This week, the Libertarian Party called on President Donald Trump to pardon Ross Ulbricht, the entrepreneur and computer programmer who is currently serving a double life sentence with no possibility of parole for operating the Silk Road online marketplace, which was notorious for its online drug trade.
Despite the fact that Ulbricht has immense support among the public and respected organizations, the Supreme Court recently denied his petition for a review in his case.
Darryl Perry, chair of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, presented the pardon resolution at the party’s recent convention in New Orleans last weekend.
“If for some reason President Trump does not choose to accede to our resolution that we passed today, then I think that we just need to elect a libertarian president in 2020 to get this shit done,” Perry said.
The Free Thought Project spoke with former Libertarian Party Vice-Chair Arvin Vohra, who is planning a run for president in 2020. Vohra hops that Trump will grant this pardon, but if not, he said it will become one of his top campaign promises.
"Ross Ulbricht is a great American tech innovator, who should be out creating more innovations, jobs, and opportunities. I have pledged to pardon him, along with Edward Snowden and all nonviolent prisoners who have neither harmed anyone nor stolen anything. I join the LP in asking my 2020 opponent, current president Trump, to do the right thing for the American economy and the American conscience, and pardon Ross Ulbricht," Vohra said.
Considering the fact that last week the Hammond Ranchers were pardoned by Trump, and the fact that Kim Kardashian was able to convince him to pardon a woman serving a life sentence for drug charges, it is not so far-fetched to ask for a pardon in this case as well.
In the video below, Lyn, Ross's mother, speaks about his condition in prison:
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Before Bitcoin became the newest tech and investment craze, it was seen as the currency of the black market, which was used to buy and sell drugs on the infamous “dark web.” In fact, Ulbricht was one of the early adopters of Bitcoin and he created one of the first websites that popularized the cryptocurrency, called The Silk Road.
The Silk Road was an anonymous online marketplace that became a target for politicians and law enforcement because of the large volume of drugs that were being sold through the site. On the Silk Road, drug users and vendors were able to trade anonymously using Bitcoin, making it one of the first major commerce platforms to adopt the cryptocurrency.
This constant reinvention of the Silk Road brand and the myriad of spin-off marketplaces is reminiscent of the battle that took place between online file sharing websites and the global record and film industries. Whenever the government took down a file-sharing site, ten more would spring up in its place, making it very difficult for authorities to keep up with the overgrowing connectivity that the internet provides.
Even though Ulbricht did nothing but create a website—just like the famous billionaires Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos—he was treated like El Chapo in court because his invention worked against the system, instead of for it.
One important point that was heavily overlooked by the media during the Ulbricht trial was the fact that the Silk Road actually made the world a safer place by undermining prohibition. Even though drugs are illegal, large numbers of people still use them on a regular basis and these people are often put in dangerous situations because of these prohibitions.
The Silk Road allowed people to purchase drugs from the comfort of their living room to avoid the risk of getting mugged in a dark alleyway. It also allowed them to read reviews of the products that their potential dealer was selling, saving them from tainted drugs and dirty batches that could put their lives at risk.
Ulbricht should have gotten the Nobel Prize for his visionary application of a new and revolutionary technology, but instead, he was arrested in October 2013 and has been sitting in federal prison ever since, awaiting a break in his case, or the end of the drug war.