In the dump, in the dump, in the dump, dump dump.
The bitcoin stockpile which Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss started collecting in 2012 is now worth more than $1.60 billion.
The Harvard Alumni best known for their legal battle with Mark Zuckerberg depicted in the Oscar-nominated movie, “The Social Network” ran in the face of widespread opinion and now are reaching for their next goal — to become trillionaires.
In the judicial dustup over Facebook, they won a $65 million settlement from Zuckerberg. Against the advice of friends and their lawyers, the duo bought into bitcoin when the cryptocurrency was still known as the currency of choice for online drug dealers.
Bitcoin’s value soared and as of the second week in January 2017, the twins’ holding was worth about $1.4 billion.
“We’ve turned laughter and ridicule into the wind at our back,” said Tyler Winklevoss in a recent interview. Notwithstanding the potential for theft, the brothers intend to stay on top of their cash haul as they expand their exchange, “Gemini” from a 5,000 decrepit office to a gleaming 35,000 square-foot facility in Midtown Manhattan.
They’re hoping the cleaning lady doesn’t throw out their fortune with the garbage.
That happened to James Howells, the same year the Winklevoss’s were lining their nest egg.
James Howells was in the news in 2013 when he went looking for his computer’s hard drive in the local dump. An early bitcoin miner, Howells mined 7,500 tokens in 2009 on his Dell laptop for over a week. He stopped when his girlfriend complained the computer was too noisy and hot. When he spilled a cold drink on the computer, he cannibalized it for parts. The hard drive, holding the Bitcoins, went into a drawer where it stayed for three years.
When it came time for Howells to toss old equipment he forgot the hard drive had money on it and into the trash it went.
“You know how when you throw something away and say to yourself, ‘That’s a bad idea’? I did that,” Howells says now.
The 7,500 bitcoins he threw out were worth over $600,000, and by the time his story made headlines the value had grown over $5 million. It was time to go to the Newport landfill.
Going to the landfill office, he explained his conundrum. One of the workers took Howells to the ditch
where the drive may be. “It was about the size of a football field,” Howell says. Not only that but something tossed out several months before would be around four feet down in the diapers, newspapers, glass and other debris.
If the police had to go digging around, they would have to have a team of 15 diggers and wear personal protective gear. Howells couldn’t fund the money for an operation that size, so he quit and started asking for donations.
The hard drive, with its bitcoins, is now worth around $72 million. As far as anyone knows, it’s still out there.
“When I first came across bitcoin I knew immediately. We had Google and Facebook then, and they were market leaders. The only thing missing was Internet money.”