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WHEN: Today, Wednesday, December 20, 2017
WHERE: CNBC's "Fast Money"
Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver – also known as "Bitcoin Jesus" – on CNBC's "Fast Money" (M-F 5PM-6PM) today, Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Following is a link to video from the interview on CNBC.com: https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/12/20/bitcoin-jesus-on-the-rise-of-bitcoin-cash.html.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
MELISSA LEE: WELCOME BACK TO "FAST MONEY." BITCOIN CASH OFFICIALLY GETTING ADDED TO COINBASE LAST NIGHT AND SURGING 50% TODAY, IGNITING A FIRESTORM IN THE CRYPTO COMMUNITY. FOR MORE, LETS BRING IN A MAN WHO WENT AGAINST THE GRAIN AS ONE OF THE BIGGEST SUPPORTERS OF BITCOIN CASH, HE'S KNOWN AS "BITCOIN JESUS" BECAUSE HE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST INVESTORS IN BITCOIN ITSELF. ROGER VER JOINS US ON THE PHONE. ROGER, GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK ON "FAST MONEY.
ROGER VER: THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME AGAIN.
LEE: YOU MADE VERY CLEAR YOUR PREFERENCE FOR BITCOIN CASH AND WHY YOU SAW THE FUTURE FOR BITCOIN CASH. DOES THE ADDITION OF BITCOIN CASH TO COINBASE ACCELERATE SORT OF YOUR DOOMSDAY CALLS FOR BITCOIN ITSELF?
VER: OF COURSE IT ACCELERATES THE ADOPTION OF BITCOIN CASH. BITCOIN CASH HAS ALL THE CHARACTERISTICS THAT ATTRACTED ME TO BITCOIN IN THE VERY FIRST PLACE, AND BACK IN 2011 AND WHAT LED ME TO BECOME THE FIRST PERSON IN THE WORLD TO START INVESTING IN CRYPTOCURRENCY STARTUPS. AND THOSE CHARACTERISTICS ARE THAT IT'S, YOU KNOW, FAST, IT'S CHEAP TO USE, AND RELIABLE. AND BITCOIN CORE AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT TEAM HAVE INTENTIONALLY MADE BITCOIN CORE SLOW, EXPENSIVE TO USE AND UNRELIABLE. SO IF YOU HAVE TWO VERSIONS OF BITCOIN: ONE THAT'S FAST, CHEAP TO USE AND RELIABLE AND ONE THAT'S SLOW, EXPENSIVE TO USE AND UNRELIABLE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A ROCKET SCIENTIST TO FIGURE OUT WHICH ONE OF THOSE TWO VERSIONS OF BITCOIN WILL BE MORE USABLE. AND IT'S CLEARLY BITCOIN CASH.
LEE: YOU KNOW, WE'VE BEEN FOLLOWING HERE ON THIS SHOW BITCOIN SINCE PROBABLY AROUND 2012. I CONSIDER MYSELF A NEOPHYTE COMPARED OBVIOUSLY TO YOU AND BRIAN KELLY HERE ON THE DESK AND SO MANY OTHERS OUT THERE. BUT HERE'S WHAT REALLY CAUGHT ME OFF GUARD, THE SORT OF POLARIZED COMMUNITY WHEN IT COMES TO BITCOIN CASH AND BITCOIN. IS THERE NOT A WORLD, ROGER, WHERE BOTH CAN EXIST?
VER: THERE SHOULD BE BUT IT'S REALLY, REALLY, REALLY DANGEROUS FOR BITCOIN CORE HOLDERS BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE MINING DIFFICULTY ALGORITHM ADJUSTS FOR BITCOIN CORE. IF BITCOIN CASH BECOMES POPULAR ENOUGH AND SIPHONS AWAY ENOUGH FROM – THE MINING HASH RATE FROM BITCOIN CORE IN A SHORT ENOUGH PERIOD OF TIME, BITCOIN CORE IS IN REALLY, REALLY, REALLY BIG IN DANGER OF COMING TO A SCREECHING HALT ALTOGETHER. SO I'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN BITCOIN FOR ABOUT 7 YEARS NOW, THAT ENTIRE TIME I'VE ALWAYS BEEN TELLING PEOPLE TO HOLD YOUR BITCOINS AND CRYPTOCURRENCIES ON YOUR OWN DEVICE WHERE Y OU'RE IN CONTROL. RIGHT NOW MAY BE THE ONLY TIME THAT'S ACTUALLY BAD ADVICE. YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER HOLDING YOUR BITCOIN ON AN EXCHANGE SO IF THERE'S THIS MAD EXODUS OF PEOPLE RUSHING TO THE DOOR, YOUR MONEY WILL ALREADY BE ON THE EXCHANGE, SO YOU CAN SELL YOUR BITCOIN CORE COINS FOR MORE BITCOIN CASH OR WHATEVER ELSE YOU WANT, OR YOU KNOW, YOU'LL ACCTUALLY STILL BE ABLE TO GET SOMETHING FOR THEM. WHERE A IF THEY'RE STUCK ON YOUR OWN PHONE OR COMPUTER AND EVERYBODY IS RUNNING FOR THE DOOR BECAUSE THE HASH RATE IS DISAPPEARING FROM BITCOIN CORE AND MOVING TO BITCOIN CASH, IT WILL BE TOO LATE TO MOVE THEM FROM YOUR WALLET TO THE EXCHANGE. YOU'LL WIND UP GETTING NOTHING INSTEAD OF.
LEE: THAT'S TERRIFYING STUFF. BASICALLY IT SOUNDS LIKE ITS ALMOST -- I DON'T WANT TO SAY A RUN ON THE BANK, IT'S NOT QUITE EQUIVALENT, BUT THIS NOTION THAT THERE COULD BE SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS ALMOST INSTANTANEOUSLY AND YOU'LL WANT OUT OF BITCOIN LIKE THAT. THAT'S WHAT YOURE PREDICTING?
VER: I'M PREDICTING THAT THAT MAY HAPPEN. AND IF YOU LOOK AT IT RIGHT NOW, THE AVERAGE FEE ON BITCOIN IS MORE THAN $30 TODAY. AND THERE'S MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A MILLION BITCOIN TRANSACTIONS WAITING TO BE INCLUDED IN BLOCK. THAT MEANS YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE AROUND A QUARTER MILLION ANGRY AND UNHAPPY BITCOIN CORE USER. SO IF THEY'RE GETTING A BAD EXPERIENCE, THEY COST A LOT OF MONEY, THEY'RE LIKELY TO SWITCH TO SOMETHING ELSE. AND IF THEY SWITCH TO BITCOIN CASH, THAT WOULD SIPHON AWAY THE HASH RATE FROM BITCOIN CORE, WHICH COULD MAKE THE DOOMSDAY SCENARIO BECOME POSSIBLE. AND WHAT A TERRIFYING THING TO BE IF YOU'RE HOLDING A LOT OF BITCOIN CORE.
BRIAN KELLY: HEY ROGER, IT'S BRIAN KELLY. I JUST DID A THING -- THE COMPARISON BETWEEN THE TWO COINS. AND IT STRUCK ME IN THAT THAT BOTH OF THE COINS STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO BEFORE WE CAN SCALE TO THE LEVEL OF VISA OR MASTERCARD. AND YOU KNOW, BITCOIN ITSELF, AND THE CORE DEVELOPERS ARE SOME OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD, ARE GOING TOWARDS THE LIGHTNING NETWORK. CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT THE PLAN IS FOR BITCOIN CASH IN SCALEABILITY, IF IT GETS AS POPULAR AS YOU THINK IT IS, WOULDN'T IT END UP THE SAME WAY AS BITCOIN IS TODAY?
VER: I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE EXCEPTION TO YOUR COMMENT THAT BITCOIN DEVELOPERS ARE SOME OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD. THAT'S ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. THEY TOOK BITCOIN WHICH USED TO HAVE FAST, RELIABLE, CHEAP TRANSACTIONS ON CHAIN, AND THEY'VE TURNED IT INTO AN INCREDIBLY CONGESTED NETWORK THAT'S BEEN RUNNING AT 100% CAPACITY FOR MONTHS THAT PROVIDES A HORRIBLE USER EXPERIENCE. AND IN THAT TIME, THE BITCOINS MARKETSHARE WENT FROM NEARLY 100% OF THE CRYPTO COIN MARKET SPACE DOWN TO WAY LESS THAN 50% NOW. SO BY THOSE STANDARDS, I THINK THEY'RE PROBABLY ONE OF THE WORST DEVELOPMENT TEAMS IN THE ENTIRE CRYPTO COIN ECOSYSTEM. SO AND IN REGARDS TO LIGHTNING NETWORK AND THEIR PLANS FOR FUTURE SCALING, ALL THOSE THINGS THEY WANT TO DO IN REGARDS TO LIGHTNING NETWORK AND LAYER TWO WILL WORK BETTER, FAST R, AND CHEAPER ON TOP OF BITCOIN CASH BECAUSE THERE'S MORE ROOM IN THE BLOCKS FOR EVERYTHING TO HAPPEN AND THE BLOCKS WILL BE HAPPENING MORE RELIABLY AND THE TRANSACTIONS WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE BLOCKS MORE RELIABLY. SO ALL THESE THINGS THEY'RE WORKING ON CAN WORK BETTER ON BITCOIN CASH. SO BITCOIN CASH IS A BETTER SOLUTION ALL THE WAY AROUND AND IS MUCH MORE IN TUNE WITH WHAT WAS ORIGINALLY LAID OUT IN THE ROADMAP OF BITCOIN TO BEGIN WITH, WHICH WAS PERMISSIONLESS, WORLD-WIDE, FAST, CHEAP, RELIABLE TRANSACTIONS. AND THAT'S WHAT BITCOIN CASH PROVIDES AND BITCOIN CORE IS PROVIDING THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THAT.
LEE: IN TERMS OF SCALING AND GREATER ACCEPTANCE, ROGER, I UNDERSTAND THAT THE ADDITION OF BITCOIN CASH TO COINBASE WAS VERY IMPORTANT, BUT NOW COINBASE IS INVESTIGATING POSSIBLE INSIDER TRADING. IS IT YOUR TAKE THAT PERHAPS THERE NEEDS TO BE REGULATION OF THESE EXCHANGES AND THESE ONLINE TRADING PLATFORMS? IS IT ENOUGH FOR COINBASE TO SAY WE'RE GOING TO LAUNCH OUR OWN INVESTIGATION INTO THIS AND THAT SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT FOR ALL YOU RETAIL TRADERS WHO ARE NOW TRADING IN BITCOIN AND BITCOIN CASH? AND I ASK BECAUSE MAYBE THIS SOURS INVESTORS OUT THERE FROM CRYPTO, AND THAT IN THE END WOULD BE BAD FOR YOUR THESIS, WOULDN'T IT?
VER: I THINK INSIDER TRADING IS A NON-CRIME. IF YOU LOOK AT IT, LET'S SAY A BUNCH OF PEOPLE HAD TRADED IN ADVANCE, THEN THE PRICE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN SO VOLATILE, AND THE PRICE WOULD ALREADY MUCH MORE CLOSELY REFLECT THE PRICE AFTER THE NEWS BECAME PUBLIC. NO, I DON'T THINK THAT SHOULD BE AN EXCUSE FOR ADDITIONAL REGULATION ON THE BITCOIN EXCHANGES. THEY'RE ALREADY BEING REGULATED PRETTY HEAVILY. AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, BUYERS NEED TO BEWARE OF WHATEVER SERVICE THEY'RE USING, WHETHER IT'S A BITCOIN EXCHANGE OR A COFFEE SHOP THAT'S MAKING YOUR COFFEE BE CAREFUL, TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT YOU'RE DOING, AND DON'T DEPEND ON THE GOVERNMENT TO KEEP YOU SAFE FROM EVERYTHING OUT THERE IN THE WORLD.
KELLY: AND SO, ROGER, GOING FORWARD, WHAT IS THE PLAN HERE FOR THE ACCEPTANCE? BECAUSE AGAIN, WHEN I WENT THROUGH THAT, I SAID THERE'S A SMALLER NETWORK EFFECT HERE FOR BITCOIN CASH, WHAT'S THE PLAN FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW FOR GROWING THAT NETWORK EFFECT?
VER: THE PLAN IS MORE OF WHAT WORKED FOR BITCOIN IN THE EARLY STAGES— PROVIDING A WONDERFUL USER EXPERIENCE WHERE ANYONE CAN INVEST ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY INSTANTLY BASICALLY FOR FREE AND NOBODY CAN STOP IT. SO NOW WE HAVE ALL THESE BUSINESSES THAT USED TO BE BITCOIN ONLY BUSINESSES, ONCE THE BITCOIN CORE TEAM SUCCEEDED IN MAKING BITCOIN LESS USABLE, THEY'VE STARTED INTEGRATING ALT COINS. SO WE'VE SEEN THE LIKES OF BLOCKCHAIN.INFO, THE WORLD'S MOST POPULAR BITCOIN ETHEREUM, AND NOW BITCOIN CASH WALLET, THEY'VE ADDED ALL OF THOSE, WHERE PREVIOUSLY THEY WERE ONLY A BITCOIN WALLET. WE SAW THE SAME THING HAPPEN WITH COINBASE, WE'VE SEEN THE SAME THING HAPPEN WITH BITPAY, AND WE'VE SEEN THE SAME THING HAPPEN WITH BITCOIN.COM. ALL THESE BUSINESSES AND PEOPLE THAT ARE ACTUALLY TRYING TO USE BITCOIN IN COMMERCE, THEY AREN'T STUPID, THEY REALIZE THE USE MORE THAN $30, AND THEY HAVE TO WAIT DAYS OR WEEKS OR MAYBE NEVER FOR YOUR TRANSACTION TO GO THROUGH. WELL, BITCOIN CORE IS NOT USEFUL IN COMMERCE ANYMORE, THEY'RE GOING TO START USING SOMETHING ELSE, AND THAT SOMETHING ELSE SEEMS TO VERY CLEARLY BE BITCOIN CASH.
LEE: I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT CHARLIE LEE SELLING ALL HIS LIGHTCOIN. CHARLIE LEE OF COURSE BEING THE CREATOR OF LIGHTCOIN. DOES IT MAKE SENSE THAT HE WANTS TO GET RID OF THIS BECAUSE OF A CONFLICT OF INTEREST?
VER: I HAVE NO IDEA, BUT CHARLIE LEE SHOULD BE FREE TO DO WHATEBER HE WANTS WITH HIS OWN LIGHTCOINS. THEY'RE HIS AND IF HE WANTS TO SELL THEM, THAT'S FINE, IF HE WANTS TO BUY MORE, THAT'S FINE – IT DOESN'T AFFECT ME ONE BIT. BUT I DON'T REALLY SEE LITECOIN AS BEING NEARLY AS INTERESTING. IT'S A COMPETITOR TO BITCOIN CORE, I SUPPOSE. BUT BITCOIN CASH IS AN EVEN BETTER VERSION. AND ONE REALLY INTERESTING POINT THAT CHARLIE LEE DID MAKE PREVIOUSLY, HE SAID THAT BITCOIN SHOULDN'T RAISE THE BLOCK SIZE, REFERRING TO BITCOIN CORE. BUT IF LIGHTCOIN EVER WOUND UP HAVING FULL BLOCKS HE WOULD JUST RAISE THE BLOCK SIZE. SO I GUESS, KUDOS FOR HIM TO SAYING DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO. AND LIGHTPOINT IS RIGHT THERE, TRYING TO EAT AWAY AT BITCOIN'S MARKET SHARE AS WELL. SO, IF I HAD A COMPETING CURRENCY TO BITCOIN CORE, MAYBE I WOULD GIVE THEM BAD ADVICE TOO. I WOULDN'T ACTUALLY BUT THAT SEEMS TO BE CLEARLY WHAT CHARLIE LEE DID, HE GAVE BITCOIN CORE A BUNCH OF BAD ADVICE THAT CRIPPLED BITCOIN CORE AND MADE LIGHTCOIN IN IN A POSITION TO PICK UP SOME OF THE SLACK THAT HE CREATED BY GIVING BAD ADVICE TO BITCOIN CORE.
LEE: ROGER, THANKS FOR PHONING IN, ALWAYS GREAT TO GET YOUR ANALYSIS OF THINGS. ROGER VER OF BITCOIN.COM.
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