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!
Quick note: I am still under the same communication requirements established for my incarceration and cannot grant media interviews at this time.
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
(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.
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.
Of 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.
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.
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.
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!
How to run a full Bitcoin node on a Virtual Private Server.
Running a Bitcoin node gives you a the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from helping people download the blockchain faster. Same as seeding torrents provides warm fuzzies. You are supporting the overall Bitcoin network, relaying transactions and allowing people close to your server location to download the blockchain faster.
Once your node is running, submit it to https://getaddr.bitnodes.io/
Note- this was written for Ubuntu, but in step 2.1 I explain how to make this install work in any Linux OS.
I try to make this guide as universal as possible, as I’ve run into a few different forks running nodes on different machines.
This is a good way to learn some basic linux because the install is fairly straightforward and I address most of the problems you could encounter.
1. First, check what kind of linux distro you are running. There is no universal way to do this, so
look for a release file like “redhat-release”, ect.
It will return more info about your distro, its just good to know for the rest of the install..
2. Check if you have apt-get installed, this is needed for my install.
If you get a return, then you have it installed go to 3, if not see below.
2.1 If you have Yum, and not apt get, here are 3 ways to install it:
3. Next, this is a script that will save us 10 steps adjusting the firewall, ect.
wget -O btcNode.sh https://raw.github.com/XertroV/BitcoinAutoNode/master/bitcoinAutoNode.sh ; sudo bash btcNode.sh
What this does is:
Firewall rules; allow 22,8333
Sets up autostart (cron)
Adds limit to bitcoin connections in order to help control bandwidth; reduce from 40 in step-8 to limit it further.
Everything will install perfect, however Bitcoind may not be in the package,
Check by typing:
If nothing happens, we need to install bitcoind directly in 3.1. If yes, go to 4.
3.1 Install Bitcoind
sudo aptitude install python-software-properties
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bitcoin/bitcoin
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install bitcoind
You can start Bitcoind and see if it works,
It will output “Bitcoin server starting”
4. When you start Bitcoind it will start to download the blockchain. This will take weeks! If you are OK with that, then you are done. If not, below I will show how to download the blockchain via torrent.
5 . Next, we need to download the blockchain. Install transmission-daemon, which is a BitTorrent cliet so we can torrent it instead of waiting for it to download.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:transmissionbt/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install transmission-cli transmission-common transmission-daemon
More info for other distros: www.webupd8.org/2009/12/setting-up-transmission-remote-gui-in.html
In the terminal, type:
To see if its work. If it is type:
The reason is, we are editing the config file and if transmission-daemon is running, it will overwrite our changes.
6. . Next, we need to edit the the config file of transmission to whitelist and setup 9091. This will allow us to go to www.IPADDRESS:9091 to be able to download a torrent
If running Transmission under your own username, the configuration file will be located at ~/.config/transmission-daemon/settings.json.
Most linux distros have Nano or Vi as text editors. So either type:
Once you are in the file, look for:
rpc-whitelist is a comma-delimited list of IP addresses that allow us to connect to the web interface from home.
Wildcards allowed using ‘*’. Example: “127.0.0.*,192.168.*.*”, Default: “127.0.0.1” )
Add your home IP to the list, the IP you are using to connect over SSH.
Save the file and exit.
(In Vi to save an exit type “Shift-ZZ”)
More info: https://trac.transmissionbt.com/wiki/EditConfigFiles#Options
7. Login to the webui of transmission by going to www.IPADDRESS:9091 and download the bootstrap.dat file here.
It will take anywhere from 30min – a few hours depending on your connection.
It will download into a folder called Downloads in your root directory, or user directory.
8. Once its downloaded, move it into the .bitcoin folder by typing:
mv ~/Downloads/bootstrap.dat ~/.bitcoin
turn on bitcoind by typing
It will output “Bitcoin server starting”
Now, it will start verifying the blocks that are in the bootstrap.dat file. Will take a few hours. You check what its up to by typing:
You will see under “blocks”.
Its finished once the block amount is the same number as the blockheight on blockchain.info
9. This is extra, If you want to be able to see your nodes status from going to the IP, being able to show your friends like this: 22.214.171.124
Download this script
Put it anywhere on your server and change the RPCUSER/PASS, NODEADDR and BITCOINADDR.
Run the script to update every time. You can also use it to create a chron job.
Note: You’ll need to install BitcoinRPC for the script to work.
Go here: https://github.com/jgarzik/python-bitcoinrpc
Follow Jeffs simple instructions. Once BitcoinRPC is installed, run the node script again and it will update!
I haven’t had a chance to talk about some of the new projects that I’ve been up to. NewsBTC reported first, that I’ve joined Payza.com as a business development consultant.
This opportunity is really excited because I’m used to working only with startups, having started 2 myself. For the first time, I’m working for a very large multi national corporation with 300+ employees thats been in business over 10 years.
Payza specializes in underbanked countries. I’m really excited to be working with a large team that can help me take Bitcoin to the people who need it the most. I am responsible for consulting on the development, integration and incorporation of Bitcoin and Digital Currency into the Payza Global Platform.
This is what Payza had to say via The Wall Street Journal:
“Clearly, Mr. Shrem has an exceptional knowledge of the bitcoin market that we felt would be beneficial,” Payza said in a written statement. The company added that it has set “specific parameters on his role which is based on a limited engagement” and that it is considering his input along with other consultants.
Payza released a blog post a few days later outlining their plans:
Payza has started actively exploring different possibilities of integrating the Bitcoin cryptocurrency into its online payment platform. “We have a distinct vision of how we would like to incorporate Bitcoins into our platform,” said Ali Nizameddine, Executive VP of Product and Technology at Payza.
“The option that is most appealing is to allow our members to purchase Bitcoins with funds in their secure Payza accounts and to allow them to store their Bitcoins in their Payza ewallets or to transfer them to another wallet service. Also, merchants that process payments using Payza would be able to easily add the option to accept Bitcoin payments without the need to incorporate other payment gateways” Nizameddine added. “That is what we are currently trying to achieve, but the actual service offered will depend on the partnerships we forge and the regulations of the countries in which we operate.”