Bitcoin Jesus is Back– Roger Ver Wants to Clear His Name

One of the earliest Bitcoin advocates is staging a comeback.

By: Pedro Solimano Loading...

Bitcoin Jesus is Back– Roger Ver Wants to Clear His Name

Was Bitcoin hijacked?

According to one of the earliest and most controversial Bitcoiners, the network is no longer what Satoshi Nakamoto wanted it to be back in 2008.

And now that Bitcoin is arguably changing more than ever, that Bitcoiner is back in the spotlight, advocating for a return to Bitcoin’s early promise of peer-to-peer electronic cash.

Roger Ver’s new book, Hijacking Bitcoin, recounts the “Bitcoin Blocksize War” from the perspective of someone who “lost” the fight, and ended up not only creating a new chain, but also became a mortal enemy of many bitcoiners, and to a large extent, to the crypto community.

Bitcoin’s blocksize war refers to a debate in the Bitcoin community between two camps–”small blockers” and “big blockers”–over whether to increase the block size of Bitcoin to allow for faster and cheaper transaction speeds, or to keep the chain’s block size small, and scale via Layer 2 networks.

Ver was not available to reply to a request for comment from The Defiant by press time.

A Controversial Figure

To say it lightly, Roger Ver is a controversial Bitcoiner.

Ver was early to Bitcoin and was immediately captivated by its potential. He said back in 2011 on a CNBC documentary that the first cryptocurrency is “one of the most important inventions in the history of humankind,” becoming one of the network’s earliest investors, adopters, and advocates.

He added it to one of his online businesses,, and backed the first U.S.-based platform to purchase bitcoin, BitInstant (which at one point facilitated 30% of all Bitcoin transactions), along with OGs like Erik Voorhees and Charlie Shrem.

Along with his early-days proselytism in favor of Bitcoin and financial freedom, Ver’s “Bitcoin Jesus” nickname spawned from him giving away large amounts of the currency, after allegedly accumulating between 300,000 and 400,000 BTC.

Born Jan. 27, 1979, Roger Ver studied economics, math, and astronomy at De Anza College, a community college in Cupertino, California, from 1997-99.

During college, he went on to build his first company, Memorydealers, which resold Cisco-related memory cards and networking equipment, transceivers, and accessories, dropping out of college to lead the company.

In 2002, he was arrested and pleaded guilty for illegally selling explosives in his native California through his company, serving 10 months in a federal penitentiary. Those explosives turned out to be fireworks.

He also founded and ran Agilestar, a company that ships fiber optic transceivers, between 2004 and 2018, but spent most of his energy on Bitcoin since learning about it in 2011.

But if you’ve been in crypto for less than five years, it’s likely you’ve never heard of him.

The Bitcoin Blocksize War

In the second half of the decade, Ver earned himself a bittersweet spot in Bitcoin history.

He led the “losing” side of the Bitcoin Blocksize War, waged between 2015 and 2017.

The tl;dr of the conflict was whether Bitcoin should increase its blocksize to enable more transactions on the base layer. Ver belonged to the so-called “big blockers,” who advocated for users to be able to buy their Starbucks coffee with BTC, fulfilling the dream of an electronic peer-to-peer cash.

In line with the big blockers were miners, exchanges, and others who called for a hard fork, a radical change to a network's protocol that makes previously invalid blocks and transactions valid, or vice-versa.

“I’m really, really concerned with the future of Bitcoin," Ver said in a 2017 CNBC interview, explaining that Bitcoin is meant to be peer-to-peer cash, and not just a digital store of value.

However, to the dismay of Bitcoin Jesus, the small blockers–which sided with keeping block sizes small and subsequently scale in layers–won the conflict.

Bitcoin Cash Is Born

Ending the Blocksize War meant maintaining the 2MB limit.

With that outcome, two new versions, or forks, of the network spawned, Bitcoin Cash, backed by Ver, and Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision, created by computer scientist Craig Wright. The latter is in fact a fork of Bitcoin Cash, with 4 GB blocks versus Bitcoin Cash’s 32 MB limit. .

Bitcoin Cash increased the block limit, enabling more transactions to be included, and like Ver has repeated, a return to Satoshi’s original mission: peer-to-peer electronic cash, which is the title of Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper for Bitcoin.

Whether BCH or BTC is more closely aligned to Satoshi’s intent has been a matter of debate since 2017.

The market, however, has more clearly favored BTC. Bitcoin has a $1.3 trillion market cap versus Bitcoin Cash’s $12 billion. The former has a 24 hour volume that exceeds $35 billion whereas BCH sits just beyond $620 million. And 1 Bitcoin trades for $69,962 versus $611 per Bitcoin Cash.

A Few Dark Patches

In spite of being known as Bitcoin Jesus, Ver is no saint.

He tried to sell Bitcoin Cash on his website purporting it to be BTC, in a move that nearly scored him a lawsuit from Bitcoin enthusiasts who said the investor deserved to “go back” to jail.

In 2013, seven months before the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, Mt. Gox., imploded because of a hack that drained more than 700,000 BTC, Ver recorded a video assuring investors that fiat withdrawal issues the platform was facing were caused by the traditional banking system.

A week after the platform went down, Ver recorded another video apologizing for the remarks in his previous video alleging he was referring to Mt. Gox’s liquidity, and not their solvency.

Ver also teamed up during the Blocksize Wars with the infamous Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist who has been for years claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto (a recent ruling determined he isn’t).

The polarizing bitcoiners had a falling out after Ver publicly backed Bitcoin Cash instead of Wright’s BSV. Years later, Ver acknowledged “maybe he was fooled” by the computer scientist, claiming his feud was due to personal insults, and political differences.

Ver is also known to lose his temper, for example, he gave the middle finger to John Carvalho, who ran the company, in a livestream.

Hijacking Bitcoin

Although Ver remained active in the crypto ecosystem, he mostly sidelined himself from engaging with the Bitcoin-only community.

But he’s now back with a book under his name.

Written by Ver and Steve Patterson, the book aims to dispel what Ver says was a decade-long slander campaign against him, and get readers to understand how Bitcoin was hijacked after Satoshi disappeared.

Ver is also re-surfacing at a time when Bitcoin is once again going through some fundamental changes. Developers are finding loopholes to add functionality to a once stagnant ecosystem.

Now Bitcoin supports NFTs, and even memecoins, both considered heresy by many hardline bitcoiners.

Who Wants To Debate?

Ver’s return to the spotlight with Hijacking Bitcoin has revived the Blocksize Wars, and the Bitcoin versus Bitcoin Cash debate.

As such, Bitcoin Jesus is looking for a fight.

He has been endlessly challenging so-called small blockers to discuss how Bitcoin changed since Satoshi disappeared , and why that change is taking BTC into obsolescence.

But he has struggled to bait an opponent.

Ver has repeatedly tried to get famed cryptographer and creator of HashCash, Adam Back, to take him on, claiming Back is “the hijacker of Bitcoin,” only for Back to block him on X.

Will Ver Clear His Name?

All along the crypto ecosystem, the name Roger Ver gives people goosebumps.

Some claim that the best thing he did was to publish his account of the story eight years after the war, alleging that now most people don’t know who he is, giving him the chance to redeem himself.

Could Ver make a comeback, and clear his name? At the end of the day, in true crypto form, it’s the market that will decide.