Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss

Co-Founders of Gemini.com, Principals of Winklevoss Capital & Olympians

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON October 15, 2015

Discussion

Tyler Winklevoss@tylerwinklevoss · Winklevoss Capital
Hi There! I'm Tyler Winklevoss, one half of the Winklevoss twins. I'm an entrepreneur, angel investor and Olympian. A year and a half ago, I founded Gemini with my brother Cameron, which is a U.S. based licensed bitcoin exchange. For anyone interested in learning more about Gemini and hearing our overall thoughts on bitcoin and the future of money, check out this ProductHunt AMA!
Lejla Bajgoric@lejlahunts · Intern, Product Hunt
Hi there! Fun question: best and worst part of being a twin brother?
@lejlahunts geee...I can't think of too many downsides! Since I can remember when we are together in public we almost always inevitably get asked "Are you guys twins?!" To which we answer, "yes". This question is then followed by "who's older?" To which we answer "we don't know! (Caesarian)". The final question is, "you must get asked that a lot?" And as you can imagine my reply is "nope, this is the fist time!" I could see how this could be annoying for some people, but I don't mind it, it's just part of the gig ;-)
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
@winklevoss @lejlahunts My best friends (@leonlacs + his brothers) are identical triplets. At UF alone, they're nearly as famous as @tylerwinklevoss and you (their fame gets cubed, obviously). It took ~2 years for them to really nail the Triplet-isms, but they've got some excellent ones that have helped them overcome their painful individual awkwardness.
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
What 3 moments do you consider major turning/inflection points in your life that have most come to define who you are today—and what meaning do you assign them in hindsight?
@melissajoykong 1) First time we walked into a boathouse (learning to row), 2) starting our first company (ConnectU) 3) finding Bitcoin on a beach in Ibiza...
Jonny Miller@jonnym1ller · Cofounder @Maptia
Hi Tyler – you said that "if Bitcoin is a better gold or seen as a type of gold-like asset, then it could be in the trillions on a market cap"... what in your mind is the biggest threat or hurdle from where we are today to this scenario? (or is it inevitable?)
Tyler Winklevoss@tylerwinklevoss · Winklevoss Capital
@jonnym1ller I think bitcoin disrupting gold is inevitable. Precious metals like gold aren't all that precious when you look at the larger picture. As soon as there is reliable and cheap access to space, which I believe is something that is not that far away, perhaps the next two decades, asteroids will be able to be mined and harvested for all of the chemical elements that we consider 'rare' or 'scarce', on earth, but which in fact are entirely plentiful in our solar system. Gold currently benefits and from an "access to space" problem and a ~10,000 year first-mover advantage. The first advantage will be erased in the next ~25yrs w/ cheap space travel and the second will be erased faster than we know it because technology is speeding up and exponentially augmenting adoption curves. In addition, gold is in fact inferior to bitcoin when you take into account the characteristics of money (i.e, scarcity, durability, portability, etc., ), bitcoin is actually fixed at 21MM, gold as we know is not, not even on earth. I think the competition between gold and bitcoin to be the best, stateless, trustless store of value is really bitcoin's to lose. The obvious reasons for what could go wrong for bitcoin are one's you probably already know, such as mining becoming too centralized, 51% attack, draconian regulation, etc.. Anything that threatens the very value and utility that Bitcoin brings to the table.
@tylerwinklevoss @jonnym1ller to further add, precious metals on earth are a result of asteroids pounding the planet. In the future, we will mine asteroids in space.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey Tyler + Cameron! What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have around bitcoin and a bitcoin exchange more broadly?
@eriktorenberg Perhaps the biggest misconception about Bitcoin is that it is "anonymous". Bitcoin is in fact pseudonymous and the blockchain is a public decentralized ledger whereby you can ascertain the provenance and entire genealogy of every bitcoin in existence. In other words, each bitcoin has a public audit trail -- like a trail of breadcrumbs -- that you anyone can see. What's surprising is how pervasive this misinformation is. Will O'Brien, a Co-Founder of BitGo (a company that builds a multi-sig wallet for bitcoin) just yesterday attended a discussion at the Commonwealth Club in SF where former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke stated "its [Bitcoin] very goal is to be anonymous". This couldn't be further from the case, in fact, if anything people are worried that Bitcoin is so transparent that this will be a hurdle to larger institutional adoption.
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
Huge fans of yours remember watching you in the Olympics! My question: What is the biggest barrier to mass bitcoin adoption? How far off do you think that will be? Had Bitcoin specialist @AdamDraper @boostvc on @twentyminutevc the other day, so would be amazing to compare your answers! Likewise, would be an honour to have you on the podcast, give me a shout if you are interested!
Tyler Winklevoss@tylerwinklevoss · Winklevoss Capital
@harrystebbings Great question. Our thesis with Gemini was the biggest thing holding Bitcoin back, at least in the US, was a lack of regulated and licensed onramps and gateways into the ecosystem. Institutional players simply can't or won't do business with an unlicensed offshore exchange. As a result, the deepest pockets are sitting out on the sidelines. We took great lengths to make sure Gemini was licensed, compliant, and built in a way where institutions and other market participants would feel comfortable doing business with us. Right now Bitcoin is an island. If it is going to grow, then we need licensed and regulated bridges to the financial mainland. We think Gemini is one of those bridges that can successfully connect the old world of money to the new world of money.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
Which product/company that Winkelvoss Capital is invested in do you wish everyone on Product Hunt knew about?
Tyler Winklevoss@tylerwinklevoss · Winklevoss Capital
@andrewmettinger Bitcoin!! Lol. Everyone who uses Shyp and Minibar falls in love with them. Luxe (valet) is another great company and experience that is starting to pick up a lot of momentum and Memebox, an Asian beauty products e-commerce platform is definitely a sleeper. We are invested in a lot of cool companies, most of them are here on our portfolio page: https://winklevosscapital.com/po... Let us know which ones stick out to you!
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
@tylerwinklevoss -Just bought my first pair of "Me Undies" boxer briefs recently - love them. -I used Shyp when living in Miami and definitely will again when I graduate (and move to a city). -Loyal to Klink for my liquor delivery, but have heard good things about Minibar (will try it if out of Klink's range). -Can't wait for one of my friends to get Lily. Have you tried it out yet? -We use Vero @ building.co (home of Ironhack) and it's wonderful. Welp...can't argue with that portfolio - user of a nice chunk of the companies. Thanks for stopping by, fellas.
Tyler Winklevoss@tylerwinklevoss · Winklevoss Capital
@andrewmettinger Awesome, great to hear you feel the same way about our portfolio as we do! -All of my basics are MeUndies, I found them to be the best quality and best price, total no-brainer. -Understood, hope you give MiniBar a try, I think you'll love it! -Have not, but can't wait! -Awesome, we have a Vero machine at Winklevoss Capital headquarters, I have one at my apartment and Cameron has one as his apartment as well! Thanks or all of your questions!
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · Words @ProductHunt & @AngelList
@tylerwinklevoss hey Cameron and Tyler! When you look at the Bitcoin space today, where do you see the primary use case being in the US? For example, would a Coinbase turn more into a bank, go towards retailers (where in the US the current system can be the default for a while)
@nivo0o0 inflation hedge, better gold, clearing + settlement.
Earteza Auvee@earteza · Team Member @Foundedx
@winklevoss and @tylerwinklevoss hi guys , Do you have any plan for Bangladeshi Startups ? did you invested or work with South Asian Startups ?
@earteza no, not currently -- what's the scene like out there?
Earteza Auvee@earteza · Team Member @Foundedx
@winklevoss @earteza it is growing very fast ! like lots of silicon valley and Japanese VC are coming and investing many startups . If you want to know more updates let me know , i will send updates !
Leon Lacs@leonlacs · Student at the University of Florida
@winklevoss @tylerwinklevoss what are your favorite books?
Kamal Ravikant@kamalravikant · Partner, Evolve VC
@leonlacs Great question. I'd like to hear the answer to this too.
@leonlacs currently reading "The Martian", "Transatlantic" and just finished "Flash Boys". I am a pretty big Sci-Fi fan so love the classics: "Dune", "Foundation" series, anything Neal Stephenson (e.g. "The Baroque Cycle", "Cryptonomicon", The "Diamond Age", etc.)
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
@winklevoss @leonlacs But did you like "Dune" - the movie?
@andrewmettinger @leonlacs I thought it was really bad :-/ I don't think it's David Lynch's wheelhouse or that his heart was really in it, and the project sounded like it had a lot of false starts -- then again, its so bad I kind of like it. I hope one day someone does a successful remake or has the ambition/courage to pull of Jodorowsky's Dune. W/ that said, if you haven't already seen it, you must watch the documentary "Jodorowsky's Dune"!
Leon Lacs@leonlacs · Student at the University of Florida
@tylerwinklevoss @winklevoss favorite startups that you currently don't own?
@leonlacs Postmates -- I love watching movies at home on my couch and using Postmates to bring over popcorn / soda / candy from the AMC movie theater in Union Square!
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
@winklevoss @leonlacs Their (semi) pivot has been very interesting to follow. TBQH, I'm surprised they still exist in NYC with Seamless being such a powerhouse. Guess they have your movie night cravings to thank!
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
What apps are on your home screen(s)?
Tyler Winklevoss@tylerwinklevoss · Winklevoss Capital
@andrewmettinger WinkDex, Instagram, Twitter, Sportify, etc., nothing too exotic really, sorry to be boring ;)
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey guys! Thanks for taking the time. Questions applies to you both separately... What would the you of 2 years ago think of you now? (before Gemini)
Tyler Winklevoss@tylerwinklevoss · Winklevoss Capital
@bentossell Great question! As I am thinking of my answer it feels a little bit self-congratulatory and awkward to answer, but i'd like to think that me two years ago considers the me of today as a person who has accomplished a lot (not all) of the goals he set out to do. There is a ton more to do, and I don't think I'll ever want to stop growing both professionally and personally, but I think the younger me would see the today me as someone who was headed in the right direction! ;)
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Another ques... What is the craziest thing you've seen in a pitch?
@bentossell A silver box, engraved w/ our names and "The Future" on top. Inside there was a USB w/ cryptic instructions, presumably to unlock the pitch deck. Sorry, but I don't put unidentified objects into my computer...
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@winklevoss @bentossell I'd still have to know! Should've plugged it into someone else's haha
Tyler Winklevoss@tylerwinklevoss · Winklevoss Capital
@bentossell Do you want to share you computer with me for an hour? lol
@bentossell whoops! Maybe we missed a unicorn!
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
@winklevoss @bentossell Funny. I heard that's how Uber pitched to potential investors. 😜
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced setting up the new company? How have you overcome them?
Tyler Winklevoss@tylerwinklevoss · Winklevoss Capital
@ems_hodge Licensing has been by far the biggest challenge. It's been an expensive and time-consuming ordeal that started a year and half ago and culminated last week with us getting our NY trust license. Doing business in a regulated industry like financial services, healthcare, etc., is a very different type of startup than those that are in unregulated sectors. You have an additional dimension to consider and get right.
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
What values ultimately motivate the business decisions you make? Are they different values than the ones that guide how you make personal, non-business decisions?
@melissajoykong I often say that some of the best lessons I learned in life I learned at the boathouse (rowing) and they had little if anything to do w/ rowing. I find myself constantly drawing upon things I learned as an athlete both personally and professionally.
Mark Jeffrey@markjeffrey · Author
Hello gents. I was happy to see you guys launch Gemini, congrats! But tell me: Why is Gemini 'better' than an exchange like Coinbase? From the articles I've read, I get that you've gone to a deeper level of regulation compliance in some way, but I don't understand what that is exactly or why it's important -- can you explain in a way my simple brain can understand? :) Thanks!
@markjeffrey good question -- Gemini is chartered under New York State Banking Law as a limited liability trust company. We are domiciled in the State of New York and regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services. This makes us a fiduciary allowing us to service both individual and institutional customers. In addition, as a fiduciary, we must meet the highest levels of banking compliance, regulatory and capitalization requirements and we have an obligation to protect the interests of our customers first and foremost. Coinbase is not a fiduciary and is not licensed by the State of New York. It is our understanding from public statements made by Coinbase, that Coinbase has applied for a New York State BitLicense. BitLicense companies are not fiduciaries. In addition, the BitLicense has lower compliance standards, as well as lower regulatory and capitalization requirements.
Mark Jeffrey@markjeffrey · Author
It's been said that the two of you have bought roughly 1% of all bitcoins in existence. Clearly, you're bullish. What's your guess for how much Bitcoin will be worth in 2020?
Tyler Winklevoss@tylerwinklevoss · Winklevoss Capital
@markjeffrey I think bitcoin will disrupt gold, full stop!
Hash_tag_jeff@jeffumbro · Book Marketing and PR - get in touch
Is bitcoin adoption by small and large business going at the pace you initially thought? The whole movement has seemed to slow in the last year or two, though I did see a bitcoin ad on an NYC taxi cab today.
@jeffumbro It's slow because while the US has some of the best engineers and technology innovation in the world, we are also one of the most financially regulated countries in the world. Building regulatory frameworks take time and applying for and obtaining licenses do too. In relation to what we are typically used to w/r/t to company building, it feels like a snail's pace. BUT, now that licensed exchanges and businesses (like Gemini) are coming online, we believe there will be an increased pace of investment, adoption and new use-cases.
Alex @gordongeckco · Founder, SponsorBy.com
Will Gemini become a Public Stock Company, For future shareholder