Adam Back Wants ‘Prodigal Son’ Roger Ver to Come Home to Bitcoin

By Decrypt March 19, 2024 In Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Sidechains
Adam Back and Roger Ver. Image: YouTube/Flickr Creative Commons
Adam Back and Roger Ver. Image: YouTube/Flickr Creative Commons

Will the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash communities ever bury the hatchet?

Adam Back, the CEO of Bitcoin company Blockstream and one of the earliest Bitcoin developers, today extended an olive branch to long-time rival Roger Ver, an early Bitcoin investor turned Bitcoin Cash (BCH) advocate. Back says it’s time for Ver to “be the prodigal son” and return to Bitcoin.

Back’s invitation comes in response to Ver’s new book, “Hijacking Bitcoin: The Hidden History of BTC,” which claims that the original vision of Bitcoin has been corrupted.

Roger Ver, once known as “Bitcoin Jesus” for his fervent promotion of the cryptocurrency and angel investments during its early days, shifted his focus to Bitcoin Cash in 2017. He argued that BCH, with its larger blocks, more closely resembled the original Bitcoin protocol envisioned by its pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

The lack of additional developments, such as sidechains or layer-2 solutions like the Lightning Network, in BCH is intentional, as Bitcoin Cash devs consider these tools to be centralized and not in line with Satoshi’s vision of a decentralized network.

In his book, Ver questions whether Bitcoin is truly decentralized and if it was meant to be digital gold or digital cash. He also addresses the original design’s scaling problems. Ver describes the book as a “devastating exposé of the corruption, propaganda, and centralization of power in Bitcoin,” mostly due to the censorship of disagreeing voices inside the community.

But Back sees these events differently. In his reply to Ver, Back acknowledges the censorship both he and Ver experienced on various forums during the heated debates of the so-called “block size wars.”

“You know they blocked some of my posts on r/bitcoin back in this time period too,” Back reminded Ver in his reply. “I hate moderation as a matter of principle so I was not happy and posted my comments on r/btc instead.”

For those unfamiliar with the situation, the r/BTC subreddit was heavily moderated by Bitcoin Cash enthusiasts and became the primary community for BCH holders and developers. Currently, there is no r/BCH community on Reddit, and discussions have shifted to r/Bitcoincash. On the other hand, Bitcoin (BTC) enthusiasts gather around r/Bitcoin and r/Cryptocurrency, where pro-BCH opinions promoting the Bitcoin Cash fork as the original Bitcoin protocol are often heavily censored. If it sounds confusing, here’s a bit more of the sordid history:

Bitcoin Cash was created in 2017 as a fork of Bitcoin after many of the earliest developers and stakeholders failed to reach an agreement about the future of the network. Today, both networks claim to be the original blockchain envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto, leading to a rivalry between the two communities. But outside of that squabble, the consensus is clear: Bitcoin is the original chain, with BTC currently trading for just under $70,000, coming down from a new all-time high reached last week. Bitcoin Cash is currently priced just under $400, and has fallen to 17th on the market capitalization charts.

In his message to Ver, Back asks “Bitcoin Jesus” to at last admit defeat and return to his roots. “You were demonstrably wrong in every way,” he told Ver. “You were also dead wrong in the market to your enormous cost,” he added.

Much of Back’s message to Ver could be interpreted as gloating, but his invitation to Ver to return to the Bitcoin community may indeed be sincere. “You know you want to,” Back tweeted. “You don’t have to go at it alone, be the prodigal son and return.”

Back suggests that the Bitcoin network is now more mature, with many new developments offering the same convenience and scalability Ver desired with the bigger blocks BCH proposition.”Come back to Bitcoin, use Bitcoin layer-2s—there are more of them now and they’re being rapidly adopted. The rootstock and Liquid sidechains even give you the big block tradeoff you wanted, just in an opt-in, non-coercive way. Come join us,” Back wrote.

Ver did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment. Meanwhile, the reaction to Back’s invitation has been mixed, with some BTC enthusiasts supporting the idea and many BCH followers criticizing Back’s reply as hypocritical.

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