its blockchain and its sidechains—could become the absolute underpinning of the world's financial structure for decades to come.
What bitcoin has needed for years is a face to legitimize it, sanitize it, make it palpable to all the naysayers. But it has no Larry Ellison, no Elon Musk, no noticeable visionaries either with or without the truth. There's a lot of ideology at stake. A lot of principle and dogma and creed. And an awful lot of cash, too.
At 6:00 on a Wednesday winter morning, three months after launching Gemini, their bitcoin exchange, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss step out onto Broadway in New York, wearing the same make of sneakers, the same type of shorts, their baseball caps turned backward. They don't quite fall into the absolute caricature of twindom: They wear different-colored tops. Still, it's difficult to tell them apart, where Tyler ends and Cameron begins. Their faces are sculpted from another era, as if they had stepped from the ruin of one of Gatsby's parties. Their eyes are quick and seldom land on anything for long. Now thirty-four, there is something boyishly earnest about them as they jog down Prince Street, braiding in and out of each other, taking turns talking, as if they were working in shifts, drafting off each other.
Forget, for a moment, the four things the Winklevosses are most known for: suing Mark Zuckerberg, their portrayal in The Social Network, rowing in the Beijing Olympics, and their overwhelming public twinness. Because the Winklevoss brothers are betting just about everything—including their past—on a fifth thing: They want to shake the soul of money out.
At the deep end of their lives, they are athletes. Rowers. Full stop. And the thing about rowing—which might also be the thing about bitcoin—is that it's just about impossible to get your brain around its complexity. Everyone thinks you're going to a picnic. They have this notion you're out catching butterflies. They might ask you if you've got your little boater's hat ready. But it's not like that at all. You're fifteen years old. You rise in the dark. You drag your carcass along the railroad tracks before dawn. The boathouse keys are cold to the touch. You undo the ropes. You carry a shell down to the river. The carbon fiber rips at your hands. You place the boat in the water. You slip the oars in the locks. You wait for your coach. Nothing more than a thumb of light in the sky. It's still cold and the river stinks. That heron hasn't moved since yesterday. You hear Coach's voice before you see him. On you go, lads. You start at a dead sprint. The left rib's a little sore, but you don't say a thing. You are all power and no weight. The first push-to-pull in the water is a ripping surprise. From the legs first. Through the whole body. The arc. Atomic balance. A calm waiting for the burst. Your chest burns, your thighs scald, your brain blanks. It feels as if your rib cage might shatter. You are stillness exploding. You catch the water almost without breaking the surface. Coach says something about the pole vault. You like him. You really do. That brogue of his. Lads this, lads that. Fire. Stamina. Pain. After two dozen strokes, it already feels like you're hitting the wall. All that glycogen gone. Nobody knows. Nobody. They can't even pronounce it. Rowing. Ro-wing. Roh-ing. You push again, then pull. You feel as if you are breaking branch after branch off the bottom of your feet. You don't rock. You don't jolt. Keep it steady. Left, right, left, right. The heron stays still. This river. You see it every day. Nothing behind you. Everything in front. You cross the line. You know the exact tree. Your chest explodes. Your knees are trembling. This is the way the world will end, not with a whimper but a bang. You lean over the side of the boat. Up it comes, the breakfast you almost didn't have. A sign of respect to the river. You lay back. Ah, blue sky. Some cloud. Some gray. Do it again, lads. Yes, sir. You row so hard you puke it up once more. And here comes the heron, it's moving now, over the water, here it comes, look at that thing glide.
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The Winklevoss twins in the men's pair final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. GETTY There's plenty of gin and beer and whiskey in the Harrison Room in downtown Manhattan, but the Winklevoss brothers sip Coca-Cola. The room, one of many in the newly renovated Pier A restaurant, is all mahogany and lamplight. It is, in essence, a floating bar, jutting four hundred feet out into the Hudson River. From the window you can see the Statue of Liberty. It feels entirely like their sort of room, a Jazz Age expectation hovering around their initial appearance—tall, imposing, the hair mannered, the collars of their shirts slightly tilted—but then they just slide into their seats, tentative, polite, even introverted.
They came here by subway early on a Friday evening, and they lean back in their seats, a little wary, their eyes busy—as if they want to look beyond the rehearsal of their words.
They had the curse of privilege, but, as they're keen to note, a curse that was earned. Their father worked to pay his way at a tiny college in backwoods Pennsylvania coal country. He escaped the small mining town and made it all the way to a professorship at Wharton. He founded his own company and eventually created the comfortable upper-middle-class family that came with it. They were raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, the most housebroken town on the planet. They might have looked like the others in their ZIP code, and dressed like them, spoke like them, but they didn't quite feel like them. Some nagging feeling—close to anger, close to fear—lodged itself beneath their shoulders, not quite a chip but an ache. They wanted Harvard but weren't quite sure what could get them there. "You have to be basically the best in the world at something if you're coming from Greenwich," says Tyler. "Otherwise it's like, great, you have a 1600 SAT, you and ten thousand others, so what?"
The rowing was a means to an end, but there was also something about the boat that they felt allowed another balance between them. They pulled their way through high school, Cameron on the port-side oar, Tyler on the starboard. They got to Harvard. The Square was theirs. They rowed their way to the national championships—twice. They went to Oxford. They competed in the Beijing Olympics. They sucked up the smog. They came in sixth place. The cameras loved them. Girls, too. They were so American, sandy-haired, blue-eyed, they could have been cast in a John Cougar Mellencamp song.
It might all have been so clean-cut and whitebread except for the fact that—at one of the turns in the river—they got involved in the most public brawl in the whole of the Internet's nascent history.
They don't talk about it much anymore, but they know that it still defines them, not so much in their own minds but in the minds of others. The story seems simple on one level, but nothing is ever simple, not even simplification. Theirs was the original idea for the first social network, Harvard Connection. They hired Mark Zuckerberg to build it. Instead he went off and created Facebook. They sued him. They settled for $65 million. It was a world of public spats and private anguish. Rumors and recriminations. A few years later, dusty old pre-Facebook text messages were leaked online by Silicon Alley Insider: "Yeah, I'm going to fuck them," wrote Zuckerberg to a friend. "Probably in the ear." The twins got their money, but then they believed they were duped again by an unfairly low evaluation of their stock. They began a second round of lawsuits for $180 million. There was even talk about the Supreme Court. It reeked of opportunism. But they wouldn't let it go. In interviews, they came across as insolent and splenetic, tossing their rattles out of the pram. It wasn't about the money, they said at the time, it was about fairness, reality, justice. Most people thought it was about some further agile fuckery, this time in Zuckerberg's ear.
There are many ways to tell the story, but perhaps the most penetrating version is that they weren't screwed so much by Zuckerberg as they were by their eventual portrayal in the film version of their lives. They appeared querulous and sulky, exactly the type of characters that America, peeling off the third-degree burns of the great recession, needed to hate. While the rest of the country worried about mounting debt and vanishing jobs, they were out there drinking champagne from, at the very least, Manolo stilettos. The truth would never get in the way of a good story. In Aaron Sorkin's world, and on just about every Web site, the blueblood trust-fund boys got what was coming to them. And the best thing now was for them to take their Facebook money and turn the corner, quickly, away, down toward whatever river would whisk them away.
Armie Hammer brilliantly portrayed them as the bluest of bloods in The Social Network. When the twins are questioned about those times now, they lean back a little in their seats, as if they've just lost a long race, a little perplexed that they came off as the victims of Hollywood's ability to throw an image, while the whole rip-roaring regatta still goes on behind them. "They put us in a box," says Cameron, "caricatured to a point where we didn't really exist." He glances around the bar, drums his finger against the glass. "That's fair enough. I understand that impulse." They smart a little when they hear Zuckerberg's name. "I don't think Mark liked being called an asshole," says Tyler, with a flick of bluster in his eyes, but then he catches himself. "You know, maybe Mark doesn't care. He's a bit of a statesman now, out there connecting the world. I have nothing against him. He's a smart guy."
These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. But underneath the calm—just like underneath the boat—one can sense the churn.
They say the word—ath-letes—as if it were a country where pain is the passport. One of the things the brothers mention over and over again is that you can spontaneously crack a rib while rowing, just from the sheer exertion of the muscles hauling on the rib cage.
Along came bitcoin.
At its most elemental, bitcoin is a virtual currency. It's the sort of thing a five-year-old can understand—It's just e-cash, Mom—until he reaches eighteen and he begins to question the deep future of what money really means. It is a currency without government. It doesn't need a banker. It doesn't need a bank. It doesn't even need a brick to be built upon. Its supporters say that it bypasses the Man. It is less than a decade old and it has already come through its own Wild West, a story rooted in uncharted digital territory, up from the dust, an evening redness in the arithmetical West.
These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. Bitcoin appeared in 2008—westward ho!—a little dot on the horizon of the Internet. It was the brainchild of a computer scientist named Satoshi Nakamoto. The first sting in the tale is that—to this very day—nobody knows who Nakamoto is, where he lives, or how much of his own invention he actually owns. He could be Californian, he could be Australian, he could even be a European conglomerate, but it doesn't really matter, since what he created was a cryptographic system that is borderless and supposedly unbreakable.
In the beginning the currency was ridiculed and scorned. It was money created from ones and zeros. You either bought it or you had to "mine" for it. If you were mining, your computer was your shovel. Any nerd could do it. You keyed your way in. By using your computer to help check and confirm the bitcoin transactions of others, you made coin. Everyone in this together. The computer heated up and mined, down down down, into the mathematical ground, lifting up numbers, making and breaking camp every hour or so until you had your saddlebags full of virtual coin. It all seemed a bit of a lark at first. No sheriff, no deputy, no central bank. The only saloon was a geeky chat room where a few dozen bitcoiners gathered to chew data.
Lest we forget, money was filthy in 2008.
The collapse was coming. The banks were shorting out. The real estate market was a confederacy of dunces. Bernie Madoff's shadow loomed. Occupy was on the horizon. And all those Wall Street yahoos were beginning to squirm.
Along came bitcoin like some Jesse James of the financial imagination. It was the biggest disruption of money since coins. Here was an idea that could revolutionize the financial world. A communal articulation of a new era. Fuck American Express. Fuck Western Union. Fuck Visa. Fuck the Fed. Fuck the Treasury. Fuck the deregulated thievery of the twenty-first century.
To the earliest settlers, bitcoin suggested a moral way out. It was a money created from the ground up, a currency of the people, by the people, for the people, with all government control extinguished. It was built on a solid base of blockchain technology where everyone participated in the protection of the code. It attracted anarchists, libertarians, whistle-blowers, cypherpunks, economists, extropians, geeks, upstairs, downstairs, left-wing, right-wing. Sure, it could be used by businesses and corporations, but it could also be used by poor people and immigrants to send money home, instantly, honestly, anonymously, without charge, with a click of the keyboard. Everyone in the world had access to your transaction, but nobody had to know your name. It bypassed the suits. All you needed to move money was a phone or a computer. It was freedom of economic action, a sort of anarchy at its democratic best, no rulers, just rules.
Bitcoin, to the original explorers, was a safe pass through the government-occupied valleys: Those assholes were up there in the hills, but they didn't have any scopes on their rifles, and besides, bitcoin went through in communal wagons at night.
Ordinary punters took a shot. Businesses, too. You could buy silk ties in Paris without any extra bank charges. You could protect your money in Buenos Aires without fear of a government grab.
The Winklevoss twins leave the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2011, after appearing in court to ask that the previous settlement case against Facebook be voided. GETTY But freedom can corrupt as surely as power. It was soon the currency that paid for everything illegal under the sun, the go-to money of the darknet. The westward ho! became the outlaw territory of Silk Road and beyond. Heroin through the mail. Cocaine at your doorstep. Child porn at a click. What better way for terrorists to ship money across the world than through a network of anonymous computers? Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Mexican cartels. In Central America, kidnappers began demanding ransom in bitcoin—there was no need for the cash to be stashed under a park bench anymore. Now everything could travel down the wire. Grab, gag, and collect. Uranium could be paid for in bitcoin. People, too. The sex trade was turned on: It was a perfect currency for Madame X. For the online gambling sites, bitcoin was pure jackpot.
For a while, things got very shady indeed. Over a couple years, the rate pinballed between $10 and $1,200 per bitcoin, causing massive waves and troughs of online panic and greed. (In recent times, it has begun to stabilize between $350 and $450.) In 2014, it was revealed that hackers had gotten into the hot wallet of Mt. Gox, a bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo. A total of 850,000 coins were "lost," at an estimated value of almost half a billion dollars. The founder of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht (known as "Dread Pirate Roberts"), got himself a four-by-six room in a federal penitentiary for life, not to mention pending charges for murder-for-hire in Maryland.
Everyone thought that bitcoin was the problem. The fact of the matter was, as it so often is, human nature was the problem. Money means desire. Desire means temptation. Temptation means that people get hurt.
During the first Gold Rush in the late 1840s, the belief was that all you needed was a pan and a decent pair of boots and a good dose of nerve and you could go out and make yourself a riverbed millionaire. Even Jack London later fell for the lure of it alongside thousands of others: the western test of manhood and the promise of wealth. What they soon found out was that a single egg could cost twenty-five of today's dollars, a pound of coffee went for a hundred, and a night in a whorehouse could set you back $6,000.
A few miners hit pay dirt, but what most ended up with for their troubles was a busted body and a nasty dose of syphilis.
The gold was discovered on the property of John Sutter in Sacramento, but the one who made the real cash was a neighboring merchant, Samuel Brannan. When Brannan heard the news of the gold nuggets, he bought up all the pickaxes and shovels he could find, filled a quinine bottle with gold dust, and went to San Francisco. Word went around like a prayer in a flash flood: gold gold gold. Brannan didn't wildcat for gold himself, but at the peak of the rush he was flogging $5,000 worth of shovels a day—that's $155,000 today—and went on to become the wealthiest man in California, alongside the Wells Fargo crew, Levi Strauss, and the Studebaker family, who sold wheelbarrows.
If you comb back through the Winklevoss family, you will find a great-grandfather and a great-great-grandfather who knew a thing or two about digging: They worked side by side in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. They didn't go west and they didn't get rich, but maybe the lesson became part of their DNA: Sometimes it's the man who sells the shovels who ends up hitting gold.
Like it or not—and many people don't like it—the Winklevoss brothers are shaping up to be the Samuel Brannans of the bitcoin world.
Nine months after being portrayed in The Social Network, the Winklevoss twins were back out on the water at the World Rowing Cup. CHRISTOPHER LEE/GETTY They heard about it first poolside in Ibiza, Spain. Later it would play into the idea of ease and privilege: umbrella drinks and girls in bikinis. But if the creation myth was going to be flippant, the talk was serious. "I'd say we were cautious, but we were definitely intrigued," says Cameron. They went back home to New York and began to read. There was something about it that got under their skin. "We knew that money had been so broken and inefficient for years," says Tyler, "so bitcoin appealed to us right away."
They speak in braided sentences, catching each other, reassuring themselves, tightening each other's ideas. They don't quite want to say that bitcoin looked like something that might be redemptive—after all, they, like everyone else, were looking to make money, lots of it, Olympic-sized amounts—but they say that it did strike an idealistic chord inside them. They certainly wouldn't be cozying up to the anarchists anytime soon, but this was a global currency that, despite its uncertainties, seemed to present a solution to some of the world's more pressing problems. "It was borderless, instantaneous, irreversible, decentralized, with virtually no transaction costs," says Tyler. It could possibly cut the banks out, and it might even take the knees out from under the credit-card companies. Not only that, but the price, at just under ten dollars per coin, was in their estimation low, very low. They began to snap it up.
They were aware, even at the beginning, that they might, once again, be called Johnny-come-latelys, just hopping blithely on the bandwagon—it was 2012, already four years into the birth of the currency—but they went ahead anyway, power ten. Within a short time they'd spent $11 million buying up a whopping 1 percent of the world's bitcoin, a position they kept up as more bitcoins were mined, making their 1 percent holding today worth about $66 million.
But bitcoin was flammable. The brothers felt the burn quickly. Their next significant investment came later that year, when they gave $1.5 million in venture funding to a nascent exchange called BitInstant. Within a year the CEO was arrested for laundering drug money through the exchange.
So what were a pair of smart, clean-cut Olympic rowers doing hanging around the edges of something so apparently shady, and what, if anything, were they going to do about it?
They mightn't have thought of it this way, but there was something of the sheriff striding into town, the one with the swagger and the scar, glancing up at the balconies as he comes down Main Street, all tumbleweeds and broken pianos. This place was a dump in most people's eyes, but the sheriff glimpsed his last best shot at finally getting the respect he thinks he deserves.
The money shot: A good stroke will catch the water almost without breaking its seal. You stir without rippling. Your silence is sinewy. There's muscle in that calm. The violence catches underneath, thrusts the boat along. Stroke after stroke. Just keep going. Today's truth dies tomorrow. What you have to do is elemental enough. You row without looking behind you. You keep the others in front of you. As long as you can see what they're doing, it's all in your hands. You are there to out-pain them. Doesn't matter who they are, where they come from, how they got here. Know your enemy through yourself. Push through toward pull. Find the still point of this pain. Cut a melody in the disk of your flesh. The only terror comes when they pass you—if they ever pass you.
There are no suits or ties, but there is a white hum in the offices of Gemini in the Flatiron District. The air feels as if it has been brushed clean. There is something so everywhereabout the place. Ergonomic chairs. iPhone portals. Rows of flickering computers. Not so much a hush around the room as a quiet expectation. Eight, nine people. Programmers, analysts, assistants. Other employees—teammates, they call them—dialing in from Portland, Oregon, and beyond.
The brothers fire up the room when they walk inside. A fist-pump here, a shoulder touch there. At the same time, there is something almost shy about them. Apart, they seem like casual visitors to the space they inhabit. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long.
The Winklevoss twins speak onstage at Bitcoin! Let's Cut Through the Noise Already at SXSW in 2016. GETTY They move from desk to desk. The price goes up, the price goes down. The phones ring. The e-mails beep. Customer-service calls. Questions about fees. Inquiries about tax structures.
Gemini was started in late 2015 as a next-generation bitcoin exchange. It is not the first such exchange in the world by any means, but it is one of the most watched. The company is designed with ordinary investors in mind, maybe a hedge fund, maybe a bank: all those people who used to be confused or even terrified by the word bitcoin. It is insured. It is clean. What's so fascinating about this venture is that the brothers are risking themselves by trying to eliminate risk: keeping the boat steady and exploding through it at the same time.
It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. For the past couple years, the Winklevosses have worked closely with just about every compliance agency imaginable. They ticked off all the regulatory boxes. Essentially they wanted to ease all the Debting Thomases. They put regulatory frameworks in place. Security and bankability and insurance were their highest objectives. Nobody was going to be able to blow open the safe. They wanted to soothe all the appetites for risk. They told Bitcoin Magazine they were asking for "permission, not forgiveness."
This is where bitcoin can become normal—that is, if you want bitcoin to be normal.
Just a mile or two down the road, in Soho, a half dozen bitcoiners gather at a meetup. The room is scruffy, small, boxy. A half mannequin is propped on a table, a scarf draped around it. It's the sort of place that twenty years ago would have been full of cigarette smoke. There's a bit of Allen Ginsberg here, a touch of Emma Goldman, a lot of Zuccotti Park. The wine is free and the talk is loose. These are the true believers. They see bitcoin in its clearest possible philosophical terms—the frictionless currency of the people, changing the way people move money around the world, bypassing the banks, disrupting the status quo.
A comedy show is being run out in the backyard. A scruffy young man wanders in and out, announcing over and over again that he is half-baked. A well-dressed Asian girl sidles up to the bar. She looks like she's just stepped out of an NYU business class. She's interested in discovering what bitcoin is. She is regaled by a series of convivial answers. The bartender tells her that bitcoin is a remaking of the prevailing power structures. The girl asks for another glass of wine. The bartender adds that bitcoin is democracy, pure and straight. She nods and tells him that the wine tastes like cooking oil. He laughs and says it wasn't bought with bitcoin. "I don't get it," she says. And so the evening goes, presided over by Margaux Avedisian, who describes herself as the queen of bitcoin. Avedisian, a digital-currency consultant of Armenian descent, is involved in several high-level bitcoin projects. She has appeared in documentaries and on numerous panels. She is smart, sassy, articulate.
When the talk turns to the Winklevoss brothers, the bar turns dark. Someone, somewhere, reaches up to take all the oxygen out of the air. Avedisian leans forward on the counter, her eyes shining, delightful, raged.
"The Winklevii are not the face of bitcoin," she says. "They're jokes. They don't know what they're saying. Nobody in our community respects them. They're so one-note. If you look at their exchange, they have no real volume, they never will. They keep throwing money at different things. Nobody cares. They're not part of us. They're just hangers-on."
"Ah, they're just assholes," the bartender chimes in.
"What they want to do," says Avedisian, "is lobotomize bitcoin, make it into something entirely vapid. They have no clue."
The Asian girl leaves without drinking her third glass of free wine. She's got a totter in her step. She doesn't quite get the future of money, but then again maybe very few in the world do.
Giving testimony on bitcoin licensing before the New York State Department of Financial Services in 2014. LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS The future of money might look like this: You're standing on Oxford Street in London in winter. You think about how you want to get to Charing Cross Road. The thought triggers itself through electrical signals into the chip embedded in your wrist. Within a moment, a driverless car pulls up on the sensor-equipped road. The door opens. You hop in. The car says hello. You tell it to shut up. It does. It already knows where you want to go. It turns onto Regent Street. You think,A little more air-conditioning, please. The vents blow. You think, Go a little faster, please. The pace picks up. You think, This traffic is too heavy, use Quick(TM). The car swings down Glasshouse Street. You think, Pay the car in front to get out of my way. It does. You think, Unlock access to a shortcut. The car turns down Sherwood Street to Shaftsbury Avenue. You pull in to Charing Cross. You hop out. The car says goodbye. You tell it to shut up again. You run for the train and the computer chip in your wrist pays for the quiet-car ticket for the way home.
All of these transactions—the air-conditioning, the pace, the shortcut, the bribe to get out of the way, the quick lanes, the ride itself, the train, maybe even the "shut up"—will cost money. As far as crypto-currency enthusiasts think, it will be paid for without coins, without phones, without glass screens, just the money coming in and going out of your preprogrammed wallet embedded beneath your skin.
The Winklevosses are betting that the money will be bitcoin. And that those coins will flow through high-end, corporate-run exchanges like Gemini rather than smoky SoHo dives.
Cameron leans across a table in a New York diner, the sort of place where you might want to polish your fork just in case, and says: "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." He can't remember whom the quote belongs to, but he freely acknowledges that it's not his own. Theirs is a truculent but generous intelligence, capable of surprise and turn at the oddest of moments. They talk meditation, they talk economics, they talk Van Halen, they talk, yes, William Gibson, but everything comes around again to bitcoin.
"The key to all this is that people aren't even going to know that they're using bitcoin," says Tyler. "It's going to be there, but it's not going to be exposed to the end user. Bitcoin is going to be the rails that underpin our payment systems. It's just like an IP address. We don't log on to a series of numbers, 115.425.5 or whatever. No, we log on to Google.com. In the same way, bitcoin is going to be disguised. There will be a body kit that makes it user-friendly. That's what makes bitcoin a kick-ass currency."
Any fool can send a billion dollars across the world—as long as they have it, of course—but it's virtually impossible to send a quarter unless you stick it in an envelope and pay forty-nine cents for a stamp. It's one of the great ironies of our antiquated money system. And yet the quark of the financial world is essentially the small denomination. What bitcoin promises is that it will enable people and businesses to send money in just about any denomination to one another, anywhere in the world, for next to nothing. A public address, a private key, a click of the mouse, and the money is gone.
A Bitcoin conference in New York City in 2014. GETTY This matters. This matters a lot. Credit-card companies can't do this. Neither can the big banks under their current systems. But Marie-Louise on the corner of Libertador Avenue can. And so can Pat Murphy in his Limerick housing estate. So can Mark Andreessen and Bill Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs. Anyone can do it, anywhere in the world, at virtually no charge.
You can do it, in fact, from your phone in a diner in New York. But the whole time they are there—over identical California omelettes that they order with an ironic shrug—they never once open their phones. They come across more like the talkative guys who might buy you a drink at the sports bar than the petulants ordering bottle service in the VIP corner. The older they get, the more comfortable they seem in their contradictions: the competition, the ease; the fame, the quiet; the gamble, the sure thing.
Bitcoin is what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. What seems indisputable about the future of money, to the Winklevosses and other bitcoin adherents, is that the technology that underpins bitcoin—the blockchain—will become one of the fundamental tenets of how we deal with the world of finance. Blockchain is the core computer code. It's open source and peer to peer—in other words, it's free and open to you and me. Every single bitcoin transaction ever made goes to an open public ledger. It would take an unprecedented 51 percent attack—where one entity would come to control more than half of the computing power used to mine bitcoin—for hackers to undo it. The blockchain is maintained by computers all around the world, and its future sidechains will create systems that deal with contracts and stock and other payments. These sidechains could very well be the foundation of the new global economy for the big banks, the credit-card companies, and even government itself.
"It's boundless," says Cameron.
This is what the brothers are counting on—and what might eventually make them among the richest men in America.
And yet. There is always a yet.
When you delve into the world of bitcoin, it gets deeper, darker, more mysterious all the time. Why has its creator remained anonymous? Why did he drop off the face of the earth? How much of it does he own himself? Will banks and corporations try to bring the currency down? Why are there really only five developers with full "commit access" to the code (not the Winklevosses, by the way)? Who is really in charge of the currency's governance?
Perhaps the most pressing issue at hand is that of scaling, which has caused what amounts to a civil war among followers. A maximum block size of one megabyte has been imposed on the chain, sort of like a built-in artificial dampener to keep bitcoin punk rock. That's not nearly enough capacity for the number of transactions that would take place in future visions. In years to come, there could be massive backlogs and outages that could create instant financial panic. Bitcoin's most influential leaders are haggling over what will happen. Will bitcoin maintain its decentralized status, or will it go legit and open up to infinite transactions? And if it goes legit, where's the punk?
The issues are ongoing—and they might very well take bitcoin down, but the Winklevosses don't think so. They have seen internal disputes before. They've refrained from taking a public stance mostly because they know that there are a lot of other very smart people in bitcoin who are aware that crisis often builds consensus. "We're in this for the long haul," says Tyler. "We're the first batter in the first inning."
GILLIAN LAUB The waiter comes across and asks them, bizarrely, if they're twins. They nod politely. Who was born first? They've heard it a million times and their answer is always the same: Neither of them—they were born cesarean. Cameron looks older, says the waiter. Tyler grins. Normally it's the other way around, says Cameron, grinning back. Do you ever fight? asks the waiter. Every now and then, they say. But not over this, not over the future.
Heraclitus was wrong. You can, in fact, step in the same river twice. In the beginning you went to the shed. No electricity there, no heat, just a giant tub where you simulated the river. You could only do eleven strokes. But there was something about the repetition, the difference, even the monotony, that hooked you. After a while it wasn't an abandoned shed anymore. College gyms, national training centers. Bigger buildings. High ceilings. AC. Doctors and trainers. Monitors hooked up to your heart, your head, your blood. Six foot five, but even then you were not as tall as the other guys. You liked the notion of underdog. Everyone called you the opposite. The rich kids. The privileged ones. To hell with that. They don't know us, who we are, where we came from. Some of the biggest chips rest on the shoulders of those with the least to lose. Six foot five times two makes just about thirteen feet. You sit in the erg and you stare ahead. Day in, day out. One thousand strokes, two thousand. You work with the very best. You even train with the Navy SEALs. It touches that American part of you. The sentiment, the false optimism. When the oil fields are burning, you even think, I'll go there with them. But you stay in the boat. You want that other flag rising. That's what you aim for. You don't win but you get close. Afterward there are planes, galas, regattas, magazine spreads, but you always come back to that early river. The cold. The fierceness. The heron. Like it or not, you're never going to get off the water—that's just the fact of the matter, it's always going to be there. Hard to admit it, but once you were wrong. You got out of the boat and you haggled over who made it. You lost that one, hard. You might lose this one, too, but then again it just might be the original arc that you're stepping toward. So you return, then. You rise before dark. You drag your carcass along Broadway before dawn.
All the rich men in the world want to get shot into outer space. Richard Branson. Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk. The new explorers. To get the hell out of here and see if they—and maybe we—can exist somewhere else for a while. It's the story of the century. We want to know if the pocket of the universe can be turned inside out. We're either going to bring all the detritus of the world upward with us or we're going to find a brand-new way to exist. The cynical say that it's just another form of colonization—they're probably right, but then again maybe it's our only way out.
The Winklevosses have booked their tickets—numbers 700 and 701—on Branson's Virgin Galactic. Although they go virtually everywhere together, the twins want to go on different flights because of the risk involved: Now that they're in their mid-thirties, they can finally see death, or at least its rumor. It's a boy's adventure, but it's also the outer edge of possibility. It cost a quarter of a million dollars per seat, and they paid for it, yes, in bitcoin.
Of course, up until recently, the original space flights all splashed down into the sea. One of the ships that hauled the Gemini space capsule out of the water in 1965 was the Intrepid aircraft carrier.
The Winklevosses no longer pull their boat up the river. Instead they often run five miles along the Hudson to the Intrepid and back. The destroyer has been parked along Manhattan's West Side for almost as long as they have been alive. It's now a museum. The brothers like the boat, its presence, its symbolism: Intrepid, Gemini, the space shot.
They ease into the run.
submitted by thegrandknight to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Manipulation Warning, Potential Advice, Studies, and Logic

Dear reader, I have been interested in the recent BTC sideways purchasing and selling that has lasted for days, which then results in a dip after 2-3 days. This pattern has been continually happening over the past few weeks and seemed relatively suspicious to me. After talking to many previous investors, friends, and family who have invested in other market booms (Silver, Stocks, ETC) Many confirmed the same thing and gave me the same advice for what to do with my money, BTC, and what I should do to gain a better understanding of the current market.
To start, I went online and perused the various markets and the buy/sell quantities that are leading to the dips and spikes. Looking at the first picture provided by, http://bitcoin-analytics.com/, a price history viewer, the past 24 hours have been filled with the same thing the past weeks have had. Low ball offers to try and find the bottom. TO BE CLEAR, this is NOT a lack of interest, but rather a sign of manipulation of the market where big money is being used to sell off at a higher price, and buy when it drops right after. The top Green circles' show larger dips that what is expected from the average seller and holder of BTC, where the value of BTC fluctuates down 12 Million $ in a matter of minutes on this one sight, which because of the respective prices across the market, can attribute to 6% of the value of BTC... which is extreme for any market, much less an individual. Unless the Winklevoss Twins started cashing out, which they could be doing to manipulate the value, leads me to the belief of either an organizational manipulation of the value.
Next, I looked at yearly corrections and when they take place. Every year, they occur in the spring interestingly enough. Provided is 2015-2018 when BTC was beginning to become popular.
After this, I talked to different investors from different fields. This is where every buyer should be aware of what I like to call the "Bear Case." Please, try and understand their point of view if you can. It's a pivotal piece of the BTC market, and shouldn't be underestimated.
Many Bears simply want out of the market. They have made enough profit to the point of comfort, to where they do not see the point in potentially losing more money. These investors who either independently invested or invested in the futures market. Without confidence they will make a profit, small or large, they simply want their money back. This leads to pressure on the future owners and investors to sell, sell, sell. The leaders of futures, corporations, and other individuals see the market rebounding right after the sell and see the opportunity to join them on selling short-term and rebuying right after which hurts the trust put into the new idea of an online currency.
This can be seen in the daily proclamations of Bitcoins death, doom and gloom, ETC that is published by editorials on random sites with little credibility or information of the publisher, much less their stake in the crypto game.
My advice, which I am following based on history, independent study, and logic lead me to the conclusion that BTC has to go up from here or fail. Miners are no longer making money on mining, BTC bears are taking over, and mainstream media coverage will kill bitcoin before it can be used as it was meant to be used; A virtual currency.
I will be purchasing more BTC, and recommend buying in the 6600-7100$ range, in light of what I consider to be a Bear Case overreaction and what I expect to be a price correction to 8000$ in the next 5 weeks, and upwards from there assuming BTC does not crash and burn.
I believe we need universal regulation or NO regulation at all to support the ability for minors, all adults, and all countries support this adoption of new technology. Without universal ability to BUY, SELL, and TRADE, BTC has no use. Either it needs to be able to be bought and sold anonymously, without any regulation, or it needs to be accepted everywhere without fluctuating prices to the point of unusability. This point can be up for discussion, and please leave a comment on your take on either the market or universal adoption!
I know the market is doing poorly, but if you thought my research is worth a tip, toss me a coin. I appreciate it but I don't expect, or believe in, charity or a free meal. Thanks for taking time from your day to read my "article."
BTC : 1NNMMLdWWGSjA1PtPfBqbNv85dxfrRpXDN LTC: Lb6oVHcwmvtkRr984rpSLC5ypMppHeSALD
All pictures are in a Google slideshow, Reddit seems to be limiting me to only one picture or video.
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/10UzCI7i0f8UIHJxUprWHLtJQvmcRqdjqgEXci4NAisA/edit?usp=sharing
submitted by Poozle01 to btc [link] [comments]

Let's compile a list of the various long-term price predictions from well-known people around the world.

Here's a few to get us started... these are eventual price per Bitcoin predictions. Any others to add?
$2M-$5M - Rick Falkvinge
$700k - Max Keiser (TV show)
$400k - Bobby Lee (unknown source)
$100k - Chris Dixon, Silicon Valley VC
$40k - Winklevoss twins
$1,300 - David Woo
10$ - Mark T. Williams
$0 - Byron Wien
$0 - Peter Schiff (unknown source)
submitted by sgtspike to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

What you need to know about bitcoin?

13 Things You Need to Know About Bitcoin
  1. The birth of Bitcoin
The origins of bitcoin trace back to 2008, when its creator, who went by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, published a proof of concept for Bitcoin. The proof was then published to a cryptocurrency mailing list in 2009. Nakamoto left the project in 2010 and disappeared, but other developers picked up the work. Bitcoin's birthday is Jan. 3, when Nakamoto mined the first 50 units of the currency.
  1. An elusive creator
The true identity of Bitcoin's creator has never been confirmed. Newsweek claimed to have found Bitcoin's creator in 2014, identifying Temple City, Calif., resident Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. He has vigorously denied it. In 2015, an Australian entrepreneur named Craig Wright said he was Bitcoin's creator, but he couldn't produce the evidence to support his claim. Whoever Nakamoto is, that person is very rich, as the creator is estimated to have mined a million bitcoins in the currency’s early days.
  1. Very expensive pizza
The first transaction involving bitcoin was reported on May 22, 2010, when a programmer identified as Laszlo Hanyecz said he "successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins for pizza." As of Nov. 28, 2017, 10,000 bitcoins are worth about $99 million.
  1. You can spend bitcoins
While it may not seem like it, people continue to use bitcoins to buy stuff. The largest businesses to accept the cryptocurrency include Overstock.com, Expedia, Newegg and Dish.
  1. Federal Bureau of Bitcoin
At one point, the U.S. government was one of the largest holders of bitcoin. In 2013, after the FBI shut down Silk Road, a darknet site where people could buy drugs and other illicit goods and services, it took over bitcoin wallets controlled by the site, one of which held 144,000 bitcoins. Investors have been making a killing by bidding on government-seized bitcoins.
  1. A mountain-sized setback
In early 2014, Bitcoin suffered a devastating loss after the alleged hacking of Mt. Gox, a Japanese exchange. About $460 million of the currency (in 2014 value) was stolen. It was the largest loss of bitcoins ever and raised concerns about how secure the currency was.
  1. The billionaires' takes
Warren Buffett, perhaps the most famous investor in the world, was not so keen on Bitcoin one of the only times he addressed the currency. "Stay away from it. It's a mirage, basically," he told CNBC. "The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is a joke in my view."
Fellow billionaire investor Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, had even stronger words about Bitcoin: “You can’t have a business where people are going to invent a currency out of thin air. It won’t end well … someone is going to get killed and then the government is going to come down on it.”
But not all billionaires are against Bitcoin. Mark Cuban has said its value is inflated, but he recently invested in a venture capital fund that backs cryptocurrency. Richard Branson, however, has spoken more optimistically about it.
  1. Super wealthy twins and a smart teen
Other notable investors in Bitcoin include Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (the Harvard-educated twins who sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming that Facebook was based on an idea they'd had). They bought $11 million worth of Bitcoin in 2013, an amount said to be about 1 percent of all bitcoins in circulation at that time. When Bitcoin's value reached more than $11,000 in early December, the twins were declared the first Bitcoin billionaires. The Winklevoss twins have been petitioning the SEC to create a bitcoin exchange traded fund. The agency rejected the idea earlier this year.
Another is investor and entrepreneur Erik Finman, who invested $1,000 into Bitcoin when he was 14 years old and is now a millionaire.
  1. Celebrities want in
Celebrities have also expressed enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency. Actor and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow advises Abra, a Bitcoin wallet, and Ashton Kutcher, Nas and Floyd Mayweather have all invested in Bitcoin startups.
  1. Support from a big financial institution
In August 2017, Fidelity Investments became a rare standout among financial institutions in embracing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The company allows its clients to use the Fidelity website to view their bitcoin holdings held through digital wallet provider Coinbase. "This is an experiment in the spirit of learning what these crypto assets are like and how our customers may want to interact with them," Hadley Stern, senior vice president and managing director at Fidelity Labs, told Reuters.
  1. A hard fork
On Aug. 1, 2017, Bitcoin experienced what's being called a "hard fork" as a result of a few issues, including the limited number of transactions that can be processed per second. Essentially, the cryptocurrency split into two, with Bitcoin Cash debuting. Here's how Rob Marvin of PCMag explains the situation: "The Bitcoin fork speaks to a fundamental ideological rift over what's more important: preserving the decentralized nature and independent control of the Bitcoin network, or accelerating transaction speeds to make the cryptocurrency more viable for mainstream ecommerce and payments." Bitcoin Cash allows larger blocks of currency and more transactions per second.
  1. Jaw-dropping
At the end of November 2017, Bitcoin's value reached toward $10,000 per unit. There are some 16.7 million Bitcoin units in circulation, and the cryptocurrency's market capitalization ($167,156,585,840 as of Nov. 28, 2017) is actually higher than that of Disney, McDonald's or IBM, and it is slightly above that of GE.
  1. Publicly traded
As of early December, there is another way to invest in Bitcoin without possessing some of the digital currency. On Dec. 10, 2017, Bitcoin futures -- "financial contracts obligating the buyer to purchase an asset or the seller to sell an asset," according to Investopedia -- became available on Cboe, a Chicago exchange. What this means for the future of Bitcoin is uncertain, but some argue it will help stabilize the cryptocurrency's wild price fluctuations.
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[Table] IAmA: We are Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, but you probably know us as the Winklevii. We are here to talk about Gemini (gemini.com), our new bitcoin exchange. AMA, or rather AUA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2015-10-07
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
Do you have a relationship with Mark in any capacity today? What would you say to him if you could? What do you think of what Facebook has become? We don't have a relationship with Mark. The last time we saw and spoke with him was at the settlement in 2008, and before that was back at Harvard. We do have a relationship with Dustin Moskovitz, we saw him at Burning Man three years ago, and we've kept in touch with him. We've grabbed coffee with him in SF and also got a tour of the Asana offices (his start-up). We're pretty friendly with a lot of people around Mark, but we don't have a relationship as of this moment with him.
Hindsight's always 20/20, but it seemed like a lot of the things that happened were unnecessary. There was a way for everyone to be happy and kind of win, and it didn't have to be a zero sum situation. Hopefully we can all learn from that as we move forward and become better people and learn to find the path of least resistance.
It's certainly quite an amazing company. I don't think any of us had any idea of how big it could actually be. I think the scariest thing is that it's probably not done growing anytime soon. We're really proud of the part we played, which we think was certainly material to getting it going and I think Mark has certainly done an incredible job shepherding it and leading the company to what it is today. I think that I'm really impressed with what it is and what it most definitely will be.
Do you have any thoughts about the ugly contention that's been going on the last several months in the Bitcoin dev community over hardforking to relax the blocksize cap? We're definitely watching the block size debate, I don't have a super strong opinion, I think everyone agrees that the block size in some way or another should increase and will have to increase in order for Bitcoin to fulfill its promise. We're keeping a close watch, I think its really interesting how the community's is proposing things and it's working in a very democratic process and people are free to propose things and obviously it's a consensus-based system. I think we're seeing that at play and it'll be exciting and interesting to see it unfold. I think that Bitcoin will get through this, it's weathered a lot already and I think its here to stay. I think its just one more of those things we'll get through.
How has your relationship as brothers affected your business endeavors over the years? The fact that we're twins and best friends has been a huge asset. We've definitely always used it to our advantage. It's obviously not always easy getting along all the time, but we've managed to do it and we've made a great team. Both in sports during our rowing career and now financially working together in business. I think trusting your partners is something that's super important, and we have that built in because we're twins and if I do something wrong to him then it's pretty much like doing it to myself. So it's been a great asset and we've tried to make the best of it.
I'll piggy back on this Winklevii, how did/do you feel about the craziness that has been Dogecoin and other altcoins? I haven't personally looked that much into altcoins. I think that with a protocol like bitcoin there's a huge first mover advantage and a lot of network effects and bitcoin has a great head start in that regard in terms of the size of it's mining network and how much infrastructure it has going for itself. I think that the altcoins are very interesting. Some of the other blockchain efforts like Ripple and Ether are interesting, but we haven't spent a whole lot of time with them because we think there's a lot to be done still in bitcoin blockchain 1.0 if you will.
What are you doing (if anything) to push 'consumer' awareness of bitcoin and remove the 'scary technological hurdles and requirements' or the huge amount of assumed technical jargon / understanding that the average Joe needs to know in order to get involved with bitcoin and use it in their daily life? So first off we're here on Reddit, taking about bitcoin – we've learned about bitcoin and been in bitcoin for three years and I can tell you initially it's a lot to wrap your head around, but we've been working hard building Gemini and also we're working on our ETF that will trade under the ticker 'coin' – and so both should be friendly ways to get either bitcoin exposure or actually buy and sell bitcoin. We're trying to make very regulated, safe and secure environments for people to enter into the bitcoin ecosystem so that's what we've been putting our time towards.
What is in the immediate future for Bitcoin? I think that the immediate future for bitcoin (at least in the U.S.) is regulated businesses – licensed businesses, like Gemini. It's impossible to totally see the future but if you look back to the early days of the Internet, I feel like we're in the first or second inning of bitcoin so it's almost like 1993 or 1994 so there is tremendous potential and we think it's just the beginning.
What is the Gemini use case for the regular Joe trying to diversify his assets? Where Gemini comes into play is that we're New York-headquartered, U.S.-based, U.S. regulated and licensed platform to buy bitcoin. So if you make the decision to take the plunge and actually bitcoin for your portfolio and you think it's a good financial investment, then Gemini is a safe and secure home and platform to actually go and execute and buy bitcoin.
What's the latest on the ETF? Unfortunately the ETF regulatory process is a close process and we're not allowed to discuss the latest and greatest with it. We are working incredibly hard to make this happen as quickly as possible, and rest assured that nobody wants this to come to market quicker than myself and u/winky_pop.
When either twin owes for lunch do you use Bitcoin? So I don't usually buy my lunch with bitcoin because I'm worried that I'll be overpaying down the road so right now I'm holding my bitcoin.
Are you actually going to answer any questions? Hey Jim, I think so. Yeah, why not. Here's you're answer.
of all, great site design. It was super easy to sign up, and everything seemed to work well. The only. We're definitely looking at expanding the exchange offering but we want to stay super focused on first things first – and that was getting licensed in the state of New York and having a successful launch but suffice to say we are working hard to expand our airs of operation.
These are the things, in my opinion, that will make or break the exchange. There is a lot of demand for a.
Is gemini currently a spot market only exchange? What is the plan to bring initial liquidity to the exchange? Do you expect institutional investors to bring a large influx of new money into the bitcoin market? What other cryptocurrencies would you like to see traded on the exchange? Fully regulated and compliant US based exchange that can do everything, a one stop shop if you will. There is. Final question: What makes your exchange different than all the other ones, and why should we trade on it? (5) We have institutional market makers who are going to be providing liquidity on the exchange and we have a lot of demand from just retail and individuals and also other institutions who want to buy and sell bitcoin, so we think the combination of all the customers and also institutional market makers will make a lively and liquid market.
I always have Tyler by me lunch. That's not true.
Last updated: 2015-10-07 15:34 UTC | Next update: 2015-10-07 15:44 UTC
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New Age Media Management now accepting Bitcoin

Now Accepting Bitcoin
New Age Media Management, a New York City-based management firm, is betting on Bitcoin, and plans to accept the crypto-currency beginning March 14.
Though some might question the move given Bitcoin's current spate of bad press, New Age founder Adam Lopez has no qualms about taking the crypto-currency, which is unregulated, has no central bank and has fluctuated wildly since the first Bitcoins were issued about five years ago.
"It's breaking into a lot of merchant circles very quickly and we wanted to be the first in the entertainment space to accept it," Lopez told Pollstar. "No one has really come forward saying they'll accept this for everything from artist commissions to consultation payments to anything we deal with across the board.
"We pride ourselves on being very tech forward. This is something our team has been researching for eight months to a year - watching prices, the stock as it rises and falls, and we felt like right now, despite it getting a little bad press recently, was the right time to make it public."
The bad press stems from news that one of the most prominent exchanges for Bitcoin trading - the Japan-based Mt. Gox - announced it was filing for bankruptcy last month after about 850,000 Bitcoins valued at more than $400 million disappeared from its digital coffers.
In a news conference, Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpelès explained the exchange had been hacked, and "there was some weakness in the system, and the Bitcoins have disappeared. I apologize for causing trouble," he said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Another Bitcoin bank, Flexcoin, called it quits March 2, announcing on its site, "Flexcoin was attacked and robbed of all coins in the hot wallet. The attacker made off with 896 BTC. . As Flexcoin does not have the resources, assets, or otherwise to come back from this loss, we are closing our doors immediately." Elsewhere, Autumn Radtke, the CEO for virtual currency exchange First Meta, was found dead in her Singapore home in what's been reported as an apparent suicide.
Bitcoin has taken hits previously. After the FBI shut down online black-market site Silk Road in October 2013, seizing 144,000 Bitcoins, the value of the crypto-currency plummeted.
It has since recovered and many have called for increased regulations, which Lopez thinks could eventually help legitimize the virtual currency. But it's also going to take buy-in from huge e-commerce companies such as the Amazons of the world before Bitcoin might gain wide acceptance.
New Age Media Management's interest was piqued through the entertainment investment space and its dealings with venture capitalists.
"You have the Winklevoss twins, people like Fred Wilson, and Google ventures who have all invested $30 or $35 million apiece into this venture," Lopez said, adding it's important to separate the currency from the technology as they're investing in "the technology of it. That's really where the money is - investing in the technology of this being accepted and getting merchants on board."
Overstock.com is one such merchant. The company announced in January it would accept the virtual currency and said March 4 it expects Bitcoin sales to reach $10 million or $15 million this year, up from the $5 million it had expected, the WSJ reported.
Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has also backed Bitcoin for its commercial space flights. The Winklevoss twins, coincidentally, announced March 5 they'd booked their Virgin Galactic flights using the crypto-currency.
Aside from the potential investment aspects of Bitcoin, Lopez noted his company could save thousands on fees by accepting the virtual currency.
"The transaction fees are incredibly lower," he said. "Sometimes you'll have a 3 or 4 percent transaction fee if you go through somebody like PayPal or a credit card where as with Bitcoin you're looking at something like half a percent. That makes all the difference when you're doing transactions in the tens of thousands of dollars and saves you that much more money."
It's an idea that makes sense, and just one reason Lopez is so confident about accepting the crypto-currency.
"Bitcoin is definitely in the infancy stages so it's going to fluctuate a lot in price and in interest but we feel like a lot of our artists and the VCs we work with are very excited about the concept," he said.
-Dana Parker-McClain
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Winklevoss Twins Become First Bitcoin Billionaires...and More! Winklevoss twins become first bitcoin billionaire As Bitcoin Roars Into 2020 The Winklevoss Twins Make Wall Street Warning  BTC Halving Not Priced In Winklevoss twins bitcoin investment review - YouTube How the Winklevoss twins made billions from bitcoin

Cameron Winklevoss, the co-founder of Gemini, believes not owning Bitcoin is a “worse decision” than not investing in Amazon. Since the early days, Amazon stock has increased from around $250 ... Winklevoss: Bitcoin Is More Than Digital Gold, BTC is a Source of Truth with Boundless Possibilities . Gabriel Machado-October 23, 2019 0. Cameron Winklevoss, one of the famous Winklevoss’ twins, has recently talked about the potential of Bitcoin. According to him, BTC is far more than... Read more. Winklevoss Twins. Mall of America To Open Crypto-Related Store; Featuring Winklevoss Backed ... Why do the Winklevoss Twins consider Bitcoin as a better investment than Gold? In a very famous interview/conference, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss equated gold and Bitcoin. They went on to say that if someone has gold reserves, they should also start building Bitcoin reserves. They believe that Bitcoin has several advantages over gold. They point out that it is divisible, can be used as the ... Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, AKA the Winklevoss twins, who became famous when they sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming he stole the Facebook idea from them, are now billionaires. And they do so because of their early investment in Bitcoin. The twins sued Zuckerberg in 2004 claiming he stole their ConnectU idea to create his social networking site. Get Trading Recommendations and Read Analysis on Hacked.com for just $39 per month. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, better known as the Winklevoss Twins, are the first verified billionaire bitcoin holders. Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, holds about five percent of the bitcoin’s total supply. However, it remains unclear whether the bitcoin Nakamoto […]

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Winklevoss Twins Become First Bitcoin Billionaires...and More!

They became famous as the privileged pair of Harvard athletes who believe Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook. Now, entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler... Bitcoin Investment Plan: Ride the Great Coming Wave 23,754 views. 1:04:30 . Winklevoss Twins Back in Social Network Game - Duration: 11:58. Wall Street Journal 11,542 views. 11:58. World's Most ... The Winklevoss twins also indicated they remain bullish on the Bitcoin (BTC) price despite its recent rally, pointing to the upcoming bitcoin halving event that will see the number of new bitcoin ... Winklevoss Twins Invest in a New Social Network ... Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss Talk Bitcoin - Duration: 10:40. TechCrunch 22,403 views. 10:40. Winklevoss Twins Back in Social Network Game ... My Bitcoin Investment Strategy: Should You Buy Bitcoin & Other Cryptocurrencies? ... Winklevoss Twins: Bitcoin Could Go Beyond One Trillion Market Cap + Gemini.com Announcement - Duration: 3:29 ...

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