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Crypto Shots Fired as Doug Polk Attacks Roger Ver

Pair of Dueling Pistols

Professional poker player Doug “WCGRider” Polk has been covering crypto-currency topics on his YouTube channel “Doug Polk Crypto” for more than a year along with poker-related material on his other channel, “Doug Polk Poker.” On Jan. 26, he published a video called “Crazy Altcoin Man NEEDS To STOP” about Bitcoin Cash supporter Roger Ver. This video paints an unflattering portrait of Ver, accusing him of hypocrisy and “sheisty moves.” Doug followed up by starting a thread on Reddit to discuss the points he made in his video.

About the Two Individuals

Doug “WCGRider” Polk

Doug Polk started playing poker in college in 2007, running up his $20 deposit to more than $10,000. Initially a full-ring cash game player, he transitioned over to heads-up matches. He achieved considerable success in this format, moving up from the mid-stakes to $50/$100 within a few months. Polk eventually became one of the most respected high-stakes online poker pros, battling against the likes of Viktor “Isildur1” Blom and Dan “jungleman12” Cates. In 2016, he began producing poker-themed videos on YouTube and then expanded by creating a channel devoted to events in the crypto-currency space.

Photo of Roger Ver

Roger Ver is a businessman who was the founder of MemoryDealers.com, a site that sells computer memory and other components. He was convicted of selling illegal explosives on eBay in 2002 and had to serve a 10-month prison sentence. After moving from the United States to Japan in 2006, he became one of the earliest adopters of Bitcoin in 2011, accepting it for payments at MemoryDealers.com and investing heavily in BTC startups, like Bitinstant. Roger became a supporter of Bitcoin Cash, which forked off the main Bitcoin blockchain in August 2017. Ver often criticizes legacy Bitcoin, calling it “Bitcoin Core” and “SegWit Coin,” while referring to Bitcoin Cash as “the real Bitcoin.”

About the Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash Debate

Bitcoin Versus Bitcoin Cash

It's impossible to understand the friction between Doug Polk and Roger Ver without going into the Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash controversy. When Bitcoin Cash (BCH) split off from the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain, the crypto-currency wasn't the only thing that was divided: The crypto community also broke in two with some promoting the version of Bitcoin maintained by the Bitcoin Core development team and others throwing their weight behind the new Bitcoin Cash.

The fork was basically caused by the inability of Bitcoin to cope with its stunning growth. For years, there had been arguments about how to upgrade it to deal with its burgeoning popularity. Fees had risen to unprecedented levels, threatening Bitcoin's viability as a currency for everyday transactions. Ultimately, no consensus was reached, and this is why the Bitcoin Cash supporters opted to proceed with the hark fork.

Bitcoin Core's vision includes Segregated Witness and Lightning Network, two inventions that appear poised to increase the number of transactions included within every block of the blockchain. However, they rely on outside entities to work properly; all the data isn't written to the public ledger. This has upset Bitcoin purists who see it as a step away from the ideas propounded in 2009 by Bitcoin's founder, the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. Moreover, SegWit and LN have not yet been widely deployed, so most of the promised improvements still lie in the future.

Bitcoin Cash instead opted to increase the size of each block from 1 MB to 8 MB. This had the immediate effect of lowering transaction fees considerably. Despite the fact that most miners chose to stick with the Bitcoin Core version, Bitcoin Cash enthusiasts feel that their coin more closely achieves what Satoshi intended in the first place: a decentralized, peer-to-peer form of cash. They eschew trusting in outside groups to help process transactions because they think that all the transaction data should be encoded in the blockchain itself to prevent any malfeasance.

Polk's Allegations

Man Pointing Finger

Doug Polk made his thread in the /r/BTC subreddit, which was created due to heavy moderation and even censorship in the /r/bitcoin section of the website. You see, /r/bitcoin heavily supports traditional Bitcoin (BTC) to the point of deleting negative posts about the crypto-currency. /r/BTC started as a way to discuss any topic, positive or negative, dealing with Bitcoin. Since Bitcoin Cash was created, many users in /r/BTC have become fans of it but have found that their comments are not welcome in /r/bitcoin.

After acknowledging this situation of multiple subreddits existing to discuss Bitcoin and stating that he doesn't like it, Doug goes into the heart of his criticisms of Roger Ver. Polk was upset that Ver doxed someone over a $50 dispute years ago. Doug also opined that Ver's statements regarding the Segregated Witness protocol and the Lightning Network were contradictory and hypocritical. Similarly, Roger had said in an interview that he sold a lot of bitcoins to buy Bitcoin Cash and then claimed later on that he hadn't done so. Finally, Polk lambasted Ver's stance that referring to Bitcoin Cash by the derogatory term “BCash” is akin to using racial slurs to refer to minorities.

Roger Ver's Response

Comment Caption Bubble

Roger replied to Doug's post under his Reddit screenname “MemoryDealers.” Regarding releasing the personal info of someone who was attempting to cheat him out of $50, Roger said that he privately emailed this person first to achieve a resolution but that the individual in question released the email correspondence, effectively doxing himself. Roger is known to adhere to libertarian principles, and so he was probably loathe to bring the matter to the authorities, instead viewing doxing as a less statist approach.

Roger illuminated his seemingly contradictory views on the Segregated Witness and Lightning Network off-chain layers. He said that he thought they might be valuable if they could be properly tested and rolled out. However, Roger believes that the Bitcoin Core developers have acted hastily in transitioning to these systems and refusing to explore other options for scaling up the number of BTC transactions that can be handled.

About the conflicting info he gave regarding his divestment of bitcoins in order to acquire more Bitcoin Cash, Roger replied that it was the nature of his transaction that accounts for the discrepancy. He bought Bitcoin Cash futures before the coin had even launched, which is the explanation for his seemingly contradictory narratives.

Ver gave further details on his dislike of the term “BCash.” He asserted that the only reason people use that word is to belittle and insult the Bitcoin Cash community. In this respect it is similar to using racist epithets.

Redditors Weigh In

Crowd of People

The bulk of the forum participants are squarely on Roger Ver's side. They pointed out that few others have done as much to move crypto forward as Roger has. Many of them were especially critical of Polk's labeling Ver a hypocrite because they contend that most of Roger's apparently inconsistent remarks can be explained by carefully reading his original comments while others are simply the result of Roger changing his mind over time. Several posters suggested that Doug Polk didn't know as much about crypto as he should. They urged him to read the 2009 white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto and educate himself further before making ill-considered statements.

A few of the participants in the discussion had a problem with one particular sentence in Doug's original post:

Probably the most disturbing thing to me from many members of the bitcoin cash community, was the inability for people to distinguish the difference between a role model in their community acting inappropriately, to the validity of Bitcoin Cash as a currency.

By harshly criticizing Roger Ver, Polk is doing exactly what he finds “disturbing” according to these forumites. He's focusing on personalities and Roger's alleged moral shortcomings rather than debating the technical merits of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Doug did briefly tackle the subject of which coin he prefers, saying, “I am more in favor of Bitcoin over Bitcoin Cash and am more in favor of technological innovation over block size increase.” Polk was roundly reprimanded by those who pointed out that increasing the size of the blocks doesn't prevent technological innovation in any way. All of the newfangled tech that's now coming online in the BTC blockchain can be replicated on BCH as well – but the BCHers prefer to see how these untested elements will actually perform before getting firmly behind them. The Bitcoin Cash programmers are active in exploring new possibilities even if the specific measures taken are not exactly the same as those favored by the Bitcoin Core team.

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Use Either Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash for Online Gaming

Whether you're a partisan of Bitcoin or a champion of Bitcoin Cash, you can use your favored crypto coin to play online poker and engage in other betting pastimes. Check out our guide to real money Bitcoin online gambling. Or take a look through our instructions on how to use Bitcoin Cash for internet gaming.