$26 Million: Winklevoss Twins, Charlie Shrem Settle Long-Standing Bitcoin Lawsuit

Francisco Memoria

The owners of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, have recently settled a long-standing lawsuit against early bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem over $26 million, which the exchange owners claimed Shrem owed them.

According to an April 5 court filing, Judge Jed Rakoff of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed the case, as both parties revealed they’ve reached a settlement.

While the documents show both parties have the right to reopen the case within 30 days (by May 5), both have expressed they have no intention to do so. According to a separate filing by the twins’ Winklevoss Capital Fund (WCG), both Shrem and WCF will handle their own attorneys’ fees and costs.

The terms of the settlement are, according to a tweet published by Charlie Shrem, confidential.

Winklevoss’ Lawsuit Against Shrem

At the heard of the lawsuit was a bitcoin purchase the Winklevoss twins asked Charlie Shrem to make. Shrem was the founder of one of the first prominent bitcoin businesses, Bitinstant, and the twins reportedly gave him $1 million in 2012 to buy bitcoin “at the best price” and for no commission or transaction fee.

The Winklevoss twins reportedly later on found an address linked to the entrepreneur that revealed 5,000 bitcoin were missing, and alleged he stole about $61,000 to buy the BTC for himself. Given the flagship cryptocurrency’s appreciation since then, the lawsuit was now involving about $26 million, as one BTC is trading at $5,250.

Stephen Palley, an attorney and a partner at Anderson Kill, revealed on Twitter that the case started with the “plaintiffs trying to freeze and seize Shrem's assets before he even knew that he had been sued. It went from there to worse for the plaintiffs lawyers, who saw that ruling over-turned and ended up being sanctioned for deposition misconduct.”

Notably both sides are notable cryptocurrency supporters. Last year the Winklevoss twins have revealed they believe bitcoin’s market cap could hit $5 trillion, and earlier this year Shrem noted he’s “still all in crypto” as he believes it’s his future.