Ross Ulbricht, the 29-year-old alleged founder of the Silk Road, has been sitting in solitary confinement since his arrest in October.
Federal prosecutors have identified Ulbricht as Dread Pirate Roberts, the pseudonymous owner of the laissez-faire marketplace that existed on the dark web.
Silk Road users were able to do illegal things ranging from buying drugs to hiring assassins by using Bitcoin as payment. The FBI closed down the black market last month and identified Ulbricht as the owner.
Ulbricht’s friends and family, seeking his release, have since raised $1 million-plus that they have pledged as bail money.
Ulbricht’s defense attorney, Joshua Dratel, who has represented an Al Qaeda associate and a Guantanamo detainee, argues that Ulbricht is a model candidate for bail.
In a letter to Judge Kevin Fox, of the Southern District of New York, Dratel said Ulbricht plans to live with his aunt in New York if granted bail, and that his “peaceful character and reputation” qualify him as a stand-up member of society.
The bail hearing is scheduled for November 21.
Ulbricht’s parents have offered their house as equity for the bail (valued at $700,000), his sister has offered her savings of $36,600, and his aunt has also offered her home as equity (valued at $200,000).
Some 20 others have pledged their assets for bail.
The federal criminal complaint against Ulbricht includes the claim that the Silk Road site saw sales over nearly 10 million BTC over a two-and-a-half year stretch.
The FBI seized 26,000 BTC from Ulbricht himself.
Dratel maintains that his client is not the Silk Road’s creator and that the FBI has no evidence to establish that Ulbricht is Dread Pirate Roberts.
Besides the pledged bail money, Dratel suggested in his letter that “restrictive conditions” such as an ankle monitor would be acceptable terms of bail, assurances that Ulbricht would turn up for his court hearing.