Roger Ver, the early Bitcoin investor who was long known as "Bitcoin Jesus" before switching allegiances to competing protocol Bitcoin Cash, is embroiled in a very public dust-up over an alleged unpaid debt of $47 million in crypto.
Amid the cryptocurrency crash that has wiped billions of dollars in value from the markets, platforms are feeling the crunch as large investors—such as crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital—default on their debts. Rumors began circulating this week that Ver is one such whale who owes money, and that he specifically owes $47 million to crypto exchange CoinFLEX.
Recently, CoinFLEX froze withdrawals and launched a new crypto token to raise the funds to cover debts unpaid by an unnamed entity. At the time, the exchange explained that one customer's account had gone into "negative equity," but a clause in the contract prevented the exchange from liquidating them, instead allowing them to “pledge stringent personal guarantees." The person was a "high-integrity person of significant means" who is "experiencing temporary liquidity issues" due to the market downturn, it said.
Ver responded to the rumors on Tuesday morning with an oddly-formatted tweet that flatly denied everything, and in fact claimed that CoinFLEX owes him money.
"Recently some rumors have been spreading that I have defaulted on a debt to a counter-party," Ver tweeted. "These rumors are false. Not only do I not have a debt to this counter-party, but this counter-party owes me a substantial sum of money, and I am currently seeking the return of my funds."
That strongly-worded statement wasn't the end of things. CoinFLEX CEO Mark Lamb then published a tweet thread in response claiming that, yes, Roger Ver owes the platform $47 million, and no, it doesn’t owe him anything. Lamb also said that the platform has issued Ver a notice of default.
"Roger Ver owes CoinFLEX $47 Million USDC," Lamb wrote. "We have a written contract with him obligating him to personally guarantee any negative equity on his CoinFLEX account and top up margin regularly. He has been in default of this agreement and we have served a notice of default."
"He is denying that the debt pertains to him and so we felt the need to clarify to the public that yes—the debt is 100% related to his account," he continued. "Roger Ver a citizen of the European Union who we believe has significant assets in the US, UK and other relevant jurisdictions."
In response to a request for comment, Ver sent Motherboard his original statement on Twitter denying the rumors and did not immediately respond to follow-up questions. A spokesperson for CoinFLEX said that the firm had nothing more to add beyond Lamb’s tweets.
Update: This article was updated to include CoinFLEX’s response.