Born in 1989, Charlie Shrem is an American co-founder of former bitcoin exchange BitInstant and a founding member of the Bitcoin Foundation.
In 2014, Shrem was notably accused of selling more than $1 million worth of bitcoin to users of darknet market Silk Road, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and failing to report suspicious banking activity. He later pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting an unlicensed money transmitting business and forfeited $950,000 to the government. He was sentenced to two years in prison.
Shortly after his release in 2016, Shrem founded Intellisys Capital, which planned to offer a private equity investment portfolio in which tokens would represent shares in a portfolio of ‘middle market companies.’ The security tokens were to be issued on the Ethereum blockchain. After the company experienced technical problems with its initial coin offering and refunded buyers’ money, Shrem departed.
In 2018, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss filed a lawsuit alleging that Shrem stole around $32 million in bitcoin from them in 2012. Shrem was the brothers’ first crypto advisor and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase bitcoin on their behalf. They were also investors in BitInstant.
The Winklevoss brothers alleged that Shrem only gave them a fraction of the bitcoin to which they were entitled. During the lawsuit, the brothers were ordered to pay for $45,000 worth of Shrem’s legal fees to reimburse him for a court ruling that provided the brothers with the ability to seize up to $30 million worth of Shrem’s assets. The lawsuit was settled under confidential terms in 2019.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.