The What Bitcoin Did podcast interview with Roger Ver

I’ve been really enjoying following the “What Bitcoin Did” podcast, and watching Peter McCormack’s evolution as a journalist.

This week I was particularly excited to see an interview with Roger Ver appear in the queue, but having listened to it, I came away disappointed.

Roger Ver’s personal time, effort and investment were fundamental to Bitcoin achieving its take-off velocity, and in a real way we owe him gratitude for finding ourselves in a world that is going to benefit immensely from crypto currencies and blockchain technologies.

From my observation point, however, it seems that anchors of bitterness tied to the Bitcoin/Bitcoin-Cash split, and the circumstances surrounding that, have harmed his influence and creditability, and create tremendous friction in achieving the goals he wants to achieve.

While he could promote Bitcoin Cash on its own merits, every promotion of the currency is presented alongside a case against Bitcoin (Core). Not against Litecoin, DASH, or Monero; always against Bitcoin Core. Against that backdrop, it’s then hard to imagine he had no involvement in the sudden uptick in BCH propaganda from the @bitcoin twitter handle, or the Bitcoin(BCH) fiasco of Bitcoin.com’s explorer. It seems important to Roger to refer to the BCH/BTC fork as a “split”, instead of BCH going off on its own.

And he may well be right that BCH is truer to Satoshi’s white paper, but what’s important are Satoshi’s ideas; not who makes a claim to the name he created. We now live in a world in which anyone who has heard of Bitcoin, also knows it stands alongside many other currencies competing in the marketplace.

Given how fundamentally I agree with Roger’s worldview, and given the capability he has demonstrated in being able to further a cause, I find the current situation almost tragic. And my hope was that in the podcast, Peter was going to explore that idea.

But there is a journalistic fine line between exploring an idea, and arguing for one, and as the podcast played out, it became clear to me that Peter had fallen into the space of the latter. It seemed to me that, whether consciously or unconsciously, what Peter set out to achieve in the podcast, was to get Roger to acknowledge being mistaken about something. Anything.

This seemed apparent when Roger would state something universally agreeable, and legitimately relevant to his story, like that censorship is unforgivable given how fundamental free speech is to human progress, and Peter would respond almost instantaneously with, “Yeah, but…” Time after time. “OK, but…”, “Right, but…”, “Sure, but…” I don’t remember an occasion in which Peter seemed to pause, to actually contemplate what Roger had just said.

This isn’t meant to be a ding on Peter. One doesn’t become a Pulitzer winner overnight. And my disappointment isn’t that I didn’t like the interview. My disappointment, and the only reason I’m writing this, is that I felt Peter was working on a strategy that could have led to a great interview, and not just for Peter’s show, but perhaps transformational for Roger himself. And that’s the opportunity I felt may have been missed.

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