Is the idea of a Bitcoin exchange traded fund nuts? After all, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are the super twins who donned identical green ties to peddle pistachios while taking a crack at arch nemesis Mark Zuckerberg. And just look at how that market is doing now. Some say it’s fear of Iranian market stability that’s edged out the competition to make the U.S. the top pistachio supplier to global markets. But don’t underestimate the potential of those power ties in the TV ads for Wonderful Pistachios.
These twins can do just about anything, and quickly. Adding to their investments in Hukkster, a discount shopping site, and SumZero, a website that brings together money managers, the Olympic rowers are following the world’s largest trading exchange for bitcoins, Mt.Gox, in an effort to elevate the digital currency. They’ve amassed their sizable share of bitcoins, and now they’ve asked for permission to launch an exchange traded fund.
The Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust isn’t touting the safety of its proprietary security system. The twins are transparent, or at least exhaustive, about the risks of taking the seminal ETF public.
The Aryan ambition already has created one potentially high paying job.
Peter Vessenes, the executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation who’s already wrangling in court with Mt. Gox, has said: “We’ll be hiring someone to work on [Capitol] Hill and interact with regulators. I’m someone who thinks we should have a civil conversation. It’s time to engage with regulators and have a good, productive conversation.”
But who wants that boring job in D.C. when there’s potential to work and play with the bi-coastal Harvard elite playboy-business mavens?
Here’s a look at who can handle the risk and rewards of working for the Winklevii.
The former Bachelorette quit her job in Facebook’s ad-sales department in 2010 to star in her own reality TV show. Let’s not forget that before her fairy tale TV romance flopped, she got cheated out of her unvested, restricted Facebook stock units.
No, not those with penchant for NASA and rocket ships. Manhattanites who live in cramped quarters and need someplace to stow away last season’s wardrobe. Winklevoss Capital occupies the entire 5,625-square-foot fourth floor on 30 W. 24th St. in Flatiron but there’s been no word of employees to fill it.
Real People Sans Silver Spoons
Lest we forget that the Winklevii come from humble beginnings and climbed the Ivy on their own. Mom and pop graduated from Grove City College, a Christian liberal arts school in western Pennsylvania. The grandpas were a cop and a garage owner, and one of their great-grandfathers was a coal miner.
Paul Volker, Joe Biden, Tim Geithner, Peter Orszag
Or pretty much anyone who holds a grudge against Larry Summers, whose dramatic history of disputes doesn’t include dissing his portrayal and assessment of the uber twins in The Social Network. “One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o’clock, there are two possibilities. One is that they’re looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an a**hole. This was the latter case.”
Have you read the risk factors? Some are funny. Some are downright scary. They make it clear they don’t make any promises to keep your investments safe from hackers. Losing a private key to a bitcoin means that it can never be used and is lost forever. The filing’s first risk factor? “The loss or destruction of a private key required to access a Bitcoin may be irreversible. The Trust’s loss of access to its private keys or its experience of a data loss relating to the Trust’s Bitcoins could adversely affect an investment in the Shares.”
Lawyers … Lots of Lawyers
You need a team just to tear through those 18 pages of risk factors.
Follow the author on Twitter @natashagural