Ross Ulbricht turns 36 years old today. This will be his seventh birthday in incarceration.
Ulbricht is the convicted felon serving two life sentences plus 40 years for his role in creating the Silk Road, the online contraband market notorious for its associations with cryptocurrency. Ulbricht says Silk Road was initially envisioned as a libertarian paradise, but it eventually went sideways:
“Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit. What it turned into was, in part, a convenient way for people to satisfy their drug addictions.”
This free market utopia lasted about two years from Ulbricht’s founding it in 2011. He was arrested by the FBI in October 2013 and has been in custody ever since. At trial he was found guilty of money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics. His double life sentence comes without any chance of parole.
Since Ulbricht’s arrest and sentencing, many of the biggest names in the crypto community have spoken out in support of Ulbricht, suggesting that the legal system treated him with prejudice. Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper has consistently voiced support for Ulbricht, and an online petition to the White House calling for Ulbricht’s release gathered its 275,000th signature this week.