The jailed founder of Silk Road, sometimes referred to as the original Bitcoin black market, has had his online petition for freedom signed by a U.S senatorial candidate. Ross Ulbricht, who is presently serving two life sentences (+40 additional years) after being revealed as the human face of Silk Road’s mysterious creator Dread Pirate Roberts. It’s thought that Senator Eric Brakey’s intervention will lend the campaign a higher profile and highlight the legal issues which surround Ulbricht’s exceptionally long sentence.
Between 2011 and 2013, the Coloradan, the now 34, operated an illegal Bitcoin black market, selling drugs and guns pseudonymously with the aid of the fledgling digital currency. Whilst trading on the Silk Road was largely carried out with fiat currency it will be forever known as the first, and certainly most infamous, major real-world use-case of Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency’s eternal association with the darker side of the internet can be traced back directly to the trial and incarceration of Ross Ulbricht.
Ulbricht, who began dictating tweets about his predicament over the phone to his supporters on the outside this summer, is serving time in USP Florence High, a high-security prison in Colorado. His situation had become dire a month before when the U.S Supreme Court rejected a petition for a writ of certiorani (which establishes a review of a lower court’s decision), essentially ending his hopes of an early release.
Numerous lawyers and pressure groups have leapt to Ulbricht’s defence citing that the Bitcoin black market operator’s 4th and 6th amendment constitutional rights had been violated during investigations as well as during sentencing.
In the subsequent months, an online campaign hosted by change.org has attracted the signatures of 87,709 people. One of the names most-welcomed on the list will be that of Eric Brakey, whose standing will add real political weight to the cause. Announcing his support of Ulbricht, Brakey tweeted:
“Hey Ross — I’ve signed your petition. You have very clearly been treated unfairly by our criminal justice system and my heart is with you and your family.
He then alluded to future action that could be taken on his behalf;
“When I win election to the US Senate this November, I will definitely raise the issue with the President.”
So, could the collapse of the most notorious Bitcoin black market be about to become the first Bitcoin Presidential pardon?