Roger Ver - Bitcoin Expert

Roger VerThe legendary Roger Ver discusses how Bitcoin is not a Trojan horse but a Trojan Hydra.


Interview with Roger Ver on Bitcoin Expert

Trace Mayer:  Welcome back to the Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast.  We have with us the legendary Roger Ver.  Welcome to the podcast, Roger.

Roger Ver:  Thank you so much.

Trace Mayer:  Yes.  So you're an early bitcoin adopter evangelist (bitcoin expert).  Maybe, you tell us a little bit of your story just so people who aren't acquainted with you can get to know you a little bit better.

Roger Ver:  Yeah.  So I was born and raised in Silicon Valley, started a tech company there and did that until I discovered bitcoin in early 2011 and then dropped everything to promote bitcoin fulltime.  I was the first bitcoin expert to start investing in bitcoin companies and been doing bitcoin ever since and traveling the world and spreading the good news of this wonderful technology that's going to improve the lives of everyone all over the world.

Trace Mayer:  So, I mean, we're talking about investing in bitcoin companies, what are a few of those?  I know we're in a couple of them together so maybe you can start rattling them off.

Roger Ver:  Yeah.  I have kind of lost count at this point, but some of the more popular ones, I guess, this one will be a BitPay and and Kraken and lots more, yes.

Trace Mayer:  Lots more of them, yeah.  Nice of you just to mention the ones that have raised 30 million, 30 million, 5 million, I mean.  We're talking the A Plus companies, like, they're here because you helped do the seed funding on them.  I just heard you talk a little bit about bitcoin increasing the efficiency in the economy.

And you gave the example of and I think it's just such a great example of how bitcoin is, it's not just a Trojan horse.  It's like a Trojan Hydra.  It pops its head up in so many different areas, so many different industries.  Those are so many different applications.  So maybe you can go over a little bit about and just how it's increasing the efficiency in the overall economy.

Roger Ver:  Sure.  So with the current world we live in, there's a whole bunch of people all over the planet that have a whole bunch of store credit with that they've gotten from various ways.  And right now it's just sitting there unused and basically allows that store credit to be arbitraged that anybody who wants something from Amazon can pay for it in bitcoins and somebody else with that store credit will buy it for them.

And because there's actually more store credit outstanding for than the entire market capital of all the bitcoins in the world right now, it's a huge amount of store credit.

Trace Mayer:  Hold on.  Did I just hear you correctly that Amazon has like more than $3 billion of gift certificates --

Roger Ver:  It's correct.

Trace Mayer:  -- that they've issued basically?

Roger Ver:  It's right there in the same ballpark so it’s --

Trace Mayer:  It's unbelievable.

Roger Ver:  Yeah.  And Amazon's pretty happy with that currently.

Trace Mayer:  Oh, yeah.  Because --

Roger Ver:  They have the money and they just have to give out --

Trace Mayer:  -- not all of it gets redeemed and they don't have to pay interest on it, so.

Roger Ver:  Right.  But what does is it allows anybody who wants anything from Amazon to be able to receive that and they wind up getting a 20, 25, even a 30 percent discount on whatever they want from Amazon because all these people with the store credit they would probably just rather have cash.  And when they receive bitcoins, bitcoins are as good as cash so they can convert them to cash.

So my most recent order I just placed recently was for an iPad Air 2, which the price on Amazon was around $680.  I got a 29% discount.  So I saved almost $200 on an iPad Air 2 by paying for it with bitcoin on and you can buy bitcoins easily anywhere for about a one percent fee without any problem, just about any country in the world at this point, so.

Trace Mayer:  So, I mean, we have a lot of people in the U.S. that are like, "Oh, bitcoin is the solution looking for a problem."  But you don't even have to like bitcoin. If you can go get your Breadwallet, buy $500 of bitcoin from Circle, send it to your Breadwallet, buy something on Amazon.  You buy $500 worth of stuff.  You're going to save 100 freaking bucks.  That's better than any credit card reward program that I'm aware of.

Roger Ver:  By far.

Trace Mayer:  Amazon has a great return policy.  You don't have to worry about Amazon scamming you.  And all of these people that have this Amazon gift credit, they might get it as an affiliate of Amazon, might be in a country where they can't get it.

Roger Ver:  Or credit card reward points or all sorts of different things.

Trace Mayer:  Yes.  So, I mean, at the heart of this, the whole reason is kind of because regulatorily as long as it's closed loop, we don't have the AML-KYC issue, right?  And Amazon's issuing gift certificates effectively.  So, I mean, those aren't necessarily subject to many transmission.

But at the root of all of this is governmental interference.  And it's creating inefficiencies in the marketplace.  People are storing up large amounts of savings in Amazon credits.  They aren't liquid because they're closed loop.  But now this, bitcoin kind of makes it very liquid.

Roger Ver:  So all over the world, governments violent intervention into the economy prevents the world from being as wealthy as or otherwise it would have been --

Trace Mayer:  Or efficient.

Roger Ver:  Or efficient and it causes misallocation of people's time and resources and prevents the world from being as good of a place as it otherwise could have been.

Trace Mayer:  What else are we seeing in terms of this increasing of efficiency, in the Philippines, you send bitcoins, bam, you got a guy delivering pesos within an hour in person on his motorbike.

Roger Ver:  Little motorbike and drive right up to wherever you're living and deliver the physical cash and that's amazing.

Trace Mayer:  Having gotten started in bitcoin so early like you did, where are we at with bitcoins right now?

Roger Ver:  Everyone that's looking in bitcoin should feel more confident in bitcoin success than ever before.  And just a few years ago, there were no mobile wallets, there were no online major retailers accepting bitcoin.  There wasn't really much venture capital flowing into bitcoin.  Today, it's companies like Microsoft, Dell, Expedia and it's all these big giant names are accepting bitcoin and using bitcoin and it's happening all over the world.  So it should be more clear than ever before that bitcoin is on its way to mainstream adoption across the planet.

Trace Mayer:  What are we looking at for the price of bitcoin if mainstream adoption really happens?  I mean, what is the future potential?  When we're looking at a bitcoin, it could become worth nothing.  What's the upside?

Roger Ver:  Yeah.  It's sounds like hyperbole, but it's not.  If you do the math very clearly if bitcoin becomes popular all over the world, each single bitcoin is going to have to be worth at least tens of thousands of U.S. dollars per bitcoin if not hundreds of thousands of dollars per bitcoin.  It has to have that many people start using it around the world and it seems pretty clear that it's headed in that direction.

Because once people have used it and they see how easy it is compared to other parent forms and try opening a new bank account compared to opening a new bitcoin account.  You can open a new bitcoin wallet in 30 seconds.  It might take you 3 weeks to open a new bank account today with all the various laws.  So a lot of people are flocking to it.

Trace Mayer:  Yeah.

Roger Ver:  It's going to happen.

Trace Mayer:  Yeah.  I mean, it’s kind of funny. It was earlier today the Al Jazeera reporter was like, "Yeah, you got to like take some time to help me get some bitcoin."  You're like, "We're going to do it right now."  And, like, we downloaded the mobile wallet to his phone.  You sent him 10 bucks, I sent him 5 bucks, like, bam, there it was.  How fast can this penetrate other markets where e-commerce just isn't happening at all?  I mean, if Amazon were to start accepting bitcoin is Africa a potential market that they could be serving?

Roger Ver:  I think once the developers around the world built the different software tools and applications to make it easy for people to use all over the world, people all over the world are going to use bitcoin and it's so much better than the other options available, especially in third world countries.

Trace Mayer:  What are you most worried about when it comes to bitcoin?  What keeps you up at night?

Roger Ver:  Government regulations are the most worrisome thing and then being applied unequally, unequal application of the law.  And we see it happening time and time again with all sorts of people.  And it's really sad and really scary.  But that's the world we live in.

Trace Mayer:  What are you most optimistic about then?  You know, what is -- like, is this really going to usher in an entirely new golden age of wealth, of prosperity?  Like, what are you still optimistic about with the rising sun of bitcoin?

Roger Ver:  Yeah.  I am really optimistic that this is going to usher in the new golden age of prosperity.  That's why I'm so excited about it.  One of the individual aspects of it that does have me so excited about that are -- that, you know, there's all these wars going on all over the world and most of the wars are being paid for by inflating the currency, by just printing money.

And with bitcoin, that sort of thing can't happen and hopefully, the bitcoin ecosystem will be diligent not allow any of these businesses to have start doing fractional reserve tricky business.  But if that's the case, we're going to see a lot less wars all over the world. Thanks to it.

Trace Mayer:  What advice would you have for new people coming in to bitcoin?  Someone brought up during your talk like, "Man, you could use this to make some money."  I mean, like what advice do you have to new people?

Roger Ver:  Yeah.  If you haven't already used bitcoin, it's one thing to sit around hearing about it and it sounds really difficult and hard and confusing.  But download a wallet, get some bitcoins from a free faucet or buy a couple of bitcoins online with credit card at or and give it a try.  Once you've seen it in action, it's really, really easy to use.  So the first step is using it.

And then once you've used it and you see how easy it is, look for some new business that wasn't available previously most of the times because of various government laws getting in the way.  But be careful about how you script those.  But one opportunity is doing arbitrage for  Buy things on from Amazon for 25 or 30% discount and then sell them locally for just 10% less than Amazon.

And you can make a hefty profit and all the other people around you wind up getting stuff cheaper than they would otherwise get it from Amazon.

Trace Mayer:  I mean, are there any examples of this actually being done?

Roger Ver:  Yeah.  There's already bitcoin expert that are buying 50 or a 100 PlayStation 4s at a time on from Amazon and then selling them locally on their local Craigslist and they can make a lot of money doing that.

Trace Mayer:  Wow.  I mean, what type of numbers are we talking about?

Roger Ver:  So I think a PlayStation 4 is around $400.  So if you're getting a 25% discount, you're getting it for $300.  And maybe you-- everywhere else at a local shop, that's going to cost $400 locally.  So you could turn around and sell it on Craigslist for $375.  If you sell that it's $75 profit each, you sell a 100 of them, you made $7,500.  And if I don't think it would take very long to sell a 100 PlayStation 4s, especially if you're $25 less than every other merchant nearby.

Trace Mayer:  And it's still brand new, in the wrappings, still unwrap.

Roger Ver:  And it's brand new, still in the box from Amazon.  You can give them the gift receipt from Amazon so they can still have the receipt and they can return it to Amazon if there's a problem with it.

Trace Mayer:  Oh, my goodness.  The cat is out of the bag.  Bitcoin is just creating entrepreneurial opportunity where all these government regulations otherwise create any efficiencies in the economy.  What advice would you have for the banker or the lawyer, or the CPA, or the investor that's listening to this podcast?

Roger Ver:  Well, for the bankers and lawyers and investors, right now is the time to pay attention to bitcoin.  This is literally a world changing technology that's going to impact the lives of every single human being on the entire planet.  And you can either be one of the ones leading the charge to a better world, or you can be bringing up the rear.

And I don't know about you, but I'd rather be leading the charge so be on the forefront of this amazing new technology.

Trace Mayer:  And the people that are on the forefront of this amazing new technology, do they benefit from this wealth transfer and to what degree?

Roger Ver:  Yeah.  So right now, bitcoins are only, you know, a couple $100 each.  If bitcoin becomes really, really popular, they're going to have to be worth at least tens of thousands; if not a hundreds of thousands of dollars for each.

So if you're one of the early adopters and if you're holding on to even just a few bitcoins that bitcoin becomes really popular all over the world, which it looks like it's happening very, very -- just incredibly quickly, you're going to make a huge amount of money just on the appreciation of bitcoins.

Trace Mayer:  Yeah.  I mean, when we're talking about it, just getting adopted so quickly, all the green lights just being shown, Coinbase recently raised $75 million dollars.

Roger Ver:  And some of the investors were the New York Stock Exchange, as well.  And that's the traditional financial system.

Trace Mayer:  Yeah.  I mean, this is the first big major bitcoin investment where we've had traditional financial players in the -- in the deal, right?

Roger Ver:  Right.  And because of all the investments I have, though, I know a lot of the other big traditional financial players are starting to snoop around and look for where they're going to make their investments, as well.

So when the Big Boys get involved, that's when things head to the mainstream and are used by people all over the planet.  And it's happening with bitcoin.  We're seeing it right before our eyes.

Trace Mayer:  Yeah, I mean, we -- we had New York Stock Exchange, we had vice chairman of Morgan Stanley on their board of directors, we had CEO of Thomson Reuters, Vikram Pandit, former CEO of Citigroup.  We had DoCoMo, I mean, you lived over in Japan for like 8 years.

Roger Ver:  Still live there.

Trace Mayer:  Maybe -- you still lived there, maybe you can tell us a little bit about DoCoMo and just how serious of a player that is.

Roger Ver:  Yeah.  DoCoMo, the word in English kind of means everywhere or anywhere.  And it's basically what it is.  DoCoMo is everywhere and anywhere in Japan.  It's the number one cell phone company in Japan.  Everyone uses it.  They sell Internet services and ISP, like, with both wireless and wired.  They're all over the place.  And it's huge in Japan.

Trace Mayer:  Why would they care about a new networking protocol?

Roger Ver:  Bitcoin is the new networking protocol for money for the entire planet and it's connecting everybody all over the planet financially and nothing like that's ever existed before.  And as soon as people understand that, they realize how important of a technology it is and how world-changing it is and they're scrambling to get involved.

And IBM is now doing all sorts of stuff with bitcoin and the block -- blockchain stuff.  And they're researching how this block chain technology: for what they're up to.  And IBM?  That's -- that's no joke, as well.

Trace Mayer:  IBM, Microsoft, DoCoMo, New York Stock Exchange, Morgan Stanley, Rakuten.

Roger Ver:  I can tell you're not from Japan.  It's Rakuten.

Trace Mayer:  Rakuten?  Well, yeah.  My --

Roger Ver:  It's okay.

Trace Mayer:  Japanese pronunciation isn't the best.  But bitcoin truly is this global phenomenon.

Roger Ver:  It is.  It really is.

Trace Mayer:  I mean --

Roger Ver:  It's happening all over the planet regardless of what country and everyone, everywhere in the world is starting to integrate this because it's the financial tool and the financial network to connect the entire world.

Trace Mayer:  What should we do with bitcoin? People who are working on it (bitcoin expert), people who are working in it, looking at it, I mean, what should we really do with it?

Roger Ver:  Bitcoin is the new internet of money.  What can we do with it?  And then there's all these other things that have been built on top of the bitcoin protocol that enable any sort of assets be transferred on the bitcoin block chain.  I think a better question is, what are we going to do with Bitcoin?  It's going to help so many things to be so much better all over the world.

Trace Mayer:  Yeah.  I think I've gotten that before, I told people, "Look, currency is just one app for bitcoin. There's thousands of different apps.  We're going to have to go back and look at the Internet, look at everything we created and realized that we're going to have to reconstitute or recreate everything with how the Internet works using this new technology.

Roger Ver:  Yeah.  It's just like if you were asked today, what is the internet not going to effect?"  The Internet has affected every area of our life everywhere all over the planet and bitcoins going to do the same thing.  And today, it's really, really hard to predict the ways in which bitcoins going to affect everybody just like a couple of decades ago it would have been really difficult to predict how the internet was going to affect our lives.  But the same thing is happening with bitcoin right before our eyes right now.

Trace Mayer:  Well, it's been an amazing interview.  Thanks for putting up with the kids playing ping pong right next to us, a little bit of sound on the background.  It's been hard to find a quiet place here in the sunny Caribbean.  We've had with us the legendary Roger Ver (bitcoin expert).  Thanks for being with us on the podcast.

Roger Ver:  Thank you, Trace.

Written by Roger Ver on March 5, 2015.