On November 26th, 2019 President Donald Trump held a rally at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL. It consisted of all the elements one would expect to see at a political rally: cheering, speeches, and recital of slogans by the audience on cue. However, there was one unlikely presence. FreeRoss.org was present at the rally, and was represented by members of the Miami Bitcoin Center. The members held a demonstration with self-made signs in the rally’s designated “free speech area”. Their purpose for demonstrating was to encourage President Trump to either pardon Ross Ulbricht, or to at least commute his sentence.
Also read: Lyn Ulbricht Describes Life for Ross in Prison, Updates Us on His Case
Who Is Ross Ulbricht?
Ross Ulbricht was the creator of the Silk Road, and one of the people believed to be Dread Pirate Roberts, the administrator of the site. Silk Road was the first darknet marketplace that accepted Bitcoin as payment. The site promoted libertarian values and allowed individuals engaging in commerce among themselves in a censorship resistant manner. Most of the items sold through the Silk Road marketplace were illegal, including drugs and information related to identity theft. However, weapons and child pornography were strictly prohibited from being listed.
Ulbricht was captured by federal authorities at the San Francisco Public Library on October 1st, 2013. In 2015, he was charged and convicted with money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics. For these charges, he was sentenced to two life sentences, plus 40 years.
What Happened At the Rally?
Reactions from the rally attendees were very positive. Most people were not familiar with the case, but were very interested in learning more about it. Some believed that Ulbricht should be completely pardoned, while some stated that he should face prison time, but not as much as he received. All the individuals that spoke with the FreeRoss.org demonstrators agreed that the double life sentence was egregious and did not fit the crime. Some of the individuals were even moved to donate money in support for the cause. One person donated .001BTC, while four other people donated a combined total of $12 USD.
The FreeRoss.org organization is run by Ross’s mother, Lynn. She was not present at this specific rally, but has expressed her appreciation to all those who came out in support for her son.
Free Ross supporters across the country will be attending President Trump’s rallies to let the president know that there is a worldwide movement that wants him to commute Ross Ulbricht’s double life sentence. So far people from blockchain and liberty communities have turned out at rallies in New Hampshire, Texas and, most recently, Sunrise, Florida wearing Free Ross t-shirts and carrying signs. They spoke with attendees about Ross’s sentence, were interviewed by media and gathered online petition signatures on their phones. Anyone who wants to help with organizing this effort, please contact us at [email protected]
One of the people who was present was the Chief Strategy Officer of the Miami Bitcoin Center, Scott Spiegel.
Ross Ulbricht is a Bitcoin pioneer. Silk Road will forever live on in history as the first censorship resistant online marketplace.
It isn’t right that Ross received the sentence that he did. He was not indicted for drug trafficking or money laundering, he was only charged with creating a website. The punishment far outweighs his actions , and it is outrageous that offenders of the same crime in later years received a much lesser sentence than Ross did.
What are your thoughts about the Silk Road case? Was the double-life sentence fair? Should President Trump pardon Ross or at least have the sentence reduced?
Images via BitsandTokens.com
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