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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Imprisonment of Ross Ulbricht, Two Years Later

It was an outrageously long sentence, issued to send a message

Ulbricht’s family and many cryptocurrency enthusiasts were quite surprised that Ulbricht received two life sentences for all non-violent charges on May 29, 2015. Currently, Ulbricht is appealing his sentence, along with his convictions so he can once again be a free man some day. Ross’s mother Lyn Ulbricht details the sentencing was the “worst day” of her life.

“On that day our son, Ross Ulbricht, was given a double life sentence for all non-violent charges,” explains Mrs. Ulbricht.

Despite slander in the media, Ross was not charged at trial with murder-for-hire, and it has never been proven. No victims came forward in court to say Ross had harmed them in any way. Yet Judge Forrest considers Ross so dangerous that he needs to die in a cage.

The Legal Community Criticizes Judge Forrest’s Decision

The family believes the double life sentence was handed to Ulbricht to send a message to others creating dark net markets (DNM). However since Ulbricht’s arrest and shutting down the Silk Road, DNMs sales and marketplaces have doubled. Forrest’s sentence has also been denounced by the legal community such as the former federal judge Nancy Gertner, Just Leadership USA, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition organization. After the sentencing, Ulbricht told his mother;

Mom, a life sentence is really a death sentence. It just takes longer.

‘They Are Afraid of What’s Coming’

A Mother Reflects on the Anniversary of Her Son's Double Life SentenceJulia Tourianski Founder of Brave The World stands with Lyn Ulbricht during Porcfest.

Quite a few luminaries and entrepreneurs within the cryptocurrency environment spoke out against Forrest’s decision after the sentencing. Many of them are continuing to assist the Ulbricht family through the appeal process to this day. Supporters of Ulbricht still don’t understand how a man who didn’t commit any violent crimes could spend the rest of his life in jail.

“This is not the first time we have seen the assumed power structures cripple a peaceful individual to his knees, an individual forced to plead with the same entity that severed him from a society he wished to, and did, improve — And it will not be the last,” Julia Tourianski Founder of Brave The World told me the day he was sentenced.

Cody Wilson, the creator of Dark Wallet and the founder of Defense Distributed, the manufacturer of the world’s first 3D printable gun the Liberator, explained to me during a phone interview after the sentencing.  

They gave Noriega 25 years, and they had to send the Marines in after him. All the great drug lords of the past didn’t get double life sentences. They are going to put this kid away for double life? Give me a break. That just shows you how afraid they are of what’s coming.     

Awaiting the Appellate Court Ruling  

Four months later after the sentencing, Lyn Ulbricht almost died due to an ailment called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, otherwise known as Broken Heart Syndrome. Mrs. Ulbricht details that this heartbreak can also affect the younger generation as there are 2.9 million American children with parents who are incarcerated. “Over two-thirds of these parents — like Ross — are non-violent, mostly drug offenders,” explains Mrs. Ulbricht.

I never dreamed I’d be hoping and praying for our son to have a chance at a 20-year prison sentence, but that’s where this has brought me and my family. At least with that, Ross would have some life left.

“Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers as we wait for the ruling of the appellate court,” Mrs. Ulbricht concludes.

This article is reprinted from

  • Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written hundreds of articles about the disruptive protocols emerging today.