Billionaire twins invest in ninth-tier football club - Harpur Centre
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Billionaire twins invest in ninth-tier football club


A non-league football club has received an injection of $4.5m (about £3.6m) from a pair of cryptocurrency investors.

Real Bedford FC (RBFC) received the Bitcoin investment from Winklevoss Capital, an investment firm owned by Gemini founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

Podcaster Peter McCormack bought the side, currently in the ninth tier of English football, in 2021 with the goal of turning it into a Premier League club.

Following the investment the twins will assume the role of co-owners of the club alongside the cryptocurrency podcaster.

Peter McCormack
Image caption,

Peter McCormack bought Bedford FC in 2021 and renamed it Real Bedford

Analysis: Shiona McCallum, BBC Senior Technology Reporter

The Winklevoss brothers are pretty familiar with controversy. They famously accused Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg of stealing the idea for his site from them when they were all at Harvard together.

Following a lengthy lawsuit, eventually the twins received a settlement that included a whopping $20m (£16m) in cash and shares in the company.

You might remember it all playing out in the 2010 Oscar-winning film The Social Network. Well, since then the pair have been carrying the flag for cryptocurrencies, and are two of the world’s first well-known Bitcoin billionaires.

Not only do Tyler and Cameron own an enormous number of Bitcoins, they also built a crypto exchange called Gemini which is, essentially, a stock exchange for crypto coins.

But that endeavour hasn’t been plain sailing, either; just this year they were ordered to return more than $1bn (£800m) to customers due to a defunct lending programme and pay a large fine for unsafe and unsound practices.

It’ll be interesting to see how their fortunes fare when it comes to football but it’s really not a bad time for Bitcoin right now. Its value has risen to an all-time high in recent weeks.

‘Investing in a dream’

Gemini started its sponsorship of the club in January 2022.

The investment will be used for the development of a new training centre, the launch of a football academy for new talent and to continue supporting girls and youth football.

The club said the funds would also be used to establish “a Bitcoin treasury to secure the club’s long-term ambitions”.

Tyler Winklevoss said he was excited to work alongside Mr McCormack as a co-owner.

“We share in Peter’s deep conviction in Bitcoin and its ability to supercharge RBFC’s quest to make it into the Premier League,” he said.

His brother added: “We’re not just investing in a football club. We’re investing in a dream to bring Premier League football to Bedford.”

RBFC currently sit at the top of the Spartan South Midlands Football League Premier Division.

Mr McCormack said: “The backing from Tyler and Cameron will allow us to continue investing in Bedford and the local community.”