Bitcoin Jesus and his views on Bitcoin.
I had the opportunity to ask a few questions of Roger Ver, otherwise known as Bitcoin Jesus for his past advocacy of Bitcoin (BTC). He has moved on to promoting Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and his views do not always please the Bitcoin die-hards these days — but I see Ver as someone who carries the torch for Bitcoin’s intended, original role as a decentralized, secure, and anonymous digital currency.
In his comments, Ver points out some of the potential flaws and pitfalls of Bitcoin. I think in a time of unchecked enthusiasm as Bitcoin breaks records and the $40,000 barrier with projections that it could reach $300,000 or more in 2021, it is important to balance our enthusiasm with a critical assessment of Bitcoin as a product, addressing not the hype but the reality of how it is functioning today.
Ver’s ideas are not in keeping with the zeal you will see almost everywhere else for those who are still high on the 400% gains of 2020. Valuation does not prove the long-term viability of BTC as a product.
Roger Ver, Bitcoin Evangelist and Angel Investor, CEO of Bitcoin.com
1. Where do you see BTC going in 2021?
I don’t think about BTC much these days. It’s set hard in its course, and I wish it the best of luck and hope I turn out to be completely wrong about its scaling problems. In terms of its price, I see no reason why it couldn’t keep going up for a long time.
(Bitcoin) has the brand name, and if you talk to people on the street, nobody outside of the small cryptocurrency bubble has ever heard of the scaling debates or that Bitcoin is no longer p2p cash. They’re buying on its past potential, its name, and excitement about making money. And of course, to the degree it retains its qualities as money, people want that. More importantly, many of the scaling problems that could effectively limit the number of people who could be involved in BTC at any time have been “solved” by centralized services like PayPal, Cashapp, and exchanges. If people buy and hold and never move it off those services, then scaling isn’t an issue. It’s just not Bitcoin though.
I will say that I think there is going to be a growing demand for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash that can actually handle massive on-chain traffic, especially with everything going on in the world.
2. “Altcoin Season” — has this happened but not as dramatically? Do you expect it to happen for ETH or anyone else?
The more people who get into Bitcoin and realize that it’s not very useful in payments, the more money has entered crypto that can move into other coins that are. I’m most excited about Bitcoin Cash because it has all the qualities Bitcoin had that made it a worldwide phenomenon. You see wildly successful entrepreneurs like Kim Dotcom realizing this and saying that Bitcoin Cash can go back to $3000 in a short time. That’s very interesting. I say I think the future looks very positive for the price and adoption of BCH.
3. Are BTC HODLers getting carried away? Or is all the hype justified?
I’m not going to fault anyone for wanting to make money. I’ve made a lot of money from holding Bitcoin and investing in Bitcoin companies. But I do think the reasons I invested — because fast, censorship-resistant, inflation-proof p2p digital cash is the most valuable monetary innovation in hundreds of years — are no longer the reasons many people invest. And I think people who think that BTC can live up to even a fraction of its early potential with its current limitations are definitely overhyped. But I hope more people get wealthy and they can use that money to invest in better technology in the future. I just hope it happens quickly so we can get on with the business of using cryptocurrency to create more economic freedom around the world.
4. What are people NOT paying enough attention to. There are so many factors, you have to account for — the global economy, buyer sentiment, regulation which is hard to predict, etc.?
It’s very difficult for people to see the secondary economic consequences of the policies of today. One of my favorite authors, Henry Hazlitt, wrote this:
“The bad economist sees only what immediately strikes the eye; the good economist also looks beyond. The bad economist sees only the direct consequences of a proposed course; the good economist looks also at the longer and indirect consequences.”
This is true in the broader world and it’s true in Bitcoin. I think a lot of the influential developers and companies today are unable or unwilling to see the indirect consequences of rate-limiting Bitcoin. For example, a system in which fees will at scale cost thousands of dollars will have the effect long term of centralizing funds on single addresses, which hurts privacy, and on exchanges, which hurts privacy and censorship resistance. I can’t understand why someone who cares about security would make that tradeoff, but I guess it’s because they can’t see what’s not immediately in front of them.
This is what people are missing, that technical development decisions that seem smart in the short term (who doesn’t want cheaper prices?!) have profound and harmful economic consequences that might take decades to be realized. And this is why again, I’m so excited about Bitcoin Cash, because we understand this…