Calvin Ayre built the online gambling empire Bodog in the early 2000’s, which eventually had 16 million customers and made him a billionaire. Shortly after the U.S. enacted legislation regulating online gambling in 2006, several high-profile online gambling executives were arrested. But Bodog, still headed by Ayre, was virtually untouchable because it had no presence in the U.S. and he was a Canadian citizen with no assets in America. Ayre soon sold Bodog’s online gambling business and retired from the industry. He was eventually indicted in 2012 by the U.S. Attorney for Maryland for offering gambling services to U.S. customers between 2006 and 2012 but federal prosecutors dropped all the felony charges in 2017 after Ayre pled guilty to a single misdemeanor charge.
Ayre has since moved to Antigua and Barbuda, an island-nation in the Caribbean, where he holds citizenship and advises the country on developments in cryptocurrency. He operates the Calvin Ayre Foundation, focusing on child welfare, education, and social development. But Ayre is also a prominent bitcoin cash supporter who runs the largest mining pool, CoinGeek, which controlled nearly 42% of Bitcoin Cash’s hash rate over the last 24 hours (in the past hour, that figure fell to 40.3%). CoinGeek also runs one of the two prominent news sites that openly support bitcoin cash. On November 15, two days from today, Bitcoin Cash will undergo a hard fork, which will likely result in two different chains, Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin Cash SV. Ayre’s CoinGeek has officially endorsed Bitcoin Cash SV opposing giants Bitcoin.com and Bitmain in the process. In this exclusive interview with The Block, Calvin Ayre explains his reasoning.
You made the majority of your wealth from an online gambling company you launched in 2000. What is it that brought you to the cryptocurrency space? Was there an overlap of interest between online gambling and cryptocurrency?
Oh there are a huge amount of overlaps between the two — the gambling industry was integral to the start of Bitcoin, some of the original code is borrowed from the online gambling world. Today I see bitcoin cash (BCH) as the original bitcoin and as the perfect solution for gambling websites for money and so much more.
What brought you to Bitcoin Cash?
I always supported the original Bitcoin for its low transaction fees and stability. The old Segwit coin now no longer offers that so BCH had to happen to get Bitcoin back to its original vision. [Editor’s note: “Segwit coin” is a term periodically used by bitcoin bash proponents when referring to bitcoin (BTC).]
What was your motivation for founding CoinGeek? What’s CoinGeek’s mission?
There are two main missions: the media side is there to correct the FUD and fake news written about bitcoin and altcoins such as Segwit and Ethereum coin. The mining side of the business is more straightforward: I believe in Bitcoin as a technology and therefore it would be madness not to be a miner of it too and that means only bitcoin BCH today.
How did you meet Craig Wright and what impression did he make on you?
I have known Craig for years … we both have roots in gaming. Craig is not the most diplomatic but he was there working on Bitcoin’s formation and knows the technology better than all his online trolls do and this is going to be clear to everyone shortly now.
Do you believe Craig Wright is Satoshi? Does it matter to you?
I think it’s an unnecessary distraction — I mean nobody really cares who invented the credit card but I am very confident he was involved at the creation stage of Bitcoin, yes. He was in the room when it was invented.
What about Wright convinced you that Coingeek should support Bitcoin Satoshi Vision vs. Unlimited and ABC?
That’s nothing to do with Craig, that’s just reading and understanding the original white paper. Bitcoin is about miners and – -while developers are vital too — they should not dictate how Bitcoin evolves. I support Bitcoin SV as this is what will drive the most profits and protect my massive investment into mining infrastructure.
What do you think will happen on November 15? Will we have multiple forks and thus traded assets?
I don’t think so and I hope not.
Will companies be forced to support Bitcoin Cash SV given its hash rate dominance?
Everyone has to support Nakamoto consensus which will create the dominant chain and that will be defined by miners’ choice and we are confident that it will be Bitcoin SV.
Will Bitcoin Cash SV take control of BCH brand?
Yes as the dominant chain.
Why do you think some prominent BCH supporters (Jihan Wu, Roger Ver, etc.) appear to be supporting ABC?
They want to change the Bitcoin Protocol to make it support their wormhole tokens. This will ruin Bitcoin but they think it will benefit themselves somehow. This is extremely self-centered but also wrong. Wormhole cannot actually work so it’s needlessly reckless.
What are they not seeing that you are seeing?
They think they can make tons of money but they just do not understand why Bitcoin works. Nobody on their side does. Miners will unite to stop this nonsense.
You said your goal is to build BCH to be a global currency. Is this just a speed bump or are you concerned?
The first hash war was probably an inevitable step at some point but this will actually help in the long run … so I think it will prove to be an important test rather than a speed bump.I think the upcoming stress test will prove to everyone that the other side is wrong on the scaling issue and it will be clear to the world in a few days.
Craig Wright said that “bitcoin is .1% of everything that will be” and that he will have a big announcement at CoinGeek Week Conference? What is he talking about?
Come along and see. Even I don’t know for sure what he is releasing. But I know the new token platform that just won my £5 million contest without having to make any protocol changes will change everything in 2019.
You advise Antigua and Barbuda on crypto. What have you accomplished so far?
We are putting in a lot of infrastructure like Canada Place which is a state-of-the-art office block on the island that will be ideal for Bitcoin-based business. I am also building a $100,000,000 resort that will accept only BCHand we are close to rolling out new legislation for the entire sector. I am also bringing members of government to CoinGeek Week in London end of November where the future of the industry will be disccussed with thought leaders. It is the best place to get educated and so soon after Bitcoin SV proves all the side-chain nonsense to be exactly that.
Is there anything that crypto media doesn’t cover fairly?
Ya … I want to underline that Bitcoin is a technology that was released working. If you change the protocol you are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin was designed as a base like the internet where all the tinkering happens on top and the stable base changes very rarely. Developers need to stop trying to change the base and focus creativity at the application layer and let Bitcoin prove its existing power. It’s all in the white paper.
It’s also worthy of note that BU and ABC are tied at around 15% each as of today for third place in miner investment with SV at 72% and growing. ABC is not even second and with its intentional, restricted scaling it is unlikely to work post upgrade once the new stress test starts.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity
The post An interview with Calvin Ayre: The man behind the scenes of the Bitcoin Cash debate appeared first on The Block.
An interview with Calvin Ayre: The man behind the scenes of the Bitcoin Cash debate written by The Block @ https://www.theblockcrypto.com/2018/11/13/an-interview-with-calvin-ayre-the-man-behind-the-scenes-of-the-bitcoin-cash-debate/ November 13, 2018 The Block