Charlie Shrem was among the first who started to turn more focus on bitcoin when he founded BitInstant in 2011. Since the entrepreneur was doing business while a bitcoin was only worth a few dollars, not $2,600, his firm became on of the biggest on the market. According to Fortune’s profile, Shrem handled approximately one-third of all bitcoin transactions at a time.
“You talk to 10 people,” Shrem told Fortune. “I guarantee you at least seven of them will say they got their first bitcoin from BitInstant.”
However, Shrem became involved in crime. His business shut down in 2013 with him arrested in January 2014 on his way back from a speech in Amsterdam. The founder of BitInstant plead guilty to aiding and abetting an unlicensed money transmitter, and was sentenced to two years in prison. According to the court records, Shrem also indirectly helped the infamous dark net marketplace Silk Road to send $1 million in bitcoin. For that, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan ordered him to forfeit $950,000 to the state. Judge Rakoff said during the sentencing hearing:
[Shrem] was knowingly, willfully, and to some extent excitedly, even passionately involved in activity that he knew was a serious violation of the law and that was promoting the evil business of trafficking in drugs.
However, Shrem did not have to serve the two years in prison. After a little more than one year, he was released from the Institute in July 2016. Now, in the Fortune profile, Shrem said he is back into the cryptocurrency industry, and he seeks to help its infrastructure. The author of the article wrote that the BitInstant founder “claims he’s no longer operating mainly for himself and instead wants to use his talents to strengthen the crypto-community.”
Shrem aims his focus on a project, which would allow Dash users to pay conveniently with the cryptocurrency. Shrem announced that he is working on creating a prepaid debit card onto which users can load Dash. The digital currency then will be converted into fiat currency to be used at any business accepting debit cards. If he succeeds, Shrem’s debit card will be first, which could be used in the United States.
Shrem also joined the startup Jaxx, who offers users a multi-platform wallet. Jaxx added Dash in August 2016 to the other cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ether and DAO. The wallet also supports 23 fiat currencies. Anthony Di Iorio, the founder of the company who also co-founded Ethereum, said the firm’s goal with Jaxx is to create an interface to blockchain for the masses similar to the task of internet browsers. Shrem told Fortune, if he can help build Jaxx, he’ll “be a major industry player again.”
Featured image from Wikimedia.