Charlie Shrem, the Bitcoin entrepreneur accused of helping users of the drug marketplace Silk Road move money around the internet, has been sentenced to two years in prison, Engadget reports.
Shrem was the CEO of the Bitcoin exchange BitInstant, which let people buy and sell the cryptocurrency online.
The entrepreneur used his business, BitInstant, to transfer money deposited in bank accounts by customers of the Silk Road, the notorious deep web drug marketplace that has been shut down twice by police.
Shrem was arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York in January, accused of conspiring to sell over $US1 million worth of bitcoin to Silk Road users, with the police accusing him of being aware that the currency would go on to be used to buy and sell illegal drugs.
In the months while Shrem waited for his case to be dealt with by the courts, he spent time shopping for Nazi paraphernalia and sitting around the house drinking and watching Netflix.
In court, Shrem argued that he was better off outside of prison, helping educate people about Bitcoin:
I screwed up. The Bitcoin community, they’re scared and there is no money laundering going on any more. They’re terrified. Bitcoin is my baby, it’s my whole world and my whole life, it’s what I was put on this earth to do. I need to be out there. If your honour grants me that, I can be out there in the world, making sure that people don’t do the same stupid things that I did.
But the judge didn’t buy that claim, saying instead that Shrem needed a “substantial prison sentence.” Shrem was sentenced to two years in prison, and he is set to surrender to police in 90 days. In a tweet posted after the sentencing, Shrem seemed content with the ruling, remarking that “justice has been served.”