Charlie Shrem is possibly the first true Bitcoin entrepreneur. Shrem claims to be one of the first ten people who ever heard about Bitcoin and was certainly the first one to figure out how to make a business for himself with Bitcoin.
Charlie Shrem opened BitInstant but run into trouble when his company was doing transactions that took place in Silk Road, the eBay of drug dealing as they say.
Check out this fascinating video about Charlie above.
Video transcript below.
There are interviews where I say that I could very well end up in jail.
And my prophecy came true.
I am a pioneer at the forefront of this thing.
One of the first ten people who even knew what bitcoin was.
I’m a capitalist.
I wanted to make money.
That’s what we did.
We just built a company to make us money.
I had this bitcoin celebrity status.
I had a party lifestyle.
I’ve also made the mistakes, and I’ve seen the red flags.
“What does this all mean for bitcoin?” No comment.
We are the reasons bitcoin is where it is today.
And that’s something that will be my legacy.
And that’s something worth fighting for.
My name is Charlie Shrem.
I was an early founder and pioneer in the Bitcoin space.
It was a very humbling experience being a, you know, multimillionaire to washing dishes for $8 an hour and no tip.
I met Charlie at a bitcoin conference.
He had a very high profile in the community.
So, as a prosecutor, if you can achieve one conviction that has a huge ripple effect in the community that is the person you go after.
So, this is the front porch and everything.
I can’t leave here.
I can’t go past here.
If I do, a SWAT team will come.
Let’s go back inside.
Charlie Shrem, he was one of the first entrepreneurs in bitcoin.
He built a real business when a lot of other people were trying to figure out, what can you do with this stuff? And he got in over his head.
This is my beautiful ankle jewelry.
BitInstant was one of the early bitcoin companies.
It was a way to get Bitcoins in dollars around the world.
30-35% of all bitcoin transactions were going through our system.
The ability to do that was amazing.
The tech industry is full of people that want to move fast and break shit.
And you can’t do that in fintech.
“Charlie Shrem, 24 years old, arrested today and charged with aiding and abetting” I allowed and enabled a customer of BitInstant to buy bitcoin when I knew he was going and reselling these bitcoins on Silk Road.
“Silk Road was that infamous black market drug website often referred to as, essentially, the eBay for drugs.
” I knew it was illegal.
But I don’t think I cared enough at the time to stop it.
In prison, you become a number.
So, no matter how rich or poor you were on the outside, no matter what you did on the outside, you are in khakis, and you are a number.
I’ve had a year to reflect and take a break, and I am more into bitcoin and blockchain technology than I ever was.
Now he’s out.
He’s paid his debt to society, and he’s trying new things.
This is my first public appearance since I’ve been arrested in January.
Very, very tough crowd in there.
Because they’re not bitcoiners, they’re bankers.
We’re excited to show them the light — to preach the gospel in there.
As a software purist, I believe in open source software, and I believe that everyone should see all of the code.
And that’s exactly what bitcoin is.
The mechanisms surrounding bitcoin prevent unnecessary hyperinflation and the arbitrary printing of money.
So it’s a true, pure market all built on the blockchain.
So blockchain technology is not just money it’s a whole new infrastructure.
The blockchain is simply a chain of blocks.
It’s a ledger system where thousands of transactions every second get packaged into a block.
But instead of having one company maintain that ledger, that ledger is actually maintained across everyone’s computers in real-time.
It’s decentralized real-time accounting.
Bitcoin gives people economic freedom.
And that’s why it’s a super-amazing thing.
“It has no center of gravity; it has no headquarters, you can’t shut it down.
The only way you could is to shut off the internet.
” The story that Charlie Shrem is a part of is the decentralization of finance.
Charlie was one of the first people to help that along in the most basic of ways.
Helping people get money from Point A to Point B without.
Without an intermediary.
Right now I’m in New York, and what I’m going to be doing is sitting on a panel with Marco Santori.
It’s a crazy time in the blockchain space.
2016, 2017 will be known as some of the formidable years in the bitcoin and blockchain space.
As the months go by since my release from prison, the tech community, not just the bitcoin community, but the tech community as a whole has really embraced me back.
Good to have you back The most supportive community in the whole world is the bitcoin and blockchain community.
I have a much bigger appreciation for the small things.
We’ll be doing something, and I’ll remember like how I couldn’t do it before And I’ll be like — you know, this is freedom.
And like, we’ll always take a toast to freedom.
Bitcoin is back with a vengeance baby.
If you look back at the early days of bitcoin and you look at the people who made a lot of money or that made a name for themselves.
Those were people who were a little bit crazy.
And you had to have a little bit of vision.
And I think crazy people who have a vision that ends up being right aren’t called crazy people who have a vision that ended up being right.
They’re called visionaries.
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