Who is Roger Ver? One of The First Bitcoin Investors
Roger Ver (b. ~1979) is a Kittitian/Nevisian early investor in bitcoin related startups. He was formerly an American citizen. He was born and lived in Silicon Valley. He now resides in Japan. He has been a prominent supporter of bitcoin adoption and sees bitcoin as a mean to promote economic freedom. He identifies as a libertarian, an anarcho-capitalist, peace advocate and advocates voluntaryism.
He was born in San Jose and raised by Christians. He left home when he was 16 after a property dispute with his father. He attended De Anza College for a year, dropping out to pursue his business interests.
He initially did well with a computer parts business, MemoryDealers.com, which saw him become a millionaire by the time he was 25. He was the CEO of MemoryDealers.com from 1999 until 2012. In 2000, he attempted to enter politics by running for California State Assembly as a candidate for the Libertarian Party.
He moved to Japan in 2006. He became a citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis and renounced his United States citizenship in 2014. In 2015, he was denied a visa to reenter the United States by the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, which claimed that he had not sufficiently proven ties outside of the United States that would motivate him to leave at the end of his visit, causing fears he might become an illegal immigrant. Later in the same year his visa was approved by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, and he visited the United States in June 2016 to speak at a conference in Denver, Colorado.
In June 2016, Ver was appointed the chairman of the Cryptocurrency Advisory Board for MGT Capital Investments. MGT aims to improve cybersecurity and is headed by John McAfee.
Ver began investing in bitcoins in early 2011. The first investment he made was for Charlie Shrem’s Bitinstant. Ver’s investment allowed the company to hire a designer and another programmer. He invested over a million dollars into new bitcoin related startups including Blockchain, Ripple, BitPay and Kraken. His early advocacy for bitcoin earned him the moniker of Bitcoin Jesus. In 2012, he created bitcoinstore.com with hundreds of thousands of items available for purchase with bitcoin. In May 2014, an old email account used by Ver was hacked used in a failed attempt to ransom bitcoin. In late 2015, Ver hosted the largest bitcoin AMA on Reddit. He owns the domain name “bitcoin.com”.
In 2012, Ver was organising bitcoin meetups in Sunnyvale. For five years Ver paid thousands of dollars a month for Bitcoin advertisements on over 100 radio stations. He put up the first billboard in the world to promote Bitcoin in May 2011. He is one of five founders of the Bitcoin Foundation. Ver wants bitcoin to rival major fiat currencies. He is one of the main proponents of a larger block size. He supported the development of Bitcoin XT as a hard fork method towards an increase. Ver and his high school friend Jesse Powell attempted to re-establish the Mt Gox exchange during the June 2011 bitcoin price crash.
In 2012, Ver helped the establishment of the Bitcoin Foundation with a large donation. In late 2013, Ver donated more than $1 million worth of bitcoin to the Foundation for Economic Education. Ver has donated more than $20K to antiwar.com.
In 2002, Ver pleaded guilty after selling explosives, marketed as Pest Control Report 2000, on eBay, which the U.S. Department of Justice described as “dealing in explosives without a license”, and he was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison. The Missouri company, Max 2000 Inc. that had manufactured Pest Control Report 2000, agreed to cease selling the agricultural firecrackers in January 2003 after selling more than one million of them. The company had been selling the product illegally to fireworks wholesalers and retailers from early 1998. Pest Control Report 2000 had been used nationally to control infestations of birds. The explosives were banned because they could cause cause serious injuries or death.
While in prison Ver taught himself Japanese. According to an interview he gave in 2016, Ver describes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as one of his major passions in life.