Winklevi Finally Vindicated?
Good things come to those who wait (kind of).
After years of being known as the faces of dejection from "The Social Network," Cameron S. H. Winklevoss '04 and Tyler O. H. Winklevoss '04 have, over the last eight months, become the faces of Bitcoin. Last April, the New York Times revealed that the twins have created one of the largest portfolios of the completely digital currency out there.
For those of you who are not as invested in the lives of the Winklevi, here's a bit of background. Bitcoin originated in 2009 as a peer-to-peer currency that operates independently of government regulation. Because they are heavily encrypted and accessible only using private keys, bitcoins are one of the most anonymous methods available for conducting transactions.
Forbes reported last month that since the Winklevosses’ investment was revealed, “the price of the digital currency has tripled.” And everyone is getting on board, even though no one is quite sure who created or controls Bitcoin (if anyone). According to the New York Times, commercial spaceflight company Virgin Galactic now accepts bitcoins for transactions, and Baidu, China’s most popular search engine, has endorsed the currency. Lawmakers in Washington are even holding hearings on them: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wrote in a letter to senators that the currency may hold “long-term promise.”
Our favorite “aggressively aristocratic” duo is sure that bitcoins are not going away anytime soon. According to Forbes, Cameron Winklevoss believes that Bitcoin’s market cap could grow from $4 billion to $400 billion, though others are not so sure. (Compare that to Facebook’s current market cap of under $117 billion, and you see that the Winklevi are definitely setting up some kind of “last laugh” scenario here.)
The past week has not been so kind to the Bitcoin market, however. On Thursday, China took steps to restrict the use of Bitcoin as currency among its banks, and the market has since witnessed a marked decline in value. Only time will tell how the Winklevi fare in this venture, but if the past is any indication, we're willing to bet our bottom Bitcoin that the Winklevi will find a way to become the faces of one thing or another... eventually.