One of the most iconic feuds of our times may soon be ending.
In what appears to be a peace offering, ending years of bad blood between some of the world's richest people, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, co-founders of the New York-based crypto exchange Gemini, and the people who lost out on tens of billions after Mark Zuckerberg stole their Facebook concept website, HarvardConnection, may soon join the Libra Association, the consortium governing Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency.
“We’re definitely looking at it in earnest and we’re excited about the project,” Cameron told CoinDesk Tuesday.
Tyler, who along with his brother made billions by being early investors in bitcoin, added that in their view, Libra is a harbinger of cryptos to come:
“Our feeling is, this is the first of many FANG [Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google] companies to have a token project. Our prediction is in the next 24 months almost every FANG company will have a coin or be working on some sort of project.”
As Coindesk notes, while joining Libra might be a surprise move to some, considering the Winklevoss brothers’ legendary fight over control of Facebook with their former Harvard classmate, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, they now want to be “frenemies”with a mutual goal of promoting mainstream crypto adoption. Additionally, the twins are aiming to diversify Gemini’s token offerings by 2020, and recently applied for a broker-dealer license through the FINRA, which would allow Gemini to list digital securities.
The Libra white paper, unveiled last month, envisions “a competitive network of exchanges buying and selling Libra,” enabling holders to easily convert the coin, backed by a basket of stable government currencies, into local fiat.
Since then, Libra has become a smash hit if only at congressional hearings, with no less than several dozen mentions today during Powell's congressional testimony, typically in the context of an alternative, central bank-free, reserve currency.
So far, only one crypto exchange, Coinbase, has joined the Libra Association, whose ranks also include traditional financial players such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard and VC firms such as Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.
Additionally, since the Winklevoss are also invested in both Filecoin and Tezos, those might offer examples of the types of “utility tokens” they’d like to offer on the exchange with regulatory approval, Tyler said.
“We ask [regulators] for permission, not forgiveness,” Cameron added.
To be sure, until now U.S. lawmakers have given Facebook’s cryptocurrency project - and we use the term loosely because what Libra is, is rather a fiat-backed stablecoin - an icy reception, even urging the association to halt development. Despite its early complications, Libra’s vision of a global currency otherwise aligns with the twins’ goals for their own exchange. Cameron said they want to expand internationally, starting with Europe and Asia.
“Our marketplace will be virtual commodities, virtual securities, and on and on,” Tyler said. “Pretty much anything that can come onto a blockchain." Of course, Ross Ulbricht did the same with the Silk Road portal, only to end up busted by the Feds, spending the rest of his life in prison.
As for what “mainstream adoption” means from the Winklevi perspective, it's simple: higher cryptocurrency prices, making their fortune even bigger.
“If bitcoin really is Gold 2.0, it has to have a market cap of $7 trillion,” he said. “I think that market cap is a good measure of adoption and how many people are actually in crypto."