Charlie Shrem has earned a name for himself in the crypto world. He was also the first person to be given a jail sentence in context to crypto. His investment strategy is: one third in Bitcoin, one third in hard currencies, one third in real estate. He says: “Bitcoin is an experiment that could also fall to 0. I can’t risk everything.

Let us talk about 15 things you probably did not know about Charlie Shrem.

1.Early life

Charlie was born in Brookyln, New York in November 1989. His father worked at a jewelry store and his mother looked after him and his sisters. He was a shy kid and after discovering his passion for computers did he let go his shy nature. He is a Syrian Jewish descent.

He graduated from Brookyln University with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance in 2012.


Charlie moved to Sarasota, Florida with his then fiancé Courtney Warner in 2017. They first met each other in 2013 in a restaurant where Courtney worked. They are now married.

 3.Childhood experiences

Charlie’s father taught him the value of a dollar. In high school he earned a few hundred dollars a week by fixing and configuring neighbors’ computers and software.

He got credit when he turned 18 and he started spending. He owed $10,000 when he graduated from high school and because of this his father had to take out a loan on the house. Charlie paid off the debt for two years and made sure that he was reasonable after that.

4.Early jobs

In high school, he started Epiphany Design and Production, a company that fixed printers and computers.

At 19years of age, he built a web shop ‘Daily Checkout’ for a department store that sold rejected goods on the Internet. He worked on a commission basis and the site became a small success. Charlie earned 600 dollars a week.

While in Brooklyn College in 2009, he co-founded a deals site known as Daily Checkout and fell in love with sales.

5.Change in opinion

Charlie attended Brooklyn College’s evening school and took business lessons. There he was introduced to the Austrian School of Economics, a circle of Austrian economists led by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek. A thesis was put forward by the theorists that a state works best when the government keeps out of everything and lets the market decide.

That’s when he thought that bitcoin was taking all of that Austrian economic theory and putting it into practice.

He felt that he had to distance himself from his strong Jewish family and their intolerance of the world as a whole. The Bitcoin community became his new family and back then everyone was equal as they all wanted to revolutionize the financial system.


Charlie started investing in bitcoin while in college; he lost his bitcoins when the bitcoin service was crashed. In 2011, along with his friend Gareth Nelson started Bitinstant. It was a user-friendly company that charged a fee for users to purchase and make purchases with bitcoins. He became the Chief Executive Officer of Bitinstant that was one of the earliest and most significant cryptocurrency companies processing a third of all Bitcoin transactions.

Charlie has the right idea at the right time.

7.Funds for Bitinstant

To help Bitinstant to grow, Charlie took a loan of $10,000 from his mother. But shortly after that the company received $125,000 from angel investor Roger Ver. In 2012, $1.5 million was received from a group of investors led by Winklevoss Capital Management. Bitintant grew and by 2013 it was processing approximately 30% of all bitcoin transactions. BitInstant operated from September 2011 until July 2013.

8.Became popular

Charlie was a co-owner of Manhattan bar EVR. The bar opened in 2013, and in April, it became the first bar in New York to accept payment in bitcoin as well, thus adding to Charlie’s popularity.

After featuring in the documentary ‘The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin’ which is about the new virtual phenomenon he became an overnight sensation. It premiered in 2014. He became a proselytizer and a speaker at industry conferences. He started charging speaking fees as all the while his life was a whirlwind of deal-making and partying. Everywhere he went he kept telling people that he is rebuilding BitInstant.

9.First bitcon felon to go to jail

Charlie got a term of two years sentence and started his term in March 2015, though he served one year.  He was charged for money laundering and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business related to the BitInstant exchange that he founded.

He was also found to have violated anti-money laundering rules by dealing with a customer who supplied $1 million in bitcoin to people buying drugs on the online marketplace Silk Road.

10.Points he made to prepare him for jail

  • For books always use Amazon.
  • Keep books /newspapers under 13 oz.
  • Get USA Today delivered.
  • Bring a list of people to communicate with: Name/Mailing Address/ Email Address/ Phone number.
  • Understand that I get 300 minutes every month for the phone, maximum. Nov/Dec it’s 400 minutes.
  • Buy sneakers.
  • Try to get an education job, teaching other inmates.
  • Don’t gamble
  • Get there 8:45 a.m. Then complete strip search, get temporary clothes, do medical intake, sign forms, and meet a counselor.
  • Write physical letters.
  • Stay optimistic.

11.Founder of bitcoin foundation

Charlie co- founded the Bitcoin foundation, which was the first nonprofit advocacy organization for the digital currency. Its mission was to standardize and promote bitcoin. He went to different places on Bitcoin foundation mission.

He was the vice chairman but resigned after his arrest in 2014.

12.Lawsuit filed

Charlie had accepted $750,000 from the Winklevoss twins to purchase bitcoin on their behalf. Then in September 2012, they gave him $250,000 for the same purpose, but later they realized that Charlie had not given them the full value of the amount in bitcoin.

They filed a lawsuit against Charlie stating that he had embezzled $32 million by stealing 5,000 bitcoin and used the crypto to buy Maserati, powerboats and other luxury goods. However these allegations, which dated back to 2012, were denied by Charlie.

13.Settlement made

In April 2019 both the parties agreed at a settlement. Attorneys of both the parties signed the document filed with a federal court York, which said the entire civil action was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice.

The document also said that the Winklevoss Capital Fund and Charlie would pay their own legal costs and fees and that the case would not be reopened.

 14.Featured in books

Charlie featured in some books:

  • Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper in 2015; it covers the rise of bitcoin.
  • Brian Patrick Eha wrote How Money Got Free in 2017 featuring Charlie
  • In 2019 book Bitcoin Billionaires by Ben Mezrich which covers the Winklevoss twin’s investments in Bitcoin (including Bitinstant).

15.Net Worth

Charlie is one of the Bitcoin tycoons who has accumulated a considerable amount of fortune in his bitcoin career. His net worth as in 2019 was 45 million.