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Winklevoss twins chase ‘great underdog story’ with stake in non-league football team

winklevoss twins
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were made famous by the Hollywood film The Social Network - Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images Contributor

The billionaire bitcoin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have become co-owners of a semi-professional football team that plays in the ninth tier of the English league system.

The identical twins’ investment fund, Winklevoss Capital, has used $4.5m (£3.6m) in bitcoin to buy a 45pc stake in Real Bedford, which competes in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division and has an average attendance of 440.

The team is majority owned by Peter McCormack, a bitcoin investor and podcast host who has made it his ambition to take the side into the Premier League.

The Winklevoss brothers’ bitcoin exchange Gemini is already a sponsor.

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The investment, which is believed to be the largest ever in a non-league team, is the latest sign of US interest in lower league football and follows the actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s takeover of Wrexham in 2020.

The Winklevoss twins met Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard and were made famous by the Hollywood film The Social Network, which charted the launch of Facebook.

They sued Mr Zuckerberg and won a $65m payout, partly investing it in bitcoin to become the world’s first-known cryptocurrency billionaires.

Mr McCormack took over Real Bedford, formerly known as Bedford United, in 2021. The club now accepts bitcoin as payment, is financially supported by a “bitcoin treasury”, and streams its matches on YouTube in an attempt to appeal to global fans of the cryptocurrency.

Mr McCormack said: “We’re an anarchist club, we’re a f--- you club, I care for freedom and people not having their money stolen through them.”

Cameron Winklevoss said the brothers had bought into the club because “it has the makings of a great underdog story”.

He said the pair, also known for competing in the 2008 Olympics as rowers, had learned about football while studying and rowing at Oxford.

Mr Winklevoss said he and his brother would try to get to “a bunch of” games at McMullen Park, Real Bedford’s 1,000-capacity ground.

Bitcoin has risen to an all-time high in recent weeks, recently breaking the $70,000 mark for the first time.