The Winklevoss twins, famous for suing billionaire Mark Zuckerberg on allegation that he stole their idea to create leading social networking website Facebook, were in attendance at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY event to discuss their Bitcoin-related projects and plans for the cryptocurrency industry.
The TechCrunch Disrupt is a platform for startups to present their ideas to those who might be interested in investing. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who these days are venture capitalists with interests in several Bitcoin-related projects, decided to check out the event that held between May 4 and 6 to let people into what they have been up to recently when Bitcoin is concerned.
The Harvard graduates have launched an exchange traded fund (ETF), which operates under the ticker “COIN” to enable traders invest in Bitcoin on the NASDAQ OMX. They recently revealed plans to establish a fully-regulated, fully-compliant exchange that will operate under the name “Gemini” in the United States.
The Winklevoss twins noted at the TechCrunch event that many people are not willing to go through the stress of safeguarding their bitcoins in self-provided cold storage wallets with private and public keys. Yet, Bitcoin exchanges are not making things easier for customers who think they either do not provide adequate guarantees or are too hard to use. This is the reason the twin Harvard graduates decided to come up with a new Bitcoin exchange.
“A lot of people don’t want to deal with the effort needed to secure your bitcoins,” Cameron said. “That’s why we started to build Gemini, which is a U.S.-based exchange with compliance — it’s NASDAQ, E-Trade and DTC built into one.”
Corroborating his twin brother, Tyler said that it would be very difficult for Bitcoin startups that have not done serious work on security features to gain approval from the regulators. He said efforts are being made to ensure establishment of a highly-secure exchange.
“Bitcoin was this really strange technology that only geeks — and even not a lot of geeks, it was geeks within geeks,” Tyler said. “We really wanted to make sure we built this right. And then, you have to build a great product. Most of the startups deal with that last piece first.”
The ETF established by the twin brothers represents an attempt to present Bitcoin as a good way of diversifying an investment portfolio to Wall Street traders and bankers. An S-1 registration has already been filed for the financial product with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. If the registration, which is currently being considered by the SEC, is approved, it will be possible to trade Bitcoin on the NASDAQ OMX.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss said they are not just trying to test the Bitcoin water, but that they have deep interest in the industry. They said their heavy investment in Bitcoin is for the long term.
“We’ve put our money where our mouth is,” Cameron said. “We don’t just have our skin in the game, we have our whole body in the game.”
Cameron said he and his brother might not be experts in the industry, but their goal is “to change the world” and not to become experts.