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Winklevoss twins donate $2 million in bitcoin to support Trump

(Reuters) -The billionaire Winklevoss twins, founders of cryptocurrency company Gemini, said on Thursday they had each donated $1 million in bitcoin to support Donald Trump, the latest crypto executives to get behind the Republican presidential candidate.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, whose crypto firm in February entered settlement agreements with U.S. and New York state financial regulators after accusations of wrongdoing, announced the donations in posts on social media site X.

They did not specify where the donations were sent.

Tyler Winklevoss posted that President Joe Biden's Democratic administration had "openly declared war on crypto" and that Trump was "pro-Bitcoin, pro-crypto, and pro-business."

Trump has presented himself as a champion for crypto, including at a San Francisco fundraiser this month with tech executives during which he slammed Democrats' attempts to regulate the crypto sector.

The crypto industry is increasingly trying to influence U.S. politicians as it faces heightened scrutiny from regulators, especially since bankruptcies at major crypto firms in 2022 spooked investors, exposed fraud and misconduct, and left millions of investors out of pocket.

In February, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) said Gemini would return at least $1.1 billion to customers of its beleaguered lending program due to a third party’s bankruptcy and pay a fine of $37 million for unsafe and unsound practices as part of a settlement with the regulator.

Gemini also settled a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it had engaged in alleged unsafe and unsound practices for $21 million in February, without admitting or denying wrongdoing in the agreement.

The Winklevoss twins shot to fame after they sued Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, alleging he had stolen their idea for the social networking site. They agreed to a settlement in 2008 in which they received cash and Facebook stock.

The Biden administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Pritam Biswas, Alexandra Ulmer and Hannah Lang; Editing by Alan Barona and Jamie Freed)