Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss waged a famous legal battle against Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook’s beginnings. Now, they’re predicting the social network’s demise.
The Harvard-educated twins — who were portrayed by Armie Hammer as losers in the 2010 flick “The Social Network” — have since become billionaires thanks to their bold investments in Bitcoin and other controversial cryptocurrencies.
Emboldened by surging prices for digital money as big companies from Tesla to Goldman Sachs embrace it, the pair are now upping the ante, claiming that “centralized” social networks like Facebook aren’t long for this world.
“The idea of a centralized social network is just not going to exist five or 10 years in the future,” Tyler Winklevoss told Forbes in a Monday profile when asked about Facebook. “There’s a membrane or a chasm between the old world and this new crypto-native universe. And we’re the conduit helping people transcend the offline into the online.”
The 39-year-old twins known as the “Winklevii” have filled their portfolio with startups trying to decentralize services dominated by tech titans like Facebook, Microsoft and Google alongside a digital art platform that at the center of the recent NFT craze, according to Forbes.
The twins reportedly entered that universe nearly a decade ago after winning a $65 million settlement in their legal battle with Zuckerberg, whom they accused of stealing their idea for a social network.
They started buying bitcoin in 2012 after getting a tip from some “early adopters” on the Mediterranean party island of Ibiza, Forbes says. Now, Bitcoin and the so-called blockchain technology behind it power a business empire that gave them a combined net worth of more than $6 billion last month, the outlet reports.
One of their biggest successes is Nifty Gateway, which has helped fuel the explosion in the market for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, digital assets whose ownership is stored on a blockchain ledger.
The platform has seen an explosion of interests in its “drops” of NFTs from artists such as Beeple, who just sold a token at the Christie’s auction house for $69 million, according to Forbes.
“We’re doing $4 million in five minutes now” for releases that would have fetched $50,000 a year ago, Cameron Winklevoss told Forbes.
Nifty Gateway was bought in 2019 by Gemini, the Winklevii’s cryptocurrency exchange that shares its name with NASA’s second space mission. The twins are so dedicated to the space-exploration theme that they call Gemini’s employees “astronauts,” they told Forbes.