Roger Ver, Bitcoin's first angel investor, spoke to a big crowd on May 29 at the Pioneers Festival at Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna, where he said that he believes it's not too late to invest in Bitcoin.
The festival is one Europe’s major conferences, drawing more than 1,600 startups from 90 countries. Ver gave a speech in which he described the fast growth of the digital currency realm. He said:
"Just this year we're seeing major financial institutions get involved in Bitcoin. A couple of years ago, this would have been unimaginable."
He also joked about his nickname:
"Somehow I wound up with the nickname Bitcoin Jesus, so people expect me to know about everything, everywhere."
Then he blessed the crowd with satoshis.
Ver talked about mainstream investors getting onboard the Bitcoin ride, including Barry Silbert with his Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) on Wall Street, and NASDAQ with the testing of blockchain-based trading.
The sizable number of startups and investors engaging in the digital currency environment will increase moral in Bitcoin, he said. More people will grow fond of Bitcoin in the future and its use will increase in all sectors, from online gambling, to buying goods and making remittances. Users from countries around the world will be able to transfer millions in wealth for very low fees.
Businesses such as Amazon could benefit from adopting Bitcoin because the company spends around US$2.6 billion a year on credit card processing fees. If it switched, he pointed out that the reduced fees alone would increase annual profits enormously. He continued:
"I want to point out to you that if Amazon adopts Bitcoin, it won't just be Amazon. If the entire world adopts Bitcoin, each Bitcoin will be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars."
An increase in adoption by businesses would increase general awareness in the cryptocurrency. When people realize it's not just a fly-by-night creation, Bitcoin will change how the world behaves, much like the Internet did in the early 90s. He told the audience, if they’re excited about the currency, to "hold onto [their bitcoins] and [they’re] likely to do very well over time."
Ver himself discovered Bitcoin in early 2011. He owns several related Internet domains, and he invested in many early Bitcoin startups, including Bitpay, Kraken, Luxstack, Shapeshift, Blockchain.info and Purse.
In the beginning, he considered the idea to be “the most important invention in the history of the world since the Internet itself.” Ver has been an outspoken believer in the currency ever since. Due to his recognized as an early adopter, Ver speaks at countless events.
Throughout his keynote, Ver repeated that he believes bitcoin is still in its early adoption phase. Examples included the increase of Bitcoin ATMs in cities around the world and the growth of exchanges. New places to buy and sell appear every day. He said he can't keep track of the growth anymore.
"Once upon a time, there was only one Bitcoin exchange, but now there are many and they're getting better and better all the time."