Ross Ulbricht, Founder Of Bitcoin Bazaar Silk Road, Sentenced To Life In Jail

Tyler Durden's picture

Bitcoin was supposed to be perfectly anonymous and completely untraceable: so much so that its true believers, such as libertarian Ross Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts, felt empowered to launch the Silk Road, an underground online shopping bazaar similar to Amazon only one selling drugs and various other illegal paraphernalia.

The Silk Road quickly became massively successful and extremely profitable: so much so that Ulbricht promptly forgot the idealism that made him launch the project and quickly subverted the power and wealth it provided him for his own selfish ways, among which ordering the assassinations of subordinates who crossed him.

It turned out neither Bitcoin, nor the project, were as safe and anonymous as Ulbricht had hoped, and moments ago the Dread Pirate was sentenced to life in prison: a heavy sentence which according to the WSJ signals "the government’s seriousness in combating Internet crime."

The Silk Road founder faced a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison, but federal prosecutors asked the judge to give him “substantially” more than that, arguing that a harsh sentence is necessary to deter others from following in Mr. Ulbricht’s footsteps.

The punishment is a heavy price to pay for the 31-year-old, who had pleaded with the judge to spare him his old age and “leave a small light at the end of the tunnel.”

The sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest followed an emotional three-hour hearing. Judge Forrest said she spent more than 100 hours grappling with the appropriate sentence, calling the decision “very, very difficult.”


But ultimately, she gave Mr. Ulbricht the harshest sentence allowed under the law, saying Silk Road was “an assault on the public health of our communities” by making it easy for people around the world to buy illegal drugs.


“What you did with Silk Road was terribly destructive to our social fabric,” Judge Forrest said.


Judge Forrest said Mr. Ulbricht was “no better a person than any other drug dealer” and that his high education and privileged upbringing didn’t put him above the law.

Silly pirate: in America the only companies that are allowed by law to sell you drugs are the 'legal' pharmaceutical corporations, whose dealers owners use all those Obamacare-funded reimbursements from selling FDA approved anti-depressants and other mind-altering substances, to then go ahead and buy back their own stock.

And yet, it is a little troubling:

For manipulating "markets", rigging and defrauding tens of billions from ordinary investors many of whom lost their life savings because they trusted regulators would do their duty and keep "markets" honest and efficient, the US Department of Justice arrested precisely zero bankers.

For granting the 2018 World Cup to Russia, the same Department of Justice decided to make a loud political statement and arrest virtually the entire pinnacle of FIFA, even if the harshest sentence that will be handed down is some deferred prosecution settlement.

For creating his own marketplace outside the domain of the conventional monetary regime, the US unloaded a ton of bricks on a 31 year old and sentenced him to life behind bars. Because, you know, it will deter all illegal transactions hereafter.

For those who are interested in the full story of the Silk Road and how a 29-year-old revolutionized drug distribution, the following 2-part mini series by Wired is a must read.

The Rise and Fall of Silk Road: Part 1

The Rise and Fall of Silk Road: Part 2

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Waylon Bits's picture
Waylon Bits (not verified) May 29, 2015 5:03 PM

Free Ross!

Latina Lover's picture

This was an expected outcome: Ross got life because when it comes to money creation and drug dealing, the US government hates competition!

flacon's picture

Fuck this "woman" judge. Social fabric my ASS!

Waylon Bits's picture
Waylon Bits (not verified) flacon May 29, 2015 5:09 PM

Yes she is speaking for the social fabric of cyberspace?  What a daft cunt...

CH1's picture

This was a fully-rigged show trial from the beginning.

Chucky Schumer stands behind it all.

The USSR coundn't have done better.

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

"...arguing that a harsh sentence is necessary to deter others from following in Mr. Ulbricht’s footsteps."

All they did was outsource some more jobs. The monopoly uncle satan has on the drug trade will come to an end, like every other delusion that flows from dc.

Fun Facts's picture

Ziogangbanksters who stole trillions and impoverished the western world still at large.

espirit's picture

Bitcoin Bitchez.

Somebody had to say it.


jefferson32's picture

(OT) Netanyahu said on Thursday that banning Israel from Fifa would lead to its destruction

jefferson32's picture

On topic: how come ZH repeats the prosecutor's propaganda about the murders he allegedly ordered? He wasn't convicted of it, and none of those supposed murders even took place.

Plus he didn't get caught because of a problem with Bitcoin or Tor, but because he had bragged about writing the platform's code. (Morality: the only fish who get caught are the ones that open their mouth).

El Vaquero's picture

I think that the Roman Republic was onto something when it came to how its day to day laws were enforced.  I'm not a fan of having legions and the like, but day to day law was enforced by the very people who were victims of the crimes.  That, and they executed the magistrates who accepted bribes if said magistrates got caught. 


Table I. Proceedings Preliminary to Trial

1. If the plaintiff summons the defendant to court the defendant shall go. If the defendant does not go the plaintiff shall call a witness thereto. Only then the plaintiff shall seize the defendant.

2. If the defendant attempts evasion or takes flight the plaintiff shall lay hand on him.

3. If sickness or age is an impediment he who summons the defendant to court shall grant him a vehicle. If he a does not wish he shall not spread a carriage with cushions.

4. For a freeholder' a freeholder shall be surety; for a proletary anyone who wishes shall be surety.

5. There shall be the same right of bond and of conveyance with the Roman people for a steadfast person and for a person restored to allegiance.

6. When the parties agree on the matter the magistrate shall announce it.

7. If they agree not on terms the parties shall state their case before the assembly in the meeting place or before the magistrate in the market place before noon. Both parties being present shall plead the case throughout together.

8. If one of the parties does not appear the magistrate shall adjudge the case, after noon, in favor of the one present.

9. If both parties are present sunset shall be the time limit of the proceedings.

10. Â… sureties Â… subsureties Â… with platter and loincloth ...


MonetaryApostate's picture

Digital Currency is 100% traceable, believe that, just the way the elite want it.

Shock and Awe's picture
Shock and Awe (not verified) MonetaryApostate May 29, 2015 6:05 PM

I am pleased with the final verdict. Next to get prosecuted: all adopters of Digital Currency except for the creators of Bitcoin in Israel.

knukles's picture

"There is But One Crypto-Currency and it is My Crypto-Currency" Pronounceth the Lord God Mammon from the Marriner Eckles Building.

eatthebanksters's picture

He got fucked becuase he's a libetarian...if he was a liberal democrat he'd be hanging out at the country club snorting coke and slappin hoes on the ass with Corzine.

jbvtme's picture

he got fucked because the silk road didn't go through mena, arkansas

Gobbler's picture
Gobbler (not verified) jbvtme May 29, 2015 8:24 PM

You guys are forgetting one detail.  He tried to have a man killed.  This joker belongs in prison.

Seize Mars's picture


Funny, that's not what he got convicted for.


Dame Ednas Possum's picture

Oooh...oooooh, 'he tried to have a man killed' oooh...oooh.

Because we wouldn't see the authorities commit that kind of heinous crime either home or abroad, now would we.

Wake the fuck up numb nuts.

thatthingcanfly's picture

Ahh, the ole' "everybody else is doing it, therefore we shouldn't prosecute this self-described 'pirate'" argument. Argumentum ad pupulum.

Public schools failed you, eh Dame Ednas?


hungarianboy's picture

Agree with that. this has nothing to do with libertarian bullshit or whatever. The thing he setup and continnued to work on was simply to much. Selling drug is already not ok, but weapons and mercenarys that is really terrible.

tnuctipun's picture

No, but keep up the good work.  Wait, I mean, keep putting your boot in your own arse.

thatthingcanfly's picture

Agreed. Libertarians should proceed with great caution when trying to hold Mr. Ulbricht up as the poster child of government overreach victimology. This guy is a criminal, whose "work" undoubtedly caused the deaths of the people whose family members testified against him, while simultaneously making him very wealthy. I'm glad he'll be spending the rest of his life in prison.

BrotherRat's picture

Moronic. Drugs don't cause death, Misuse of drugs causes death. Drug users will find drugs regardless, and we're they legal we could focus on regulation and education. Too much salt can kill you, and yet salt is legal miraculously - because people don't take the position that it's a salt miners fault if someone decides to consume a pound of salt.

yellowsub's picture

They already got their stern warnings to not do it again...

jefferson32's picture

How can a judge use the words "justice" and "example" in the same sentence? By very definition examples are exceptional, thus unjust.

McMolotov's picture

With doublethink, anything is possible. It's been 1984 for many years now.

Fuck the State.

Joe Panama's picture

I think I recall a documentary which once showed how the justice system in China was so much worse than what they had in the west.   Their entire argument was how in China, the judges usually gave stiff sentences in order to make examples of the criminals.   While in the west, the punishments were usually balanced with the crime.   It was unthinkable that a judge in the west would trample a persons rights and due process by making an example out of him.   Oh the irony.

nmewn's picture

First off, everyone knows my thoughts on BitCoin, so I'm not going in that direction.

His first "crime" was setting up a "market place" outside of the predominate cartels jurisdiction and regulation.

The second, accepting "a currency" for wanted/needed goods & services unsanctioned by the prevailing gang, errr, cartels market place.

Thirdly, he paid no "taxes" on his profits in "the coin of the realm" to the top gang membership, tribute to the regent if you will.

Statist gang members had to make an example of him "building that" ;-)

BoingBoing's picture

So the guy was a dick and yes I believe he tried to have some people killed.

But let's not forget he showed the drug 'war' for what it was - empty rhetoric. You can now use the internet to buy your drugs faster, purer, cheaper and with less contact with scummy criminal dealers than ever before.

The government doesn't want you to realise that buying drugs can be easy and safe. They actually want you to face a risk to your life every time you get high.

greenskeeper carl's picture

"Assault on our public health" "damaging to the fabric of our society"

Collectivist, statist statements like that make me sick. That's why liberty is dead in this country. If he really tried to have people killed, then he deserves to be punished, but attempted murder doesn't carry a life sentence like that. People get less than 10 years for worse shit than trying to hire a hitman. Not that I really buy that anyway, I don't believe anything that comes out of this government.

dark pools of soros's picture

The hitman stuff is pure garbage hoax dirty cop extortion. ZH needs to read up and edit that out

knukles's picture

He attempted to have a few folks killed but they were not killed.
Nor, as per the Wired articles, was he tried by the Feds for murder.
This was exclusively for the drugs, money laundering, etc.
          aka the Capone Syndrome

BrotherRat's picture

I feel like maybe he wouldn't be attempting to have blackmailers killed if people... couldn't blackmail him... You know like... if he didn't have to fear the government

logicalman's picture

Every now and again, those in control have to show that they are in control.

Make an example of someone. Doesn't matter who, really. It's about demonstrating power.

Ignatius's picture

His real crime was not paying off the right people.

The war on drugs is more of a hoax than the war on terror. 

greenskeeper carl's picture

His other real crime was not working for Pfizer or GSK. And yes. The war on drugs is a complete farce. The real criminal cartels are the companies I listed. But the govt is winning it's war on freedom and prosperity, that's for sure. Pretty sure those things are the real target anyway.

daveO's picture

"Judge Forrest said she spent more than 100 hours grappling with the appropriate sentence"

Uh huh, and, if you believe that, I got a poppy field in Afghanistan to sell you. For a few dollars more, you can buy a slightly used Lear jet, too.

Payne's picture

He is a politcal prisoner, like many around the world.  Unfortunately he did not maintain the moral high ground.

Alvin Fernald's picture

The question is did attempt to have someone offed? Is there substantial evidence of this?
I am undecided on this point.