Sunday, August 31, 2014

Top Bitcoin Proponent to Plead Guilty to Federal Charge

By SYDNEY EMBER, NYT
August 30, 2014 4:40 pm

A prominent supporter of Bitcoin, Charles Shrem, says he will plead guilty on Thursday to resolve federal charges that he helped smooth the way for drug transactions on the online marketplace Silk Road. He is to plead in New York federal court to one count of aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Mr. Shrem, one of the most vocal advocates of Bitcoin, was accused in January of using his company to convert dollars into Bitcoin for users of Silk Road, the now-defunct bazaar known for its wide selection of narcotics and drug paraphernalia. Federal prosecutors contended that he operated the scheme in cooperation with Robert Faiella, known as BTCKing, who was also arrested in January, in Florida.

“They want a guilty plea on their books, and that’s what they’re going to get,” Mr. Shrem said on Saturday from his parents’ home in Brooklyn. “They got a Bitcoiner.”

Mr. Shrem’s arrest at Kennedy International Airport this year stirred consternation in the Bitcoin world, which continues to grapple with the perception that the digital currency provides an anonymous way to engage in illegal activity.

(More here.)

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