Monday, 25 May 2020

Roger Ver Ambushes BTC Proponents at Event, Demands Answers

Roger Ver has posted a video of a somewhat hostile surprise debate with several BTC proponents. Ver, well known as a vocal proponent of bitcoin cash (BCH), is regarded by some people as “Bitcoin Jesus” — but to others he is considered one of the most disliked individuals in cryptocurrency today.
So join us as we go over what happened in the impromptu “debate”, and what sorts of insights we can glean from it.

Not Quite Live from the Huobi Event in South Korea

Ver, who attended the Huobi Carnival event in South Korea this week, charged after two Bitcoin Core proponents armed with cameras and portable microphones. Ver’s goal appeared to be to get some answers from the duo regarding a few issues that are sore points between the two sides of the argument.

Insisting that his interview was not an attempt to trap the two, Ver began with a volley of questions. First, Ver discussed what he called a censorship issue within the Bitcoin (BTC) community on Reddit.

Specifically, he claimed that the subreddit r/Bitcoin gets more traffic than any other Bitcoin news source or forum combined. Not only that, but he alleges that the moderators of the subreddit frequently delete or censor posts that are pro-bitcoin cash, or that aren’t “in lockstep with the opinion of Bitcoin Core supporters”.

The Battle of the Subreddits

To this, one of the interviewees, that later identified themselves only as Reuben, responded by saying this does not represent censorship. While he did state that the “bitcoin cash opinion conflicts with that of people that are in favor of Bitcoin Core development mentality”, he felt that the ease by which information about BCH can be found is evidence that there is no censorship.

Finally, Reuben said that he felt it was important for bitcoin cash proponents to have a place of their own. That’s why he said the subreddit r/BTC is so important. For those unaware, the r/BTC subreddit is highly pro-bitcoin cash.

At this point, a man who identifies himself later as Calvin joined in the increasingly fiery discussion. After stating that he feels r/Bitcoin isn’t a problem for bitcoin and that no one group, forum, or site truly represents bitcoin as a whole, Ver pelted him with another flurry of questions. This time, Ver wanted to know what Calvin thought about posts being deleted from r/BTC. Calvin shared his opinion that the internet is a free marketplace of ideas. r/BTC is a privately moderated site he noted, therefore they can delete whatever they want.

To Be ‘Digital Cash’ or Not to Be?

Ver’s next line was based around the title of the original Bitcoin whitepaper. Specifically, the title of the paper calls for a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system”. With that in mind, Ver asked Reuben whether or not he felt BTC or BCH better represented this goal.

To this, Reuben said being peer-to-peer cash is one of the goals of the BTC project, but is not its primary goal. He also admitted that for bitcoin cash, that does seem to be the primary goal. The BTC project is instead more concerned with censorship resistance, according to Ruben. He said:

“Censorship resistance has to come first, because it’s not going to be peer-to-peer if it’s not censorship resistant.”

Ver didn’t seem very pleased with this response. He pressed Reuben for more information and clarification on the importance of being digital cash versus focusing on censorship resistance. To this, Reuben said:

“I think you can’t reach the goal [of being a peer-to-peer cash system] without censorship resistance, therefore it comes first. They are both goals, but one has to precede the other.”

Turning up the Heat

It’s at this point in the video that things started to get heated. While Reuben did his best to keep his cool, he finally addressed the elephant in the room, saying:

”I think that the reason we are having this discussion is for you to try to […] out me as somebody having some kind of unreasonable opinion.”

He then followed this, adding:

“It kind of feels like you’re trying to draw me out to say something that is objectionable and use it as a soundbite, whereas I would prefer to have an honest conversation about our differences.”

To that, Ver stated that he felt they were having such a conversation. Calvin replied quickly by saying that he didn’t “feel that way” about how things were going.

No Country for Censored Transactions

This led to the last part of the encounter between Ver, Reuben and Calvin. It’s also where the conversation began to fall apart and became more of a shouting match.

Ver asked the duo if anyone’s been censored from using bitcoin cash before. In response, Calvin asked if anyone had been censored from using Ripple’s XRP, and referenced a hashtag called #XRPstandard. From our research, he said, the hashtag seemed to be used in tweets about XRP and how those tweeting about it found it useful, or had high hopes for it.

Ver then asked repeatedly what the meaning of the hashtag was. Calvin said that it was simply something that is “fun to say”, and so he planned on saying it repeatedly. Ver was not happy with that answer. He continued to ask repeatedly what it meant, to which Reuben finally said that the conversation had clearly devolved and it was time to end it.

Interview, or Ambush?

While it’s difficult to say whether or not the conversation (whether it was an interview or not) was productive, it certainly was an artful display. One could argue that Ver did it as a publicity stunt, or as a way to gain notoriety. One could also argue that he was standing up for the little guy and fighting against the BTC behemoth that continues to dominate the cryptocurrency field.

No matter what your personal opinion on the two conflicting points of view, the video itself is indeed quite entertaining. That is, if you can sit through all 25 or so minutes of it.

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