Winklevoss Twins Say They Each Gave $1 Million to Trump Presidential Campaign

The Winklevoss brothers have become two of the first big-name crypto CEOs to cross the campaign-contribution barrier that had kept big-time donations from the presidential race.

AccessTimeIconJun 20, 2024 at 9:56 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 21, 2024 at 8:56 p.m. UTC
  • Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the executives atop Gemini, gave $1 million each to the campaign of former President Donald Trump, the two announced on X.
  • The two had already been major donors for 2024 U.S. campaigns, each previously giving about $2.7 million, mostly to the industry's super PAC, Fairshake.
  • Portions of the contributions were reportedly refunded by the campaign fund to comply with legal limits on individual donors.

Gemini CEO Tyler and his twin brother Cameron Winklevoss, the company's president, have made two of the first major presidential contributions from prominent crypto executives, favoring former President Donald Trump with $1 million each in support, Tyler explained Thursday in a extensive posting on X.

"Over the past few years, the Biden Administration has openly declared war against crypto," Winklevoss began in the lengthy case against President Joe Biden's administration. "It has weaponized multiple government agencies to bully, harass, and sue the good actors in our industry in an effort to destroy it."

Gemini was targeted last year in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission case that accused the exchange of offering unregistered securities, which Tyler Winklevoss called at the time a "manufactured parking ticket." His explanation for supporting Trump was much more about opposing Biden.

"President Donald J. Trump is the pro-Bitcoin, pro-crypto, and pro-business choice," he concluded.

Tyler Winklevoss said he used Trump's recently established willingness to take crypto contributions and gave his contribution in the form of 15.47 bitcoin, and his brother posted later that he'd done the same. The money went to the Trump 47 Committee Inc., according to a spokeswoman.

Part of each million was reportedly returned to the executives, though, to comply with donation limits, Bloomberg reported on Friday. Individuals are only allowed to give at a level less than $850,000 per individual for Trump 47, which is a "joint fundraising committee" that's organized to divide the amount to comply with legal limits for campaign contributions, meaning the money could be spread across a longer list of Republican benefactors. It's unclear what the brothers intended to do with the extra portions refunded to them.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have – all along – donated matching amounts to U.S. election efforts. It was already a large sum that placed them among the major individual contributors in the 2024 campaigns. Before today, the two had given a total of about $2.7 million each, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures. On the presidential level, they'd already backed most of the prominent contenders that had tried earlier to yank the Republican nomination out from under Trump: Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott and Florida Gov. Ron Desantis.

The bulk of their donations, however, have been to the industry's main political action committee (PAC), Fairshake. Their combined $5 million represents a small but significant share of the Fairshake super PAC contributions that have now almost reached $169 million. That money has been devoted to buying outside ads for congressional candidates in the hope of loading Congress with crypto supporters.

The Winklevoss donations to Trump 47 join similar maxed-out contributions from Jeffrey Sprecher, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, and his wife Kelly Lynn Loeffler, a former U.S. senator and CEO of Bakkt; Joe Ricketts, the founder and former CEO of TD Ameritrade; and Robert Bigelow, who owns Budget Suites of America and founded the now-defunct Bigelow Aerospace.

Updated (6/21/24, 19:50 UTC): The Trump campaign can only legally accept $844,600 per person. The Winklevoss brothers were each refunded the amount they donated above that limit, according to Bloomberg.

Nikhilesh De contributed reporting.

UPDATE (June 21, 2024, 20:56 UTC): Adds reporting on portions of the contributions being refunded by the campaign committee.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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