October marked the start of the 10th year in prison for Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. On this unhappiest of anniversaries we spoke with Ross’ mother Lyn Ulbricht, to shed light on the real person behind the world’s most infamous darknet marketplace.
It is now almost a decade since Ross Ulbricht was detained at the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library on Oct. 1, 2013.
He has spent every day since that day in custody. The first time nonviolent offender is serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole, plus 40 years.
In our chat with his mother, Lyn Ulbricht, we spoke about who Ross is as an individual, what it is like to have a loved one in prison, what Ross has been up to in jail, and whether there is any hope for the future.
The real Dread Pirate Roberts
In any discussion about Silk Road, emotions tend to run high. On social media, strangers who have never met Ross offer their opinion on the man who, as Silk Road chief, was known only by the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts.
Such a colorful moniker might naturally lean towards sensationalist reporting, but when Be[In]Crypto sat down to talk with Lyn, we wanted to learn a little more about the real man behind the mask. Just who is Ross Ulbricht?
“I’ve known him his whole life, and honestly, Ross is an exceptional person,” said his mother. “He’s someone who is the least judgmental person I’ve ever known… he’s very compassionate. He’s also always trying to think of solutions and ways to make things better. He wants to solve problems and to help make the world a better place, which is a lot of why he loves Bitcoin, because it opens up prosperity for people who can’t get a bank account and people. That’s his idealism.”
Ross Ulbricht expresses regret
While there was certainly an element of libertarian idealism in the creation of Silk Road, the site also facilitated drug deals and a range of other criminal activity. That fact does not escape Ross Ulbricht himself, who has expressed regret at its creation.
As Ross wrote in 2015, “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. [It] turned out to be a naive and costly idea that I deeply r
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