Roger Ver is not your typical millionaire. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, he started his first tech company Memory Dealers while in college, building up enough capital to then invest elsewhere: Bitcoin.
When I discovered Bitcoin I realised this was going to change the lives of everybody on the entire planet and I went into it full-time.
Dubbed ‘Bitcoin Jesus’, the 35-year-old was the first person to start seeding Bitcoin startups and is a convicted advocate of the cryptocurrency and its potential to revolutionise modern payment systems. https://twitter.com/MsHannahMurphy/status/558951115078008833 Despite his evangelism, Ver is no stranger to controversy. Cryptocity saw Ver speak at the 2015 Bitcoin Expo in late January, a fortnight after he had been denied entry to the USA on a non-immigrant visa for the third time. He attended Miami’s North American Bitcoin Conference via iPad. A self-proclaimed anarchist, nine years ago Ver served a 10-month prison sentence in the US in his youth for selling firecrackers, before moving to Japan and renouncing his US citizenship. https://twitter.com/rogerkver/status/556867640606863360
Early Bitcoin investment
But this did not stop him investing first in Bitcoin, and then in companies working with Bitcoin.
It was pretty easy at first because I didn’t have any competition…One of my early successful ventures was with Blockchain.info, now the most popular Bitcoin website and wallet.
Ver says he initially emailed Blockchain’s CEO in 2012, asking if they needed any money to expand.
At that point he was running the entire website off his mac mini and the mac mini wasn’t able to keep up. He needed cash for another server, we negotiated, and within 48 hours the money was transferred.
Venture Capital funding for bitcoin companies tripled to $314.7m in 2014 and, according to Ver, this figure will only continue to grow.
Bitcoin Investor ‘Top tips’
Ver’s early gamble with Blockchain.info paid off, but the marketplace is far more crowded today than ever and first-time Bitcoin investors need to be savvy if they are going to successfully jump on the bandwagon.
My prediction is that this year 2015 will see more Venture Capital being invested in the Bitcoin space than the entire previous history of Bitcoin combined.
There’s more Venture Capital pouring into Bitcoin than there are businesses for them to invest in, Ver says. Here is his top advice for potential Bitcoin investors, as told to Cryptocity:
Invest into both Bitcoin and Bitcoin companies
Diversify your portfolio and spread your risk by investing in Bitcoin itself – which Ver says will inevitably succeed – alongside a range of Bitcoin companies.
Choose your wallets wisely
Use a wallet such as Blockchain – where you are in control of the private keys – to hold your Bitcoin. Otherwise, using a hosted wallet or another company which holds Bitcoin on your behalf, you only have a promise from someone else that they will give you your money, rather than a guarantee that it’s there for you to use. “It’s kind of like having physical cash in your wallet,” Ver says. And if you have a substantial number of Bitcoin, don’t keep them in the same wallet – spread them across different wallets in different places.
Avoid Bitcoin mining companies
Why? “Because it is so incredibly transparent. Anyone can see what the price of Bitcoin is. Anyone can see how much electricity costs. Anybody can figure out how many Bitcoins you can mine with however many lots worth of electricity.” This way, everyone can see exactly how much money is there to be made, so you’re always going to have a rush right to the point of no profitability, Ver says.