House Arrest Isn’t Keeping a Former Bitcoin CEO Grounded

A blog about business and economics.
July 3 2014 7:15 AM

House Arrest Isn’t Keeping a Former Bitcoin CEO Grounded

486304627-charlie-shrem-attends-tribeca-talks-after-the-movie-the
Charlie Shrem just needs to get home by 9 p.m.

Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival

This story first appeared in Inc.

You'd think it's been a rough summer for former Bitcoin Foundation vice chairman and CEO of now-defunct virtual-currency company BitInstant, Charlie Shrem. The Bitcoin millionaire has been under house arrest in his parents' Brooklyn basement since being indicted by federal prosecutors in April for allegedly laundering money for the online black-market site Silk Road.

But a Wall Street Journal article this week paints a different picture—one of a former entrepreneur leading a fairly normal life, and to a remarkable degree conducting business as usual.

Advertisement

Shrem, 24, has in recent months spoken at industry events, worked as a consultant, and helped a New York hotel prepare to accept bitcoin payments.

The electronic-monitoring device requiring he is at home from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. most weekdays isn't keeping Shrem down. According to the Journal:

He even participated in a panel discussion at New York's Tribeca Film Festival in April after the screening of a bitcoin documentary. But the conditions of his arrest meant that "I couldn't go to any of the after-parties," he said in an interview.

In addition, Shrem announced July 1 he would be speaking at the American Banker Digital Currencies conference in New York on July 29.

Although prosecutors denied a request by Shrem's lawyers to allow him to travel to Washington, D.C., to speak at a bitcoin conference, Shrem seems to have plenty of work. He told the Journal that he's working as a business-development consultant for Payza, a payments startup. He's also helped out when hotel-manager Brandon Ward "turned to him in March for advice on how to set up bitcoin acceptance at two Brooklyn hotels."

"He knows a lot of people in the bitcoin world and when I have a question about implementation, he is always right there to answer it," Ward, who manages the hotels that started accepting bitcoin last month, told the Journal.

Shrem's trial, where he could be handed up to a 20-year prison sentence if found guilty (he has pleaded not guilty) is scheduled for September. Until then, it seems like it's business as usual.

Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a senior writer at Inc. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.