The Winklevoss twins are now the first people to become billionaires by investng in Bitcoin.
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The crypto currency Bitcoin is won many of us dearly wish we'd invested in when it was only worth a couple of dollars. But its rapid rise in value this year is reported to have created its first billionaires. The Winklevoss twins from America, and you might remember them from their association with Facebook. So what more do we know about them. A question I put to our business correspondent Joe Lyneham.
They are 36 year old identical twins. I think there are about six foot for each. They have degrees from Harvard and from Oxford. They rowed for Oxford. In fact in the boat race and they are as you say now the first Bitcoin billionaires basically got in with Bitcoin when it was worth the round five six or seven dollars. It is, as of last week, worth eleven thousand dollars per bitcoin. They put in 11 million dollars into bitcoin in 2012, and it has increased by ten thousand percent.
And the two people we may well know. They've got a habit of being ahead of the curve.
Indeed and they're not shy of litigating either Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss claim to have invented the idea for the Social Network which we now know as Facebook and they engage a very young coding expert called Mark Zuckerberg who was a student at Harvard University in the early noughties to write the social network code. He then went off and formed something very similar, and they sued him. Allegedly, they came to a settlement of 65 million dollars in 2008. From that settlement, which has never been publicly confirmed, they supposedly invested the 11 million dollars in to what we now know as Bitcoin.
They’re now Bitcoins first billionaires. What does this say about Bitcoin and its stature?
That it's overpriced perhaps. Eleven thousand dollars for a little bit of cryptocurrency. It is not linked to gold it is not linked to any fixed asset and supposedly this bit of digital infrastructure is worth eleven thousand dollars per bit. And these are tiny little bits. They've also a finite number of these bitcoins and they're supposed to kind of self-reduce, which should push up its value. It means that there is a certain amount of credibility. These guys have got behind them. There are talk about it making Bitcoin derivatives, or futures. They are kind of special types of investments. Whether that could spark problems in the future we don’t know. We also must say that Bitcoin is the favored currency for criminals. They sell a lot of weapons and drugs using bitcoins because it cannot be traced. Having said all that there is a growing list of retailers and sellers who do legitimately sell products and accept Bitcoin as the payment.
Finally, they are now richer than many of us would ever dream of. Have they said what they’re going to do with their money.
Not a word.