Onward

A few weeks ago I was released from Lewisburg FPC. I want to thank the hundreds of people who wrote, sent books, money, magazines, and their support. There are no words to describe my appreciation and affection to all of you. Thank you so much.

Currently I’m home in southern Pennsylvania where Courtney and I have relocated temporarily. We will spend the summer months enjoying the outdoors, good food, family, friends and the small things that I missed while I was away, and at the same time transition back into normal life. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be back home.

I’m excited to move forward onto new projects and looking forward to seeing what everyone has been working on!

Feel free to reach out if you’d like to say hello!

Charlie

Quick note: I am still under the same communication requirements established for my incarceration and cannot grant media interviews at this time.

 

Bitcoin for Prison

Bitcoin for Prison

Bitcoin may have indirectly landed me in prison, but it’s still my passion. An alternative global transaction network would give people more control over their finances, allowing them to send money with greater privacy and without having to trust (or pay) a middleman. It would also reduce the time it takes to move money by days. If we could do that, we would be another step closer to bringing millions of people out of poverty by allowing people in local economies to buy and sell to the rest of the world. I’m obsessed with Bitcoin, and I’m going to prison. So of course I wanted to know if I could continue to use Bitcoin on the inside.

Read the full article on VICE

So, I’m going to prison. Reflections from Bitcoins’ first felon

So, I’m going to prison. Reflections from Bitcoins’ first felon

(Below I’ve details some ways to get in touch while I’m inside, please do not hesitate to do so. I look forward to everything! )

I’ve been dreading writing this blog post, and since I’ve written it, it’s been sitting as draft for a few weeks.

Never the less, it’s time I get on with it.

46044187-best-place-prisons-lewisburg (1)On March 30th, I’ll be self surrendering to Lewisburg Federal Prison Camp in Pennsylvania. It’s been a long hard fight, from getting arrested at JFK airport while landing home, to solitary confinement and being under house arrest the for the past 14 months. When the government indicted me and requested 30 years, I kept my head up with the help of friends, family, and the Bitcoin community. While some distanced themselves, most stood by and fought. I owe my life to those people. Of course I don’t look for sympathy, I did the crime and I will do the time. They say those who stand by you in the bad times, deserve to be with you in the good times. Good times are coming and I look forward to it. I also want to thank those select few in the SDNY District Court and NYSPT for treating me with dignity and respect.

 

18896-1sz9qf2Of course, no year is wasted in Bitcoin and I’ve made the best of house arrest. From consulting for Payza, Decentral.tv and others to piloting Bitcoin payments at Holidy Inn Hotels and other companies. I’ve made many speeches, some over skype and some in person. I even had a ShremBot take my place! I’ve met with dozens of VC’s and offered free advice to hundreds of companies, got to spend time with friends, throw parties and enjoy time with the love of my life. Making the best of house arrest requires some creativity, like hiring a Jazz Duo to serenade us on Valentines Day (bonus points because I even got to pay in Bitcoin)

 

 

Overall I’m content with my relatively short sentence and ready to move on.

Lewisburg Camp seems like a nice place, it offers outstanding recreational facilities including a walking track; a basketball court; softball fields and exercise equipment.

I will have access to limited email, mail and the ability to speak to the outside world while I’m inside. Here are a few ways to get in touch.

While inside, I’d love emails, letters, books, and magazines! Everything helps.

In Liberty,

Charlie Shrem

 

 

Things you can buy with Bitcoin: A jazz duo at your apartment on Valentines Day

Things you can buy with Bitcoin: A jazz duo at your apartment on Valentines Day

Being under house arrest has its advantages and disadvantages. I have a direct line to the DOJ and US Marshals on my right ankle and if I were to be in trouble they’d come running.

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On the other hand, being stuck home on Valentines day can be annoying, so coming up with ideas other than the usual dinner and a movie requires some creativity. Further, I’m always up to the challenge of trying to pay in Bitcoin!

I contacted the folks at Busker.co on Friday to see if they can help. After finding the perfect duo to serenade my girlfriend and I, they asked me to pay via Venmo.

Venmo is instant and free only if you add a bank account. I tried doing this but an error told me there would be a 2-4 day delay for them to verify my account.

No problem, they have a credit card option but when I tried adding mine, the notification said there is a 3% fee for me. Renting a private musical act is not cheap, and 3% added fee is pretty damn high.

I sent them an email and explained that by accepting Bitcoin via Coinbase.com there is no fee and no currency risk if they instantly sell the BTC. I explained that unlike what they read in the press, Bitcoin is 2 things. Bitcoin is a global, instant and free payment system while bitcoin is a unit of value (notice the capitalization differences)

After a few back and forth emails they were set up with Coinbase and emailed me an invoice which I promptly paid. By chance they hadn’t sold their BTC yet and with an overnight price bump they made an extra $20.

2015-02-14 19.45.53

 

Around 7pm a trombone and melodica duo showed up at my FiDi apartment and serenaded with:

– My Girl, The Temptations
– John Legend, All of Me
– Nat King Cole, I Love You For Sentimental Reasons
Thanks again to the folks at Busker.co for making this happen!
-Charlie

 

 

The Race to Replace Bitcoin

The Race to Replace Bitcoin

Fantastic article in the NY Observer this morning:

http://observer.com/2015/02/the-race-to-replace-bitcoin/

The article was written by Michael Craig but I have no doubt partly written by editor in chief Ken Kurson (full disclosure, Ken is a good friend and I personally look up to him)14291476707_0977fd766b_z

There’s an epic battle for the future of money, and the outcome is murky. It might have several winners. It might have no winners. But one thing is crystal clear: The most exciting battle in this long war is taking place in San Francisco, and the town isn’t big enough for both Ripple Labs and Stellar, two of the contenders hoping to replace not just Bitcoin but the almighty dollar.  

 

 

Im quoted in it about 16 times, and am happy to be apart of this story. Here are some snippets:

 

img_1827-charlie-shrem-1Mr. Shrem, a tireless evangelist for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, was the CEO of BitInstant and a founder of the Bitcoin Foundation. He pleaded guilty in September to reduced charges of aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business. Again, is that actually a criminal offense? If it is, with the Wild West stuff going on in crypto in the Mission District, the free spirits leading the crypto revolution had better sock away a few billion of their newly minted coins for legal fees before they, too, are making coffee in the toilet.

Mr. Shrem told The New York Times, “They want a guilty plea on their books, and that’s what they’re going to get. They got a Bitcoiner.” In a colossal show of overkill, the government agencies behind taking down this 5-foot-5, 140-pound menace to society included the DEA, NYPD, Homeland Security, New York State Police, IRS, FBI, BATF, U.S. Secret Service, New York National Guard, Office of Foreign Assets Control, and the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. Last month, Mr. Shrem wassentenced to two years for “indirectly helping to send $1 million to Silk Road” and is expected to serve half that time.

 

It’s a long one, but I recommend reading the whole thing!

-Charlie