On October 1, 2013 federal agents arrested Ross Ulbricht, 29, and charged him with creating and operating the web marketplace Silk Road, under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR). See our Silk Road obituary here.
The allegations against Ulbricht include a variety of conspiracies including narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering, as well as planned acts of violence. However, the murder-for-hire charges were dropped as part of the formal charges.
According to a family member who attended the arraignment: “Murder-for-Hire, the most sensationalist and damning allegation of the government, was NOT a formal charge in the arraignment. When Ross stood up and pled “not guilty” to each indictment presented by the judge, there was no mention of murder at all. We have always known this claim was false. Now it is an “uncharged crime,” a mention in the drug conspiracy charge.”
The Feds seized millions in bitcoins from Ulbricht based on these allegations and are mulling cashing them in before Ulbricht’s day in court.
Ulbricht and his friends and family proclaim his innocence. Watch the video below:
Yet, even if Ulbricht was indeed the Dread Pirate Roberts, what is he actually guilty of? Building an innovative website? His actions harmed no one and perhaps saved countless people from dangerous back-alley drug deals. So why is there so little support for him?
If the allegations are true, anyone who benefited from Bitcoin’s increased value owes Ulbricht twice as much; first for putting Bitcoin on the map by proving its utility and receiving publicity, and second for sacrificing everything including his freedom to “legitimize” the digital currency following Silk Road’s seizure.
And where are the libertarians? The Dread Pirate Roberts was the quintessential libertarian, innovating and living based on the principles of a voluntary society without aggression expressed in Silk Road’s charter.
Silk Road is a global enterprise whose purpose is to empower people to live as free individuals. We provide systems and platforms that allow our customers to defend their basic human rights and pursue their own ends, provided those ends do not infringe on the rights of others.
Our mission is to have voluntary interaction between individuals be the foundation of human civilization.
We conduct ourselves and our enterprise from the following fundamental values that are at the heart of who we are:
- Self-ownership Individuals own their bodies, thoughts and will. Anything they create with their property or obtain without coercion is also theirs.
- Responsibility People are responsible for their actions. If one infringes on another’s rights, they should be held accountable.
- Equality Property rights apply to all individuals equally, without exception.
- Integrity Honoring one’s word as one’s self. Word, thought, and action are aligned.
- Virtue Striving to improve one’s self and the lives of others in all actions. To create value.
We promise to be true to our purpose, to accomplish our mission, to operate consistent with our values, and to run our enterprise in service of our customers.
This is who we are.
This is what you can count on.
Ulbricht, if he’s the Dread Pirate Roberts, should be given a medal instead of a cage. And if he’s not actually guilty, a litany of abuses are being deployed by the State to destroy an innocent tech geek. Either way, he needs and deserves our support.