Bitcoin 2014 // 15-17 May // Amsterdam Register

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Bitcoin Foundation Response to Allegations Against Charlie Shrem

Jinyoung Lee Englund    Jan 28 2014

As part of the ongoing investigation into Silk Road, the federal criminal complaint against Charlie Shrem alleges that Charlie was involved in operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, conspiring to commit money laundering, and willful failure to file a suspicious activity report commonly known as an SAR.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office states, “The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

We are both surprised and saddened to learn of these allegations. The foundation does not condone illegal activities and values transparency, accountability and a high level of responsibility towards its members and overall community.

This morning, Charlie Shrem, Vice Chairman, submitted his resignation to the Board of Directors of the Bitcoin Foundation, effective immediately.

“As a foundation, we need to remain focused on our core mission to standardize, protect, and promote the Bitcoin core protocol. While Charlie has contributed a great deal of personal effort and resources to enhance the adoption of Bitcoin worldwide, a prolonged legal dispute would inevitably detract from advancing that core mission. Therefore, in order to focus on his pending trial, it has been mutually decided that Charlie Shrem resign from the Board of Directors, effective immediately. The Board accepted that resignation today,” said Jon Matonis, Executive Director and Board Member.

It is also worth noting that the indictment itself is not against Bitcoin or the community at large. Indeed, the complaint acknowledges, “Bitcoin are not inherently illegal and have known legitimate uses.”

In their press release, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara also states, “Truly innovative business models don’t need to resort to old-fashioned law-breaking, and when Bitcoins, like any traditional currency, are laundered and used to fuel criminal activity, law enforcement has no choice but to act. We will aggressively pursue those who would coopt new forms of currency for illicit purposes.”

As a foundation, we are committed to and will continue to work towards standardizing the technological infrastructure for widespread adoption, protect the integrity of the Bitcoin protocol, and promoting its social and economic benefits through public education.