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Key Takeaways

  • In the crypto world, the Winklevoss twins are mostly known for co-founding the Gemini crypto exchange and investing in many other crypto projects;
  • The Winklevoss twins approximately own 70,000 BTC;
  • Primarily, the Winklevoss twins got "popular" after their feud with Mark Zuckerberg.
Understanding the Winklevoss Twins’ Bitcoin Involvement

The Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin endeavor is a long and complicated one. They have both been involved in shaping the current era of tech that we live in for several reasons. The Winklevoss twins have been involved in Web2 just as much as they are with Web3, making their significance far-reaching. But what exactly do they do, and what makes them so important?

In the crypto world, the Winklevoss twins are known for being co-founders of the Gemini crypto exchange, a top-performing platform within this industry. For some, this company is placed on the same pedestal as the likes of Binance or Coinbase, making it a major player in this space.

However, for the general public, the Winklevoss twins’ crypto involvement is not what they are known for– rather, it is their long and toxic relationship with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. Their names were catapulted to the public sphere after the movie, The Social Network, placed a lens on them and examined their ideas and states of mind.

So, let’s take a deep dive into these two characters and understand how far-reaching the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin involvement is, and what it means for the average consumer.

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Who are the Winklevoss Twins?

The first step to understanding the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin-related intentions is to learn who exactly they are. Starting from the basics, they are two brothers, named Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Both attended Harvard University, studying Economics. They are also former Olympic rowers. However, their athletic prowess is rarely of interest to those who want to learn more about them.

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Rather, it is their entrepreneurial activities. Before the Winklevoss twins’ crypto involvement, they gained major notoriety for their feud with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. It would be hard to cover the entire situation that unfolded between the three of them, but in a nutshell, they believed that Zuckerberg stole the idea of Facebook (or a social network dedicated to connecting university students with one another) from them.

After launching a lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg, the Winklevoss twins won $65 million. This, in and of itself, is a huge success. However, the brothers then made headlines a second time by choosing to invest $11 million of this into Bitcoin. This occurred in 2013, and according to the Winklevoss twins themselves, such an action meant that they owned 1% of BTC’s supply. This no doubt had a big impact on the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin net worth.

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin: Bitcoin.

Though, this was just the beginning of the Winklevoss twins’ crypto activities. To cement their position as crypto adopters and investors, they further used their money to launch a crypto exchange, named Gemini. The legacy these two brothers hold has definitely helped to market and promote this exchange, due to them being essentially household names (at least in the corporate sphere).

To sum up, the Winklevoss twins are individuals who come from a place of financial privilege and prestige and decided that despite the traditional economic world working in their favor, the way money is handled globally is outdated and flawed.

They are two of the few people who not only have the power to help Bitcoin be embraced on an institutional level, but who actively believe in it and want to place themselves at the forefront of this mission. However, whether they are the right people for the job is up for debate.

What Companies are Winklevoss Twins Involved With?

Gemini may be the most well-known crypto project that the Winklevoss twins have set up, but it is far from their only involvement in the space. They invest in a huge range of companies, with varying levels of involvement in each. Visiting the Winklevoss Capital portfolio page, the brothers list supposedly every company, as well as asset, that they have significant investments in.

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin: Winklevoss Capital.

Here, they have 23 crypto-related projects that they have put money towards. In terms of cryptocurrencies, their notable investments include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Filecoin, Stacks, Oasis, Tezos, and Zcash. As for companies, Taxbit (a crypto tax calculator), Alliance (a Web3 founder community), Messari (a crypto analytics site), and, of course, Gemini, are of significance.

The Winklevoss twins have also had involvement with BlockFi, a crypto lending service that declared bankruptcy in late 2022. Back in 2019, before disaster struck, the duo even partnered with BlockFi to provide custodial services for them. Of course, since the collapse of BlockFi, the Winklevoss twins have cut ties with them.

Understanding the Winklevoss Twins’ Bitcoin Net Worth

Let’s dive into the supposed net worth of the Winklevoss twins; Bitcoin assets included. It should be noted before jumping into this that calculating net worth is as much a science as it is an art, and that it can be extremely hard to get accurate figures. This is partially because assets change value all the time, and because we can never know for certain every type of investment that each person has.

That being said, Forbes lists both Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss as being worth $2.7 billion each, making up $5.4 billion altogether. When answering the question of how much Bitcoin do the Winklevoss twins own, it has been reported that they have an estimated 70,000 BTC between them. As of April 2024, that would mean that the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin net worth is $4.48 billion together.

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin: Bitcoin price on the BitDegree crypto tracker.

The highest their wealth was reported at is in 2022, when each brother was supposedly worth $4 billion. Looking back at Bitcoin’s price data, its highest point in that year was $46,200. If the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin stats are correct, and they still had 70,000 BTC at that point, their net worth together would have been made up of 40% BTC.

There is no concrete and current data available for how much they have invested in other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum or Zcash, so these, unfortunately, cannot be factored in. Their money may also be tied up in NFTs, considering the twins have shown interest in this asset class.

Regardless, as I've mentioned before, the numbers are subject to change. As you're reading this, they are mostly likely different.

Will the Winklevoss Twins Sell Bitcoin?

The Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin investments make up a sizeable amount of their wealth, and has been a staplepoint of their status and persona on the world stage. For this reason, the crypto community is extremely interested in whether the two brothers have ever sold some of their Bitcoin, or whether they will sell all of it. However, as of writing this, there is no word that this will happen.

In fact, the twins have stated several years ago that they would not sell BTC even if the asset reached the market cap of gold. This is a highly positive sign for those who are interested in holding onto their cryptocurrencies indefinitely. In broad strokes, this is because they hold the belief that crypto is the future of money, and that withdrawing to fiat would be like stepping backwards in a way.

This idea reinforces the notion that the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin investments are more than mere financial moves. They are also representative of their economic and ideological stance. To them, fiat is archaic, and crypto is a sign of a brighter and more impressive future.

Should a situation arise where the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin investments vanish, meaning that they do sell, it could mark a huge change in the market on a socio-economic level. For starters, it could mean that they have lost faith in BTC, which could be due to fears that the price will tumble significantly, or it could be related to its technological limitations.

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin: BTC and fiat.

It is no secret that Bitcoin is less capable than some other cryptocurrencies that can double-up as ecosystems, such as Ethereum or Polkadot.

If this sale of Bitcoin was discovered by the community, or broadcast to the world via the Winklevoss twins themselves, then it could spell disaster for the price of Bitcoin, at least in the short term. Many crypto enthusiasts view the Winklevoss twins as a perfect emulation of the “hodl” mindset– the idea that you hold your assets even during turbulent times in the market.

Some might view the selling of the twins' BTC as a sign that there is no longer a reason for other individuals to hold as well. That being said, as the Winklevoss twins are yet to make any major BTC sales, and so we cannot say with certainty whether anything of the sort would happen.

If the Winklevoss twins sell Bitcoin, it will likely make major headlines in the crypto-sphere, so long as they publish this or it occurs from their known Bitcoin addresses. Therefore, if it happens, the world will likely hear of it.

Pioneers of the ETF Era

The Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin excitement and support led them to become major supporters of crypto-focused ETFs. An exchange-traded fund is a type of investment where assets are traded on a stock exchange, with activity happening throughout the day. There are several advantages to this– by having Bitcoin accessible on a stock exchange, it means that traditional investors can get involved with zero learning curve.

Plus, bringing Bitcoin into the world of stock trading would further add more scrutiny to it, which could help reduce chances of manipulation, as well as add legitimacy to the cryptocurrency. In this current day and age, Bitcoin is viewed very favorably, even by traditional traders who might not invest in it. However, back in 2013, when the Winklevoss twins first tried to push for a Bitcoin ETF, this was not the case.

From as early as then, the twins were working hard to elevate Bitcoin’s image, and tried to set up an ETF, with some of these arguments being presented to regulators. However, they were turned down.

They then tried again in 2016, but this, too, was a failure. It would be unfair to attribute this loss as entirely the fault of the twins themselves, as their proposals appeared sound and well-constructed. Rather this was likely an issue with how the SEC viewed Bitcoin as a whole.

Their first proposal in 2013 was rejected because the SEC presented concerns regarding manipulation and fraud. The second proposal, sent in 2016, but rejected in 2018, was turned away for the same reasons.

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin: SEC.

The Winklevoss twins expected that they would face identical struggles as before, so this time their proposal contained an argument that the Bitcoin markets are “uniquely resistant to manipulation”, largely because all BTC activity is transparent and traceable through its public ledger.

The SEC disagreed with this stance, and cited instances of fraud and supposed manipulation that had occurred within the Bitcoin sector. The Winklevoss twins’ argument here is not inherently poor or ill-conceived, but simultaneously, it is not illogical for the SEC to dismiss it. The twins are right that Bitcoin’s strength lies in its transparency and ability to actively watch and monitor the financial actions that occur within it.

However, at the same time, the global nature of Bitcoin, the fact that crypto is still a relatively new asset class, and that people are still learning and experimenting with Bitcoin means that it might be premature to suggest it is impervious to manipulation. Blockchain transparency definitely goes a long way to proving what is happening in the markets, but there are still ways to circumvent this.

Bitcoin tumblers and mixers are one method of doing so. These are networks that essentially scramble a user’s BTC transactions and mix their coins up with other people’s, making the original sender and receiver hard to track. Not only this, but public accessibility does not stop the actions of whales and large-scale investors.

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin: crypto whale.

If somebody buys or sells huge quantities of BTC, then it can have dramatic effects on the entire market, some of which can be intended by the investor in question[1].

This can be a form of market manipulation, and while a public ledger might help to highlight that it has happened, it does not exactly prevent it from occurring. Another potential method that the Bitcoin markets can get manipulated is via the media; both mainstream and social media.

Bitcoin is particularly sensitive to media portrayals, and especially so around 2016. With this in mind, it would not be hard for news outlets or influencers to have a direct impact on its price.

In essence, the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin ETF plans were quashed by the SEC, and their argument that BTC was uniquely invulnerable to manipulation did not hold up to scrutiny. Again, this is not exactly a poor argument, but more so one that sadly does not consider the markets from all angles.

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin: Bitcoin ETFs.

Despite these failures, the fact that they tried twice to push for a Bitcoin ETF helped them gain a strong online following, and to be viewed favorably by the Bitcoin community.

They were able to present themselves as bastions, or even saviors, of the Bitcoin market. After all, they are institutional figures who are working to elevate Bitcoin to the same standard as stocks. Around these years, they also went on several press runs, taking quotes for newspapers and appearing on television interviews, defending Bitcoin and presenting it in a positive light.

While they might not have succeeded in getting an ETF approved, they likely helped shape its image for the better, regardless. Besides, the concept of Bitcoin ETFs did, eventually, get approved.

Making Sense of the Controversies

As is often the case with well-known crypto enthusiasts and thought-leaders, there are several controversies that the Winklevoss twins have become embroiled in. Naturally, the first of these that comes to mind for many is with regards to their involvement in Facebook, but let’s push this to the side as it is more Web2-focused than it is relevant to crypto.

BlockFi and FTX

When it comes to this industry, there are several controversies that collide with them. I mentioned it earlier, but they were heavy investors in BlockFi, the now-defunct crypto lending service. Their venture capital firm, Winklevoss Capital, funded the company. However, when disaster struck, they tried to distance themselves from the situation.

BlockFi’s failure is tangentially connected to the fall of FTX[2], which used to be one of the biggest crypto exchanges on the market. The Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin activity meant that they had some partial relationship with FTX, although in a much more indirect way. BlockFi invested in FTX, and FTX also had a strong business relationship with a company called Genesis, another crypto organization.

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin: BlockFi.

The lending division of Genesis suspended withdrawals due to the situation with FTX. This became problematic for the twins as it was reported that Genesis held around $900 million of customer funds that belonged to Gemini Earn, which was Gemini's own lending service and that it has not been released.

The twins have since released a public statement in the form of an open letter claiming that the Genesis team is using “bad faith stall tactics” to avoid paying the money that is owed.

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Gemini Earn and the SEC

Gemini Earn has further caused trouble for the duo. This small part of the Winklevoss twins’ crypto empire has come under fire by the SEC, with the organization claiming they have been selling unregistered securities to their user base. This is not massively dissimilar to how Coinbase has been targeted by the SEC for its lending protocol.

The US regulatory body is zeroing in on the idea that these lending providers are performing some sort of investment contract, and that the assets in question are unregistered securities.

These cases are ongoing, and so there is no direct consensus on how they will play out. However, those who are focused on the crypto landscape may find the timing to be perplexing. In 2022, the industry saw the collapse of several crypto lending providers, damaging the reputation and price points of the market, and, most importantly, harming the finances of individuals.

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin: Gemini.

BlockFi and Celsius Network are two of the biggest names to have fallen in this space, and their demise happened close to each other. Both were lending services. The SEC could view projects like this as a liability, and may be scrutinizing them as a way of mitigating any further harm for the consumer. Discovering the motivations of a regulatory body can be notoriously hard (especially with the SEC), but if this is the case, it could have an ironically opposing effect.

While people may be more weary of crypto lenders nowadays, the fact that the SEC is honing in on them means that companies who might actually be trustworthy are terminating their activity, as the Winklevoss twins have with Gemini Earn, and Coinbase has with Coinbase Lend.

If these companies are, in fact, acting fairly and safely, then all this does is prevent underbanked individuals from seeking alternative financial support (as those who are underbanked often cannot secure fiat loans).

The IRA Hack

IRA Financial Trust, a platform designed to set up retirement funds using cryptocurrencies and alternative assets, claimed that the Winklevoss twins (through Gemini) led to a hack that caused them to lose over $30 million of their customer’s assets. The company had partnered with Gemini and claimed that the theft was caused by a faulty API key that the twins provided.

Not only this, IRA Financial Trust even stated that they felt pressured by the twins to use this key. They argue that Gemini did not take the security matters seriously enough, and did not help to explain to the company how they should implement the API, showing disregard for safety and risk. Not only this, but they claim that Gemini did not sufficiently freeze the affected customer accounts in a reasonable timeframe, even after learning that the robbery was ongoing.

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Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Investigation

The issues regarding IRA Financial Trust coincided with yet another lawsuit that was taken out on the Winklevoss twins. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) claims that the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin futures contracts, and various other investment contracts on their Gemini platform, were misrepresented to regulators when meeting with them.

At the heart of this situation is the fact that Gemini’s futures contracts were linked to Bitcoin’s settlement price on the Gemini platform itself, which meant that if the price was manipulated on the exchange, then it would further manipulate the futures contracts.

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin: Bitcoin price changes.

In other words, if anyone can artificially influence the price of Bitcoin on the Gemini exchange, they can also indirectly manipulate the outcome of the futures contracts.

However, this is not a mere theoretical issue, the CFTC claimed to have found certain instances where this happened. This includes both supposed unsecured loans, as well as scenarios where Gemini allowed trades to occur before transfers were settled. In essence, this comes down to the CFTC questioning whether Gemini and the Winklevoss twins have acted dishonestly.


You may come away from this discussion and question whether the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin involvement is positive for the industry, or whether they are problematic. The truth is that there is no clear-cut answer to this. They are two complex characters who have both helped propel Bitcoin to the masses and elevate its image, whilst simultaneously hurting its reputation with their scandals and controversies.

What can be said, however, is that they are highly influential in this sector, and their celebrity status is distinctly attached to BTC. When answering the question of "Who are the Winklevoss twins?" it is impossible to discuss them without at least mentioning Bitcoin. Naturally, this leads people to wonder, "How much Bitcoin do the Winklevoss twins own?" and "What the Winklevoss twins Bitcoin net worth is?".

In essence, the best way to view these people is to look at them from all angles, taking in the good and the bad. The crypto world wants to change financial systems with crypto exchanges like Binance or Bybit on a widescale level, yet to reach its full audience and potential, it needs to engage with members of these systems and get them to move to its side.

This is what the Winklevoss twins represent. They are Harvard-educated figures who come from a world of financial privilege. Despite this, they have consciously decided that the traditional economic structure of the world is flawed, and that the future is blockchain-based.

The content published on this website is not aimed to give any kind of financial, investment, trading, or any other form of advice. BitDegree.org does not endorse or suggest you to buy, sell or hold any kind of cryptocurrency. Before making financial investment decisions, do consult your financial advisor.

Scientific References

1. S.C. Long, Y. Xie, Z. Zhou, et al.: 'From Whales to Waves: The Role of Social Media Sentiment in Shaping Cryptocurrency Markets';

2. A. Jalan, R. Matkovskyy: 'Systemic Risks in the Cryptocurrency Market: Evidence from the FTX Collapse Author Links Open Overlay Panel'.

About Article's Experts & Analysts

By Kai M.

Expert Analyst, Contributor

Born and raised in London, UK, Kai is a Web3 ethicist with a Law & Philosophy degree that empowers him to see the broader regulatory & ethical landscapes of the still-young and forming crypto space. An avid enthusiast of DAOs, Kai advocate...
Kai M. , Expert Analyst, Contributor
Born and raised in London, UK, Kai is a Web3 ethicist with a Law & Philosophy degree that empowers him to see the broader regulatory & ethical landscapes of the still-young and forming crypto space. An avid enthusiast of DAOs, Kai advocates for the liberty and freedom of the Web3 ecosystem.
As an expert analyst of blockchain tech-related concepts, Kai has been officially nominated for Hackernoon Contributor of the Year in the Proof-of-Stake category. Specializing in Web3 ethics and blockchain philosophy, Kai tackles some of the hardest and most thought-provoking questions this space has to offer.
Employing his expertise, Kai researches and covers the topics of the Metaverse, the future of DAOs, Web3 ethics, and crypto regulation, with the goal of better understanding the growing topic interest curve in the masses.
In addition to being a hardened blockchain researcher, Kai is an avid history lover, and enjoys discussing historical events with his peers.

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What cryptocurrencies do the Winklevoss twins own?

While it cannot be stated with 100% accuracy which assets they own, according to Winklevoss Capital, they invest in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Filecoin, Oasis, Stacks, Tezos, and Zcash. Most of these are available on leading exchanges, such as Binance, Bybit, or Gemini, the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin and crypto platform of their own.

Will the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin investments ever get sold?

It is hard to say, but the Winklevoss twins hold Bitcoin not only because they view it as a lucrative investment, but because it appears to be the future of finance and economics in their minds. The fact that they have an ideological reason behind their Bitcoin holdings suggests that they would only ever sell if they stopped believing in it. If this happens, it would be fascinating to see if they would sell it on their own exchange, Gemini, or if they used a different service like Binance, for exmaple.

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Reading through various best crypto exchange reviews online, you're bound to notice that one of the things that most of these exchanges have in common is that they are very simple to use. While some are more straightforward and beginner-friendly than others, you shouldn't encounter any difficulties with either of the top-rated exchanges. That said, many users believe that KuCoin is one of the simpler exchanges on the current market.

What is the difference between a crypto exchange and a brokerage?

In layman's terms, a cryptocurrency exchange is a place where you meet and exchange cryptocurrencies with another person. The exchange platform (i.e. Binance) acts as a middleman - it connects you (your offer or request) with that other person (the seller or the buyer). With a brokerage, however, there is no “other person” - you come and exchange your crypto coins or fiat money with the platform in question, without the interference of any third party. When considering cryptocurrency exchange rankings, though, both of these types of businesses (exchanges and brokerages) are usually just thrown under the umbrella term - exchange. This is done for the sake of simplicity.

Are all the top cryptocurrency exchanges based in the United States?

No, definitely not! While some of the top cryptocurrency exchanges are, indeed, based in the United States (i.e. KuCoin or Kraken), there are other very well-known industry leaders that are located all over the world. For example, Binance is based in Tokyo, Japan, while Bittrex is located in Liechtenstein. While there are many reasons for why an exchange would prefer to be based in one location over another, most of them boil down to business intricacies, and usually have no effect on the user of the platform.



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