One of Bitcoin’s earliest users might soon get a U.S. presidential pardon


Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, who operated the dark web site from 2011 to 2013 before his arrest, could soon get pardoned by US President Donald Trump if things work out. 

Silk Road was among the first public businesses to use Bitcoin, a move that helped bolster the asset’s use case.

Bitcoin adoption to a $1.2 billion empire

As per multiple reports, President Trump might grant clemency to Ulbricht, the founder and former administrator of the world’s most famous darknet drug market, Silk Road. At its prime, the now-defunct platform hosted thousands of sellers and transacted millions of dollars (via Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies) every day.

Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2015 after an infamous jury proceeding took just three hours to charge him guilty of all seven charges, such as a computer hacking conspiracy, narcotics trafficking conspiracy, and money laundering. 

Silk Road, a peer-to-peer, anonymous marketplace founded by Ulbricht in 2011, quickly became a meeting joint for buyers and sellers of illegal narcotics, allowing them to conduct business without getting detected by authorities.

Ulbricht allegedly conceived and oversaw Silk Road operations as the marketplace grew into a $1.2 billion drug empire, which was also said to house ammunition dealers and contract hitmen. 

The site even featured buyer ratings and money-back guarantees and ran on Bitcoin for much of its lifespan.

Trump to grant clemency?

As per the report, The White House counsel’s office is currently reviewing documents related to Ulbricht’s case, as per reports, which added that Trump recently received pleas about the former computer scientist’s situation.

Two unidentified sources said Trump has “privately expressed some sympathy” for Ulbricht’s case at the time and is now considering granting him clemency. If true, it would mean the former Silk Road operator would be released before US President-elect Joe Biden comes to power in January 2021.

While the final decision lies solely with Trump, sources suggest that Ulbricht has gained a following among several “influential” backers with close ties to the current US President, a narrative that might help his case.

These include presidential advisers and criminal justice reform advocates with close ties to the administration and Trump family, people with knowledge of the matter said.

One such source, activist Weldon Angelos, a former music producer and ex-federal inmate, said that the fight for Ulbricht’s release was hastened in February this year. “I’ve had documents forwarded to my contacts in the White House as early as February,” he said in a statement.

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