Editor’s Note: The BCH giveaway announced by Roger Ver in this interview has ended.
While Bitcoin has become the darling of big investors, one prominent cryptocurrency evangelist would like you to take a closer look at its smaller sibling crypto, Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash is currently the 13th most popular cryptocurrency in the world, with a US$9.6 billion market capitalization that is just a fraction of Bitcoin’s US$1 trillion. But the transaction volume on the Bitcoin Cash network is outpacing transactions on the Bitcoin network at a 10:1 ratio, according to blockchain analytics engine Blockchair.
“One of the things that most people don’t realize — there are already more transactions happening on the Bitcoin Cash network, right now, today, than there are on the Bitcoin network,” Bitcoin.com executive chairman and Bitcoin Cash promoter Roger Ver told Forkast.News in a video interview. “Right now, today, as we’re recording this, more people are going to transact on the Bitcoin Cash network than on Bitcoin.”
Bitcoin Cash came into existence in 2017 after the Bitcoin community split into two factions. One group wanted Bitcoin to remain a simple store of value. But another group favored developing Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer transaction vehicle and to increase the block size to hold more transactions. A hard fork on the Bitcoin blockchain gave birth to Bitcoin Cash.
“I have two regrets currently,” Ver said. “I regret that the split between those camps didn’t happen earlier.” Ver also wishes his timing would have been better, as he did not get a 100 to 1 Bitcoin Cash to Bitcoin exchange, which was the exchange rate at the time of his trade. Today, the BCH to BTC exchange rate is at around 500 to 1.
Ver has been trotting the world to spread the gospel on Bitcoin Cash — the same kind of evangelism he practiced in promoting Bitcoin in its early days that earned him the moniker “Bitcoin Jesus.” The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda — one of the places where Ver obtained citizenship after renouncing his U.S. passport — reportedly now has over 40 major businesses that accept Bitcoin Cash for goods and services.
The average Bitcoin transaction fee is over US$17, while Bitcoin Cash transactions have seen fees as low as US$0.0033. “They would have been doing it with Bitcoin, but it doesn’t work as cash anymore,” Ver said. “Bitcoin at this point is just speculators speculating on the future speculation of future speculators.”
It is worth noting that layer 2 protocols such as the Lightning Network have enabled cheaper Bitcoin transactions in some areas, including a small village in El Salvador that has adopted Bitcoin as a payment method.
However, two researchers authored a research paper that found a vulnerability in Lightning Network that would enable attackers to steal Bitcoin. “The resulting high volume of transactions in the blockchain will not allow for the proper settlement of all debts, and attackers may get away with stealing some funds,” researchers Jona Harris and Aviv Zohar noted.
“Everyone says, ‘Lightning Network this, or Layer 2 that,’ that’s probably been the biggest, overhyped piece of vaporware ever in the history of the internet,” Ver said. “Maybe someday it will be and I’ll be cheering for it when it is, but it’s just plain and simple not there yet.”
Following the Bitcoin Cash hard fork of 2017, another hard fork on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain occured in 2018. This time, Ver — along with Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu — supported the camp that championed the software Bitcoin ABC (“adjustable blocksize cap”), which would keep the Bitcoin Cash blocksize at 32 MB. The other camp, led by Australian computer scientist Craig Wright — whose claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto are seriously disputed — and billionaire entrepreneur Calvin Ayre increased the block size to 128 MB and created Bitcoin SV (BSV). Recently, a 638 MB block was processed on the BSV network.
Then, in 2020, Bitcoin Cash experienced yet another hard fork after the Bitcoin Cash community rejected a proposal on the distribution of mining rewards for the development team, which created Bitcoin Cash ABC (BCHA).
Ver, who spoke from the French Caribbean island of St. Barts (also known as St. Barthélemy), continues to spread the word on Bitcoin Cash and other cryptocurrencies around the world. Next week, he will beam in as a special speaker at the all-virtual GBA (Greater Bay Area) Blockchain Week 2021. China’s Greater Bay Area region includes Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in the Guangdong province.
Watch Ver’s full interview with Forkast.News to learn more about why Bitcoin Cash is outpacing Bitcoin’s transaction volume, the difference between BTC and BCH, why Ver believes cryptocurrency really is “above the law,” and why John McAffee should be freed.
- Panning Bitcoin’s cost and speed: “[Famed economist Nouriel] Roubini is right on that. You can quote me in saying that. It’ll rile up a lot of people. But if you look at it, though, that’s why I’m so incredibly bullish on Bitcoin Cash. In Antigua, the neighboring island where I also have citizenship, you can spend Bitcoin Cash at almost every restaurant in the country, at a gas station, at supermarkets, and all sorts of places there. You can’t do that with Bitcoin because the fees are too high.”
- Why Ver thinks Bitcoin Cash is the crypto that channels Satoshi’s spirit: “Bitcoin has this worldwide name recognition and brand. When people buy Bitcoin today, they’re expecting it to work like Bitcoin Cash works today. Now, my new job is to educate people on that front. Bitcoin Cash is the original Bitcoin described in the Bitcoin white paper. It’s the peer-to-peer electronic cash for the world that can bring more economic freedom to every single human being on the planet, where you don’t need a custodian to hold your Bitcoin for you like you do with BTC today.”
- The difference between BTC and BCH today: “If you look at the biggest discussion platform website for Bitcoin today, just about every single post is, ‘The price is this! The price is that! The institutional is coming, this and that.’ If you look at the biggest Bitcoin Cash discussion platform, all the posts are, ‘Look at this new restaurant that’s now accepting Bitcoin Cash. Look at that new business that’s now integrating Bitcoin Cash. Look at what I just bought for Bitcoin Cash. Look at what I just sold for Bitcoin Cash.”
- Why “know your customer” requirements scare Ver: “Just recently I needed to swap one cryptocurrency to another, and there’s only one exchange in the entire world that can do that. Long story short, in order for me to do that, I had to send them the cryptocurrency, swap it to the other one, and then they said, ‘Okay, before we will allow you to withdraw this new cryptocurrency, we need a copy of your proof of address, your copy of your passport, your copy of this and that.’ Whereas previously, I had zero risk of identity theft from this random website on the internet — I don’t know much about them. Now they know how much money I have in cryptocurrency, and they know exactly where I live, and who I am. All that has to do is leak out to one bad person out there and maybe they’re going to show up at my house in the middle of the night with a gun and demand my cryptocurrency. It’s a really terrifying thing.”
Angie Lau: Crypto asset or cryptocurrency? That is the question.
Welcome to Word on the Block, the series that takes a deeper dive into blockchain and the emerging technologies that shape our world at the intersection of business, politics and economy. It’s what we cover right here on Forkast.News. I’m Forkast Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau.
He is one of the first Bitcoin evangelists, and a lot of people are probably wishing they listened to him a lot earlier. He is Roger Ver and his early investments in crypto startups earned him the moniker ‘Bitcoin Jesus.’ His more professional moniker is executive chairman of Bitcoin.com, and he joins us here now ahead of GBA (Greater Bay Area) Blockchain Week, March 30th to April 1st, where we’ll both be speaking. But, of course, we have a sneak peek and we’re speaking right here, right now. Roger, welcome to the show.
Roger Ver: Thank you, Angie.
Lau: It’s great to have you. You’re dialing in from St. Barts. It’s a lovely part of the world. Increasingly, we are seeing a lot of crypto investors in that part of the world. But we’ll touch on that a little later on.
You were an early prophet of Bitcoin. People call you ‘Bitcoin Jesus,’ you prefer ‘Bitcoin Johnny Appleseed’ — planting the fields which are now bearing fruit — and Bitcoin keeps breaking record highs. What did you see that others did not?
Ver: I think I saw the use case for Bitcoin in my own background, being involved in e-commerce. I knew that there was a huge demand for a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that could be used by people all over the world to buy and sell things. And Bitcoin back in 2011 — and 12, 13, 14, up until maybe 2017 — filled that niche very, very, very well. Today, it still has that brand recognition and name recognition around the world. But it doesn’t have that usefulness in actual e-commerce. In fact, just earlier last week, I renewed the Bitcoin.com domain name with a NameCheap.com. If I had used Bitcoin to pay for the renewal, the fee to use Bitcoin would have been more than the renewal itself.
And so, that’s just a sad testament for just how much less useful Bitcoin is today in commerce than it used to be. So, instead of using Bitcoin to pay for the renewal of the Bitcoin.com domain name, I used Bitcoin Cash. And the fee was about a tenth of a penny to do that. So I’m much more bullish on Bitcoin Cash today than I am on what everybody’s calling bitcoin.
Lau: You very famously were part of the camp — Bitcoin Cash that hard forked out of Bitcoin. It was very famously covered. It was the halving. People were really concerned about it at the time. You were part of the Bitcoin Cash contingent that wanted to preserve the payments, the transactions, and, in fact, increase the transaction speeds. And here we are today. Do you regret that hard fork? Do you wish that Bitcoin could have, as a whole, seen the value of that, those transaction speeds? Or do you also see that a store of value has value?
Ver: I have two regrets currently. The first regret is that that split between the two different ideological visions of peer-to-peer cash for the world versus something that only needs to be used as a store of value — I regret that the split between those camps didn’t happen earlier. The fighting had been going on for maybe, four or five years, and then finally the split happened. I think it would have been better for everybody if that divorce had happened earlier. So I regret that that split didn’t happen sooner. And then my other regret was just in the timing of my trading — of trading Bitcoin into Bitcoin Cash. I still think that was a very smart trade but my timing could have been better. At the moment, the exchange rate was about a hundred to one. I certainly did not get a 100 to one for my Bitcoin into Bitcoin Cash.
But if you look at it around the world, I think the people that think Bitcoin is only going to be used as a store of value are completely missing the point. In Hong Kong, where I believe you’re from, everybody uses the Hong Kong dollar as their store of value because they can spend the Hong Kong dollar anywhere in the country. In Europe, everybody uses the euro as their store of value because they can spend the euro anywhere. The same is true with the U.S. dollar in America. Everyone uses it as their store of value because they can spend it everywhere. If you weren’t able to spend the euro, or the dollar, or the Hong Kong dollar everywhere, people in those countries wouldn’t be using it as their store of value. As Bitcoin Cash becomes spendable as money all over the world, more and more people are going to start using that as their store of value rather than something like Bitcoin, where it costs you more in fees to use it than it does to pay for the thing that you’re actually paying for. The long-run trend is so incredibly clear. Whatever people can use as a medium of exchange is also what they’re going to wind up using as a store of value.
Lau: Well, that’s one of the [biggest] criticisms of that. [Nouriel Roubini], a very famous anti-crypto, anti-Bitcoin economist speaks about that point directly, which is, what value is there if it is not usable in daily transactions?
Ver: Roubini is right on that. You can quote me in saying that. It’ll rile up a lot of people. But if you look at it, though, that’s why I’m so incredibly bullish on Bitcoin Cash. In Antigua, the neighboring island where I also have citizenship, you can spend Bitcoin Cash at almost every restaurant in the country, at a gas station, at supermarkets, and all sorts of places there. You can’t do that with Bitcoin because the fees are too high. Everyone says “Lightning Network this, or Layer 2 that,” that’s probably been the biggest, overhyped piece of vaporware ever in the history of the Internet. It’s not there. It’s not useful for commerce yet. Maybe someday it will be and I’ll be cheering for it when it is, but it’s just plain and simple not there yet. Whereas Bitcoin Cash can work to be money for the entire world right now, today. And that’s why there’s more physical places accepting Bitcoin Cash around the world today than there are [for] any other cryptocurrency. And I think that’s a really big deal that most of the world hasn’t noticed yet.
Lau: So, when Tesla says that it’s going to take US$1.5 billion in Bitcoin to park some of its capital, and then it also says that it intends to accept Bitcoin as a transfer of payment. Do you think that’s actually going to happen or do you think other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash that have more of that transactional value will be used instead?
Ver: If you’re buying a US$100,000 Tesla, it’s not as big a deal to pay a $20 transaction fee. But if you’re buying a $20 something else — an iPhone accessory or whatever else — a $20 fee to buy your $20 item is a huge, huge deal. Or what if you want to buy a new app for your Tesla? You’re not going to want to pay $20 for your $5 app. In the long run, whatever people are able to use for payments, both big and small, is what people will wind up using for payments, of course, and as their stored value.
Tesla made that announcement before Elon had spoken with me, but I’m happy to help guide him on that in the future. He’s been busy with Tesla and SpaceX and lots of other things. I’ve been following the cryptocurrency ecosystem every single moment, day and night for over a decade now. It’s hard to catch up with that amount of experience, but I’m more than happy to help him on that front.
Lau: Did you think the market would get here? That in 2020…
Ver: Yeah, I knew. In fact, I made a video way back in 2011 when people were saying that they thought Bitcoin was a stupid Ponzi scheme. I said, “No, no, no — Bitcoin is one of the most important inventions ever in the history of the world and that it was going to outperform gold, silver, and the U.S. stock market by more than a hundred times over the next two years.” I said that way back in 2011, but the version of Bitcoin that I was talking about and was proved right on was Bitcoin Cash. It’s not what everybody’s calling Bitcoin today. It’s a bit frustrating for me. Bitcoin has this worldwide name recognition and brand. When people buy Bitcoin today, they’re expecting it to work like Bitcoin Cash works today. Now, my new job is to educate people on that front. Bitcoin Cash is the original Bitcoin described in the Bitcoin white paper.
It’s the peer-to-peer electronic cash for the world that can bring more economic freedom to every single human being on the planet, where you don’t need a custodian to hold your Bitcoin for you like you do with BTC today. It’s literally the tool to empower every individual on the planet to have a freer, more prosperous life. And that’s what has me so excited. And that’s why I’m still here after a decade doing this. Bitcoin at this point, it’s just become a speculative asset for other rich people to speculate on the future speculations of other rich people. That’s not exciting for me. I want to empower every individual on the planet to have complete control over their own money. Bitcoin Cash enables that today. The thing that everybody is calling Bitcoin no longer does.
Lau: That brand recognition of Bitcoin as a store of value and not necessarily the initial vision of peer-to-peer transaction may be true, but there is a role, some would argue, to be played for the store of value — the digital gold — if you will. It’s bringing more liquidity in the market. It’s bringing more institutional investors into the industry. Do you think that’s a good thing?
Ver: It’s a great thing. The more people that have access to cryptocurrencies, the better off the entire world is. But the moment somebody tries using Bitcoin and someone tries using Bitcoin Cash, it’ll become very, very clear to them which one is more useful for payments around the world. If you’re having to use a custodial system — that’s one of my other big gripes about Bitcoin. There are lots of things that people are mistakenly calling wallets. They’re not actual wallets. They’re just custodial accounts. As we’ve seen historically in the U.S., the U.S. government came and seized all the gold from private gold holders. Don’t think they won’t do the same thing with Bitcoin if everybody’s having to use a custodian to hold their Bitcoin for them.
With something like Bitcoin Cash, each individual can hold the Bitcoin Cash themselves. There’s no Coinbase for the government to go to seize everybody’s Bitcoin Cash if everybody is able to hold it themselves. That’s a really, really important distinction between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. It’s that Bitcoin Cash is more censorship-resistant, more decentralized and more difficult for governments to control. And if anything, that’s why we’ve seen such a strong propaganda campaign in favor of Bitcoin and opposed to Bitcoin Cash. Because Bitcoin no longer threatens the status quo. Bitcoin Cash disrupts the existing power structures because it literally empowers every human being on the planet to have complete control over their own money. Sadly, Bitcoin no longer does that.
Lau: You’ve often correlated the rise of Bitcoin prices to volumes with Bitcoin Cash. Are you seeing that correlation right now? And what is that threshold, especially since Bitcoin crossed another all-time high?
Ver: The U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency. If people in Japan are doing business with people in China, oftentimes the deal is done in dollars. The same is true of the cryptocurrency world with Bitcoin — Bitcoin is kind of the reserve cryptocurrency that all the other cryptocurrencies are traded against. Maybe that will change with time but it’s a huge network effect to be overcome. And so, it just depends on how bad the user experience eventually becomes with Bitcoin, as to how fast people will migrate away from that. But Bitcoin Cash provides a fantastic user experience today, and so do a thousand other cryptocurrencies out there.
The question is, “Which one will get the biggest network effect and the biggest amount of traction, and the biggest user base?” And Bitcoin Cash, clearly, is in the pole position today, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to win the race. And so any smart investor would have a diverse portfolio out there. I’m not advocating that people only own Bitcoin Cash. I’m advocating that people try out all these different cryptocurrencies and use the ones that are the most useful to them in their own lives.
Lau: Do you think there’s a bifurcation almost, of people’s perception of the use case of cryptocurrency? It really feels very speculative at the moment. People are trading, buying cryptocurrency, and we’re seeing enormous volumes on crypto exchanges around the world. But it’s very rare and it’s a much smaller percentage to be actually doing what you’re talking about, which is peer-to-peer transactions. Do you think that there’s a divergence coming? That you’re choosing either/or?
Ver: No, it’s not an either/or, but I think one leads to the other. So the use of peer-to-peer electronic cash then attracts all the additional investment, and speculators, and traditional finance businesses. It’s so clear. If you look at the biggest discussion platform website for Bitcoin today, just about every single post is, “The price is this! The price is that! The institutional is coming, this and that.” If you look at the biggest Bitcoin Cash discussion platform, all the posts are, “Look at this new restaurant that’s now accepting Bitcoin Cash. Look at that new business that’s now integrating Bitcoin Cash. Look at what I just bought for Bitcoin Cash. Look at what I just sold for Bitcoin Cash.” And it’s, ‘Look at all the ways people are actually using Bitcoin Cash as cash.’ That usage as cash is what will lead to the institutional investment and the speculators and the bigger market cap in the future. Whereas on Bitcoin at this point, it’s just speculators speculating on the future speculation of future speculators. That’s not a sustainable long-term path to success. Bitcoin Cash — building the tools to enable people to use this money all over the world is. That’s why I’m still much more bullish on Bitcoin Cash.
The starting point is a hundred times lower than Bitcoin. We’re looking at US$500 versus US$50,000, approximately, at the moment. And the potential upside is at least ten times more. The total market cap for cash around the world is significantly larger than the total market cap for gold around the world. So Bitcoin Cash is a much, much more attractive investment as well. As well as a tool to bring more economic freedom to the world, which is what has me the most excited about. For anybody that’s ever had a PayPal account closed on them, or a bank account closed, or a credit card account closed. Bitcoin Cash is really an amazing tool.
Lau: Thing is, as we expand this conversation to regulators, not every jurisdiction in the world agrees with you. Saint Kitts and Nevis is where you have one of your citizenships. It is a very crypto-friendly jurisdiction. It has legalized crypto, including Bitcoin Cash — the use of Bitcoin Cash — but not every jurisdiction has done so. China, using crypto is illegal. And there are certainly other broader examples. How does the regulatory environment either nurture the use cases of Bitcoin Cash and peer-to-peer, and where do you see that evolving?
Ver: By intentional, technological design, Bitcoin — and now Bitcoin Cash — is above the law. So the politicians can get together and write down any words they want on a piece of paper. That does not alter the way the Bitcoin Cash network works or the users there. A lot of people love to complain about India, or China, or this or that country is banning crypto or this and that. Americans need to look right in their own backyard. This morning — as we recorded this — the federal government raided the businesses of a bunch of people in New Hampshire for running Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin ATM machines, and accepting Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies at their businesses. Apparently, without the right permission slips from the right government bodies. It’s just absolutely crazy. Free people should be allowed to do absolutely anything that’s peaceful and not need permission from a bunch of people.
They call themselves law enforcement, but they’re other human beings just like you or I. The only difference is they wear essentially a costume. And other people believe that, because they’re wearing a costume, they get the right to boss other people around. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe just because somebody puts on a costume or works in the building with a flag in front that they get to boss around the rest of us human beings. They’re just as much of a human being as you or I are. And you and I have just as much of a right to live our lives peacefully as they do.
And anybody that’s not wearing a costume that aggresses against a peaceful person is called a robber, or a rapist, or a mugger. Yet suddenly, though, if they work in a building with a flag in front and put on a costume, now it’s law enforcement or a government authority, and people believe that they have a legitimate right to do that. Well, the brainwashing didn’t work on me. I don’t believe in that. That’s why I’m so excited about cryptocurrencies, it’s because by technological design, every human being on the planet has the ability to use them. Maybe you’ll still get caught. Maybe these violent people still throw you in jail, but they won’t be able to stop the network as a whole. My hope is that someday, people will stop paying for these people to go and aggress against peaceful people. Anybody anywhere in the world should be allowed to do anything that’s peaceful and the entire world will be better off for everybody — except for the criminal aggressors that are out there. And that’s why I’m so excited about cryptocurrencies
Lau: That’s your characterization and you absolutely have every right to that characterization. But other people don’t share that, obviously, as government agencies that taxpayers paid for, it represents the protection of the greater good. And certainly, that is what people will what people would equate to law and order as.
Ver: All the concentration camps were paid for with that. I think the amount of taxation in society is the exact opposite of the greater good. If you really look at it, the countries with the least amount of taxation and the least amount of government control — have the highest rates of economic growth and people have the highest standard of living there. And so I think we need to advocate for more of that sort of thing around the world.
Lau: Let me pick up on one point that is a very common narrative out there. Which is Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a source for criminals to hide transactions, anti-money laundering, know-your-customer regulations are strictly enforced, and increasingly so. That is the financial crimes aspect of cryptocurrency that it has been tagged with. And so, how do you respond to that version of the criminal nature of the use of cryptocurrency?
Ver: So some of that is certainly true. Some people out there are using cryptocurrencies to do bad things. But that’s certainly much more true and to a much, much, much larger extent with the U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar is the most commonly used crime currency in the entire world by far. More bad things are done and paid for with the U.S. dollar than any other currency out there in the entire world. If you look at it, all these KYC laws, they actually make things more dangerous. Just recently I needed to swap one cryptocurrency to another, and there’s only one exchange in the entire world that can do that. Long story short, in order for me to do that, I had to send them the cryptocurrency, swap it to the other one, and then they said, “Okay, before we will allow you to withdraw this new cryptocurrency, we need a copy of your proof of address, your copy of your passport, your copy of this and that.” Whereas previously, I had zero risk of identity theft from this random website on the internet — I don’t know much about them. Now they know how much money I have in cryptocurrency, and they know exactly where I live, and who I am. All that has to do is leak out to one bad person out there and maybe they’re going to show up at my house in the middle of the night with a gun and demand my cryptocurrency. It’s a really terrifying thing.
And it’s made my life more dangerous because of these KYC laws where I have to tell people exactly where I’m living and then they have an idea exactly how much cryptocurrency I have. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. Maybe somebody will sue some government out there for endangering their life by forcing KYC regulations out there. It makes it more dangerous for the consumers and it makes the exchanges, or the businesses that are collecting the KYC more attractive targets for hackers because not only, maybe can they hack the cryptocurrency, they can do a whole bunch of identity theft at the same time, and then they can sell those identities for more money. So it’s just a really bad deal all the way around and does almost nothing to stop illegal activity with money.
Lau: Clearly, you speak for the rights of the individual. I hear that loud and clear. I think we all really respect the fact that peer-to-peer transactions, there’s value in that. But do you also think that there could be value in regulation? There could be value in parameters? There could be value in governance?
Ver: The first two questions, yes. Let’s answer one question at a time. So is there value in regulation? Of course. A fantastic example of that is a website now, it used to be a magazine when I was a kid called Consumer Reports. And this is a private business that goes out there and looks at all sorts of different products and gives reviews on this. “This looks like a good product. This looks like a dangerous product. We recommend this. We don’t recommend that.” That’s a fantastic voluntary example of how the market can provide consumer protection services, and regulatory things, and can call out scams when they’re out there, and that’s fantastic. What I don’t think the world needs more of, is coercive, violent monopolies on that sort of thing.
So the SEC claims to have the right to be able to tell people, ‘Oh, you can or can’t sell this security token, or you need our permission to do this or that.’ Well, they’re stifling innovation in the world and holding back the entire world’s rate of progress. Or the same with the FDA (Food and Drug Adminstration), they tell people, ‘Oh, we’re going to toss you in jail if you use a medical treatment that’s not approved.’ Well, their incentives are exactly wrong. Their incentives are to be too conservative because if they approve a drug too early and people die because of that, they’re going to sue, and it’s going to be all over the media and there’s going to be a huge amount of complaining about it. Whereas if they delay a drug from being approved too long, that could have saved 100,000 lives every single year but it takes an extra decade for it to get approved. Well, a million people died because of it, but everybody’s quiet because nobody knew when the drug wasn’t approved and those people are dead, so they can’t complain and nobody knew about it. So, the FDA actually kills more people than they protect. And it’s a giant disaster, but people just aren’t aware of it.
They have this entrenched monopoly that’s funded with money that’s extracted from people under the threat of violence. I look at John McAfee. The world is lucky to have such an interesting, talented, amazing person as him. And what happened right now? The United States federal government threw him in jail. He’s in jail and they’re probably going to keep him there until he dies. He’s 70-something years old.
Lau: Well, he has evaded taxes.
Ver: That’s good. Good for him. More people should stop funding violent organizations that use that. What does the U.S. government do? They use it to buy drones and drop bombs on people all over the world. If they’re using it to build hospitals and schools to help people, I think people would voluntarily pay those taxes. If they use it to murder people all over the world, people should stop paying for it. So, good for John McAfee. And at the end of the day, you can’t argue that taxation is not theft. You can argue that it’s necessary or it leads to a good outcome. But if you look at the definition, you cannot come up with a definition of theft that also doesn’t include taxation. So free John McAfee.
Lau: I’m sure he really would hope that to be true as well. It’s that type of perspective that I think has a lot of people scratching their heads about the squashing of innovation. As you’ve said, the United States, some of the big criticisms of regulators and not being as forward-thinking. You spent some time in Japan, in this part of the world, in Asia. How do you compare the regions when it comes to crypto adoption and integration? How do you compare the East and the West?
Ver: I would love to be able to get back to Asia, but I guess this is another example. People who I’ve never met and don’t know anything about me or my life, I have to get their permission to be able to go to these different countries. I’ve already had coronavirus. I can’t have it a second time. But I’m not allowed to go there at the moment. I don’t have a visa. I can’t get into Taiwan. I can’t get into Japan. I can’t get into most countries in Asia at the moment because the restrictions are so tight there, because people who have never met me, and I’ve never met, claimed that they have the right to be able to tell other people where they can or can’t go in the world. I think it’s really, really crazy. If you’re worried about coronavirus — great. Wear masks, self isolate, but don’t force the rest of the world to not be able to live their lives.
How do I compare Asia with the West? Some things are much better, some things are worse. There are good and bad places about different places all over the world. I invite people; don’t just stay in the country you were born, don’t you stay in the town where you were born. Go out there and explore the world and go wherever you enjoy the most and spend time there and see the world. It’s a great, big, giant world out there. And if you’re a fan of Elon Musk and what he’s up to, head on over to Mars and check things out over there as well. It’s a big universe out there that we all should have the opportunity to explore.
Lau: What’s your favorite part of the world right now? Why? And is it crypto-friendly?
Ver: I’m really enjoying my time here in St. Barts at the moment. There’s no curfew. All the restaurants are open. There’s very little mask-wearing, and there are lots of really interesting people. In fact, we’re having not just one Bitcoin Cash meet-up a week, we’re having multiple Bitcoin Cash meet-ups a week.
It’s really interesting because there are lots of successful business people here and I’m busy spreading Bitcoin Cash, adoption and outworks to these people here. They get it. They’re excited. Anybody who’s run a business knows what a headache it is dealing with international payments, and dealing with bank wire transfers, and dealing with this sort of stuff. So they can see very clearly how Bitcoin Cash or any peer-to-peer electronic cash solves a huge problem in business. So I’m excited to be doing these classes here.
Lau: Has it expanded the market reach for businesses in St. Barts? To reach more of a global marketplace where Bitcoin Cash actually eases transactions not only within the Caribbean but also perhaps in Europe or Asia or North America? Has that happened yet?
Ver: It will. It’d take some time. I haven’t been here very long. I’ve only been here a few weeks now. But in Antigua, I was there for a number of months last year, and pretty much every major business on the island is accepting Bitcoin Cash at this point.
They would have been doing it with Bitcoin, but it doesn’t work as cash anymore. So that’s why they’re using Bitcoin Cash. I think we’re seeing it in more and more places around the world. There’s another fantastic example of that in Slovenia. There’s a great company there called GoCrypto.com. Slovenia’s a small country. I think the population’s like, three million or something like that? And they have thousands of physical locations accepting Bitcoin Cash for payments. And this company is paying their payroll in Bitcoin Cash. And it’s just really an amazing example of how people now have choices in money.
Everybody’s taught growing up that monopolies are a bad thing because they lead to high prices and a bad quality product. The same is true of money. When you have a monopoly on the issuance of money, you have a poor form of money that doesn’t work very well. Now, thanks to cryptocurrencies, we’re seeing competition in the field of money. Bitcoin Cash is having to compete against everything else, including the dollar, and the euro, and this and that. It’s leading to better forms of money for people all over the world. And just like Apple is competing against Android, it’s competing against IBM and Microsoft to this and that, leads to better computer devices and better software. The same is true of cryptocurrencies. It’s leading to better currencies for the entire world, and that’s great for everybody.
Lau: Bitcoin reached an all-time high above [US$61,000] currently. Correct me if I’m wrong, Bitcoin Cash right now is trading around $530, $550 for Bitcoin Cash. Why is there such a discrepancy? Is that a good thing, in your view for Bitcoin Cash?
Ver: If you’re an investor coming in today, it’s a fantastic thing. Bitcoin Cash, it’s about a one-hundredth the price of Bitcoin, but it has at least 10,000 times cheaper fees. The transactions are much faster. The user experience is thousands of times better than Bitcoin.
So as an investor, it’s a wonderful, wonderful opportunity. That’s even why, with my own money, I’m busy buying more Bitcoin Cash every single month. I think it’s a fantastic deal because it actually works. For anybody that’s on the fence, not sure, the best thing you can possibly do to understand the difference, is to make a transaction with both. Make a transaction with Bitcoin and make a transaction with Bitcoin Cash, and it’ll be clear as clear can be, which one of these gives a better user experience. So Bitcoin has the strong brand recognition, but Bitcoin Cash has that amazing, magical peer-to-peer electronic cash experience. In the long run, my money is absolutely on Bitcoin Cash.
Lau: I will share with you — one of our Forkast reporters actually did that, and transaction fees for Bitcoin on a $50 transaction was actually $17, and Bitcoin Cash is in the fourth decimal point.
Ver: Fraction of a penny.
Lau: 0.0009, I think, per transaction. Where do you see it developing?
Ver: One of the things that most people don’t realize — there are already more transactions happening on the Bitcoin Cash network, right now, today, than there are on the Bitcoin network. Right now, today, as we’re recording this, more people are going to transact on the Bitcoin Cash network than on Bitcoin. I think it’s just a matter of time before the market cap of both moves to reflect that as well.
I’m sorry, what was the actual question now?
Lau: I wanted to know where is the growth going to be? That was very relevant. Where is the growth going to be? Do you think? It’s going to be geographical? Do you think it’s going to be per industry? Are we going to see DeFi develop?
Ver: We already have DeFi. A lot of people just aren’t aware of it. In fact, if I can pitch something that I just think is so amazing; so everybody knows about Tether, some people know about USDC and some of these other stablecoins out there.
My favorite stablecoin, by far, is one called FlexUSD, where you could hold [your] own token right there in your own wallet, where you have the keys. But on-chain, every eight hours, they pay you interest to that token. So it’s only like 5% APR, but that’s 5% more than any other stablecoin out there is paying you. So imagine that. You can have the equivalent of your dollars that you can zip around the world on-chain — and this is on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain, of course, because the fees are low enough where this is possible — they pay you interest right there to your wallet. I have it right here on my phone. Every eight hours, I’m receiving interest to my U.S. dollar stablecoin balance there. It’s really, really a fantastic tool that we’re seeing more and more people start using around the world.
To answer your question, I think people are going to be using this online. In-person payments [are] kind of fun, but it’s the internet. And if you take a look at [Noise.cash], it’s just amazing — people all over the world are using Bitcoin Cash to tip each other for social media posts. It’s really an amazing, amazing amount of transactional volume from people all over the world using Bitcoin Cash as money. That’s exactly what made Bitcoin popular, to begin with, was people using it as money. And then people speculating on it because it would be able to be used as money. Well, Bitcoin Cash has the usefulness as money, and it’s starting to attract more and more people speculating upon it because of its usefulness as money.
Lau: There’s a big list of billionaires — Bitcoin billionaires. You are not on that list, but you could have been. You could have been.
Ver: Maybe the list isn’t accurate.
Lau: The list is not accurate? Do tell, Roger.
Ver: Especially also when some of the companies I’ve invested in go public, I’ll have several billion dollars worth of capital there too. I’m probably going to put the first billion into more Bitcoin Cash. So feel free to front-run me if you’re watching this. And then, I think I’ll put the second billion into more infrastructure to enable more Bitcoin Cash to be used as money around the world without needing permission from various regulators or other people wearing costumes around the world.
Lau: Tell me more about that investment, putting that $1 billion war chest to work in infrastructure. What can we see? What do we expect to see? Will we see Bitcoin Cash ATMs all around the world? Will you be talking to regulators, around the world, to smooth the way for individuals to have access?
Ver: So if you study economics, there’s a term called “comparative advantage”. And so, basically, the idea is that certain people are better at doing certain things than other things. Probably, the point where I’m not particularly skilled is dealing with regulators and dealing with those sorts of people. I’m probably not going to be doing too much of that. I’m going to be busy building the tools to enable people to run their businesses and run their lives. And so, a year or two back, I announced a $200 [million] dollar Bitcoin Cash Ecosystem Fund. Already deployed more than $100 million of that into various businesses like GoCrypto.com, like Sweet.io, like all sorts of things out there that are enabling people to actually use Bitcoin Cash as money and that, maybe, will step up those efforts and do it even more there in the future.
Lau: You going to be investing in Asia?
Ver: [I] already am, to a large extent. So we’re funding all sorts of things there. In fact, the most recent one I’ve been talking with people in Thailand, they’re doing payment processors there, and we want to make Bitcoin Cash an even deeper part of that directly as well. And then there’s been a number of businesses in Singapore that I’ve already invested in, and some in Japan as well, of course.
Lau: What do you think the biggest growth potential is here in Asia, especially for the remittances space, for cross-border transactions? Bitcoin Cash with its fractional transaction fees has got to be super attractive for remittances.
Ver: I think if you’re thinking just Asia, or just America, or just Europe, you’re thinking too small. This is literally money for every single human being on the planet, regardless of what part of the world they happen to be living in. And so, I want to build the tools that enable that. And that’s what we’re busy doing over at Bitcoin.com and then these other businesses that I’m busy investing in as well.
Lau: Well, last question. We’re going to be hanging out at the GBA Blockchain Week. What are you going to be sharing with investors, with fans, with the crypto curious, the crypto converts? What do you think the message is that you want to share, and where you think growth is going to go in the next decade to come?
Ver: I think the message is, if you’re crypto curious, give this a try. I’ll help you get started. Anybody that watches this broadcast, send an email to [email protected] and mention Angie here, and I’ll send you one dollar in Bitcoin Cash via email that someday might be worth as much as is $1,000.
I can do that with Bitcoin Cash. It’s impossible to do that with Bitcoin because the fees would be 10, 15, 20 dollars per transaction. Whereas with Bitcoin Cash, I can send each and every one of you a dollar and it costs an extra fraction of a penny. So that’s very doable. So just send that email to [email protected] and mention this interview and we’ll send you that dollar of Bitcoin Cash right there as an on-chain transaction via email.
Lau: Roger, they were not joking when they called you an evangelist. From ‘Bitcoin Jesus,’ but I know that I think you prefer ‘Bitcoin Johnny Appleseed.’ Either way, your predictions are all bearing fruit now. It’s just a pleasure. It’s been a pleasure to speak with you and get some of your very candid thoughts on this space. I can’t wait to see where we’re going.
Ver: Thank you, Angie. And I’ll point out that the original Jesus was killed by government agents funded with tax dollars. So let’s put a stop to that sort of thing. Free John McAfee, free Ross [Ulbricht], and every other person that’s in prison for a victimless crime.
Lau: He also turned the other cheek and taught us all compassion, so it’s all a good thing. Thank you so much, Roger, for that.
And thank you, everyone, for joining us on this latest episode of Word on the Block. I’m Angie Lau, Forkast.News Editor-in-Chief. Until the next time.