The hosts of the Austin-based Crypto Show, which covers libertarianism and Bitcoin topics, have started a fundraiser for the Ulbricht family. The event will run from June 24 to August 16, and the funds will be raised to help pay for Ross Ulbricht’s federal appeal.
Show host Danny Neanderthal told Cointelegraph how he feels about Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’ mother. He said:
"We were exposed to human side of this and seen the leviathan the Ulbrichts are up against. Had we not met her, we would never have been so involved. None of us on the Crypto Show have ever used the Silk Road website. My opinion is that the greatest thing the Silk Road ever produced is the activist Lyn Ulbricht. I don't use the phrase 'I am Dread Pirate Roberts.' To us at the Crypto Show, it's 'I am Lyn Ulbricht.'"
Lyn has become a full-time activist since her son was arrested and has been working around the clock to help Ross, by running fundraisers and speaking at events such as Porcfest this week and at Bitcoin conferences.
The hosts of the Crypto Show met her at the 2014 Texas Bitcoin Conference. This will be the second fundraiser they've hosted for the Free Ross campaign. They say that not only has this created "strong community solidarity" for Ross, but also a mother turned activist.
To make the charity event “personal for the crypto crowd,” the radio hosts are selling items donated from the crypto community. These include a Ghost Gunner donated by Cody Wilson, and a one-week stay in Costa Rica at Lyn Ulbricht’s bamboo beach home.
Ross was convicted in February on charges that include drug trafficking, conspiracy, hacking and money laundering. On May 29, Ross was sentenced to two life terms in prison for his participation in creating the Silk Road marketplace. Immediately following the verdict, Ross’s lawyers told press the family would file for appeal. Lyn said:
“We believe the trial was unfair and the sentencing horribly unjust. At trial, defense witnesses were blocked, cross examination curtailed, and important evidence precluded — including the fact that corrupt agents were stealing from, and had wide access to, Silk Road and its administration. The sentence, for all nonviolent charges, was harsher than that often given to murderers, rapists, kidnappers and child pornographers. It was a clear message that the government intends to double down on its failed drug war and make Ross an example and a warning. The appeal will address this sentence, as well as the verdict from trial, and hopefully reverse the dangerous precedents the trial set.”
In comparison, former DEA agent for the Silk Road case, Shaun Bridges, was found guilty of stealing bitcoins totalling US$800,000. Prosecutors are requesting an August 31 plea date and a light sentence for the agent. A second agent, Carl Force, has also plead guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoins during the investigation, among several other related charges.
Joshua Dratel, attorney for Ross, said that the agent’s conviction "undermines completely the integrity of the government's entire investigation." The crypto community voiced their opinions of the trial and its outcome following the sentence. Many believe the trial was unjust and the verdict was too harsh. Julia Tourianski of Brave the World told Cointelegraph:
"This is not the first time we have seen the assumed power structures cripple a peaceful individual to his knees, an individual forced to plead with the same entity that severed him from a society he wished to, and did improve. And it will not be the last."
Lyn describes the community outreach towards Ross as “humbling.” She's been in contact with the hosts of the fundraiser throughout and she offered to donate her own gift. She said:
“We and Ross are deeply grateful for all the support we have received and this fundraiser is a tremendous boost. I told Ross about it this week, and he was so encouraged to know people are out there backing him, that he is not alone. To have the support of the community, and to have such great people walking beside us through this fundraiser not only helps fund the appeal but gives us the strength to keep on.
We can't fund the appeal on our own. We are one small family and it is extremely expensive to fight the federal government! But together we can, and we are very thankful for the support.”
Items offered through the fundraiser will fund directly to freeross.org, as will any direct Bitcoin donations. Several members of the crypto community have donated items in order to raise money to help the family pay for the costs of the appeal. Donators include:
- Cody Wilson: Ghost Gunner
- Luke Rudkowski: Tuition to Change Media University
- Jeff Berwick: A pair of tickets to Anarchapulo 2016
- Julia Tourianski: “Bitcoin: The Ghost Outside of the Machine” T-shirts
- Justin Arman: My Magic Mud
- Roger Ver: US$1,000 to US$10,000 in advertising on Bitcoin.com
- Lyn Ulbricht: One week’s stay at a Costa Rican bamboo beach home
Other contributors include Davi Barker from Bitcoin Not Bombs, who will give green camel Silk Road pins to random donors. Singer and songwriter Tatiana Moroz of CryptoMediaHub will donate CDs. The Crypto Show will show a movie screening at their founding location Brave New Books and sell Dread Pirate Roberts T-shirts. Director Alex Winter will provide his documentary the “Deep Web” to the hosts for this event.
Editor’s note: StartJOIN was originally scheduled to host the fundraiser, but they announced today that they will not be able to take part. While the Crypto Show team explores other hosting options for the campaign, the fundraiser will continue, and all funds will go directly to freeross.org. In the meantime, anyone interested in donating can send requests to [email protected]