Years ago, Roger Ver earned the nickname Bitcoin Jesus thanks to his hardcore evangelism for the original cryptocurrency. These days, however, some members of the cryptosphere see Ver as more of a Bitcoin Judas, given his controversial opinion that BTC is no longer bitcoin. “If you’re not trying to build a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, you’re not bitcoin in my book,” says Ver, now a proponent of Bitcoin Cash, which hard-forked off the original bitcoin blockchain in August 2017.
Ver tells me this—and much more—during a video chat from his home in Tokyo. He’s lived in Japan since 2005, after serving a 10-month prison sentence in the U.S. for selling fireworks on eBay. A voluntaryist and an outspoken critic of the U.S. government, Ver renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2014 after becoming a citizen of the Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. (Contrary to what you may have heard, he says he is still allowed to visit the U.S. as often as he’d like.)