"My intention is NOT to inspire vigilante justice. My intent is to provide additional motivation to private individuals [and] to provide law enforcement with the evidence they need in order to catch real criminals. For those who understand the site and the way it works, I don’t think it should be controversial at all. Who could possibly be opposed to real criminals being caught and punished?" - Roger Ver
In May this year, Roger Ver found himself the target of some unwanted attention. A hacker going by the name of Nitrous managed to steal personal data from Ver. The return of this information would come at a price of $20,000 USD in BTC, Nitrous communicated over Skype. Within moments of the Skype conversation Ver posted a Bounty of exactly $20,000 USD on his Twitter and Facebook accounts aiming to uncover the identity of Nitrous. Nitrous quickly realized his grave error and backed down, muttering digital apologies. This interaction prompted the creation of what is now the controversial Bitcoin Bounty Hunter.
“This website helps provide extra motivation for witnesses to provide evidence, and law enforcement to actually take action.” Roger Ver, Founder, Bitcoin Bounty Hunter.
Roger Ver, also known as ‘Bitcoin Jesus’, promotes awareness of Bitcoin by making regular public appearances. He can be seen giving interviews on Fox News, he appears in The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, and is a regular face at conferences around the globe. As a result, he has social media followers in the thousands.
“I didn’t create it until now because other projects seemed more important. That changed when [Nitrous] threatened myself and my family.” – Ver
Bitcoin Bounty Hunter could be compared to your local neighbourhood watch, members of a community protecting one another. It could also be accused of promoting false accusations, and police corruption. Some interesting posts from Vers own thread on Bitcoin Bounty Hunter highlight the conflicting views;
“The world does not need you being some kind of judge and jury?” -HELP.org
“I couldn't disagree more. The world needs FOR EVERYONE to be some kind of judge and jury” -BTCLuke
Ver is aiming for a trustless solution in which no individual human being has control of the funds. This blockchain solution is in its planning stage at present, the discussions continue;
“Until a distributed system is developed, I will be moderating what bounties are allowed and what are not. I will only be allowing bounties for crimes in which there is a clear victim.” -Ver
“And who are you to decide who is a "clear victim"?” -HELP.org
Suggestions made in the Bitcoin Bounty Hunter discussions are being considered and Ver hopes to launch a trustless solution later this year. At present Ver is sole operator and has personally donated over 40BTC to the current Bounties.
Satoshi & Roger Ver Hack, bounty Ƀ37.6875. Help catch the hacker that hacked into Satoshi Nakamoto’s and Roger Ver's email accounts.
Mtgox, bounty, bounty Ƀ2.1249. Help catch whoever is responsible for the missing 600K BTC from Mtgox.
Bitcoinica, bounty Ƀ2.2914. Help catch whoever is responsible for the theft of tens of thousands of BTC from Bitcoinica and Zhou Tong.
Pablo777, bounty Ƀ0.5000. Help catch whoever was responsible for stealing 10.2 BTC from Pablo777.
Ver describes the concept of Bitcoin Bounty Hunter as a limited version of a prediction market, similar to Intrade. Although Intrade could not succeed due to a crippling US government lawsuit.
Prediction markets, or event derivatives, provide a financial market for speculative gains resulting from the outcome of an event. For instance; the outcome of an election, a sporting fixture, or the price of petrol tomorrow at noon. Evidence suggests prediction markets are at least as accurate as other institutions when predicting the same event.
“It’s clear there is a demand for prediction markets in general. Bitcoin Bounty Hunter fills a special niche in this area.” – Ver
In his Bitcoin journey, Ver has donated funds to various foundations and causes in unique ways:
http://antiwar.com/aapledge/bitcoin-donate.html Ver pledged to match all Bitcoin donations up to a total of $10,000 USD for the month of September.
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) Ver lost a bet for 10,000BTC regarding Bitcoin’s inevitable rise. He was only off by two months, but honoured his challenge and donated approximately $1.15M USD to FEE.
Free Ross Ulbricht Ver offered to donate to Free Ross Ulbricht, “I’ll give $10 to @Free_Ross for each RT. If guilty, he’s a hero. If innocent, he needs help.” - Roger Ver Tweet. 16,760 people jumped on board. Ver agreed to $160K USD.
Bitcoin Bounty Hunter is another cause which Ver hopes will encourage social responsibility through incentives. We asked Ver what his bigger plans for the future of Bitcoin Bounty Hunter were and his response was:
“I hope that BitcoinBountyHunter.com will help open peoples minds to all the new things that are now possible because of Bitcoin.” – Ver
Bitcoin Bounty Hunter in its present state brings bitcoin and bountys together. Ver is attempting to incentivize the community to come forward and provide evidence of crimes, a long trusted and successful strategy. Should he successfully implement a blockchain solution this could well be ground breaking. Ver has already implemented Proof of Existence, which allows users to anonymously and securely store online distributed proof of existence for any document. And plans on using Reality Keys, "facts about the future, cryptographic proof" to implement a trustless multi sig solution.