Apr 30, 2024 - Economy

Roger Ver, early Bitcoin booster, arrested for tax evasion

A man in a suit without a tie, and very short her, speaking at a conference. From shoulders up. Slightly turned to the side.

Roger Ver in 2017. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty

Roger Ver has been arrested for tax evasion on the sale of $240 million worth of bitcoin in Spain. He awaits extradition.

Why it matters: The 45-year-old is from an early vein of Bitcoin investors with deep allegiance to libertarian values. He renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2014, to become a citizen of St. Kitts, in the West Indies.

Details: According to the Justice Department, Ver is charged with tax evasion after allegedly selling a stash of bitcoin owned by his U.S.-based companies, MemoryDealers.com and AgileStar.com, in 2017.

  • He concealed these sales from his accountant, according to prosecutors, and failed to pay $48 million in taxes that would have been due the IRS, as the property of domestic companies.

Flashback: Bitcoin price rose incredibly quickly in 2017, starting the year at a bit under $1000, and rising to nearly $20,000 in December, before beginning a long decline.

  • At its high point, Ver would have only needed to sell 12,000 bitcoins to bring in $240 million, at market prices.
  • Ver also popped up amidst the crypto market meltdown of 2022, as the exchange CoinFlex unwound.

Fun fact: Ver has broken with the mainstream Bitcoin community, opting to promote bitcoin cash (BCC), the 16th largest cryptocurrency. BCC is a fork of the original cryptocurrency designed to be more useable for peer-to-peer payments.

  • Earlier this year, Ver published an indictment of Bitcoin culture, called Hijacking Bitcoin.

Details: Ver has spoken about libertarian and voluntarist values for years, including making a satirical video with the title, "Taxation is Theft."

What we're watching: When and if Ver is extradited to the United States.

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