Ross Ulbricht’s case has garnered significant public attention, and numerous individuals have advocated for clemency for the website’s founder.
Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the now-defunct online black market Silk Road, has reached the somber milestone of a decade behind bars. In 2013, US authorities sentenced him to a double life sentence.
On October 2, Ulbricht shared on social media his concerns about potentially spending the rest of his life “behind concrete walls and locked doors”. His post expressed a sense of resignation, with a plea for mercy as his only recourse. In his post on Twitter (now X), Ulbricht noted:
“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.”
In 2011, Silk Road was established, with Ross Ulbricht, operating under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts”, managing it from his personal laptop. This platform was well-known as the pioneer of modern darknet markets and employed a payment system based on Bitcoin (BTC). However, on October 1, 2023, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized Ulbricht’s laptop.
In 2015, Ulbricht faced a federal court trial in the United States on various charges linked to Silk Road’s activities. His sentencing resulted in two life terms, along with an additional forty years, without the possibility of parole.
Support Grows for Ulbricht
As per the court records in the case, during its operational period, the Silk Road platform conducted sales totaling 9,519,664 Bitcoins (BTC) at the current rate of $28,241 per BTC, spanning from February 2011 to July 2013. The marketplace also collected commissions amounting to 600,000 Bitcoins (BTC), valued at roughly $28,241 per BTC.
At the time of the court documents’ publication, this translated to approximately $1.2 billion in sales and commissions amounting to approximately $80 million. Ross Ulbricht’s case has garnered significant public attention, and numerous individuals have advocated for clemency for the website’s founder.
A website dedicated to advocating for justice on behalf of Ulbricht reports that more than 250 organizations have endorsed these pleas, and approximately half a million individuals have digitally signed a petition urging Ulbricht’s release. The crypto and Bitcoin communities have also shown substantial support for his cause.
Nearly makes me cry to see this post, the punishment didn’t suit the crime and people who have done much worse have had a chance of redemption, #freeross
— Soberclown.eth (@bitcoinnz) October 2, 2023
While there is a significant groundswell of support for Ulbricht, and many online users have expressed their belief that the penalties imposed on the Silk Road founder were unfair, there are contrasting perspectives.
One X user highlighted that during Ulbricht’s prosecution, the prosecution team suggested that he had purportedly hired individuals to carry out violent acts. Even though formal charges related to this allegation were never filed against Ulbricht, it remains an unproven claim.