Long before bitcoin hit a high of $19,000 this week, Charlie Shrem took a chance on it — and it changed his life.
As Shrem explains on a recent episode of WNYC's "Death, Sex & Money," he grew up in an insular religious community in Brooklyn, New York, where his parents, who "didn't do anything to excess," taught him the value of a dollar. But once he started making his own money, and lots of it, he became unmoored.
He ran a lucrative computer-repair service with his friends in high school and, in college, he co-founded BitInstant, an e-commerce website that helped people convert dollars into bitcoin.
"I was, like, 22 years old," he tells podcast host Anna Sale. "I had half a million dollars sitting in the bank. I had no expenses. Life was great."