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Here's When the Winklevoss Twins First Discovered Bitcoin

By Motley Fool Staff and Anand Chokkavelu, CFA - Updated Mar 30, 2021 at 11:22AM

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The billionaire twins got in on Bitcoin early -- and here's how it happened.

The Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, are some of the biggest names in the cryptocurrency industry. They founded the Gemini exchange, which is one of the largest places cryptocurrencies are bought and sold, and also own a billion-dollar Bitcoin (BTC -3.23%) stake themselves. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on March 18, Cameron Winklevoss explains to The Motley Fool's Chief Growth Officer Anand Chokkavelu how he and his brother first discovered Bitcoin and knew it was going to be something special.

Anand Chokkavelu: So, as the description Bitcoin billionaire would imply, you were pretty early on in identifying the possibilities. What was your "wow" moment with Bitcoin?

Cameron Winklevoss: So my brother, Tyler, and I found Bitcoin in the summer of 2012. We were in Ibiza, of all places. We were actually on vacation, not looking for the next big thing, and somebody from Brooklyn recognized us from The Social Network and the Facebook (FB 1.18%) saga and started talking to us. He asked us if we had thought about Bitcoin or virtual currency before, and we hadn't at that time, and it sounded kind of crazy, and then after a shot of tequila, made a lot more sense. We got back stateside, started reading as much as we could about it. I think what struck us was twofold. One, this was the first money purpose-built for the internet, that you could send around the world like email. That was amazing and groundbreaking to think about. The second thing was, if you look at the properties of Bitcoin, they really mirror gold, and they are actually the equal or better of gold properties. So if you look at gold, gold is scarce. Bitcoin is truly fixed at 21 million Bitcoin, and those are divisible up to 100 million pieces, so you don't actually have to buy a full Bitcoin. That's one of the biggest education hurdles I think, we see, is people see Bitcoin at $50,000 and they say, ''I can never afford a Bitcoin.'' Well, you can actually go to Gemini and buy as little as $5 worth of Bitcoin. It's not like Berkshire (BRK.A 0.10%)(BRK.B -0.03%) Class A shares, where you have to pony up a couple of $100,000. You can actually just buy small fractions. So it's even more divisible than gold, way more portable, and easier to store inasmuch as it doesn't take up physical space. Storing it is obviously one of the hard problems that Gemini tries to solve for in allowing customers to use Gemini to store their Bitcoin and other crypto. But really, the digital gold framework in narrative struck us right away, as this is a potential emergent store of value that has gold-like properties that works on the internet.

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