Winklevoss Twins: Bitcoin billionares $11 million

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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Cryptocurrency Investors

Hello! My name is Mihail Kudryashev, I am a frontend engineer at Platinum. We are a an international STO/IEO/ICO/POST ICO consulting, promotion and fundraising company with huge experience in STO and ICO marketing and best STO blockchain platform in the world! Learn more about it: Platinum.fund Our company gained popularity after launching the world’s number one online university with only practical knowledge on crypto economics. Now you can learn how to create and develop your own ICO and STO, how to market your campaign and make it super successful. Who are cryptocurrency investors? What drives people to invest in cryptocurrency? Read the extract of the UBAI lesson to get all the answers.
Introduction to the Investors §2
In 2017, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization was approaching $850B which begs the question:
Why are investors turning to cryptocurrencies?
A survey by Blockchain Capital indicated that at least 30% of millennials would rather invest in bitcoin than invest in traditional stocks. Cryptocurrency investors, like traditional investors, expect a return at least proportionate to the risk they take. Due to the fundamental lack of regulation, incredible volatility and astronomical relative risk, many cryptocurrency investors expect to earn meteoric returns. Returns in the ranges of multiples from 200% to 1000%.
Let us first begin by examining the kinds of people who invest in cryptocurrency, and then let’s see the reasons why each of them is investing in this relatively new market.
Types of Investors
The “Newbie” Cryptocurrency Investor
This investor is just starting out. They probably have not had any significant experience in any form of investing before and bitcoin is their first experience. They have heard about people making incredible returns from cryptocurrency investing, or some aspect of the entire blockchain and crypto revolution attracts them, and they decide they want to invest too.
Unfortunately, most of the newbie investors will end up losing their money, primarily because of one specific misconception; they think cryptocurrency investing is an easy way to make huge profits. “ “Types of Investors §2
“Gambler” or “Get Rich Quick” Investor
This is the second class of cryptocurrency investor, and is actually not really an investor at all.
This type of person is out to make a fortune as fast as possible. They will fall for whatever sweet-sounding scheme they hear. They love ideas that promise to double or triple their investment quickly. Like the Newbie, they do not understand how cryptocurrencies work, and they don’t care. The difference between this kind of investor and the successful individual or professional investor is that the gambler does not care about the management of risk, or about the timing of trades.
They place their money on the table, and they hope it will make a good return. They are gambling rather than creating an investment thesis and executing a well-thought out strategy. They might even have an infectious positive attitude, but unfortunately it is not backed by knowledge or the due diligence required to be a successful investor.
A good example of this style of thinking, outside of cryptocurrency, is high yield investment plans (HYIPs) that promise to multiply an investors capital by a certain factor. This is not to say that all HYIP programs are scams, but a good number of them are. Most importantly, the investors who flock into such plans have similar characteristics to that of the Get Rich Quick investor in that they will not take the time to learn about the field in which they are investing. They are just looking for fast money and an overnight success. “ “Types of Investors §3
Short Term Traders (Day/Swing Traders)
Short term traders must, without a doubt, be the most knowledgeable investors if they are going to succeed at their chosen profession. They have, or they should have, studied the art and science of trading more thoroughly than other people. This is the kind of investor who has taken the time to learn about cryptocurrencies and the markets on which they trade. Short term traders create deliberate and timed strategies in an attempt to profit from fast market movements. Maybe many of the short term traders started off as Newbies, but these are the individuals who took the time and effort to learn about the market. They wanted to know what they were doing. These are the people who survived and thrived to grow into the type of trader that they want to be.
Interestingly, the Day Trader does not attach emotion to any given coin. They do not need to believe in the sustainability/whitepapevision/road map, etc. of the project they are buying into at any particular time. They just need to be confident about the direction and timing of the potential price movement of the coin. “ “Types of Investors §4
Long Term Investors/ Hodlers
A great majority of successful cryptocurrency investors can be most properly classified as Long Term Investors, or HODLers in true crypto terminology. These are investors who understand quite a bit about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology and believe in the sustainability of the coins in which they are investing.
Think of the first few investors who bought bitcoin in the early days and years, when it was still deep under the radar for most people. These are the people who believed in the blockchain and cryptocurrency revolution. They didn’t sell their bitcoin for fast profit, although they had many chances to do so. They knew what they were doing, holding for the long term. These early investors and HODLers enjoyed astronomical growth all the way up to 2016 and 2017. But to be a long-term holder despite all the bad news and negative factors surrounding this brand new asset class, they must have really believed that bitcoin and the blockchain were going to change the world. This belief can only be established through study and research about the blockchain industry and the specific currencies and tokens in which you are going to invest.
Follow up and learn more on www.ubai.co!” “Types of Investors §5
Sophisticated/Professional Investors
These are experts in cryptocurrency investing. They most likely have a background in other forms of trading and investing, such as in stocks, bonds or options etc. They may also be earning fees by investing or managing money for other people.
The Iconomi fund managers are a good example. Each Fund Manager manages an array of digital assets. Investors might choose Iconomi because it offers a platform for the investor to allocate funds to specific fund managers, with the ability to swap between managers instantly if the investor desires to do so.
Each fund manager selects a number of coins in which they wish to trade or invest, with specified time horizons, short or long term. Investors can buy into the array of mutually held coins. This allows investors to utilize the knowledge and experience of professional fund managers to trade an allocated pool of capital, hopefully generating returns greater than the individual investor would be able to produce on his own.
The fund managers are motivated by the fees and commissions they earn, and perhaps a performance-linked bonus. You can certainly be properly classified as a Sophisticated Investor without any need to be a fund manager for other peoples’ money. But a professional fund manager has the ability to trade with a larger pool of capital, manage complicated risk, and diversify trading strategy to generate various streams of income. “ “Between Countries
A particular country’s participation in cryptocurrencies largely has to do with the legal regulations about blockchain projects and crypto currency investment in that jurisdiction.
When China banned the use of cryptocurrency, most Chinese nationals had to withdraw their investments. Many other countries have also placed bans on the use or trade of cryptocurrencies. Countries like Japan that have allowed the use of cryptocurrencies have witnessed a significant rise in cryptocurrency investments as a result. Japan and South Korea are home to several high-traffic cryptocurrency exchanges, meaning that a notable proportion of their population is investing in cryptocurrencies.
Another way to look at cryptocurrency investment demographics is to look at the bitcoin ATMs present in each country. The United States of America is the leading country, followed by Canada and then the United Kingdom.
According to a report by Google trends, the five top countries interested in bitcoin are: South Africa, Slovenia, Nigeria, Colombia and Bolivia.
Remember, cryptocurrency demographics can be a little tricky due to the anonymity involved. Many people may be afraid to participate in surveys, especially when their governments have placed legal restrictions on cryptocurrency investing.
The main point the research seems to validate is that the demographics of the cryptocurrency investor base is diverse. While the average investor may be a white or Asian male between the ages of 26-30 with at least a university degree, the entire investor base is so much larger than that. Many big investors are likely to be significantly older, and have connections and businesses in the traditional economy as well. “ “Notable Investors in Cryptocurrency
While many people have made fortunes from cryptocurrency investing, a handful of them stand out as being particularly remarkable. We will take a more detailed look at some of the biggest investment success stories to see how they did it and learn about their investing strategy.
The Winklevoss Twins
After being awarded their settlement from the lawsuit against Facebook, the Winklevoss twins decided to invest a significant portion of their money in Bitcoin. They invested $11million of the $65million they received. At that time, the price of a single bitcoin was about $120.
This high-risk investment paid off handsomely and they became the first publicly known Bitcoin Billionaires, perhaps owning more than 1% of the total bitcoin in circulation. In an interview with Financial Times in 2016, the twins jointly said that they consider “Bitcoin as potentially the greatest social network because it is designed to transfer value over the internet”. They also pointed out that compared to gold, bitcoin has equal or greater foundational traits of scarcity and portability. “ “Notable Investors in Cryptocurrency §2
Michael Novogratz
A self-made billionaire ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker, Novogratz has invested more than 30% of his fortune in cryptocurrency. In 2015, he announced a $500million cryptocurrency hedge fund, including $150million of his own money. Novogratz believes that “the blockchain, the computer code that underpins all cryptocurrencies, will reshape finance, just as the internet reshaped communication”.
The investment thesis of Mr. Novogratz is similar to that of the Winklevoss twins. He has taken and maintains a long-term position while he trades in and out of short term moves, based on his fundamental belief in the potential and likely application of the underlying blockchain technology. By starting an investment fund in addition to his other cryptocurrency related ventures, he is demonstrating a strong fundamental grasp of the technology, including its applicability and impact across so many industries. Slide
Barry Silbert
In December 2014 after the US Marshal’s office seized 50,000 bitcoins from the Silk Road, Barry Silbert purchased just 2,000 of those bitcoins at $350 per coin. A few years later of course, those coins were worth millions of dollars.
Barry is the founder and CEO of the Digital Currency Group (DCG) a cryptocurrency investment firm. Barry also made significant profits from Ethereum Classic, purchasing the coin in its very first days. He has invested in over 75 bitcoin related companies, including CoinDesk. As founder of the Digital Currency Group, Barry endeavors to support bitcoin and blockchain companies and accelerate the development of the global financial system. “ “Directly through Exchanges
Step One: Register on a reputable cryptocurrency exchange
To start investing, you first need to register on a reputable cryptocurrency exchange where you can buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Binance is a good exchange to use in this lesson. While it may or may not be the best, it is currently the largest, and they provide a very supportive layout and customer service department.
You should remember, to buy most altcoins (cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin), you specifically need to use an exchange like Coinbase or Kraken that allows you to convert fiat currency into cryptocurrency. From there, if you want to trade altcoins not listed on that exchange, you will have to transfer your BTC or ETH to a larger exchange like Binance, and buy the altcoin you want, using whichever trading pair that is best suited (BTC and ETH pairs are most common).
As we have already explained, if you are buying Bitcoin or any cryptocurrencies, you should invest in a wallet to safely store your coins. It is not advisable to store your BTC or other crypto on the exchanges for too long, due to hacking and other risks. “ “Directly through Exchanges
Step Two: Determine your Strategy
There are different ways to invest. You need to find a strategy that works for you and your specific set of skills. The value of a cryptocurrency is not defined by a formula or something out a textbook. If everyone was able to calculate the actual value of a share of stock, for example, or a bond, or other tradeable asset, then the price on an open market exchange would never move. Buyers and sellers would know exactly how much the asset is worth, so there would be no reason to sell lower or buy higher than the actual value.
You need to come up with your own ideas and strategies to take advantage of market moves. Sometimes you will have a position that is contrary to the general market. Other times you might be trading in agreement with a majority of other market participants. Investors are basically separable into one of two groups of thinkers. Contrarian investors go against the crowd, swimming against the current; Momentum investors ride the wave feeling secure in the majority. Being different can be good or it can be bad. You do not always want to necessarily get caught up in the most crowded trade. “ “Things to keep in Mind
Bitcoin Futures
We need to mention the bitcoin futures market as another potential way to invest. Toward the close of 2017, Bitcoin started trading on two fully recognized and well-established futures markets; the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange CME.
The key quote from the exchanges was “because the futures can be traded on regulated markets, it will attract investors, making the market liquid, stabilizing prices and it will not suffer from low transaction speeds of Bitcoin Exchanges.”
For a risk averse investor, this offers a safer entry into cryptocurrency investing. A futures contract commits its owner to buy or sell the underlying asset, BTC, at a set price, and at a set date in the future. The investor in the futures contract does not actually own the underlying asset, but rather is trading on fluctuations in the price of the asset over a certain timeframe, as specified in the futures contract. “ “Things to keep in Mind §2
Common Pitfalls We cannot conclude this lesson without one more look at the common pitfalls a new cryptocurrency investor should avoid.
The problem areas are: -Falling for scams by failing to carry out due diligence. -Relying solely upon self-acclaimed crypto gurus and experts. If you want to trade, you must understand how to read news and charts for yourself. -Too much Greed. Not taking profit when you should. It is better to take a 20% gain, than wait for a 100% gain, only to lose it all in the end. -Lacking an investment strategy or exit plan. -Not sticking to your investment plan or strategy. -Allowing emotions to rule your decisions. Chasing your losses. -Investing what you cannot afford to lose.
And finally, some time-tested wisdom from Wall Street: Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs get slaughtered every time. (Don’t be greedy!)
We cannot overemphasize the risk involved in cryptocurrency investing. The potential to make huge gains over a short period of time does not come without risk. There is no doubt that significant players in the global financial markets are entering the cryptocurrency markets too. We are likely to witness more and more government authorities trying to regulate cryptocurrencies, hopefully to the overall benefit of a healthy market. It seems safe to say we will see cryptocurrencies become more mainstream due to the intense interest from the traditional financial industry and institutional investing community all over the world. What are better ways to successfully invest in cryptocurrencies? Which pitfalls should you avoid? Learn all on successful ICOs and STOs after reading the full lesson: UBAI.co How to start your STO/ICO campaign in 2019? Contact me via Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn to know more about our education: Facebook LinkedIn Instagram
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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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r/bitcoin recap - March 2017

Hi Bitcoiners!
I’m back with the third 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.
Now archived on Bitcoinsnippets.com
As promised, I launched a website as an archive, where I post the version with links to the original posts and discussions so this post doesn't get auto-moderated. Special thanks goes out to Bitttburger for thinking of the name Bitcoin Snippets.
I went back in time and made an overview for December 2016 too. I’ll probably make recaps of 1-2 previous months for each month I progress, so that I eventually end up with everything in a few years.
Starting from this month, I’m going to cut back on including memes, there’s too many and they overtake the interesting news.
A recap of March 2017 in bitcoin
Version with links on Bitcoinsnippets.com
Thanks to everyone who contributed to Bitcoin in a positive way this month!
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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.
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Note on the Flash Crash:
On August 18th the Bitcoin market experienced a flash crash on a number of exchanges, led by Bitfinex. It appears, according to swap data there was a number of large positions which closed in tandem causing a whipsaw effect, accelerated by market panic. Thankfully it does appear this was an isolated issue, and not a fundamental break down of the market. The price touched $160s on Bitfinex, and has since recovered to the $230 region, signaling this may have been entirely a result of an issue with an exchange or exchanges. We’ll know more in the coming days, but at this time we believe this to be the case. We’ve selected Bitstamp for our charts, as it did not have as drastic a reaction which can affect technical analysis.
Fundamental Analysis:
The entire setup of the market is clouded with bearish sentiment amplified the impacts of the BitLicense and the news of the first Bitcoin-XT Block being mined. Here is a review of what has happened fundamentally in the market over the past week and a half. On a global scale, the acceptance of Bitcoin in many countries has been on the rise as weaker economies are evidently turning to cryptocurrencies as their exit option, indicated by the increase in the trading volumes of Latin American Countries. The high inflation rate and unstable economy in countries like Argentina and Brazil have caused a massive surge in the trading volumes of Bitcoins in Latin America increasing more than 120%. This might be a reverberation from the increased number of newly registered users in Greece over the past few weeks which increased by 600%. In Europe, despite Germany’s recent negative press about Greek bailout, Berlin remains one of the major attractions for Venture Capitalists, with Bitcoin Startups and the overall ecosystem continuing to prosper. With more than $2.2 Billion invested in startups in Germany and a considerable percentage of them being Bitcoin startups, the future of cryptocurrency in Germany looks promising.
The surprise “one off depreciation” of the Yuan by the People’s Bank of China early in the week led to price divergences and limited bull runs in USD and CNY exchanges as people invested with Yuan saw the Bitcoin market as a good hedging opportunity. Adding to the already strengthening sentiment of growing Venture Capital investments in bitcoin, Japanese exchange ‘bitFlyer’ was able to raise $4 million for their next round of funding, despite the ripples caused by the arrest of Mark Karpeles, former CEO of Mt Gox earlier this month. Bitcoin got a boost from more traditional finance firm PricewaterhouseCooper’s which promoted the use of Bitcoin and Blockchain Technologies for its clients. The report stated categorically that Cryptocurrencies open the door for revolutionary technological possibilities and would disrupt the existing financial Industry in a positive way. With things going awry after the BitLicense debacle, the long awaited Gemini Exchange is a ray of hope for the residents of New York with the Winklevoss twins filing the paperwork for operating an exchange in New York in accordance with the new policies.
Edward Snowden’s statements about bitcoin, particularly saying that the technology is inherently flawed citing the ‘51 % mining attack’ as a structural weakness problem created negative sentiment in mainstream press. On the positive side, he added that the basic principles of systems based on decentralized tokenization models might continually provide more value to society. In the midst of the negative mainstream sentiment Bitcoin XT released their completed version of the software on the 15th of August. Unfortunately, many mainstream articles surfaced calling the first Bitcoin-XT block meaning Bitcoin has forked. On one hand it is a vote for the change in protocol, but the network, almost exclusively, continue to run on the core implementation. Predictions say the full switch could happen mid-2016, but the exaggerated news has had a short term impact on the mainstream perception of Bitcoin and potentially the market.
While things were already looking tight because of BitLicense, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), has issued a new ruling stating startups seeking to tokenize commodities for Blockchain based trading have to be licensed in all the 50 states. On the heels of new regulation, SABR, a New York Based startup has just raised one million dollars to fulfill its goal of providing law enforcement with a view beneath the surface of multiple block chains. SABR aims to detect and prevent bitcoin and other digital currencies being used for illicit purposes. How these developments in regulation and security will help or harm the bitcoin community will be seen in due time.
Technical Analysis:
Long Term:
On a weekly scale, the market has been predominantly sideways with choppy moves from 255-271, until finally completing the bearish arc of the sideways swing by breaking the support zone around 250 and trading at 220 levels. The Bollinger bands in the weekly chart still remain parallel showing that the market is in the expected zone and judging by the regression lines, is setting up for a bull trend after consolidation. On a long term scale, taking a position right now for a long term trade would be premature as the sentiment in the market is not clear. The RSI is approaching the oversold region while the MACD just took a bearish turn without crossing the zero line. The proper indication for setting up long term trades would be reading the setup of the market in terms of 5 SMA and Bollinger bands. As soon as both Bollinger Bands and the 5 SMA become trending in the upward direction after significant consolidation, entering into trades with a long term plan is more justified. Proper entry points for such trades would be around the 217 region with stops below 214. If the market is trending, possible exit points could be 255, 271 and 317.
If the market breaks to the downside, breaking the support zone at 217, weekly lower Bollinger band and previous swing lows are possible targets.
Midterm:
If we look at the daily chart, the break of the zone of support around 250-255 signaled move in the market that has the run the price down to 221. The reversal was very quick with less volume, showing that the 217-220 zone is a good support zone which can be tested soon because of the still trending bearish setup in the daily chart. With the Bollinger bands and SMA’s pointing downwards, the setup is going to remain bearish for some time until a base of consolidation is formed. The descending triangle as shown in the daily chart between the downward trendline and support line at 217 might result in higher volumes being traded in the coming days. In which direction the break out would be or the setup would change will depend on how the market approaches the vertex of the triangle. The MACD is showing a bearish signal in the short term and the RSI crossed 30 into the oversold region but is now coming close to leaving the oversold region. In the medium term, it appears that it is going to be bearish/sideways for some time.
A trade setup shorting at the 5 SMA cross and looking for positions on the retracements was a good opportunity during the sell off.
Short term:
The market crashed by a huge percentage on Tuesday when the trading price of Bitcoin dropping to the 160s on some exchanges, although Bitstamp did not have as severe a reaction. Though it was immediately backed by a green retracement candle, the sentiment is predominantly bearish even in the 240 minute chart with little corrections. The market is expected to trade in this range for some time before either consolidating and going for a reversal or crashing down further. Some of the good trades in this range would be picking longs on the support level until the market closes in on the triangle as shown on the daily chart. Shorting around the lower Bollinger band, and 5 SMA with expectation of a crash down back to the 217 levels could also be profitable, although these trades have to be done with a tight stop loss.
Sentiment Analysis:
The overall sentiment of the market has continued bearish with BitLicense and “Bitcoin Forking” leading the way. However, the sentiment on the banking front is picking up speed with Visa deploying a block chain research team on the 12th August in Bangalore to study the possible applications of the Blockchain. Deutsche Bank has recently backed Blockchain Technology and bitcoins by making some positive statements about how bitcoins hold the key for the future of financial services. Another positive enforcer to the sentiment is Blockchain.info has exceeded 4 million users. With companies like BitX and ecoins making payment through bitcoins via debit cards infrastructure possible, further research to adapt bitcoin to the existing financial system and other applications seems more likely. Continued adoption by European merchants and an Indonesian crowd funding platform accepting bitcoins, gives hope that bitcoin is slowly gaining a grip on the traditional financial world. It’s still unsure about how the forking news will affect the price of Bitcoin. Major exchanges like Bitfinex have said the major exchanges will come together in agreement if a major shift happens, as there main concern is supporting as many customers as possible.
Developments in Blockchain:
The Blockchain is may play a key role in the Music Industry. Revelator builds software that allows artists and record labels to manage, track and market their music all from one application. The company sees the blockchain as an opportunity to simplify music rights, which remain complicated and difficult to verify, with a new Intellectual Property (IP) management system that will allow artists to register their works on an immutable ledger. They have partnered with Colu for this project.
On another front, ItBit has revealed details about the Bankchain project, a private consensus based ledger system aimed at providing enterprise financial solutions. With this, the New York based exchange has joined other Blockchain firms which are trying to seek the attention of banks that want to utilize the efficiencies of distributed Blockchain technology with private blockchains.
Technocorner:
The past week and a half has majorly been a week of innovation where ‘ecoin’ and ‘BitX’ have launched Hybrid debit cards. These debit cards are aimed to facilitate interchangeable payments in bitcoins or fiat currencies. ecoin plans to merge the bitcoin infrastructure with the existing financial climate, by taking a widely accepted form of payment like debit cards and combining it with Bitcoin to create a new Hybrid Cryptocurrency debit card. BitX is working on technology so users can also spend bitcoin offline without any internet connection. BitX and ZAZOO have announced this partnership that enable BitX users to use VCpay which works as an alternative for plastic cards.
Another interesting development is the BitcoinAlert Project, with the BitcoinAlert app that analyzes the prices historically and alerts about prices to buy or sell bitcoins. But the Technological development that trumped everything else this week would have to be ‘Filament’. Filament has raised $5 million in series A funding led by Bullpen capital, Verizon Ventures and Samsung Ventures. Filament is a decentralized IoT software stack that uses the bitcoin blockchain to enable devices to hold unique identities on a public ledger. By creating a smart device directory, Filament's IoT devices will be able to securely communicate, execute smart contracts and send microtransactions.
Article with the charts can be found here: http://www.benzinga.com/news/15/08/5779058/bitcoin-flash-crashed-this-week
submitted by blockstreet_ceo to BitcoinMarkets [link] [comments]

Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin Billionaires Movie Confirmed - Fidelity: Institutional Investors Own Crypto Winklevoss Twins - Bitcoin Could Go Beyond One Trillion Market Cap Gemini com Announcement The Winklevoss Twins Add Ether to Bitcoin Exchange Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss Interview - Gemini, Bitcoin, JP ... Winklevoss Twins Double Their Fortunes by Staying True to Bitcoin

A former Bitcoin tycoon who served a year in prison for his role facilitating transactions on the Silk Road digital drug bazaar is being sued by none other than the Winklevoss twins, the The Winklevoss brothers, identical twins, had filed their first application for a listing three years ago. The proposed ETF, the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, will list 1 million shares at $65 each Last week, the value of Bitcoin went past $10,000 for the first time and currently sits at $11,230. Many people will be wishing they invested money in Bitcoin a few years ago. The Winklevoss twins did, and they just became billionaires on paper because of it. The Winklevoss twins are best known for their association with Mark Zuckerberg and Bitcoin prices have room to appreciate: Winklevoss twins Squawk Box Europe Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, is expanding into the U.K, the company said on Tuesday. Winklevoss twins first Bitcoin billionaires 00:58. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, twins who made a prescient $11 million investment in bitcoin, are reportedly now billionaires thanks to that 2013 bet.

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Winklevoss Twins Bitcoin Billionaires Movie Confirmed - Fidelity: Institutional Investors Own Crypto

Published on May 13, 2016 May 12 -- Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Gemini Trust Company co-founders, discuss their bitcoin exchange and the future of cryptocurrencies. April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg's Dominic Chu reports the Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler, are major players in Bitcoin, owning a nearly an $11 million stake in the virtual currency. The Winklevoss Twins make the case for Bitcoin's future value and compare it to Gold. Interesting interview with Maria Bartiromo. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are the founders of the Gemini Crypto Exchange. Gemini is aiming to become a fully compliant and secure crypto platform and will be expanding into Europe soon. The Bitcoin Billionaires book will be made into a movie taking Bitcoin further into the mainstream. Bitcoin Billionaires is the second book written by Ben Mezrich which features the Winklevoss ...

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