Winklevoss Twins File IPO to Bring Bitcoin to the Public

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Winklevoss Bitcoin IPO

The Winklevoss twins, best known for suing Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their idea for Facebook, today filed an S-1 to create an exchange-traded fund for Bitcoin.

Tyler Winklevoss explained the motivation behind going public, “The trust brings bitcoin to Main Street and mainstream investors to bitcoin. It eliminates the friction of buying and reduces the risks associated with storing bitcoin while offering similar investment attributes to direct ownership.”

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have already made several headlines when it comes to Bitcoin. First, they claimed to own 1% of the outstanding bitcoins available. Later, they announced that they were investors in Bitcoin startup BitInstant. They operate an investment fund called Winklevoss Capital.

The filed S-1 outlines the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, a vehicle that the public can invest in and simply reflects the value of Bitcoin.

The investment objective of the Trust is for the Shares to reflect the performance of the Blended Bitcoin Price of Bitcoins, less the expenses of the Trust’s operations. The Shares are designed for investors seeking a cost-effective and convenient means to gain exposure to Bitcoins with minimal credit risk.

The Bitcoin Network is a recent technological innovation, and the Bitcoins that are created, transferred, used and stored by entities and individuals have certain features associated with several types of assets, most notably commodities and currencies. Apart from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US Department of the Treasury (“FinCEN”), major US regulators such as the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and SEC, have yet to make official pronouncements or adopt rules providing guidance with respect to the classification and treatment of Bitcoins and other Digital Math-Based Assets for purposes of commodities, tax and securities laws. The Sponsor believes that, on balance, the important features of Bitcoins and other Digital Math-Based Assets are those that are characteristics of commodities and therefore has referred to and discussed these assets as such. It is not known whether US or foreign regulators will share this view, adopt a single, different view or espouse a variety of differing views; this regulatory uncertainty creates risks for the Trust and its Shares. See “Risk Factors—Risk Factors Related to the Regulation of the Trust and its Shares.”

The Sponsor believes the Trust to be the first exchange-traded product that seeks to track the price of a Digital Math-Based Asset such as Bitcoins (a “DMBA ETP”). Some of the distinguishing features of the Trust and its Shares include directly holding Bitcoins using the Trust’s proprietary Security System, storage of the Trust’s Bitcoins in various premises of the Trustee located in the United States, the experience of the Sponsor’s management team, the use of [TRUSTEE] as custodian, third-party vault inspection and the use of a security consultant to advise on upgrades to the Trust’s technology and custody procedures. See “Business of the Trust.”

Cameron Winklevoss is listed at the CEO, while Tyler is listed as the CFO of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust.

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