Ross Ulbricht, founder of defunct dark web marketplace Silk Road, has created a stir by announcing he will auction off his series of nonfungible tokens (NFT) starting on Thursday.
The imprisoned early Bitcoin (BTC) adopter announced via his supporter-operated Twitter account on Wednesday his plans to auction the Ross Ulbricht Genesis Collection on the Superare NFT marketplace from Dec. 2–8. The collection comprises 11 works of handmade art, which his supporters then minted into NFTs.
The art was made in different stages of Ulbricht’s life from childhood up to his time in prison. The early works depict comic book characters and animals, while the later works depict scenes from his court trial and inner feelings he has had since being imprisoned.
Proceeds from the auction will help fund a trust to support Ulbricht’s efforts to be freed from prison. Funds will also help launch the donor-advised charitable fund Art4Giving, which is “dedicated to relieving the suffering of the incarcerated and their families.”
Ulbricht has been a controversial character in the crypto space since he was sentenced to two life terms in federal prison in October 2015 for operating the Silk Road marketplace. Silk Road opened on the dark web in February 2011 and allowed users to purchase nearly anything with Bitcoin, including illicit substances.
The announcement sparked a blizzard of conflicting commentary from people on social media, some of whom were against Ulbricht’s decision, but most support his cause.
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Francis Pouliot, founder of Bull Bitcoin, said that although he supports Ulbricht, “the fact that the insane and immoral NFT ponzi has now become fully normalized is deeply troubling.” Other Bitcoin maximalists also took exception to the entire concept of NFTs, with Twitter user Von Vladenhawk writing, “I can tolerate the creation of international drug and weapons markets. But NFTS is where I draw the line.”
Crypto Cobain, the high-profile host of UpOnly, pointed out in support that although a few Bitcoin maximalists may be against Ulbricht minting NFTs, he was instrumental in generating early Bitcoin adoption.