Roger Ver has a big problem with the “suppression of ideas” on public forums such as /r/Bitcoin. Now, the renowned Bitcoin investor and owner of Bitcoin.com has launched forum.bitcoin.com, promising a new kind of platform where anyone can express and discuss opinions on cryptocurrency without censorship.
Cointelegraph spoke with Ver about the new forum, his plans for Bitcoin.com, his dispute with OKcoin, and what he thinks of major banks hopping on the blockchain bandwagon.
“It seemed like the perfect time to launch forum.bitcoin.com to give people a place where dissenting ideas are not suppressed.”
- Roger Ver
Cointelegraph: As the owner of Bitcoin.com, why did you launch forum.bitcoin.com?
Roger Ver: There has been a lot of suppression of ideas happening on other Bitcoin forums, and clearly lots of people are upset by this. It seemed like the perfect time to launch forum.bitcoin.com to give people a place where dissenting ideas are not suppressed.
Clearly that idea has been popular with the number of new registrations and posts increasing quickly day after day. There is also a 4BTC prize available for whoever makes the most appreciated post as decided by the community.
“Settling controversy with censorship is never the answer, but unfortunately that is exactly what has been going on.”
CT: Can you give some examples of the type of censorship that you have been witnessing?
RV: For example, previously lots of people were concerned that an increase in the block size would decrease the number of full nodes and would lead to more centralization in Bitcoin. I spent some of my time to write an article dispelling this myth. This article was suppressed from being discussed on /r/Bitcoin, and I suspect it was suppressed on other forums as well. Settling controversy with censorship is never the answer, but unfortunately that is exactly what has been going on.
CT: How will you ensure that no voice is being censored?
RV: The ethos of the Bitcoin.com forum will be to allow any opinion, so long as there is an attempt at having a reason for it. Ad hominem attacks for example, aren’t reasons, and likely won’t be tolerated.
CT: How will moderators be chosen?
RV: We already have several active moderators, including the #1 thread starter of all time from Bitcointalk.org. He is now an active participant on Forum.bitcoin.com and filled with interesting ideas.
CT: Will bitcoin be used?
RV: We have already implemented what I believe is a world first, in the form of our innovative advertising platform. This type of system wouldn’t have been possible before Bitcoin, and we are glad to already have forward thinking advertisers like KeepKey using us to advertise their product. Once people understand how it works and the transparency available, I think people will really like it.
CT: You have recently been named moderator of /r/BTC. How does this play into your newly launched forum and what are your plans for this board?
RV: In the free market, competition leads to better results. Now that other Bitcoin discussion boards have additional competition in the form of forum.bitcoin.com and /r/BTC, everyone will be compelled to provide a higher quality service.
All the users of these services will be better off because of it.
“[Mainstream] reporting on Bitcoin has been atrociously inaccurate.”
CT: How do you feel about the mainstream media's coverage of cryptocurrency? Has it improved in since the Mt Gox days?
RV: I feel very bad for traditional reporters. They have the very hard job of spending a short amount of time learning about a topic, and then are expected to write on that topic as if they have been involved for years. This would be very difficult for anyone.
Obviously the reporting on Bitcoin has been atrociously inaccurate, but I don’t think that is intentional on their part. Luckily we have news sources like Cointelegraph and Bitcoin.com to help spread correct information.
CT: How does it compare to coverage by crypto-related news sites? What would you change or improve to boost bitcoin's image and educate the public?
RV: Obviously crypto focused news sites do a much better job reporting on these topics because it is their specialty. I think if we can see wider adoption of useful services like Purse.io and Coffee.foldapp.com, people will see in their own lives just how useful Bitcoin is. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like saving 20% at Amazon or Starbucks.
If people are using Bitcoin in their own lives for things like this, I think they will be less inclined to believe the mainstream media when it reports something negative about Bitcoin. After watching all the misreporting on Bitcoin by the mainstream media, I’ve also learned that I shouldn’t believe everything they say about other topics as well, since they are likely to be just as misinformed on those as they are on Bitcoin.
“OKcoin are a bunch of proven liars who shouldn’t be trusted. Anyone who is using their exchange is playing with fire.”
CT: Has the conflict with OKcoin been resolved?
RV: OKcoin are a bunch of proven liars who shouldn’t be trusted. Anyone who is using their exchange is playing with fire. In addition to my mathematical proof of their forging of documents, we have multiple testimonials of their past employees claiming dishonesty by the management.
In time, their honest competitors will take their market share and all that will be left of OKcoin will be the Wikipedia article documenting their dishonesty.
CT: What's the current status of Bitcoin.com? In what direction do you want to steer this resource moving forward?
RV: Bitcoin.com is well on its way to becoming a premier portal for the Bitcoin ecosystem where people from all over the world can learn about Bitcoin and free markets. I posted a few more of my thoughts on this on the Bitcoin.com forum.
I’m happy to interact with others on this topic there.
“Eventually the banks will realize that the Bitcoin blockchain is the most secure and useful blockchain.”
CT: Back in February, you predicted that this will be the year traditional banking gets serious about the blockchain, which we are now indeed seeing. What are your thoughts on major banks embracing the blockchain, but shunning bitcoin?
It will take a bit more time, but eventually the banks will realize that the Bitcoin blockchain is the most secure and useful blockchain, and that bitcoins are the only tokens that can be used on that blockchain.
CT: You supported a block size increase. What did you learn from whole debate as a lesson for future changes to the Bitcoin protocol?
RV: To quote the late, great, Murray Rothbard:
“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”
This applies equally to the block size debate.
My expertise is in economics, and from that perspective, I don’t see any reason to have a block size limit at all. From an engineering standpoint, I’m not qualified to have a strong opinion, but it does seem clear that many qualified people think raising the block size significantly will be just fine.
“I’m holding onto my bitcoins, and don’t see any reason to not continue to be incredibly bullish.”
CT: What's your prediction for 2016? Will the "blockchain" buzzword dominate Bitcoin? Now that traditional finance and Wall St. have become more knowledgeable about Bitcoin, how do you see this affecting bitcoin price and the future of Bitcoin as a whole?
RV: In 2016, I think we will see even more buzz about the blockchain, but underneath it will be the Bitcoin blockchain that is powering the vast majority of things. Like everything else in the world, the price of bitcoin is set by supply and demand. If additional people start using bitcoin, causing additional demand, the price will need to increase in order to accommodate that demand. I’m holding onto my bitcoins, and don’t see any reason to not continue to be incredibly bullish.