March 27, 2024
decade-long saga of Ross Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road
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A Decade Behind Bars: Silk Road Creator Ross Ulbricht’s Ongoing Struggle

The founder of the former online black market Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, has reached the milestone of spending a decade in prison. He was handed jhya double life sentence by United States authorities in 2013 and recently marked this somber anniversary. In a recent message on X, Ulbricht expressed his apprehension about the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind concrete walls and locked doors and stated that all he can do now is pray for mercy.

Silk Road, initiated in 2011 and operated by Ulbricht under the username ‘Dread Pirate Roberts,’ is renowned as the pioneering modern darknet market, featuring a payment system based on Bitcoin. However, on October 1, 2023, the FBI seized Ulbricht’s personal laptop, which played a pivotal role in the operation of Silk Road.

Ulbricht’s legal troubles culminated in his 2015 conviction in a U.S. federal court on various charges connected to Silk Road’s operations. He was sentenced to two life terms, along with an additional forty years, with no possibility of parole.

According to court documents related to the case, Silk Road facilitated sales totaling 9,519,664 bitcoins from February 2011 to July 2013, collecting a commission of 600,000 bitcoins. At the time these documents were published, this translated to approximately $1.2 billion in sales and around $80 million in commissions. Ulbricht’s case has garnered widespread attention, with many advocating for clemency on his behalf.

A website dedicated to advocating for Ulbricht’s justice has garnered support from over 250 organizations and half a million individuals who have signed a virtual petition for his release. Ulbricht has also received significant support from the cryptocurrency and Bitcoin communities. However, there remains a division of opinion on the outcome of his case.

Some online debates revolve around the prosecution’s claim that Ulbricht allegedly hired hitmen to carry out murders, although no formal charges were filed in this regard, and it remains an unproven allegation. Ulbricht’s defenders draw parallels to modern social media platforms like X and Facebook, arguing that similar activities occur on these platforms.

The primary website dedicated to securing Ross’s freedom has highlighted the sentences handed down to others involved with Silk Road, revealing an average sentence of approximately six years. Notably, the top drug seller on the site received a seven-year prison term and is now free. Furthermore, the creators of Silk Road 2.0 served varying sentences, with some receiving no prison time and others serving up to 6.5 years before being released.

Image by freepik

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