Roger Ver, a high-profile member of the Bitcoin community who is commonly known as “Bitcoin Jesus,” has been denied a US visa — despite having been born in the country.
Ver is well known in the Bitcoin community as an entrepreneur and angel investor, having funded products including Blockchain, Ripple, and Blockpay. He became known as “Bitcoin Jesus” after giving thousands of coins of the virtual currency away for free. Ver was born in the US, making him a US citizen, but he renounced his citizenship in March — and now he says the government isn’t letting him back in.
As Coindesk is reporting, Ver posted on Twitter that the US government had refused his recent request for a non-immigrant visa, leaving him “effectively locked out of his native USA.”
Here’s Ver’s tweet:
Ver complains that the decision has forced him to miss speaking appointments at conferences and that the US embassy in Barbados refused to even consider the evidence for his application.
The official reasoning behind Ver’s rejection is that he doesn’t have sufficient “ties” to his country of residency in the Caribbean and has not demonstrated he has “the ties that will compel [him] to return to your home country after your travel to the United States,” according to a picture he tweeted of a letter that appears to be from the embassy.
In short, US officials are worried that Ver might choose to stay in his native country illegally.
Ver can’t appeal the decision, but he is able to apply all over again, according to Coindesk. He has an American criminal record that could count against him, however — he has previously been jailed for 10 months for selling illegal firecrackers to farmers.
The fiercely libertarian entrepreneur has also appealed for others to follow his lead on citizenship, in June launching a website that helps wealthy people pay their way to citizenship on his new island home of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies.
He surrendered his American citizenship a month after moving to the islands, in February 2014.
In an interview in 2013, Ver said discovering Bitcoin landed him in hospital after he “stayed up nights reading about the currency,” and the lack of sleep “made him sick.”