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Who Are Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss? A Profile on the Twins

12 mins
Fact Checked
by May Woods
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After “The Social Network” movie thrust the Winklevoss twins into the limelight in 2010, the brothers gained fame and notoriety in the crypto space. The early Bitcoin investors are the founders of one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, Gemini.

This article looks at the background of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, dives into the Facebook lawsuit, and discusses their transition to cryptocurrency, including their crypto ventures.

Who are the Winklevoss twins?

Winklevoss twins Bitcoin

The Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler were born in August 1981 in Southampton, New York. Their parents, Howard E. Winklevoss and Carol (née Leonard), raised the twins and their older sister Amanda in Greenwich, Connecticut. Howard served the University of Pennsylvania as an adjunct professor of actuarial science.

The Winklevoss twins demonstrated a pattern of teamwork, sharing an inseparable bond from a young age. Tyler (right-handed) is reportedly more left-brained and analytical, while his twin Cameron (left-handed) is more creative and goofier. 

At 13, the “mirror-image” twins taught themselves HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and started a webpage company that developed websites for local businesses.


The twins attended Greenwich Country Day School and later joined Brunswick School, a private boys’ high school in Greenwich. 

While their parents forced the twins to learn piano at age six, they ended up loving classical music and playing for the next 12 years until they were 18. They also enjoyed classical literature and learned Greek and Latin in high school. The brothers started rowing at 14 in senior school and co-founded the rowing club in their high school.

Cameron and Tyler were accepted into Harvard College in 2000, where they graduated with an economics major in 2004. They then joined Saïd Business School at Oxford University in 2009 and attained MBAs in 2010.

Time at Harvard


The twins joined Harvard University, becoming members of the Porcellian Club and the Hasty Pudding Club. They also rowed at the university for four years and were part of the crew nicknamed ‘’God Squad’’. 

The Winklevoss twins, fondly known as Winklevii, participated in men’s varsity heavyweight with the God Squad. They joined the Havard Crimsons and led their crew to set undefeated domestic records and win the Eastern Sprint, the IRA (Intercollegiate Rowing Association) Championships, and the Harvard-Yale race in their senior year. Winklevii and the God Squad would later participate in the Lucerne Rowing World Cup in Switzerland and come in 6th. The Crimson Eight competed in Henley and placed second after the Dutch team.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss teamed up with Divya Narendra to create a social networking platform in 2022.  They launched their first social networking prototype, HarvardConnection, for their fellow Harvard students. Their ambition extended beyond connecting their fellow students to connecting other schools around the country. 

They rebranded to ConnectU, which quickly gained popularity as a social networking platform that allowed users to join a “Club” and connect with other people in their domain. 

In 2003, the twins recruited Sanjay Mavinkurve, a programmer and friend at Harvard, to build the social network framework. However, Sanjay left the project for Google after graduating.

After Sanjay’s departure, the twins and Divya Narendra hired Victor Gao, another programmer, to develop HarvardConnection. Gao opted not to become a partner and worked for hire. When he left the project in the fall of 2003, he was paid $400 for developing the platform’s code.

Before he left, Gao referred a fellow Harvard student, Mark Zuckerberg, to the ConnectU founders. The Winklevoss twins and Narendra brought on Zuckerberg as the project’s programmer from November 2003 to February 2004.

Net worth

According to Forbes, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have an estimated combined net worth of $5.4 billion and are ranked 1267th on Forbes’ Billionaires list.


The Winklevoss twins participated in the 2007 Pan-American Games and won silver medals in the men’s coxless four and gold in the eights event.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss were members of the United States Olympic Team at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. They competed in the men’s coxless pairs event and finished sixth out of fourteen competitors.

In 2009, Cameron Winklevoss placed third in the men’s coxless four event at the Rowing World Cup in Switzerland.


The brothers have donated millions to charity, with the most substantial donation to their alma mater, Greenwich Country Day School. The twins gifted $10 million to the school in honor of their older sister, Amanda Winklevoss, and her love for performing arts.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss matched the first 50 BTC donated to the Bitcoin Water Trust project, a non-profit organization that HODLs Bitcoin to fund clean water projects.

Personal life

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss started a rock band called Mars Junction as a pandemic project in 2020. Tyler started by playing keys but switched to lead singer to challenge himself, and Cameron played the guitar for the band. 

The twins started the band to reignite their passion for music and to feel closer to their sister Amanda, who passed away in 2002. The band has gone on tour and performs covers of rock songs that are nostalgic to the Winklevoss brothers. The twins are unmarried and keep their private life away from the media.

Public appearances and media

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were dramatized as characters in the biopic “The Social Network,” a 2010 film based on Ben Mezrich’s book “The Accidental Billionaires”. Aaron Sorkin wrote the script, and David Fincher directed the film, which was about Facebook’s launch under Mark Zuckerberg. 

Winklevoss twins

The twins are also the main protagonists in Ben Mezrich’s sequel to “The Accidental Billionaires, Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption”. Tyler and Cameron were also characters in an episode of The Simpsons as a team in the Olympic rowing team.

What do they do?

In 2012, Winklevii launched Winklevoss Capital Management, a firm that partners with startups and provides seed investments and infrastructure across multiple asset classes.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are cryptocurrency investors who founded Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, in 2014. Tyler Winklevoss is the CEO, while Cameron Winklevoss is the president.

The Facebook lawsuit: The Winklevoss vs. Mark Zuckerberg

winklevoss twins vs zuckerberg

The Winklevoss twins gained fame after “The Social Network” dramatized their legal battle with Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg. 

Origin of the dispute

In 2003, Cameron, Tyler, and their roommate Divya Narendra approached Mark Zuckerberg, a fellow Harvard student, to help them build their social networking site, HarvardConnection. 

The Winklevoss twins allege that Zuckerberg entered into a verbal contract with them, promising to work on the project in exchange for equity. The trio communicated with Zuckerberg through emails and physical meetings from November 2003 to February 2004. 

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg was working on, which later became Facebook, and launched the site in February 2004. The Winklevoss twins and Narendra learned about this development two days after the launch through The Harvard Crimson site. Soon after, they sent Zuckerberg a cease and desist letter.

HarvardConnection launched a few months later as ConnectU but wasn’t as popular as Facebook. The ConnectU founders filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Zuckerberg in 2004, claiming that Zuckerberg stole their idea and used their website’s source code. The legal battle dragged on for almost four years.

Settlement details

In February 2008, the Winklevoss twins and Facebook settled out of court. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss received $65 million ($20 million in cash and $45 million worth of Facebook pre-IPO shares) as a settlement.

In March 2008, the brothers filed another lawsuit to undo the settlement so that they could file their original case against Zuckerberg. They argued that Facebook had misled them regarding the value of the shares and shortchanged them. However, the court refused to nullify the settlement.

How did the Winklevoss twins transition to cryptocurrency?

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were introduced to Bitcoin in 2012 while on holiday in Ibiza after finishing their MBA in Oxford. At the time, Bitcoin was still in its infancy, and traditional investors weren’t taking it seriously. Using the cash proceeds from their Facebook lawsuit, the twins bought $11 million worth of Bitcoin when the price was around $8 per unit. 

In 2013, the duo invested $1.5 million in seed funding into the Bitcoin payment processor BitInstant, a startup by Charlie Shrem. However, BitInstant was linked to money laundering during the investigation of the Silk Road drug market site and was consequently shut down. BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem was arrested and charged with money laundering.

Founding Gemini

After the BitInstant debacle, Tyler and Cameron took a hands-on approach and made it their mission to create a safe and regulated cryptocurrency investment platform. 

In 2014, they launched Gemini, which started as an exchange platform that solely facilitated the buying and selling of Bitcoin. Gemini was one of the first digital currency exchanges to be regulated and licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS).

As the crypto market grew, Gemini started supporting altcoins and featuring more than 100 digital currencies, developing into one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges. In 2018, Gemini introduced the Gemini dollar, a stablecoin backed by the U.S. dollar 1:1. 

Gemini launched its Gemini Earn program to retail users in 2021 in partnership with Digital Currency Group’s (DCG) Genesis Global Trading, the exchange’s primary lender. This allowed investors to earn up to 8% interest on cryptocurrency they held in the program. 

In November 2022, Genesis halted customer withdrawals following the FTX collapse because the lender lacked sufficient liquid assets to meet demand. At the time, Genesis owed 340,000 Gemini Earn investors approximately $900 million in digital assets

Gemini terminated its partnership with Genesis and ended the Earn program. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Gemini and Genesis for offering unregistered securities to the public under the Gemini Earn program.

Views on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

“We have elected to put our money and faith in a mathematical framework that is free of politics and human error,”

Tyler Winklevoss told the New York Times.

When the Winklevoss twins learned about Bitcoin in 2012, they were impressed by its revolutionary technology and thought it had a lot of promise. They were intrigued by the digital asset, especially its underlying blockchain technology, and became convinced that Bitcoin was the future of money. They invested heavily early on, and when they realized there wasn’t a safe way to buy and sell Bitcoin, they developed Gemini.

The Winklevoss twins are significant cryptocurrency investors who have invested in different crypto projects. In 2019, they bought Nifty Gateway, a platform for non-fungible tokens under Gemini.

The Winklevoss twins joined a coalition with Ripple founder Brad Garlinghouse and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong to support a pro-crypto US presidential candidate in the 2024 elections. The cryptocurrency powerhouses pledge $78 million to political action. This coalition hopes to shape policies in favor of cryptocurrencies.

How does the Winklevoss Twins’ Gemini shape up against Brian Armstrong’s Coinbase? Find out in our comprehensive Gemini vs. Coinbase guide.

Other ventures by the twins

In addition to the Gemini exchange, the Winklevoss twins have stakes in several other ventures.

Winklevoss Capital

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss founded Winklevoss Capital in 2012 as a firm that invests seed funding and infrastructure across multiple asset classes. The tech entrepreneurs invest in early-stage fintech, education, and gaming startups. Notable investments include Shinesty, Teachable, Flexport, and many more.

Investments in other startups and companies

The Winklevoss twins have also invested in AI technology through the startups and Holocron Technologies.

In April 2024, the twins announced they had become co-owners of Bedford FC, “creating the first ever football club powered by Bitcoin” after invested $4.5million of BTC into the English football club.

The Winklevoss twins: Early Bitcoin billionaires

The Winklevoss Twins’ participation in digital asset markets showed traditional investors that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are investments worth considering. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were among the first big investors in Bitcoin, which gave them a solid foothold in the industry. Their drive to success shows in everything that they do, whether it’s rowing in the Olympics, starting a social network in Havard, or playing in a rock cover band in their forties. Overall, the twins are two of the most notable figures in crypto’s short history and will likely play key roles in the future of the industry.

Frequently asked questions

How did the Winklevoss twins get rich?

How much did Zuckerberg pay Winklevoss?

Are Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss real people?

How much are Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss worth?

Who is the richest person in Bitcoin?

What was the Winklevoss twins’ role in the creation of Facebook?

How did Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss get into cryptocurrency?

What are the major achievements of Gemini?

Are the Winklevoss twins involved in any charities or other community work?

How have the Winklevoss twins impacted the cryptocurrency industry?

What are some controversies associated with the Winklevoss twins?

Top crypto projects in the US | June 2024



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Alex Lielacher
Alex Lielacher is an experienced figure on the Crypto world. Journalist and founder, an agency that works with a range of bitcoin businesses. He first came across bitcoin in 2011 and has worked full-time in the cryptocurrency industry since 2016. Previously Managing Editor of Bitcoin Market Journal, Alex holds a first-class honors in Investment and Financial Risk Management from Bayes Business School. Today, Alex contributes to leading media publications and works with a range of bitcoin...