Calvin Ayre is a billionaire gambling tycoon and the CEO of crypto news site CoinGeek, and—more importantly—the financier of the only true Bitcoin, Bitcoin SV. To many (including the credulous staff at Decrypt) he and his genius pal Craig Wright are the currency’s last, great hope for adoption.
So, to those of us invested in Ayre’s grand vision, it came as a sad shock when, on March 12, he tweeted a photo of himself alongside several scantily clad, underage-looking women. Another video depicted the women “twerking.”
On Twitter, questions about the age of the women came thick and fast; some threatened to report Ayre to the police, and even the gravelly Voice of Crypto itself, leathery old man John McAfee, stepped into the fray, bravely calling the hapless Ayre out.
The backlash reached its denouement yesterday, when Ayre posted a second, supposedly exculpatory photo—featuring himself with a 21-year-old woman, a “friend of many years.”
As the uproar continues, Ayre’s own developers and defenders, among them Money Button’s Ryan X. Charles (SV’s lone, respected dev) say the whole farrago is absurd. “I have no idea what that controversy is, and no, it's not affecting us,” X. Charles told Decrypt. (We’ve reached out to Ayre for comment and will add it should he respond.)
Nonetheless, we chronicle the tragedy as it continues to unfold.
March 12: Cuba libre
Ayre’s ill-conceived tweet was posted from Cuba, where he was preparing for a talk about “Bitcoin scaling” at the CoinGeek conference in May. The avuncular billionaire claimed the twerking women were a Cuban “dance team,” and that they were just enjoying a nice bottle of rum together.
Yet, some were not convinced. The Block reporter Isabel Woodford retweeted the photos, demanding to know how old the women were. The site’s CEO, Mike Dudas followed suit, pledging to report Ayre to the police. (Though he later told the reviled Decrypt that he didn’t go through with it.)
March 15: Ayre’s spin
Ayre continued to claim the women were “adults” (via a PR statement forwarded to Breaker) and that the outpouring of hate had been engineered by a few jealous trolls, a mere ploy to undermine Bitcoin SV.
But the crescendo of distaste would only reach peak Twitter Melodrama when leathery old man John McAfee, taking a minute off from his usual deranged ramblings, jumped into the ring.
(March 15: con’t.) The Attack of Johnny Mac
The leathery, alleged murderer (never charged! Plus, McAfee has stoutly maintained his innocence!) had a thing or two to teach Ayre about moral impropriety. “This is a dark alley you’re wandering down,” McAfee wrote in a tweet that has been, inexplicably, removed. “Unfortunately, by your association to the crypto world, you are dragging us down that alley. You are a bright man. Pause for a moment and look at your reality.”
Libel, legal threats and benign mea culpas ensued. McAfee warned Ayre (in a since-deleted post) that, if legal proceedings were to take place—and they certainly would, given that Ayre had called him a contract murderer—all of Ayre’s possessions would swiftly come under McAfee’s ownership.
March 17: A fiery rebuttal, taken as an invitation
After some time, a (presumably) red-faced Ayre stammered, “Fuck you,” which McAfee inevitably took as a pretext to drag the conversation from Ayre’s sexual predilections to … his own.
“I do have to admit Cal, especially when on certain drugs, to being bi-curious in the past,” McAfee replied. “I just never found the right man. Your urgent exclamation: ‘Fuck You’ thrilled me to the core. I'm not sure about being submissive, however. Could I fuck you first and then see how it goes?”
It wasn’t a good look for Ayre. McAfee, a man who had lied about enjoying sexual congress with whales, had bested him in the court of popular opinion.
Next stop, the presidency!
March 18: Bent but not broken.
It got worse for Ayre. His best friend Craig Wright, who had quit Twitter after threatening his 70,000 ex-followers with legal action, could no longer bail him out. With the plucky, lovable Wright gone AWOL, only Ayre’s “legal team” could help now.
With the walls closing in, the 57-year-old Ayre made one last grasp at good publicity… wheeling in a picture of a 21-year-old woman.
Alas, as almost everybody noticed, Ayre had made an error in his attempted public-relations cleanup: in his final tweet, he had unwittingly described his young—but not underage—lady friend as “a friend of many years.”
“How many years?” we all wondered, as our lives wasted away and entropy enveloped the universe.
We never found out.
Nevertheless, the war rages on, and it is hell. And SV, despite its best efforts, shall be known evermore as the cryptocurrency of the unwanked.