这次投资由资本管理巨头摩根溪数字公司(Morgan Creek Digital)牵头，并有分散的金融风险投资公司ParaFi capital等公司的参与，为这对双胞胎和他们的主要竞争对手扎克伯格(Zuckerberg)之间最终摊牌奠定基础，还包括所谓的“围墙花园”(围墙花园：是一个控制用户对应用、网页和服务进行访问的环境。把用户限制在一个特定范围内，只允许用户访问或享受指定的内容、应用或服务，禁止或限制用户访问或享受其他未被允许的。注释来源：百度百科），像Facebook这样的公司拥有用户数据并从中获利，以及免费、开源的未来。
After seven years of funding their Gemini cryptocurrency empire out of pocket, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are in the process of signing the last documents on their first round of capital, a $400 million investment that values the New York parent company, Gemini Space Station, LLC, at $7.1 billion. If the epic competition between the twins and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a tortoise vs. hare scenario, now is starting to look like the moment momentum shifts.The brothers are expected to retain 75% ownership in the company after the investment, and their combined net wealth will nearly double from $6 billion in April to $10 billion today.Led by capital management giant Morgan Creek Digital, with participation from decentralized finance venture firm ParaFi Capital, and others, the investment sets the stage for a possible final showdown between more than just the twins and their archrival, Zuckerberg, but between the very idea of so-called Walled Gardens, where companies like Facebook own and profit from user data, and a free, open-source future.
Setting the stage for the clash, last month dozens of blockchain startups raised a total of more than $4 billion to chip away at the exterior defenses of these Walled Gardens by building a virtual, holographic, augmented reality version of the internet, called the metaverse, that anyone can build on (and monetize) while Facebook, Epic Games and other Big Tech giants prepare a counterattack to ensure that the billions of people already creating value for their firms’ shareholders continue to do so. “There’s these two parallel paths, in terms of technology right now,” says Cameron Winklevoss, 40, speaking from his home in California. “There’s a centralized path, like Facebook or Fortnite, that is one step away from being a metaverse, and that’s totally fine. But there is another path, which is the decentralized metaverse and that’s the metaverse where we believe there’s greater choice, independence and opportunity, and there is technology that protects the rights and dignity of individuals.” As part of the capital raise that roughly equates to a Series D, New York-based Morgan Creek contributed $75 million and general partner Sachin Jaitly became the third member of Gemini’s board of directors. The other board members are Tyler and Cameron. Other investors expected to participate in what would be the fourth-largest capital raise in crypto history include rapper and tycoon Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners, former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WnderCo, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, private equity firm 10T, family office advisory Newflow Partners, as well as United Talent Agency, Jane Street, K5 Global, Pantera, VanEck and BoostVC, among others.
这已经不是两兄弟第一次和扎克伯格较量了。这对2008年奥运会赛艇选手在康涅狄格州的格林威治长大，2010年哥伦比亚电影公司(Columbia Pictures)发行了大卫芬奇(David Fincher)执导的电影《社交网络》(the Social Network)，讲述了他们如何雇佣学生时期的马克扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)为大学生建立一个社交网络的故事，他们都因此一举成名。经过一场旷日持久的法律战，主要集中在谁是Facebook的创始人这个问题上，兄弟俩在2011年和解，得到了当时看来微不足道的6,500万美元的Facebook股票和现金。2013年，他们花了大约1100万美元购买了当时估计占现有比特币总量1%的比特币。在被称为加密货币“狂野西部”(Wild West)的领域，他们将激情投入到新发现的一家有牌照的交易所，吸引遵守法律条文的合格的机构投资者，使自己脱颖而出。
This is not the first time the brothers have dueled with Zuckerberg. Raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, the 2008 Olympic rowers skyrocketed to fame in 2010, when Columbia Pictures released The Social Network, a film by David Fincher, telling the story of how they hired classmate Mark Zuckerberg to build a social network for university students. After a protracted legal battle that largely focused on the question of who founded Facebook, the brothers settled in 2011 for what at the time seemed like a paltry $65 million in Facebook stock and cash. In 2013, they spent about $11 million to buy what at the time was estimated to be 1% of all bitcoin in existence. Parlaying their newfound passion into a licensed exchange in what has become known as the Wild West of cryptocurrency, they distinguished themselves by luring accredited and institutional investors looking to follow the letter of the law.Seven years later, New York-based Gemini’s annual revenue has increased 600% since last year and a company spokesperson says it is on track to be profitable by the end of this year. While they are not sharing the actual revenue numbers, they say the largest segment comes from the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, which charges active traders 0.6% for transactions less than $500,000, and less for larger amounts; 0.4% on $30 billion in assets under custody, and an average of about a 1% fee to borrow 40 different cryptocurrencies, among other sources. Cameron says the 600-person firm with offices in London and Singapore will have 1,000 employees by next year. This is where history starts to repeat itself. In a seeming slight to the brothers’ astrologically named firm, their former employee at Harvard, Zuckerberg, launched Libra, his own attempt to capitalize on bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology in 2019. A consortium of potential cryptocurrency users, including MasterCard, PayPal, Stripe and Visa, briefly committed to building technology that would peg the libra cryptocurrency to a baset of national currencies, including the U.S. dollar and the British pound. Shortly after the announcement, however, the group largely disbanded, following U.S. lawmakers’ apprehension over the initiative led by a firm that so controversially sold influence over its users’ behavior.
Months after Zuckerberg launched Libra, Tyler and Cameron again blazed a trail destined to be followed by the Walled Garden kingpin. In Act 3 of the story, on which the curtain rose in November 2019, the brothers bought non-fungible token (NFT) exchange Nifty Gateway, a marketplace for the then nearly unknown assets that now form the building blocks of the metaverse by helping value accumulate to otherwise easily copied digital objects. Since the acquisition, when the industry was conducting fewer than $2 million in volume over a 30-day period, according to data site, NonFungible.com, it has exploded to a high of $3.7 billion over 30 days in September and $1.8 billion today. Ironically, for founders who claim to be building a world beyond Walled Gardens, Nifty follows a similar path to Gemini’s, which sought to build crypto investing services for compliant investors, by deeply vetting the NFT creators allowed on-site. “Decentralization is a spectrum,” says Cameron. “We want to continue to move down the spectrum toward empowerment. But you have to start somewhere.” It turns out this philosophy is not without its risks.While the promise of trillions in institutional adoption continues to remain their North Star, less discerning exchanges, frequently with fewer licenses, are so far winning the day. Gemini is only the 11th-largest exchange in the world on data site CoinGecko, and among those exchanges, relative newcomer FTX just raised $900 million at an eclipsing $18 billion valuation. Similarly, Nifty doesn’t even appear on many lists of the largest NFT exchanges, because much of its $420 million in total volume is done off-chain, making it impossible for third parties to aggregate—more like the discretion of Sotheby’s than the openness of eBay.
In addition to personal investments in the metaverse through Winklevoss Capital, more than half the newly launched Gemini Frontier Fund’s portfolio consists of firms related to the burgeoning space and an additional $35 million is set aside from the capital raise for future investments. Already, they’ve bought stakes in NFT firms Alethea AI, based in Singapore, and Recur, in Florida; Prague-based metaverse startup Somnium Space; and, in an early version of the metaverse, The Sandbox (SAND), being built by $2.2 billion Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands. Between October 27 and November 18 the price of SAND increased 413% to $3.94. As part of The Sandbox deal the brothers also bought a plot of virtual land where they hope to build the first of many virtual locations, similar to a website but in three dimensions. “Instead of building brick-and-mortar bank branches in meatspace,” says Tyler, using the slang for the real world where we actually live, “we’re gonna build a Gemini experience in different metaverses, where you can go into Gemini and trade, but it would be immersive instead of on your phone.”Instead of the ad-driven model that has proved so lucrative to social media companies (and fertile for misinformation and political influence), most metaverses will require tiny amounts of cryptocurrency, similar to “gas” used to run other decentralized applications. While revenue models will certainly proliferate, the more demand there is for these tokens, the higher the price, increasing the value of the very same currency the users now own and letting the wealth accumulate to users instead of shareholders.