TL;DR: Cryptocurrency enthusiast slayer, economist Dr. Nouriel Roubini, debated Bitcoin.com founder and Chairman Roger Ver in London on 15 October 2019 at the CC Forum conference. It lasted slightly more than a half-hour, and Roubini, known as Dr. Doom for his dour constitution and predictions, went after Ver with ad hominems and vulgarities in what was clearly Doom’s most challenging face-off yet from a Bitcoiner.
Roger Ver Debates Nouriel Roubini
Moderator Eric van Der Kleij stood between Nouriel Roubini and Roger Ver on a hastily thrown-together stage. He asked if both men wouldn’t mind posing with their handheld microphones in a duel fashion, hoping to get a funny picture for the assembled press and media outlets. Ver was game, smiled wide, and feigned a jousting pose. Roubini soured immediately at the idea, looking above his glasses at the earnest moderator in disgust.
It was a foreshadowing of what was to come, as it turns out. By this time, most enthusiasts are well-aware of Nouriel Roubini and his method of debate. The consummate refusenik cedes no ground, offers no charity, and appears to view debates as a kill or be killed arrangement. Ver, on the other hand, no stranger either to public debates, seemed tickled to be back in disputation mode, routinely shrugging off Roubini’s hard-line, offering easy laughs along the way.
A first topic-related prompt came from van der Kleij, asking if either man had ever used cryptocurrency. Ver lit up, while Roubini answered dryly in the negative. That seemingly was Ver’s cue, as the notorious evangelist took out his phone and asked if Roubini would simply download a wallet, allowing the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community to send Dr. Doom what would surely be a couple of thousand dollars worth of BCH after Ver published Roubini’s new address on Twitter. They’re not currencies, Doom dismissed, “So I do not accept,” as the moderator moved an enthusiastic Ver away from Roubini to preserve physical distance.
The “duel” offered no real surprises, but it was nice to see Ver debating again, smiling, laughing, and embodying the Bitcoin ethos in strong contrast to the angry, controlling machinations of Roubini. Doom has, frankly, been dismantling Bitcoin heavies for several debates in a row, and, all things considered, was given a nice run by Ver. Roubini went after Ver’s very public prison record, to which Ver turned to the audience and asked if maybe Doom was losing the debate on substance — an effective counter. Ver didn’t minimize his past, upped the ante in fact, and insisted it had nothing to do with the debate topic, to which the audience seemed in agreeance.
At about the 19:50 minute mark, careful watchers will note in the video below how there’s an edit. Suddenly bottled water appeared at both men’s podiums. In another online, unedited rendition, while Roubini is delivering his usual monologue of over-generalizations and mischaracterizations, Ver sneaks off stage to grab two bottles of water and glasses. He brings them back, and walks over to Roubini’s podium as Doom rages-on unware. Ver pours the water, places the bottle beside, and returns to his podium unacknowledged. It’s one of the touches, though small, that really is telling about Ver specifically and Bitcoiners generally. Roubini never thanked Ver. That would be a sign of weakness, of course.
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