The burgeoning cryptocurrency industry has already drawn some charismatic and distinctive personalities to the forefront. One of the earliest important people within the world of Bitcoin is now preparing to make a comeback. Charlie Shrem was a Bitcoin pioneer, having founded a startup called BitInstant in 2011. BitInstant was a crucial early transaction facillitator, although it fell by the wayside in 2013. Shrem eventually went to federal prison after pleading guilty to involvement with a customer who acquired Bitcoins for resale purposes on the underground market called Silk Road. Now, months after his release, Shrem has plans to help to further strengthen the industry which has already grown so fast.
Early Advocacy, But For What Cause?
Besides his work with BitInstant, Shrem was an important early figure in the history of Bitcoin because of his widespread advocacy for the cryptocurrency. A 2013 GQ profile on the emergent currency featured Shrem, and he figured prominently in a documentary called The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin. According to a profile by Fortune, Shrem spoke frequently at industry conferences and co-founded an organization called the Bitcoin Foundation for the purposes of advocating on behalf of the digital currency.
In the Fortune profile, the author indicates that Shrem "claims he's no longer operating mainly for himself and instead wants to use his talents to strengthen the crypto-community." It's true that Shrem's work with Bitcoin made him a millionaire before sending him to prison. What will he do now?
Shrem's Plans for the Future
Shrem has set his sights, at least in part, on working with Dash, one of the more recent additions to the cryptocurrency line-up as well as one of its fastest-growing members. Shrem proposed the creation of a prepaid debit card onto which users could load Dash coins. Those coins would be converted into dollars or other currency to be used at any business which accepts debit cards. Shrem's card is the first that could be used in the United States.
Shrem has also reportedly joined the startup Jaxx as head of business and community development. Jaxx aims to create digital wallets allowing users to hold multiple currencies. Founded by Anthony Di Iorio, co-founder of Ethereum, Jaxx looks to be at the forefront of a new wave in cryptocurrencies: when various blockchain networks can all communicate and partner with one another. These so-called "parachains" could help to propel the industry even further, bringing cryptocurrencies even more into the mainstream and allowing for extreme ease of transacting and exchanging between currencies. In this way, Shrem may have a hand in continuing to develop the cryptocurrency world as it looks ahead to the future.