Picture taken on January 11, 2011 shows Cameron (L) and Tyler (R) Winklevoss, founders of social networking website ConnectU, leaving the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco to attend a court hearing in a lawsuit against Facebook Inc. and its founder Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco.
If you've been missing the Winklevoss twins (and who hasn't), they're back in the news again with a plan to offer shares to the public that would give investors exposure to the value of digital currency Bitcoins.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who alleged that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for the website, have amassed nearly $11 million worth of Bitcoins, according to a report in the New York Times in April. The Winklevoss-Zuckerberg feud was portrayed in the 2010 film "The Social Network."
Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, which is designed to operate like an exchange-traded fund, will initially sell $20 million worth of shares, with each share worth a fraction of a Bitcoin, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed on Monday.
The shares are aimed at investors "seeking a cost-effective and convenient means to gain exposure to Bitcoins with minimal credit risk," the prospectus reads.
Bitcoins are a form of electronic money that is not managed by a single company or government. They are "mined" by software running a set of algorithms and their release is tightly controlled, mimicking a central banking system's control over the minting of money.
The value of a Bitcoin has been extremely volatile since the start of the year, rising from $13 in January to a peak of $266 in April and back down to around $100 last week.
Bitcoins have been touted by some as the future of money and gained in prominence amid the euro zone sovereign debt crisis as more people questioned the safety of holding their cash in the bank.
But others dismiss the currency as a Ponzi Scheme and authorities worry about its lack of regulation. In May, U.S. authorities seized two accounts linked to a major operator in the Bitcoin digital currency market.
The identical twins settled a lawsuit with Facebook in 2008 for cash and stock then valued at $65 million.
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First published July 2 2013, 5:06 AM