BitScan's exclusive Q&A with Roger Ver
Monday 23 September 2013
He loves Tokyo, jiu jitsu and more than anything, he loves bitcoin (he even has the bitcoin logo emblazoned on the back of his jiu jitsu outfit. He showed me.) There is a lot of information out there about Roger Ver so we thought we’d find out not just about that time he ended up in hospital when he first discovered bitcoin but about his thoughts on the current situation with Mt.Gox and CoinLab, the US Government’s stance on bitcoin and what he thinks needs to be done to get bitcoin into the wider community. All this while he was having breakfast...
Roger: When I discovered bitcoin, I realised this is it—this is world-changing technology that’s happening right before my eyes. I was in California when I first discovered it and I started reading about it and it drew me in. I was googling it while eating my breakfast. I was intending to go to my office that day but I didn’t make it, I stayed home, read all about bitcoin, stayed up that whole night until 11am the next morning until I finally fell asleep a little. About an hour and a half later I woke up and read more about bitcoin and stayed up all day, just ordered food to be delivered to the house, stayed up all night the next night and didn’t go to bed until about 7am the next morning. Two hours later I woke up and read more about bitcoin and was just absolutely obsessed with bitcoin. This went on for about a week, where I only slept about two hours a night and didn’t leave the house. Normally I need about eight or nine hours of sleep a night so after over a week I got really really sick. I couldn’t even drive myself to the hospital so I called my best friend and he took me. They gave me some sort of antibiotics and sleep medication and I slept twelve hours straight and started to feel a little better. But ever since it has been about bitcoin every single day, for coming up three years now.
B: What was it about bitcoin that instantly grabbed you in such a way?
R: When I was younger I studied some economics and when I discovered bitcoin I realised that this is the best form of money that the world has ever seen and I realised that this is going to take over absolutely everything. So here I am having been involved with bitcoin for the last three years.
B: So it seems understandable people refer to you as bitcoin Jesus—how do you take to that title?
R: Well, eventually Jesus was executed by the Government of his time so I hope the same thing doesn’t happen to me.
B: You were prosecuted by the US government [for selling fire crackers], has that influenced your view of the government and state or have you always taken an anti-regulatory stance?
R: If I had never been prosecuted, I would still be just as passionate about bitcoin. If I were still living in the States, would I be as active? Probably. I think it is just in the core of my being. Bitcoin is something the world really needs and it will make the world a better place for absolutely everybody. I don’t see any reason why anybody would want to delay or stop that in anyway. I just think the biggest thing that is holding back bitcoin at this point is that most people haven’t even heard of it yet, let alone understand it, and it takes a little bit of time to understand it, so I am doing my job to spread the word as quickly as I can.
B: Do you think the Winklevoss twins' plans to float their bitcoin stash will help in this regard and make bitcoin more accessible?
R: I think it will help. The more things that people can use bitcoin for, the better, and that’s just one more. There are lots of people for whom buying bitcoin is a little bit difficult so if there’s an ETF, which any traditional trader can trade into, people will love that. It will definitely help.
B: But do you think they’ll ever reach a point where they follow Germany’s route and recognize it as a legal unit of account?
R: I think it will go a lot further than that. Once people realize just how much better bitcoin is than dollars, euro or yen I think we’ll see the majority of the world using either bitcoin or something that comes along using the same concept, that might be even better. At the end of the day, the regulators aren’t going to be able to stop it, even if they wanted to.
B: Have you renounced your US citizenship?
R: I'm a felon so it's really difficult to obtain citizenship somewhere else. I would love to be able to renounce my US citizenship but becoming staeless isn't really a practical option. I'm not a fan of the idea of countries in general, but if someone out there wants a really hardworking entrepreneur, I'd be happy to change my citizenship from the US to just about anywhere else.
R: I am an investor in around a dozen. The two that suck up the vast majority of my time are the bitcoinstore.com and I am involved with blockchain.info as well. Then there are a million and one emails everyday about random bitcoin things.
R: Yes. I feel bad at this point because I want to help everybody I possibly can who’s interested in bitcoin but I am having to tell people I’m sorry, I just haven’t the time to help. I think this is a good thing though, that bitcoin is growing so much that so many people are interested in doing all sorts of exciting things.
R: I think with enough help from the media and enough attention, people will see that bitcoin is a superior currency to dollars or euros or yen and they’ll want to use it.
Someone posted on my facebook page recently about a gas station with a sign saying: “Gas: 20 cents a gallon when paid for in pre-1964 coins,” which are the coins that are still made in silver. It’s crazy, gasoline is just 20 cents a gallon if you paid for it in what money used to be worth before the government converted to this fiat currency where they can just print as much as they want.
So people have the choice, they can use a dollar, which is worth less and less and less as each month goes by or they can use bitcoins, which are very likely to be worth more and more and more. I think once people realise that, they are going to flock in mass to bitcoin and not just in the US but in countries around the world. That will be a wonderful thing.
"Bitcoin is the new peace dollar.
Bitcoin is the currency of peace."
- Roger Ver
Most people don’t even realise [quantitative easing] is happening. If you or I printed money, we would go to jail for counterfeiting, but when the government do it, they call it quantitative easing, or economic stimulus. I think it’s really important that people understand that and I don’t know if bitcoin will help people understand it but people will be pretty smart when it comes to their own money and they have two options: one that is continually worth less, or one that is worth more and more.
I once organized a meet up in Hong Kong with all my business contacts I had from my previous career selling IT equipment and a lot of them are using bitcoins now. Some of them, their English isn’t so good so when one man emails me trying to sell me parts, he doesn’t ask how many dollars I’ll pay him, but how many bit corns. But he understands the concept and because of how the blockchain works, I can see that he hasn’t moved any of the bitcoins I sent him, so he now has well over a million dollars worth of bitcoin and I think he has really become obsessed by bitcoin as well. He is always emailing me, asking me what I think about this or that.
B: People are sometimes put off by the fact that bitcoin isn’t backed by anything other than the willingness of people to use it. How would you answer someone with those concerns?
R: There are a couple of answers. One, the US dollar today isn’t backed by anything but people use it fine all over the world. Two, gold is useful as money because of its inherent properties: that it’s really useful to identify as gold, it’s difficult to counterfeit and easily divisible. The one thing gold doesn’t have, is that it is not easily transportable. If you look at bitcoin, it has all those same characteristics of gold in terms of it being easily recognizable, easily divisible and similarly, they both have a limited supply and can’t just be made out of thin air. Where bitcoin differs from gold is that it is easily transportable. You can send bitcoins anywhere on the planet instantly basically for free. It is incredibly expensive to ship gold around the world and if you do, you have to trust the shipping company or the delivery company, with bitcoin you don’t have to trust anybody at all. All you do, is send the bitcoins and they have been sent. So bitcoin has gold’s valuable characteristics as money but it is also transportable. Plus, if you have gold stored in a safe or safety deposit box at the bank, that gold can be seized at any time but if you have bitcoin and you keep your password safe, nobody can seize your bitcoin.
B: We can't comment on specifics with the legal case ongoing but what do you think the case, the suing and counter-suing, is doing for bitcoin's image? Do you think it will undermine trust in bitcoin?
R: Unfortunately Americans love to sue people all the time. Personally I don’t like it and am not interested in lawsuits but if anything, it might end up being good for bitcoin in the sense that it gets it some additional publicity and most people haven’t even heard of bitcoin.
B: And what do you think people need to do or what needs to happen for bitcoin to gain wider adoption?
R: They need to convert as many of their government-issued currencies as they can into bitcoin and then whenever they want to buy anything, ask the store where they want to buy it from, to accept bitcoin as payment.
"I realised that this is the best form of money that the world has ever seen
and I realised that this is going to take over absolutely everything. "
- Roger Ver
You can also appeal to the peace community and those that are opposed to war. Bitcoin is the new peace dollar, bitcoin is the currency of peace and if you’re opposed to war, you should be using bitcoin every opportunity you get because if you use dollars, that’s what governments are using to make bombs.
Thanks to Roger Ver for his time to do the interview.
comments powered by Disqus