Charlie Shrem is the former CEO of a bitcoin exchange called BitInstant. In 2014 he pled guilty to one charge of aiding and abetting an unlicensed money transmitting business. He served one year in a federal prison.
According to a his remarks on a 2017 TABB Group podcast, Shrem launched an online business called Daily Checkout when he was 18 years old. Shrem discovered bitcoin while he was an undergraduate student at Brooklyn College and founded BitInstant in 2012 to facilitate bitcoin payments. The key to its success was partnering with payment processors that had physical locations throughout the U.S. BitInstant received angel investment support from Roger Ver and Winkelvoss Capital.
In 2013, a BitInstant customer, Robert Faiella, was buying bitcoin on the platform and reselling the cryptocurrency to other people who then used it for transactions on Silk Road, an online marketplace primarily used for criminal activity. Silk Road was shut down in 2013 after the arrest of its founder, Ross William Ulbricht, by the FBI. Shrem had been aware of Faiella's reselling, and although he warned Faiella away from using BitInstant, he did not inform law enforcement.
Since leaving prison, Shrem has continued his bitcoin advocacy, expanding it to blockchain technoloy in general.
In 2012 Shrem received a B.S. in Economics and Finance from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.
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