Silk Road darknet marketplace founder Ross Ulbricht has served the first decade of a two-life sentence he was sentenced to in 2015.
One year for each finger on both hands.
Today ends a full decade in prison.
I sometimes fear I’ll spend the rest of my life behind concrete walls and locked doors. But I have no one else to blame. It’s my poor choices that led me here.
All I can do now is pray for mercy.
— Ross Ulbricht (@RealRossU) October 1, 2023
“Sometimes I fear that I will spend the rest of my life behind concrete walls and locked doors. But I have no one else to blame. My bad choices brought me here. All I can do now is pray for mercy,” he wrote.
Created by Ulbricht in 2011, the platform is known as the first modern “dark web” Internet marketplace with a Bitcoin-based payment system.
US authorities arrested the founder of Silk Road in October 2013. In May 2015, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forest sentenced Ulbricht to double life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was found guilty of trafficking drugs through the darknet marketplace Silk Road, conspiracy to transport drugs, hacking computer networks and money laundering, as well as leading a criminal organization.
In December 2017, Ross Ulbricht announced that he intended to challenge his conviction in the US Supreme Court. He claimed that his rights were violated during the investigation and subsequent trial. But in June 2018, the Supreme Court rejected the petition.
At the same time, the organizers of the Free Ross Ulbricht campaign posted a petition on Change.org asking US President Donald Trump to pardon the founder of Silk Road. However, he was not included in the list of 73 people approved in January 2021 by the ex-head of state before leaving the White House.
According to court documents, during the operation of the darknet marketplace, sales totaling 9,519,664 BTC were made on it. From February 2011 to July 2013, the platform received 600,000 BTC in fees. At the time of publication of the materials, these amounts were approximately $1.2 billion and about $80 million, respectively.
Ulbricht’s case attracted widespread public attention. According to the Free Ross website, more than 250 organizations, celebrities and opinion leaders have spoken out for his release. In 2019, the famous venture investor Tim Draper was among them.
Later, Elon Musk said that the sentence for the creator of Silk Road was too harsh.
Ulbricht also received widespread support from the crypto community. One user even called him a “political Bitcoin prisoner.”
Ross Ulbricht is a Bitcoin political prisoner.
He has been in prison since 2013.
Some would prefer we forget him, but Bitcoiners never will.
Ross was sentenced by the federal government to 2 life sentences + 40 years with no password.
As a first-time offender and sad… pic.twitter.com/usPlbN79j1
— Phree ☢️ (@BitPhree) September 30, 2023
“Some would prefer that we forget it, but Bitcoiners will never do that,” he said, recalling that Silk Road was made to promote the first cryptocurrency.
Another commentator called Ulbricht “the second saint of Bitcoin.”
Investor Patrick Blumenthal noted that at the time Silk Road launched in February 2011, digital gold cost $1.
Today marks Ross Ulbricht’s 10th year in prison. In the past decade, Bitcoin has printed millionaires, cannabis stocks feature on CNBC, and psilocybin is accepted as medicine. Yet Ulbricht sits in a cage, in a world that otherwise celebrates the disruptive forces he championed… pic.twitter.com/rjUEcYSLPu
— Patrick Blumenthal (@PatrickJBlum) October 1, 2023
“The amount reached $27 within a week of Gawker publishing the Silk Road story in June of that year, and $145 by the time Ross was arrested,” he said.
In his opinion, Ulbricht “catapulted Bitcoin into people’s consciousness” from its status as a “toy for geeks.”
Many, like Blumenthal, recalled the history of Silk Road and noted that the founder of the marketplace received a shocking sentence without committing a single violent crime.
This is Ross Ulbricht. 10 years ago today, Ross was arrested for creating a website.
If the government gets their way, he’ll die in prison.
Ross is serving a double life sentence plus 40 years for, again, creating a website.
If that sounds ridiculous and infuriating to you,… pic.twitter.com/26uANBPhDs
— Spike Cohen (@RealSpikeCohen) October 2, 2023
According to You Are The Power President Spike Cohen, in fact, Ulbricht was convicted for the illegal actions of others on the platform.
The founder of Silk Road and many of his supporters are confident that the reason for such a serious sentence was the charges of organizing a contract killing. However, despite the fact that this information was announced in court, it was not included in the indictment.
Data collected by Free Ross shows that the average sentence for other Silk Road participants was six years. The largest drug seller on the darknet marketplace received seven years in prison and has already been released.
Let us recall that in November 2022, Bitcoin Magazine opened an exhibition space dedicated to Ulbricht in Nashville (Tennessee).
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