Silk Road Creator Ross Ulbricht Sentenced to Life in Prison

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

On Friday Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in creating and running Silk Road’s billion-dollar, anonymous black market for drugs, Wired reports:

Judge Katherine Forrest gave Ulbricht the most severe sentence possible, beyond what even the prosecution had explicitly requested. The minimum Ulbricht could have served was 20 years.

His true crime:

“The stated purpose [of the Silk Road] was to be beyond the law. In the world you created over time, democracy didn’t exist. You were captain of the ship, the Dread Pirate Roberts,” she told Ulbricht as she read the sentence, referring to his pseudonym as the Silk Road’s leader. “Silk Road’s birth and presence asserted that its…creator was better than the laws of this country. This is deeply troubling, terribly misguided, and very dangerous.”

In addition to his prison sentence, Ulbricht was also ordered to pay a massive restitution of more than $183 million, what the prosecution had estimated to be the total sales of illegal drugs and counterfeit IDs through the Silk Road — at a certain bitcoin exchange rate — over the course of its time online. Any revenue from the government sale of the bitcoins seized from the Silk Road server and Ulbricht’s laptop will be applied to that debt.



  1. Bert says:

    If someone who insisted on stealing cars were sentenced, would he be told he thought he was “better than the laws of this country”, and trying to be “beyond the law”? If laws against drugs weren’t resting on such a shaky moral ground, the sentence probably would have been less harsh.

  2. Spandrell says:

    So it’s all fine if you call yourself Comrade Roberts and stage fake elections for the Chairmanship every 6 months.

    Also hire a black transexual as Chief Technology Officer (don’t need to actually work there), and have a quote by some Democrat congressman on the top of the site arguing against the war on drugs.

  3. Gwern says:

    Spandrell: there is a currently operational black-market which has adopted a Russian communist kitsch theme… (No elections, though.)

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