The Winklevoss Twins Speak at GA on Bitcoin, The Future of Currency, and Gemini

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Big men on GA's campus

The Winklevoss Twins speaking at GA.

General Assembly recently welcomed Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss to our headquarters in NYC for an enlightening interview about bitcoin, the virtual currency that’s been associated with the Dark Web.

Cameron and Tyler attended in their capacity as President and CEO, respectively, of Gemini, a new bitcoin exchange (the NASDAQ of bitcoin, they call it) that they have been developing. They were interviewed by Nathaniel Popper, a New York Times business reporter and author of the recently released book “Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money.”

The Winklevosses had no shortage of stories about their past but reminded the audience that, for bitcoin, “it’s still the early days…It’s so young and there’s so much to do.”

Watch the full video to experience the future of money for yourself.

The event was attended by a live audience of GA alumni and corporate partners, and was watched by more than a thousand people via live stream.

The Winklevosses recounted their involvement with bitcoin, which started with a chance encounter in Ibiza in 2012, and today has them as two of the world’s biggest investors (they are purported to own 1% of all bitcoin) and entrepreneurs in a number of bitcoin-related projects.

Audience members walked away from the evening with a more solid understanding of bitcoin, and the future of virtual currency, and we wanted to share these insights with our readers.

The Top 6 Insights the Twins Shared About Bitcoin:

1. Bitcoin with a capital B is the bitcoin protocol through which value travels. And bitcoin lowercase B is the asset that travels through the protocol. These are two different things, but people often confuse them.

2. The Winklevosses think bitcoin could give gold a run for its money:

“If you take the 9 key characteristics of gold (scarcity, durability, portability etc.)…bitcoin is as good if not better than gold. The one thing gold has on bitcoin is thousands of years.” – Cameron Winklevoss

3. At its core, bitcoin is “money that was built specifically for the Internet.” Throughout history, the way we store and transfer value has been optimized to suit the way that people live. Bankers built money that was optimized to live in banks. But now we bank (and do a lot more) online. So technologists built bitcoin, the money optimized to live online. “It’s almost like imagining a new color,” said Tyler.

4. In the wild west of bitcoin, the twins are more cop than cowboy: “Our goal is to bring in institutional people into bitcoin and make it look like a much more mature market.” Vis-à-vis regulation: “We’re going to ask for permission, not for forgiveness.”

5. Their unique position as a family office, rather than a VC fund, allowed them to get in on the ground floor of bitcoin investing.  “A lot of VCs couldn’t structurally place their bets, they couldn’t express their bullish views on bitcoin because structurally they have to invest in a C corp,” said Tyler.

6. The idea for Gemini, the regulated bitcoin exchange that the twins hope to release soon, came from their own frustration while waiting for such an exchange to be built. “Screw it. Let’s just bet on ourselves and go build an exchange in the US that’s regulated and solve that infrastructure problem.”

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