Roger Ver is among the best known bitcoiners, with investments in core bitcoin startups such as, BitPay, Ripple, Blockchain and others. Roger has tirelessly championed the financial and technological uses for Bitcoin and their applications to modern life. Part entrepreneur, part philosopher Roger can be seen globetrotting to various Bitcoin conferences and gatherings. He has served as full time CEO of MemoryDealers.com. Having discovered Bitcoin in early 2011, Roger became convinced it was “the most important invention in the history of the world since the internet.”
Thank you for taking your time to do this, Roger!
RV: My pleasure and thank you.
What is important to you, personally, in your day-to-day life?
RV: I enjoy computers, economics, and brazilian jujitsu. I also think that social problems should be solved without violence or threats of violence.
What is your earliest memory of your own personal “counter culture” thought?
RV: I remember being in the 4th or 5th grade. There was a cigarette tax increase on the ballot in California. It was being promoted as a way to fund the schools. Initially I was in favor of the tax increase since I was a student in the school, but an adult with some common sense pointed out to me that just because someone chooses to smoke, doesn’t mean that they should have to pay more in taxes than people who don’t smoke. That was a real shifting point in my view of the world.
What has led you to make investments in many of the companies you are currently invested in?
RV: I started investing in Bitcoin and Bitcoin related startups because I am excited by the ways it will strip away government’s ability to control peaceful people. Many people are discussing how governments will regulate Bitcoin. They don’t seem to realize that in the end, Bitcoin will regulate governments, not the other way around.
Which is one you are excited about because of its originality?
RV: I still think Blockchain.info has a lot of potential to allow people anywhere in the world, regardless of what the politicians in their country decree, to send and receive bitcoins with anyone else.
What are some of your future plans in the community?
RV: Currently I’m working on funding a team for the creation of a new distributed app that will help push the world in a better direction. Hopefully it will be ready for testers later in 2015, and maybe the world in 2016. I’ll release more details later.
In anarcho-capitalist/libertarian thought, less government (or none) is better. Does the blockchain offer humanity the opportunity to engage in a new form of “governance”. A fair, balanced and agnostic governance in which things like car registrations are not connected with DMVs” but with highly convenient blockchain technologies enabling us to have accountability over aspects of life government currently controls. (For instance, while an anarcho-capitalist might say, “I don’t need permission to drive my property,” there are practical reasons for us to know who is driving which vehicle (hit and runs for example).
RV: As Jeffrey Tucker mentioned in his new Bitcoin book:
“Name any seemingly essential service that government has offered in the 20th century and you can name a cheaper, more effective, more innovative, and more accessible private alternative. There is nothing that states can do that needs to be done that markets cannot do better. ”
(Excerpt From: Jeffrey Tucker. “Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.” iBooks.)
I think we will see this trend continue into the future, especially thanks to blockchain related technologies.
Recently, a Border Patrol agent in secondary on my way home from Tijuana to San Diego was inspecting my vehicle and my life and he wanted very badly to know what I did for a living. I told him about Bitcoin, that it was a decentralized digital currency that has gained in popularity in recent years. What would you have told him if you were in my situation?
RV: If I have friends with cameras near by, I may tell them that I work to point out the institutionalized violence in our society, and the hypocrisy of those involved in it when they claim that they are our public “servants” while at the same time, threatening us with violence if we don’t obey their commands. I would make sure to be wearing my “Borders are Imaginary Lines” shirt as well.
Other times I just say I’m an investor in fintech startups.
Does the possibility exist for Bitcoin to be “co-opted?” (this term can mean either overtaken and controlled or the relatively benign “commercially adopted”)
RV: If I thought bitcoin could be co-opted in a way that will allow centralized institutions to impose their will on others, I would have never gotten involved.
What are your thoughts on the Bitcoin Foundation?
RV: The Bitcoin Foundation may be able to do some good things for Bitcoin.
Those who agree, can participate and help. Those who don’t, are free to ignore it.
What excites you about the Bitcoin community?
RV: When I first got involved, nearly everyone was a voluntaryist / free market advocate type.
What worries you about the Bitcoin community?
RV: My biggest complaint is that many in the Bitcoin community spend all their time talking about what will be possible rather than actually creating the tools to make those things possible. Actions speak louder than words.
Does Bitcoin need to go mainstream to succeed?
RV: Bitcoin doesn’t need to go “mainstream” to succeed. It is already a success in the sense that it already allows anyone, anywhere on the planet to exchange value with each other, without requiring permission.
Can Bitcoin go mainstream?
RV: It is very clear that Bitcoin is already on it’s way to going mainstream.
Microsoft, Dell, Expedia, these are household names.
What do you imagine the world will look like in one hundred years?
RV: I think machines will have surpassed human intelligence and will likely have created their own technology that is even beyond the realm of our human limited imaginations.
What industries, besides banking and finance, do you see Bitcoin revolutionizing most?