The Winklevoss twins want to take cryptocurrency mainstream
- Fast Company
Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, announced this morning that it’s joining forces with Flexa, a platform that enables shoppers to spend bitcoin, ether, Bitcoin Cash,
What this means is that you can use Flexa’s app to buy groceries with your crypto windfall. (Best to check with your tax advisor before your shopping spree, though, as you might be subject to capital gains tax since cryptocurrencies are treated as property by the IRS.) Would-be zillionaires who would rather hold on to their bitcoin can use the app to spend the Winklevoss’s Gemini dollar, a stable coin pegged to the U.S. dollar and designed to never fluctuate in value. According to CoinMarketCap, there are currently about 33 million Gemini dollars in circulation.
A beta of Flexa’s app will be available on iOS for attendees of Consensus 2019, the massive crypto conference taking place in New York City this week, and then will open to the general public.
As a way to manage cryptocurrency, Flexa has plenty of competition. Coinbase now has over 20 million accounts, Circle has 8 million, and Robinhood surpassed E*Trade with 4 million accounts when it added crypto to its mix. Now some of the largest financial players are viewing crypto as a path to fuel growth, including Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, E*Trade, NYSE (Bakkt), Visa, and Square.
The Winklevoss brothers are best known as the Hamptons-born, Harvard-schooled Olympians who battled Mark Zuckerberg in court over Facebook’s origins (as chronicled in the film The Social Network), eventually settling the dispute for $20 million and 1.2 million pre-IPO Facebook shares. They parlayed that windfall by amassing 1% of all the bitcoin in the world while also investing in companies such as AngelList, Carbon38, and Eaze via their family office, Winklevoss Capital.
I talked with Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss about the competitive landscape and how they envision the market for crypto evolving. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.
Fast Company: Why have you moved into crypto payments?