They were cast as snobby rich kid villains in The Social Network but Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are emerging as the darlings of the digital underground.
The 39-year-old American identical twins, who co-founded a social network while attending Harvard University and later accused Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea, are now big-time bitcoin investors.
The brothers were among the first to get into cryptocurrency and were speakers at the 2021 Bitcoin Conference being held in Miami this weekend.
Their appearance came eight years after they first gave a keynote talk at the conference and told “a few dozen” attendees bitcoin, then priced around $150 per coin, was the future.
It’s now valued around $37,000 (USD) and the Winklevii, as they’ve become known, have seen their combined net worth soar to $6 billion.
And despite a poor couple of months for cryptocurrency, which has seen bitcoin’s value plummet from a record-high of $63,000 in April, they remain bullish about its future prospects.
The brothers played up to a rabid audience during a fireside chat with hedge fund founder Anthony Pompliano as Tyler referred to the US dollar on several occasions as the “ultimate sh*tcoin” and Cameron showed off a “Rage Against The Machine” T-shirt.
But it was their projections for the price of bitcoin that had the crowd really grinning.
“We still think it’s really early,” Tyler said. “We think bitcoin is gold 2.0. It will disrupt gold so its market cap has to be $10 trillion or more, because that’s the market cap of gold. Bitcoin is hovering around $1 trillion, we think conservatively it’s at least a 10x from here. Even at $35,000 it feels like a really good buying opportunity long-term.
“At a $10 trillion market cap we think one bitcoin will be worth $500,000 and we think that could happen inside this decade … We’re HODLers until at least $500,000.”
The twins, who have an obvious interest in bitcoin’s viability because of their large holdings, not to mention Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange they own, first spruiked their “gold 2.0” thesis last year.
“The thesis hasn’t really played out yet,” Cameron said on Saturday. “We’re like one twelfth of the way there. When we wrote that thought piece in August (last year) bitcoin was at $13,000 and it hit $64,000 (in April this year).”
“Our gold 2.0 thesis is that it disrupts gold, and that’s conservative,” Tyler added. “Obviously bitcoin is a lot more than gold. It’s an open source project that continues to evolve and can do so much more. It can become the global reserve digital currency of the world — of the galaxy. When we get to Mars what’s the currency going to be on Mars? It’s not going to be dollars, no it’s going to be bitcoin.”
Tyler argued bitcoin soared during covid because investors responded to the risk of inflation created by governments pumping out trillions of dollars to keep the economy alive.
“Bitcoin is the world’s best hedge against inflation, it’s the hardest, soundest money … so all of those folks who would have been calling bitcoin a fraud and were sceptical and saying ‘I’m not really into technology, I don’t get it’, they saw what was happening with fiat regimes, the US dollar, (which is) the ultimate shitcoin,” he said. “Bitcoins been having trillion dollar advertisements. The Fed is the biggest champion.”
“We wish we bought earlier, we wish we bought more, and everyone says that no matter how much you have,” Tyler added. “We’ll look back on today and say ‘we wish we bought at $35,000’.”
The finance world remains lukewarm about cryptocurrency as an investment play, including Scott “The Barefoot Investor” Pape who has strongly warned against it.