The cruise ship wasn’t big enough for the both of them.
On September 10, somewhere in the Mediterranean, two well-known rivals in the cryptocurrency space stood awkwardly poolside. A crowd, sporting a mix of cryptocurrency-themed t-shirts and bikinis, lounged nearby on the ship’s upper deck. One man, sweatpants sloshing in the water, steadied a tripod. The Bitcoin versus Bitcoin Cash debate was about to begin.
It only took 37 seconds to spiral out of control.
The CoinsBank Blockchain Cruise, chartered to take cryptocurrency die-hards from Barcelona, to Monaco, to Ibiza, and then back, was in its fourth day, and a highly billed event had managed to drag a few likely hung over attendees out from their below-deck cabins. Jimmy Song, a venture partner at Blockchain Capital LLC, was to argue the relative merits of Bitcoin (BTC). Early Bitcoin adoptee and Bitcoin Cash evangelist, Rover Ver, was to speak on behalf of Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Bitcoin Cash was born following a 2017 Bitcoin hard fork, and despite BTC’s and BCH’s shared history, the two cryptocurrencies and their respective boosters have become the blockchain’s very own Montagues and Capulets — each disparaging the other at every conceivable opportunity, with both sides lobbing accusations of fraud and deception.
It was perhaps to be expected that the debate wouldn’t go smoothly, but just how quickly it went off the rails surprised even those in attendance.
Song, cowboy hat atop his head and microphone in hand, attempted to introduce the format of the event — a “Lincoln-Douglas style debate” — but was soon interrupted by Ver.
Shouts of “no Roger” emanated from the crowd, as Ver told the audience to “calm down.”
It quickly spun out from there, with Song repeatedly telling Ver to “sit down” as Ver angled for the microphone.
“Do you want to debate me or not,” Song demanded. “OK then sit down,” he repeated as he stood behind the podium.
Bickering over whether or not Ver would get a one minute introduction before the official start of the debate continued on, with Song addressing the crowd and Ver shouting at the top of his lungs.
They heatedly yelled over each other as the crowd jeered.
Three minutes had passed, and things were not going well. And then someone handed Ver a mic.
You better believe Song wasn’t having that, and so he stormed offstage saying he was “refusing to do the debate.”
Finally with the stage all to himself, Ver attempted to speak but was immediately shouted down by a angry shirtless man yelling from the pool. And that’s all just the first five minutes. The video is over 40 minutes long.
In the end, despite all the bullshit, one clear consensus did manage to emerge: If these people are the future of finance, then we should all pray for a return to the past.