EspañolSome might have thought him crazy when Roger Ver renounced his US citizenship on ethical grounds. But, for the bitcoin investor and evangelist, borders are imaginary lines, and people should be able to move to another country without having to answer to anyone.
The former CEO of MemoryDealers.com, the first mainstream company to accept bitcoin as payment, was one of the early champions of bitcoin back in 2011, when it was worth only US$1. Tokyo-based Ver put his money where his mouth was, subsequently investing in the Bitcoin Foundation, Coinlab, Ripple, and Panama’s Coinapult.
Last December 30, denied entry to the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, he still managed to attend a bitcoin giveaway in New York’s financial district organized by the start up Coinspace. Ver circumvented the minor obstacle of not actually being in the country with the help of the Double, a robot which can be operated from any part of the world with a WiFi connection.
Yet his latest visa application to attend the forthcoming bitcoin conference in Miami was similarly rejected by US authorities. The PanAm Post sat down with Ver to find out what happened.
US visa restrictions are notoriously difficult to overcome. Why did you decide to renounce to your US citizenship at the first place?
Philosophically I am opposed to the very idea of citizenship. I think we are all human beings, and all have an equal right to travel the planet as we please. From a practical standpoint, I haven’t lived in the USA for about 9 years, and I am sure I will never live there again so it made sense to break one of the remaining ties. Mostly I’m opposed to the USA’s wars, and murdering of innocent children around the world with no remorse.
As an Argentinean citizen, I’ve been denied the US nonimmigrant visa myself three times. What’s your message to the US Embassy officials that rejected your visa?
They actually wouldn’t let me say much of anything in person. The part that is the most shocking to me is that they denied my visa claiming that I hadn’t proved strong ties outside of the USA, while at the very same time, they were refusing to read any of the proof that I had brought. In fact, they refused to even allow me to slide my proof through the slot in the interview window! How can I prove something if they refuse to even look at the proof?!
If they are listening now, I would like them to think about the job they are doing, and the fact that they are being paid with stolen money to enslave their fellow man. Human beings shouldn’t require permission from other human beings to traverse across the planet. Just because they wear fancy clothes and work in a fancy building, doesn’t make it right.
What were you going to talk about at the Miami Conference? Is there any way you can still virtually attend?
I plan to talk about how bitcoin is a tool which allows each individual to have complete control over their money, despite what petty tyrants in governments decide. Bitcoin is the tool to economically liberate everyone on the planet.
I still plan to attend the conference via one of these robots.
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) December 30, 2014
Why do you think the price of bitcoin has fallen, and what will happen as a result?
Bitcoin still works the same at $1 as it does at $1,000, so I try not to focus on the price. It’s clear that the fundamentals are stronger than ever before, so I don’t think it will be long until we see brand new highs.
What’s it like running several bitcoin businesses from Tokyo and the Caribbean?
I do most of my work online, so geographical location in the world isn’t very important to me as long as I have the internet.
Do you think that the application of US regulatory frameworks to bitcoin will kill the currency?
Nearly all government regulations are damaging to business. Bitcoin itself is just a protocol though, and no words written on a piece of paper by politicians can alter the way the protocol works.
Why do you believe that bitcoin is the world’s most important invention after the internet?
The internet largely separated media and communications from the direct control of the state and as we all know, this has been an amazingly positive tool for all humankind. Bitcoin will largely separate commerce and finance from the control of the state. This will cause a huge increase in economic growth and individual freedom around the world, effecting everyones lives for the better.
What’s bitcoin’s biggest weakness?
Bitcoin’s biggest problem is that it seems too good to be true. Firstly, the supply is mathematically limited and can’t be changed. Secondly, anyone can use it anywhere in the world without permission. And finally, it can’t be shut down or censored by anyone, including governments.
Once people understand those points, they almost always see how amazingly beneficial this will be for the world.
Why do you think the bitcoin community and the adoption of the currency has grown enormously in countries like my own?
The dumber the economic policies of the politicians in a country are, the more useful bitcoin is in that country. Argentina is a great example of this!
Edited by Laurie Blair.