I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!
Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:01 pm
I’m Roger Ver.
I’ve been involved with Bitcoin every waking moment since April 2011.
Before that, I was the founder and CEO of MemoryDealers.com in Silicon Valley.
A rough timeline of my involvement goes something like this:
Nov or Dec 2010, I heard about Bitcoin but dismissed it because no one else was using it, and didn’t research it enough to understand the details.
March 2011, I started looking into Bitcoin bit more.
April 2011, I became fully convinced that Bitcoin was going to change the world, so I bought my first bitcoins.
April 26th 2011, My company, MemoryDealers.com became the first main stream company in the world to start accepting bitcoin for payment.
May 3rd 2011, I began running nationwide radio commercials promoting Bitcoin.
The first one can be heard at https://www.freetalklive.com/podcast/ep ... y-3rd-2011 at 1:02:53 into the show.
June 2011 I put up a Bitcoin Billboard on the side of Lawrence expressway in Silicon Valley.
There have been several versions displayed over the years:
One is still being displayed there to this very day.
August 2011, I made a public bet with the world that Bitcoin would outperform gold, silver, the US stock market by more than one hundred times over the next two years.
Dec 2011 I made my first investment in a Bitcoin startup, Charlie Shrem’s Bitinstant.com
2012, I created Bitcoinstore.com, the first website in the world to offer hundreds of thousands of items for bitcoins at very competitive prices. I truly think this was a turning point for bitcoin. Previously people would always complain, saying, “but what can I buy with bitcoin?” With the creation of this website, everyone could now confidently say that you can buy any consumer electronic item you want directly for Bitcoin.
2012 August, I posted the one year update to my Bitcoin Bet. It is amazing to see how far things have come when looking back on this:
2012, I provided half the seed funding to form the Bitcoin Foundation.
2012-2013, I invested in the seed rounds for quite a few more Bitcoin startups. Many of which are still here, such as Blockchain.info, Bitpay, Kraken, and Ripple. Many others are no longer around such as Bitinstant, Coinlab, Dialcoin, and more.
2013 July, As a favor to MTGOX, I made the below video for them. In hindsight, I regret having made it for them, but everything I said in the video, even with what we know today, was factually true. I saw with my own eyes bank account balances with about $100M USD. I saw with my own eyes a letter from the bank limiting MTGOX to 10 international wire transfers per day, and 100M JPY in domestic transfers per day. At the time the video was made, there wasn't even a suspicion that MTGOX didn't have everyone's bitcoins, and I made no effort to verify their Bitcoin holdings in any way. The MTGOX Bankruptcy didn't come until seven months later. I'm very sorry for having made the video.
2013 November, I posted the final update to my $1,000,000 Bitcoin bet.
I donated the $1.1M worth of Bitcoin to the Foundation for Economic Education, FEE.org
If it wasn't for my reading their publications and books as a teenager and young adult, I wouldn't have been able to understand the importance of Bitcoin when I did.
Everyone would be a better individual, and the world would be a much better place if everyone were to read even one of their books.
A few good choices would be:
The Law, $0.99 from Amazon, Free from FEE.org (For years this book has been the #1 best seller in Jurisprudence on Amazon)
Economics in One Lesson $11.99 from Amazon, Free from FEE.org
Be warned, studying economics is like taking the red pill. You will never see the world the same way again.
2014 Feb, After having lived in Japan for nearly ten years, I renounced my US citizenship. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.
2014 Fall, I donated $20,000 USD worth of Bitcoin to Antiwar.com and I like to think I was helpful in getting them to understand just how powerful a tool Bitcoin will be to bringing about an end to the majority of state sponsored warfare.
2014 - 2015, I think each individual owns their own body. I think the police, judges, and other law enforcement officers who lock peaceful people in cages for possessing a plant or chemical without the permission of strangers, are the bad guys, and need to stop. I don't think that politicians getting together, writing down words on a piece of paper and calling it a law, alter morality in any way. I think future generations will look upon these people acting as instruments of oppression in the name of the law, the same way we look back upon slave masters, or members of the SS today. The Silk Road's terms of service specifically forbade anyone from selling anything whose sole purpose was to harm or defraud, or that someone was harmed in the creation of. Because I support the individual's right to self ownership, and right to engage in voluntary interactions with others, I couldn't help but support and cheer for people like Ross Ulbricht. Read the charges that he was sentenced to die in prison for very carefully:
Count One: Distributing or aiding and abetting the distribution of narcotics. (Victimless crime)
Count Two: The distribution of controlled substances intentionally accomplished by means of the Internet. (Victimless crime)
Count Three: Conspiracy with others to violate narcotics laws. (Victimless crime)
Count Four: Engagement in a continuing criminal enterprise. (Victimless crime)
Count Five: Conspiring with others to commit or aid and abet computer hacking. (Victimless crime)
Count Six: Conspiring with others to traffic in fraudulent identification documents. (Victimless crime)
Count Seven: Conspiring to commit money laundering. (Victimless crime)
Only counts five and six could be construed in any way to have an identifiable victim if they had been more than simply "conspiring".
Only people with a truly twisted moral compass could think that it is appropriate to sentence a thirty-one year old man to die in prison for the above non-crimes.
To show my support for what's right, I offered to donate $10 for every retweet in support of Ross, and in opposition to the insane war on drugs.
It wasn't my intent initially, and I didn't expect my tweet to be so popular, but it resulted in my donating over $160,000 USD to his defense fund.
It's a shame that the the evil doers in the federal injustice system didn't even allow his defense to present a case before sentencing him to die in prison for the non-crimes listed above.
2015, I ended up needing to take over Bitcoin.com myself since the previous controllers of the domain weren't making proper use of it. The current bitcoin.com team are only a few months into the project, but we have lots of amazing things planed. Maybe I will even let a few of them slip out in this AMA.
That's the abridged version of my Bitcoin life.
Additional details can be found in the excellent book Digital Gold, by Nathaniel Popper.
If you want to learn about economics, and how the world works, read any of the books put out by FEE.org or Mises.org
If you want to learn about moral philosophy and being intellectually consistent, read either of these books:
The Most Dangerous Superstition
The Problem of Political Authority
If you only have time for a few short videos, here are a few of my favorites:
2016 and beyond, I will continue working on Bitcoin and related technologies because I see them as a way to strip power away from those violent human beings who think they have the right to rule over other men.
I'll begin answering the questions in the morning from Japan.