Erik Voorhees, founder of SatoshiDice (sold last year) and Coinapult, has emerged as one of the calmer voices amid the din of Mt. Gox conspiracy theories on the r/bitcoin subreddit.
While he himself lost some Bitcoin in the exchange’s collapse, he has urged the Bitcoin community to focus on the bigger picture of creating a currency and payment protocol, not the details of a specific setback.
Here is the full text of his post, “Some words for my friends”:
Mt.Gox is gone. So let’s prepare ourselves.
On Tuesday, and for the rest of the week, all hell will break lose in the media. It will be blamed on MtGox, it will be blamed on Bitcoin, it will be blamed on the “bug,” and it will, more than anything, be blamed on the “lack of regulation.” Pundits and “experts” of all types will weigh in on the calamity. It will be world news in a matter of hours.
Get ready, because it will be an ugly week.
For all of you who lost money, my heart goes out to you. Some people lost a little, some lost a fortune. It will make people sick, and depressed, and full of grief. Personally, I had over 550 BTC in Gox. I will never get any of that back. If misery loves company, then we’ll be enjoying a grand feast today.
I should have known better, of course. I take responsibility for leaving those funds with an entity that had proven incompetence repeatedly. I chose to ignore even my own warnings, for nothing more than the sake of convenience.
Gox is still at fault, of course, but I have learned the lesson. I hope it is not such an expensive lesson for others. And for all you observers, please take a moment to consider it as well.
Be mindful, however, that the wrong lessons are not learned, for that would be the true tragedy, indeed.
Let me suggest that the lesson is not that Bitcoin is broken. Bitcoin is fine.
Similarly, the lesson is not that security is impossible. Those who know what they are doing, can achieve it and help others to do so.
The lesson is not that nobody can be trusted. There are countless good men and women in this community who are worthy of trust, and some of the very best people I’ve ever met.
And finally, the lesson is not that we ought to seek out “regulation” to save us from the evils and incompetence of man. For the regulators are men too, and wield the very same evil and incompetence, only enshrined in an authority from which it can wreck amplified and far more insidious destruction. Let us not retreat from our rising platform only to cower back underneath the deranged machinations of Leviathan.
The proper lesson, if I may suggest, is this: We are building a new financial order, and those of us building it, investing in it, and growing it, will pay the price of bringing it to the world. This is the harsh truth. We are building the channels, the bridges, and the towers of tomorrow’s finance, and we put ourselves at risk in doing so.
We are at risk from accidents. We are at risk from fraud, from corruption, and from evil. We are at risk from journalists seeking headlines and from politicians seeking power and glory. We are at risk from the very market we are trying to build – a market which cares not about our portfolio, our ambitions, or our delicate sympathies.
For all these risks, devastation will befall us repeatedly. Some of us will be discouraged. Some will be ridiculed and insulted. Some will be tricked, or swindled. Some of us will be crushed or caged. We will be set upon by all manner of antagonists, repeatedly, for a long time.
So why do we do it? Why do we build these towers that fall down upon us? Why do we toil and strain and risk our precious time, which is the only real wealth we possess?
Because the world needs what we’re building. It needs it desperately. If that matters to you, as it does to me, then hold to that thought. You will see through the smoke, and your wounds will heal.
So shake it off, brothers, for this won’t be the last calamity endured before the win.
Tonight, my heart is with you all.
Tomorrow, my head is down. My eyes are open. And I am building.
Toward peace and freedom,
- Erik Voorhees
The part about “all hell” breaking loose certainly came to fruition, and Voorhees himself got caught up in it when a Wall Street Journal reporter allegedly quoted him out of context.
That led to a subsequent post, an open letter to the reporter in question. Full text below.
Hello Mr. Casey,
I read your WSJ article today. I feel deceived by you.
You requested to speak with me, so I took time out of my day to do so. We talked for 20 minutes, during which time I conveyed to you my sentiments about the Bitcoin ecosystem and the matter of Mt. Gox's collapse. My message was unambiguously a positive one. I didn't focus whatsoever on the personal funds I lost at Gox. Indeed, the impetus for your call was my heartfelt post on Reddit.
Yet, you ignored everything I said. The only quote that you published from me in the Journal's cover story was ""That's gone now," said Mr. Veerhoos, who is based in Panama City, Panama. "There's no chance of getting that back now.""
Is that really the takeaway you had from our call and from my letter? Is that your idea of journalism? Did I come across with the sentiment of a despairing investor whose confidence has been rattled? It seems you were happy to completely ignore my sentiments, preferring instead to cherry pick the one fact that is least important, in order to paint a narrative that Bitcoin's biggest problem is that it's not "regulated." I didn't expect you to quote everything I said, but should you not have maintained at least a modicum of fidelity to my message?
I have dedicated my life to building and supporting the Bitcoin project. I don't give a damn about the money I lost at Gox. That's not important. What is important is that Bitcoin is resilient and enduring, and will continue to grow and change the world for the better. It is a story of human progress through technology. It is a story of the good seeping into the cracks of a corrupted financial system. It is a story of passionate people struggling against all odds to remedy the calamities brought down upon society from the most potently misguided people and institutions on Earth.
Next time you spend your efforts casting a pall over this cause, please don't ask me to contribute mine.
- Erik Voorhees
PS - I will be posting this letter openly on Reddit. I will post your reply if you'd like. And if I do, I won't cherry pick the most misleading points of it, and I will spell your name correctly.