In a throwback to the drama of bitcoin’s early days (and a throwback to the lawsuit that first made them famous), Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are suing the man who helped them acquire their massive cryptocurrency holdings. The Winklevosses contend that Charlie Shrem, one of the first bitcoin millionaires, bought them only $189,000 worth of bitcoin with the $250,000 they sent him in 2012—a discrepancy that, given bitcoin’s appreciation, is now worth around $32 million, according a federal lawsuit unsealed Thursday.
The Winklevosses claim that Mr. Shrem, who served a year in prison for helping people buy bitcoin to spend on drugs, has used the $32 million to make a number of lavish purchases over the last year, including two Maseratis and a $2 million house in Florida. Mr. Shrem denies the charges. For all the attention paid to bitcoin’s steep drop in price over the last year, the lawsuit serves as a reminder that early investors have still made a killing.