Sunday, March 9, 2014

“Bitcoin Jesus” Hiding Out in the Caribbean

This is the problem with so-called "anonymous" Bitcoin that defeats government. It doesn't.  The government is not all-powerful but tracking things on the internet is one of their strengths.  Using cash in brown paper bags is much more private. Eric Bovim reports for Slate:
I have sworn not to write the name of the island where Roger Ver is currently residing, the reason being that he fears for his life...

Ver and his his partner of two years, Iyaka, have been lingering down in the Caribbean for several weeks now, ever since he first began to seek economic citizenship, on one of the islands (a maneuver necessary before obtaining full citizenship). That was granted weeks ago, and now he wants to renounce his U.S. citizenship as well.

Ver is a legend in the Bitcoin community, known as the “Bitcoin Jesus” for his tireless evangelism of the virtual currency. He is not Bitcoin’s only voice, but he is quickly finding himself the last man standing...

Despite the currency’s recent tribulations, Ver remains optimistic: “Five years from now, over $100,000 for a single Bitcoin is well within the realm of possibility,” he says. “I’m not calling and predicting that they will be, but it’s definitely within the realm of possibility.”

These days, Ver lives as much as he can off of Bitcoin. Plane tickets. Hotel bills. Even the odd haircut. All Bitcoin. He keeps a home in Tokyo and another in the Caribbean. He is growing concerned about his safety...

Ver believes federal agents could swoop in and smother his future with conspiracy charges. “For the most part, if the U.S. government really wants to get you they are going to get you. So hopefully they should focus on things other than me. But it’s a real fear.” He pauses. It’s sunny today in [redacted], and we are almost out of time. “I don’t think I am likely to be assassinated, but I worry about being sent to federal prison for some sort of made up charge for a crime where there is no victim.”