"THE DIVINE TWINS"
A Profile of Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss
By Alex Schrader
I was very young the first time I saw twins. It was in the parking lot on my first day of middle school at Muirlands in La Jolla, California. My reaction was not unlike the first time John Smith laid eyes on Pocahontas, I’m sure. Alarmed and disconcerted, I pointed out the car windshield and said “Pa, how does that happen?” My father, a Chemist in his mid-40’s at the time, shrugged and said “Sometimes it just does. Now get to class.”
Twins have a very special place in the history and mythology of our world. In the Age of Leo (about 11,000 years ago), also known as “Zep Tepi” or the first time, Osiris married his twin sister Isis and together they became the first primeval King and Queen of Egypt. At the dawn of our world, in the golden Age of Heroes (1,750 B.C. to 1,200 B.C.), the beautiful twin sisters Helen and Clytemnestra were responsible for much of the tragedy, strife, and foundation of the great royal houses of the Mediterranean Sea. In our age, the Information Age, we have Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
Before I get into their life, success and business acumen, I would like to preface it by saying that these young men have been members of some of the greatest clubs and societies in the Western World since the rise of the British Empire and of industrialization. At Harvard, Tyler and Cameron were members of the Porcellain Club, whose members included United States President Theodore Roosevelt. At Oxford, they were Oxford Blues, a club so legendary, that only the Achilles Club, co-founded by Olympic Gold Medalist Harold Abrahams, whose life was immortalized in the Academy Award Winning Film “Chariots of Fire”, equals it. They also competed in the 2008 Olympic Games. After those accolades, some would be proud enough to call it a career. Not the Winklevii.
Born in Southampton, New York in 1981 and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, the bothers founded ConnectU, a social media platform along with classmate Divya Narendra. They sought to connect better with other students from Harvard and other universities and believed a website could be the solution. After several programmers attempted but failed to complete the website, the brothers came across Mark Zuckerberg and the rest is history. Zuckerberg took the idea, created Facebook and the brothers sued him. The whole incident was made famous in the Academy Award Winning Film “The Social Network.”
I remember that time quite vividly. A college classmate of mine was one of the first employees at MySpace. We were roommates at the time and I saw MySpace explode from a tiny company to a valuation of over $1 Billion in less than two years, when it was swallowed up by Robert Murdock and the Fox empire. MySpace was a competitor of Facebook during that period and Silicon Valley was just brimming with ideas.
After four years of suits and countersuits, the brothers reached a settlement worth $65 million. With the proceeds they founded Winklevoss Capital Management in 2012, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage startups. They also started buying a lot of Bitcoin. In 2014 they launched their own cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini, and by 2018 they each had become billionaires.
Since then the cryptocurrency industry has had its ups and downs, and the brothers have had their ups and downs as well, but the projects Gemini is working on will one day shape and mold the cryptocurrency and digital finance industries of the future.