Towards the end of our hour-long interview, Bitcoin.com founder Roger Ver drops a bomb: He had considered killing himself to escape a prison sentence at the age of 23. Even to the most freedom-loving libertarian, this seems extreme. But Ver had found a way to escape his own death by cryonically preserving himself to be resuscitated at a later date.
By the age of 20, Ver had already signed with Arizona life extension firm Alcor to be frozen after death, long before he was handed a 10-month sentence in 2002 for selling fireworks on eBay.
“It will freeze your body in a big giant container of liquid nitrogen when you die, in the hope that future medical technology will be able to fix anything that made you die in the first place – plus the one from freezing caused damage, “he explains:
“And so I even thought about it – suicide is not the right word – but I did consider trying to kill myself temporarily, get into a cryonic suspension, and later when the technology is better, come out so I don’t go to jail.” That’s how upset I was about going to jail. “
At 42 years old and with fortunes vaguely known as billions, the proponent of Bitcoin Cash intends to shift his investment focus to cryonics over the next decade to improve experimental technology.
“Instead of investing in cryptocurrency, I want to focus on extreme life-extension technologies because when you die, you can no longer enjoy your life,” he says. At various points during our conversation, Ver refers to his mission with a well-practiced slogan about helping build the tools that will put people in control of their own money (or variations of it).
Responding to this, he says his new focus will be on “developing the tools that allow people to have as much time as they need in their lives to do the things they enjoy, and to spend it with the people they care about. “
If Ver is run over by a bus tomorrow, there is a card in his wallet and notes on his phone with instructions to contact Alcor immediately to freeze his body in the hope of an eventual resurrection. “That is certainly my hope,” he says, adding ironically. “The downside is that the company is in Arizona and I travel all over the world.”
Paradise in the pandemic
Currently bunkering ahead of the pandemic on the French-speaking island of St. Barts in the Caribbean, where it’s “summer all year round”. After meeting the US authorities, he gave up his US citizenship in 2014 and became a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis. He spends a lot of time in neighboring Antigua, where he convinced companies from gas stations to supermarkets to accept BCH. You can now even pay the $ 158,000 it takes to become a citizen in crypto.
Compared to 2017 and 2018, when Ver apparently advocated big blocks and peer-to-peer cash everywhere, it has been much less prominent lately. “I made a very conscious decision to do less media,” he says. “This civil war is over now. So I don’t think I have to argue with words, I have to build useful things for people all over the world. “
However, he’s still pretty active behind the scenes and plays an important role in persuasion Kim Dotcom welcomes Bitcoin Cash for its K.im content monetization platform.
Dotcom spoke to Bitcoin maximalist Tone Vays (who was decidedly unimpressed) uncovered that Ver had convinced him. “He shared with me some of the innovations he’s working on. I think the guy right now is one step ahead in terms of his thinking and innovation. I think it’s stupid to ignore someone like that.”
It sounds like Ver also extolled Tesla CEO Elon Musk for the virtues of Bitcoin Cash, but hesitates to confirm it.
“I hate to be shy but I won’t comment on this question. I’m happy to talk about pretty much anything but this is one that I think we’ll have to save for another time.”
Well, that’s not a “no” is it?
Elon Musk and Kim Dotcom Conversing About Low Fee Bitcoin Cash !! Are Bitcoin’s High Transaction Fees Important? #bitcoin #BitcoinCash @elonmusk @KimDotcom https://t.co/BbeVkDbUUl pic.twitter.com/UkvLapITD4
– Ryan Giffin (@ RyanMic87079594) March 29, 2021
The only part of the story about bitcoin forks
As one of the earliest and most ardent proponents of Bitcoin, Ver is also one of the most controversial for his role in the November 2017 spin-off from Bitcoin Cash. While the price and hash rate of BCH versus Bitcoin has become insignificant lately, the transaction of the Network number is 100,000 more per day than Bitcoin and its block size is also larger, suggesting that it is actually starting to be used as a currency.
But forks make forks, and one-time ally and Satoshi claimant Craig Wright ditched Bitcoin SV from Bitcoin Cash a year later. At one point, Ver Wright’s Satoshi claims seemed to take some credence, but relations have been poor and the Australian is now spending much of his time improving Defamation Lawsuits for calling him a scam. The most recent case was filed in Antigua in September. “100% sure he’ll lose this one, too,” says Ver, without a hint of concern.
But what did he hope to achieve by tying his fortune to Wrights in the first place?
“Good question,” he says, “the things Craig Wright said then are completely different from what he’s been saying lately. Back then, he was advocating much of this libertarian free market rhetoric.” Hesitantly adds he added:
“I think I was hoping to have an ally at the time. […] It turned out that Craig wasn’t a good ally. “
Another Bitcoin Cash fork took place last November as a result of Bitcoin ABC’s “benevolent dictatorAmaury Sechet tries to impose an 8% tax on miners to pay for the development. The competing implementation Bitcoin Cash Node (BCH) won the battle for the name, and Sechet was awarded a coin called BCHA, or Bitcoin Cash ABC, which is currently valued at around $ 36-852 for BCH.
While a tax would never fly with the elements of the BCH community “taxation is theft”, the loss of the lead developer of Bitcoin Cash who was instrumental in creating the currency seems like a blow. But that is not how Ver sees it. “The only time I ran out of Bitcoin Cash was when Amaury tried to split the network,” he reveals.
Bitcoin ABC and @deadalnix have announced that they will be moving away from #BitcoinCash on November 15th.
We wish you the best of luck with your new coin and thank you for the free airdrop to all BCH holders.
– Roger Ver (@rogerkver) September 1, 2020
“I think it shows how incredibly distributed, decentralized and censorship-resistant the Bitcoin Cash network is, based on the fact that Amaury is gone and the network, you know, the price is higher than ever.”
And as for price, after seeing Bitcoin go from cents to tens of thousands of dollars, Ver has some pretty optimistic hopes for Bitcoin Cash. He believes the overall addressable market for digital cash is ten times larger than the market for digital gold, and argues that if Bitcoin can reach $ 64,000, “$ 600,000 for Bitcoin Cash is well within the realm of possibility.”
Nevertheless, he is not a Bitcoin Cash maximalist and has the possibility that Ethereum or an Ethereum killer will one day also take Bitcoin off the ground if BCH somehow cannot do this.
“I have almost every cryptocurrency,” he says, revealing significant holdings of Bitcoin, Ether, Binance Coin, XRP, ADA, Tether and DOT. No dog.
Forked away from the family
Born in San Jose in 1979, Ver rarely talks about his childhood, although his independence and rebellious stance were clearly felt even then.
“I think I rebelled – I moved out of my birth parents’ house when I was 16,” he says. “And then I had kind of a new adoptive family that I’ve lived with ever since, and consider my family at this point.”
He doesn’t want to reveal too much about her, especially since there have been “hacking attempts, blackmail attempts and threats to harm me or my family.” So I probably don’t want to give too many details that could help the world track down my newly adopted family. “
“I was lucky enough to find them and I am incredibly grateful to have them in my life and to speak to them almost every day.”
At 16 or 17 he began devouring business books, including the work of a libertarian writer – and a liberal hate figure -. Ayn Randas well as the writings of the Austrian economist and anarcho-capitalist founder Murray Rothbard.
Connected: Is Ethereum on the left and Bitcoin on the right?
Laughs when he points out that Rand threw Rothbard out of her “inner circle because he’s too extreme, so this is my intellectual hero”.
“He’s written a number of really, really compelling, interesting, and thought-provoking books about things I’ve never been exposed to.” He adds, “I have no problem calling myself Anarcho-capitalist or Volunteer because I think these are the only practical and moral ways for society to function. “
Ver is incredibly committed to his libertarian and voluntary ideals, to the point where he streamlines his millions in donate to the Foundation for Economic Education, Liberland, Antiwar.com and FreeRoss.org, calling its philanthropy “self-interest”. Some libertarians like Rand view Altruism with a certain suspicion that believes it is incompatible with the rights and freedom of the individual.
“It’s because I like and support what these people are up to,” he says. “So I want to donate money to them, not because I’m selfless, but because I’m selfish. Because the value that I believe I will get back from myself is higher than the value of the cryptocurrency I sent to them have. “
Economics 101 makes mini millionaires
Utilized his understanding of economics after discovering that he could buy hard drives from bankrupt companies for $ 100 each at auction and sell them on eBay for nearly $ 400. This formed the basis of his company, Memory Dealers, and Ver later founded Agilestar, which dealt with fiber optic transceivers.
“If you study business books you will learn that anything a business is, whether it’s physical goods or intellectual capital or whatever, from where it’s worth less to where it’s worth more . “
However, one venture almost ruined his life. “Like any young man,” he says, “I liked fireworks.” He explains that he bought firecrackers from Cabela’s sporting goods catalog called Pest Control Report 2000, which are used to deter birds from crops. When he found these fetched a higher price on eBay, he began reselling them for a profit.
“It was just kind of a little side project,” he says. “If I had known it was illegal, I wouldn’t have.”
The authorities calculated he deals with the handling of explosives without a license, the illegal storage and the shipping of “harmful articles”. Ver accepted a plea for 10 months in prison.
He still believes the charges against him were politically motivated, due to his outspoken criticism of the authorities during a run for the California State Assembly as a libertarian candidate in 2000.
This, of course, cannot be proven. However, Ver says he was the only person among dozens of resellers charged with the fireworks and that manufacturer Max2000 simply sold a million of them I Agree stop selling them next year.
Verse opponents constantly bring up his criminal record in order to discredit him. In November 2019, Nouriel Roubini (aka Dr. Doom) attacked him Be a convicted criminal during a debate in London. Afterward, Ver said this was evidence that he won.
“The fact that he attacked me for selling fireworks on eBay, which has nothing to do with whether or not cryptocurrencies are useful to the world, is a pretty clear sign that I did well.”
Life in prison was especially tough for a freedom-loving libertarian, although he admits that the boring parts were preferable to all the exciting events. “Excitement in prison is never good excitement,” he says. “It’s just bad excitement. And by far the longest 10 months of my life.”
This is my story of how I was tortured in prison, but I am not the only one
– Roger Ver (@rogerkver) July 5, 2018
A few days after his arrival, a prison guard didn’t give a fuck about him and started yelling questions about who was going to murder Ver in order to convince Ver he would have two more years in prison.
Shocked, Ver began to cry and pleaded with the guard: “It’s not mine, it’s not mine, I don’t know where it came from.” When the guard saw his obvious distress, he suddenly smiled and patted his shoulder. “Relax, I’m just kidding. Have a seat.”
Ver regards this as psychological torture. “I think he was just bored and the conversation for him was ‘let’s talk to this new man,'” he says. “The prisoners know that the guards can do what they want. I don’t know if he tried to teach this to a new man. I think everyone there knows very quickly that this is the case. “
On his last day, he found his breakthrough (if only a small) moment of vengeance. Ver remembers what the prison guard said on the way to the door: “Oh, you’re coming back.”
“I said,” No, I won’t, but you will be back. You will come here every day until you retire. “
From Skid Row to Santana Row
Ver made his first million the year after his release, and probation officers had to visit him at his opulent new apartment on Santana Row, San Jose.
“It was an interesting experience to have these people. You’re supposed to be boss of me and tell me what a horrible person I am and keep an eye on me to make sure I’m not doing anything wrong, but I live in one of the fanciest apartment complexes in Silicon Valley, ”he says.
“I had a lot more financial power than she did. But they had a lot more legal power over me and my life, so it was kind of an uncomfortable power imbalance. “Verse imprisonment included a period of three years for supervised release. The moment it was over, Ver said goodbye to the United States and moved to Japan.
“I was jailed for the things I said. The day I was allowed to leave the United States, I left the United States and never lived there again. “
He was half retired and spent much of his time working on his jiujitsu and participating in tournaments. Now he’s a brown belt and carves an hour for it every day.
He first heard about Bitcoin Listen to the libertarian radio show “Free Talk Live” in 2011. His ears tinkled at the mention of drug buying on the Silk Road – he didn’t care about the drugs, he was fascinated by how users could pay with money outside of state control.
“I thought, okay, this is the next big thing. This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for all my life. This is kryptonite for the state in the government’s ability to control people. I want to encourage that all day. “
Unlike many new investors interested in the “get rich quick” aspect of crypto, Ver was already rich when he found out about Bitcoin and was able to develop a different relationship with Bitcoin.
“I had a Lamborghini before Bitcoin was even invented. And I sold the Lamborghini to buy more bitcoin. But with the money it was a lot easier to get involved, ”he says.
There are reports that Ver amassed around 400,000 BTC, which would be worth $ 20 billion today – although he gave away much of it to convert unbelievers.
Ver also invested in much of the basic infrastructure for the cryptosphere, including Bitpay, Zcash, Kraken, and Blockchain.info (now Blockchain.com). He was a co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation and an advisor to Binance. And of course, he’s spreading the acceptance of Bitcoin Cash through Bitcoin.com. While he is colloquially known as “Bitcoin Jesus”, he likes to think that he is more related to “Bitcoin” Johnny Appleseed“Plant the seeds that” all grew into these great giant businesses that we have today. “
While crypto made him an extremely wealthy man, it also gave Ve’s life a purpose that it might otherwise not have had. “The best answer I can find is that the meaning of life is to enjoy the journey of your life every day,” he says. “So, find out what makes you happy and try to do that.”