Winklevoss Twins: Bitcoin Can Overtake Gold With the Right Rules

January 14, 2019, 4:18 AM UTC

The crypto markets are in a slump but Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss aren’t discouraged. The twin brothers, who are longtime fixtures in the Bitcoin world, believe digital currency has a bright future—so long as we have banking-style regulations that will help people trust it.

That’s the message behind their first marketing campaign, titled “Revolution Needs Rules,” which has featured a full-page New York Times ad and splashy billboards around Wall Street. The campaign also aims to promote the twins’ crypto exchange, Gemini, and the service’s newly launched app.

“The idea is that companies that build on top of things like Bitcoin should have regulation that’s thoughtful and that doesn’t stifle innovation,” said Tyler on Balancing the Ledger (video above.) “People believe in the dream of crypto, they just don’t know how to engage in it without getting burned. We’re here to say Gemini’s a place you can do that.”

Cameron added that cryptocurrency’s growth has been impeded by negative press that associated it with criminals, and by a misperception that Bitcoin is totally anonymous.

The twins say Gemini provides the same safeguards and consumer protections as other financial institutions, and that a fledgling trade group they launched, the Virtual Commodity Association, can become the crypto industry’s version of FINRA (a self-regulated body that oversees securities dealers).

When pressed whether regulators might also be hurting the growth of crypto—notably the state of New York and its ham-fisted management of a digital currency license—the Winklevoss twins didn’t take the bait. Both praised regulators, including the SEC, even though the agency soundly rejected Gemini’s proposal to offer a Bitcoin ETF.

“We get the Commission being conservative on this as it’s the first of many products, and we have to get it right,” said Cameron, adding that Gemini is not currently pursuing a new ETF application.

In terms of the current bear market for crypto, the twins agreed that so-called stablecoins (digital tokens pegged to the U.S. dollar) are a bright spot. According to Cameron, at least 60% of U.S. $100 bills are held overseas—a practice that could be simplified if the holders used stablecoins, including the Gemini Dollar, instead.

Cameron added that stablecoins amount to “dollars on the blockchain,” and can be used for paying for other crypto services or for issuing dividends.

The twins are also sticking to their longtime thesis that Bitcoin is poised to supersede gold one day, thanks in part to the digital currency’s fungibility and divisibility.

“The only thing gold has over bitcoin is a 3000 year head start,” said Cameron.

At the close of the show, the twins confirmed an oft-reported claim that they are the biggest Bitcoin holders in the world—except for the currency’s mysterious creator, Satoshi, who has a vast stash but has not moved his coins for over eight years. And in a moment of true sibling rivalry, Tyler and Cameron each claimed to hold at least slightly more Bitcoin than the other.