Charlie Shrem Publishes Opinion Piece on the “Transformative Power” Of Bitcoin


Charlie Shrem was at the end of his college years when he decided to invest in Bitcoin. It was 2011, and his initial investment was ultimately lost when the service he used to participate crashed. Rather than being deterred, he teamed up with friend Gareth Nelson and they became co-founders of BitInstant the same year, allowing users to use Bitcoin at multiple locations.

He was among the first group of Bitcoin entrepreneurs, and even receive an investment from Roger Ver at the time. On October 20th, he wrote a piece for CoinDesk as part of a new opinion series called “Bitcoin at 10: The Satoshi White Paper.”

Shrem is one of the many people to have been impact by, what he calls, the “transformative power” of the white paper that Satoshi originally published for Bitcoin. He comments on the “huge role” that money has played in his life, but credited Bitcoin as being the “awakened sleeping giant of it all.” For him, Bitcoin has completely changed the way that the industry addresses money and its power.

The “vast personal liberty” that he says Satoshi provided makes it possible for every person to get the wealth that it could provide. Even though the industry and the public gained impressive amounts of freedom, Shrem notes that “we lost in the security of knowing someone else was responsible for protecting our money.”

He then questions the reader on where he would prefer that his security and freedom lie – in the hands of themselves or in the hands of a centralized entity. Shrem said, “This is why I'm an ardent student of history. It's a shortcut to understanding human nature, and it tells me I'd rather take my chances being the one making decisions about my life.”

Even if someone watches the 24-hour news cycle, they can see the way that the “economic disaster” of the world is imploding. Shrem claims that this “financial collapse” is impacting the whole world, naming Venezuela and Turkey as perfect examples of these situations, as inflation takes them over and citizens scramble to get into cryptocurrency. He even names the Unites States, saying, “To see a society in the earliest stages of this kind of collapse, look to the U.S. Few here realize where we are headed with our inflationary monetary policy and runaway spending. But those few are already hedging against what many experts say will be a new and massive financial crisis for this country.”

Shrem explains how money, in some form or another, is an integral part of life for every person, even from childhood. Trading cards and small toys are the examples he gives as a child’s version of money. He even speaks about his time in prison, where he served his time for 18 months as a result of a lengthy court case. His final charges ended up being the aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business, for which he forfeited close to $1 million upon being convicted. He provides an example that discussed how even prisoners created their own form of currency with mackerel packets.

Comparing to Bitcoin, he says, “So in a sense, bitcoin is nothing new to money. People are always innovating, and bitcoin is the logical next step. It is the response of people long imprisoned by a system that puts them at a significant disadvantage compared to the powerful. It's a system that has allowed those who rule money to steal from the people who use and save it for themselves and their families.”

He urges readers to be smart about learning the history of money, and to do their best to be a part of a positive change. He concludes, saying, “Bitcoin comes with great rewards and risk, but your national currency is fiat with everything that entails and has its own even graver risks, I believe. To me, it is handing someone else the keys to the future and crossing your fingers. Any history book will tell you how well that's worked out.”

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