There aren’t many household names in the world of cryptocurrency. Even Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious and anonymous founder of Bitcoin, is just a pseudonym; true crypto rockstars are few and far between. That is, of course, unless you’re early Bitcoin adopter Roger Ver, the owner of Bitcoin.com and one of the leading forces behind Bitcoin Cash, the highly controversial Bitcoin hardfork.
At one time in his life, Ver was one of the most passionate and dedicated proponents for the cryptocurrency. His relentless push for the primacy of Bitcoin earned him a prominent nickname — Bitcoin Jesus — a role he inhabited with gusto. Yet things have changed when it comes to Ver and his relationship with cryptocurrency. The rise of Bitcoin Cash, and the behavior Ver has demonstrated has led to his downfall. Today, instead of Bitcoin Jesus, Roger Ver is considered Bitcoin Judas.
In the early days of cryptocurrency, you couldn’t have asked for a better advocate for an industry that was still in its early stages. By 2011 Ver, who was at that point already a successful entrepreneur, having founded the now-defunct MemoryDealers e-commerce site. In fact, it was Ver who pioneered accepting Bitcoin as payment through his website.
Ver’s vocal support of Bitcoin was certainly matched by his investment activity as well. The entrepreneur put his money where his mouth was, investing heavily in a number of crypto startups like the Kraken crypto exchange, the BitPay wallet, the block explorer service Blockchain.info, and the Ripple decentralized currency.
Despite Ver’s vociferous and seemingly endless support for all things Bitcoin, there wasn’t always smooth sailing. The inevitable scaling problem that all cryptocurrencies face when it comes to transaction speeds was and continues to be a major issue for Ver. This was something that became a notorious stumbling block for Bitcoin in 2017, causing transaction fees to skyrocket before finally leveling off.
Ver has not been shy about how this vulnerability needs to be addressed. His early support for Bitcoin XT ultimately did nothing for the proposed — and stalled — Bitcoin hard fork, one that would have, theoretically, resolved issues with transaction speeds. The overarching consensus to Bitcoin XT was to reject it, especially among crypto mining outfits based in China. This moment, when Bitcoin XT was so soundly rejected by the crypto community, would turn out to be the tipping point for Ver’s support of Bitcoin.
Something changed deep within Ver after Bitcoin XT’s failure to launch. It’s almost as if he began to unravel, perhaps perceiving the hard fork’s rejection as a personal affront. Ver began blaming the failures of projects like Bitcoin XT and the similarly-designed Bitcoin Unlimited on a lack of free speech and a focus on censorship on online forums like Reddit as if there was a vast conspiracy at play to quash his ideas.
This behavior certainly confused and concerned many who admired Ver’s prior dedication to Bitcoin. Subsequently, Ver’s public YouTube affirmation of the Mt. Gox exchange has been interpreted as the face-heel turn for Ver, especially as Mt. Gox soon suffered catastrophic failures that resulted in the loss of untold millions in investor funds. While Ver has apologized for the video, the damage, at that point, had been done.
The dark beast in Roger Ver’s heart grew and grew until it had a name, and a life, of its own: Bitcoin Cash. The Bitcoin fork was yet another attempt to launch a version of the cryptocurrency that would theoretically solve the computational bottleneck problem caused by low transaction speeds, and Roger Ver promoted BCH aggressively.
The problem, however, is that this aggressiveness has reached propagandist levels. Ver has used his position as owner of Bitcoin.com to push BCH over BTC in misleading and dishonest ways. Additionally, the marked lack of decentralization of BCH is dangerous, making it highly susceptible to attack or control. Rumors of Ver’s involvement in such possible schemes, plus the undercutting of Bitcoin in favor of BCH, has made the cryptosphere in general turn against him.
By and large, of course, Bitcoin Cash has not taken the crypto world by storm in the same way that BTC has. It’s likely that it never will, making Roger Ver’s sacrifice of all the goodwill he’s accumulated over the years so tragic. He has, in essence, lived long enough to see himself become the villain in his own story. For that, he may have the pity of the cryptosphere, but never again its respect.
Author: A professional author, editor, and freelance writer for NoStop, David DeMar became involved in cryptocurrency in 2016 shortly before the infamous hack of The DAO. He claims it’s a coincidence.