Trump pledges to free Ross Ulbricht, the ‘political prisoner of Bitcoin’

Sentenced to double life and 40 years in prison for creating an online trading site incorporating Bitcoin in 2011, Ross Ulbricht could be leaving prison after more than 11 years. Indeed, candidate Donald J. Trump has promised to remove the Silk Road founder’s life sentence. A new promise from Trump aimed at attracting the pro-crypto electorate ahead of next November’s elections.

Ross Ulbricht soon to be free?

The crypto industry is more than ever at the center of the US elections. Each candidate is taking advantage of every opportunity to attract the sympathy of the pro-crypto electorate. Former US president Donald Trump has promised to free the founder of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht if elected in November 2024.

In his speech to the Libertarian National Convention in Washington, Donald committed himself to commuting the life sentence of Ross Ulbricht serving his sentence. For Trump, the Silk Road founder’s 11 years behind bars are more than enough.

If you vote for me, on day one I’ll commute Ross Ulbricht’s sentence to a prison term. He’s already served 11 years, we’ll bring him home.

Donald Trump

Trump’s pledge welcomed in crypto ecosystem

The promise of Donald Trump to release Ross Ulbricht was met with cheers. In the crypto ecosystem, the heavy sentence imposed on Ross Ulbricht has always been perceived as harsh and unfair. For many, the case against Silk Road and Ross Ulbricht was in fact an attack on Bitcoin.

As a reminder, in 2011, Ross Ulbricht has created Silk Road, a totally free online marketplace. The majority of exchanges on Silk Road were settled in Bitcoin, even though this cryptocurrency was little-known. Taking advantage of the freedom and confidentiality guaranteed by Silk Road, some users are said to have bought drugs with Bitcoin.

It’s true that Silk Road has facilitated some illegal exchanges. Ross Ulbricht is even the first to while asking for clemency of the judicial authorities. However, the responsibility for such illegal exchanges lies with those who have done it. Not the one who has merely created an e-commerce site on which consenting adults choose what they want to buy and sell.

Beyond winning the sympathy of the pro-crypto electorate, Donald Trump would be righting a grave injustice if he freed Ross Ulbricht. The founder of Silk Road may have committed an offense by creating Silk Road. However, taking a double life and 40 years in prison for that seems vastly exaggerated.