The People Of Blockchain: Roger Ver
Roger Ver is an entrepreneur, investor, angel investor, and former politician. He’s heavily interested in blockchain technology, and in particularly with Bitcoin (which caught his attention in 2010). Ver was born in the United States, however, after relinquishing his US citizenship, now resides in Tokyo, Japan. His enthusiasm is not without criticism however.
On his Twitter account, he describes himself as the:
Ver is and has been a strong supporter of Bitcoin adoption – believing it should actually rival major fiat currencies. He sees the cryptocurrency as a way to promote economic freedom, as do many proponents of decentralization. He discovered the cryptocurrency early in 2011, and believes it to be “the most important invention in the history of the world since the internet.” One of his startups, MemoryDealers.com, started accepting bitcoin payments, and claims to be the first mainstream business to do so. Since then, Roger is claimed to have “become the most prolific Bitcoin related startup investor”, according to his website.
Roger sees himself as a peace advocate, an advocate for individualism & voluntaryism, a libertarian, and an anarcho-capitalist.
Place Of Birth & Education:
Roger was born in 1979, in San Jose, California, USA, in the Silicon Valley. Ver started studying economics in Junior High school, admittedly after reading a book he thought was pro-socialism (to get the opposite perspective than the vague feeling of negativity he felt America had towards it, not being well informed on the subject at that time). He came to the conclusion after reading the book, that governments can never plan an economy as efficiently as a free market can, and eventually decided that government was an evil entity after self studying books on economics. He decided to become a voluntaryist (one with the core belief which says that anything that’s voluntary is ethical – an idea that suffers from many problems), although he will describe his political belief as that of individualism (an idea which favors freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control). Once he was old enough, he attended De Anza College in the San Francisco region for a year, but dropped out in order to pursue his business interests. He has a background in economics and computer science, aside from his experiences as an entrepreneur. While in prison, which you’ll read about below, Ver taught himself Japanese. He’s also extremely passionate about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Political Involvement, Imprisonment, & Renouncing Citizenship:
In the year 2000, Roger became a Libertarian candidate for California State Assembly. He promised that if elected he would not accept a salary on the basis that any such salary would have been taken taken by force in the form of taxation. He also promised to repeal as many laws and cut as many taxes as he could.
In the election process, Ver attended a debate with republicans and democrats. Ver recounts his time at the debate:
“In the debate, I argued that taxation is theft, the war on drugs is immoral, and that the ATF are “a bunch of jack booted thugs and murderers” in memoriam to the people they slaughtered in Waco, Texas. Unbeknownst to me at the time there were several plain clothed ATF agents in the audience who became very upset with the things I was saying.”
According to Ver, this upset of ATF agents resulted in a deep background check. As an entrepreneur, one of the things Roger was doing (aside from selling computer parts) was illegally selling explosives on eBay; A product called “Pest Control Report 2000”, which was an oversized firecracker used for scaring away animals from farm crops, etc. and was banned as it could cause serious injury or death. Apparently, as all other companies were ordered to stop production and selling of the product (including the manufacturing company which had been illegally selling them to fireworks resellers), Roger was the only one sentenced to time in a federal prison in 2002. You can read Roger’s side of the story here, and the State’s side of the story (laws that were broken) here.
After being released from 10 months in Federal Prison, he “had to deal with three years of lies, insults, threats, and general harassment by the US Federal probation department.” At the end of his probation period, he moved to Tokyo, Japan in 2006.
Roger renounced his US citizenship in 2014, and purchased a passport of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. He was denied a visa to re-enter the US by the U.S. Embassy in Barbados in 2015. It claimed he hadn’t given sufficient provable ties outside of the US that would motivate him to leave once his stay was up, which they believed could have caused him to become an illegal immigrant. Ver expressed a bitter attitude towards the United State’s denial of his Visa, however others have a different view, saying that Ver was trying to evade taxes by revoking citizenship, and thus should expect denial back into the States except for extreme circumstances. However, in the same year, his visa was approved by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, which he used to speak at a June 2016 conference in Denver, Colorado.
Entrepreneurship, Investments, & Professional Positions:
-Ver was the CEO of a computer parts business called MemoryDealers.com from 1999 to 2012. This venture saw him become a millionaire by the age of 25. Ver is also the founder of the company. As a former full time CEO of Memory Dealers, he directly hired about 30 people, and served happy customers around the world, according to rogerver.com. The site continues to say that: “Over the last decade, under Roger’s leadership, Memory Dealers has grown to become a world leader in the used Cisco memory and networking equipment industry.”
-He’s also invested heavily into Bitcoin, which has seen him become one of the world’s first “virtual millionaires”.
-Ver’s first Bitcoin startup seed investment was in early 2011, which was Charlie Shrem’s Bitinstant. The seed fund allowed them to hire a designer and another programmer. Ver has since invested over $1,000,000 into Bitcoin related startups.
-During the Mt. Gox 2011 Bitcoin price crash, Ver and his friend Jesse Powell from high school attempted to re-establish the exchange.
-The next year in 2012, he created bitcoinstore.com, which has several items available for purchase with bitcoins.
-He also organized Bitcoin meetups in Sunnyvale, CA, in 2012.
-MGT Capital Investments appointed him the chairman of the Cryptocurrency Advisory Board in June 2016. The company is headed by John McAfee, and focuses on cybersecurity.
-Ver has been a speaker at the “International Money Transfer & Payments Conferences”
-He’s also funded these Bitcoin startup’s seed rounds:
and several others.
-On Ver’s site (last updated on May 5, 2015), these were his working investments:
- Passports For Bitcoin
- Bounty Hunter
- Hive Web
- Bitcoin Chip In
-Roger is the CEO & owner of the domain name: Bitcoin.com.
-The Bitcoin Foundation has five founders, Roger Ver is one of them.
-Ver has seemingly taken the more controversial sides on multiple issues regarding Bitcoin, particularly: fighting for larger Bitcoin block sizes, and a hard fork method towards increase via the development of Bitcoin XT, among others.
-Roger recorded a video on July 17, 2013, which addressed Mt. Gox’s withdrawal issues, where he blamed the problem on the traditional banking system, rather than on Mt. Gox. You can read his quote here. Regardless, Mt. Gox kicked the bucket a few months later after having 850,000 bitcoins of customers and the company go missing. It’s said that they were likely stolen, an amount that was worth $450 million at the time.
-A failed attempt to ransom bitcoin occurred after an old email account used by Roger was hacked in May 2014, and used for the attempted ransom.
-Ver gave a large donation to the Bitcoin Foundation in 2012 to help it get established. He also donated over $1,000,000 worth of bitcoins in late 2013 to the Foundation for Economic Education. And he has also donated over $20,000 to antiwar.com.
Roger Ver is a very enthusiastic Bitcoin advocate, but some might say that his passion, eagerness, and worldview could be causing him to be out-of-flow with the rest of the Bitcoin community, and trying to force/rush sudden changes, rather than letting it grow naturally.
We’ll look forward to seeing what comes next from this entrepreneur, business man, & Bitcoiner.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s article.
Have a great day!
The DinarDirham team.