There have been a few developments in the Silk Road case, and we will cover the main findings regarding the ongoing trial including Ross Ulbricht
Ross Ulbricht(Dread Pirate Roberts?)
The main change in the Ross Ulbricht case is the evidence presented by the FBI. The most important object was Ross Ulbricht’s laptop that was shown to have a digital journal that depicted his involvement in Silk Road as well as creating it. The information found in the journal is very extensive and quite interesting.
He begins depicting his past. A man broken by heartbreak and the lack of opportunities. He is shown to be desperate:
“I started the year in the middle of my stint with Good Wagon Books.
Donny and I had worked on it the last quarter of 2009 and were trying to ramp up by hiring people to go door-to-door. It was a real struggle and by the end of our trial partnership, it was clear that we hadn’t grown the business to the point that it made sense for me to stay on. I also had an offer for a job from Peter and David that sounded great and I was ready to move on and work for them on their private equity venture. Unfortunately, they were all smoke and mirrors and after several weeks of them not returning my calls, I realized there was not an opportunity for me there. This was extremely discouraging. There I was, with nothing. My investment company came to nothing, my game company came to nothing, Good Wagon came to nothing, and then this.
I had to find a job quickly, so I turned to Craig’s List and found American Journal Experts. For the next six months, I edited scientific papers written by foreigners. It sucked. The hours were flexible, but it drained me. I hated working for someone else and trading my time for money with no investment in myself.”
A man who lost his path and reached one of the lowest points of his life. Multiple failed businesses and having to look for a job at the bottom of the barrel. A man inspired by the life he had lived will go on to create the most important site in Bitcoin’s short lifespan.
“In 2011, I am creating a year of prosperity and power beyond what I have ever experienced before. Silk Road is going to become a phenomenon and at least one person will tell me about it, unknowing that I was its creator. Good Wagon Books will find its place and get to the point that it basically runs itself. Julia and I will be happy and living together. I have many friends I can count on who are powerful and connected.”
One’s life can become the inspiration to become better, and that is the case with Ross Ulbricht. He goes through hell to create an anonymous marketplace that will bring an era of prosperity to both bitcoin and himself. He decided to make a change. One that would bring an era of anonymous transactions that would ultimately lead to government upheaval.
“Still working on good wagon books and Silk Road at the same time. Programming now. Patchwork php mysql. Don’t know how to host my own site. Didn’t know how to run bitcoind. Got the basics of my site written. Launched it on freedomhosting. Announced it on the bitcointalk forums. Only a few days after launch, I got my first signups, and then my first message. I was so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself. Little by little, people signed up, and vendors signed up, and then it happened. My first order. I’ll never forget it. The next couple of months, I sold about 10 lbs of shrooms through my site. Some orders were as small as a gram, and others were in the qp range. Before long, I completely sold out. Looking back on it, I maybe should have raised my prices more and stretched it out, but at least now I was all digital, no physical risk anymore. Before long, traffic started to build. People were taking notice, smart, interested people. Hackers. For the first several months, I handled all of the transactions by hand. Between answering messages, processing transactions, and updating the codebase to fix the constant security holes, I had very little time left in the day, and I had a girlfriend at this time!”
“In addition to these stressors, Silk Road got its first press, the infamous Gawker article. When you look at the historical #s, you can see right when it happened. A huge spike in signups, and the beginning of an upward trend in commerce that would continue until the time of this writing, and hopefully for much longer.
Most interestingly, two US senators came out against the site and against bitcoin. They made a big deal out of it and called for a shutdown of the site. I started to get into a bad state of mind. I was mentally taxed, and now I felt extremely vulnerable and scared. The US govt, my main enemy was aware of me and some of it’s members were calling for my destruction. This is the biggest force wielding organization on the planet.
Most importantly, the market began it’s path to maturity. Vendors and buyers forged great relationships, more vendors came in to fill holes in the market, others competed and variety, customer service, and professionalism emerged. After making about $100k and up to a good $20-25k monthly, I decided it was time to bring in some hired guns to help me take the site to the next level.”
Silk Road starts to bloom, and Ross Ulbricht begins to receive revenue from the site he created that started to sell drugs at an incredibly fast pace. This event marks Silk Road’s expansion into an actual drug marketplace that includes many smaller pieces to the puzzle. In 2011, a personality arises that becomes Ross Ulbricht’s mentor. He teaches him how to handle his business, and becomes the greater mastermind to Silk Road.
“Around this time, Variety Jones showed up. This was the biggest and strongest willed character I had met through the site thus far. He quickly proved to me that he had value by pointing out a major security hole in the site I was unaware of… He has advised me on many technical aspect of what we are doing, helped me speed up the site and squeeze more out of my current servers. He also has helped me better interact with the community around Silk Road, delivering proclamations, handling troublesome characters, running a sale, changing my name, devising rules, and on and on. He also helped me get my head straight regarding legal protection, cover stories, devising a will, finding asuccessor, and so on. He’s been a real mentor.”
Ross begins to become the personality he is nowadays. He learned the ins and outs of the community he has created. He becomes a leader to the users of his marketplace and learned to protect his identity from those wanting to harm him. He continues to surround himself with people he can trust and keeps on receiving advice from his mentor
“Chatted with VJ again today. Him coming onto the scene has re inspired me and given me direction on the SR project. He has helped me see a larger vision. A brand that people can come to trust and rally behind. Silk Road chat, Silk Road exchange, Silk Road credit union, Silk Road market, Silk Road everything! And it’s been amazing just talking to a guy who is so intelligent and in the same boat as me, to a certain degree at least. So, today we talked mostly about the exchange, what to charge, boundary conditions, etc.”
Inspired by the people he has met and by the knowledge he has acquired, Ross becomes the most important character in all that includes Bitcoin. He owns a prominent business selling drugs to others that came to be spoken as if it were a cartel. However, Ross Ulbricht battled his internal demons that haunted him to speak the truth regarding his identity.
“Then I went for a surf with Billy Becket. Caught a couple of good waves, chatted with him took some wipe outs, and went in. Soon after, I ran around the city with Ashely and Kelly. We drank some beer, walked around the city and botanical gardens. I then went out with Jessica. Our conversation was somewhat deep. I felt compelled to reveal myself to her. It was terrible. I told her I have secrets. She already knows I work with bitcoin wich is also terrible. I’m so stupid. Everyone knows I am working on a bitcoin exchange. I always thought honesty was the best policy, and now I don’t know what to do. I should’ve just told everyone I am a freelance programmer or something, but I had to tell half truthes. It felt wrong to lie completely so I tried to tell the truth without revealing the bad part, but now I am in a jam. Everyone knows too much. Dammit.”
The possession of this information will be crucial in the trial, but can we say that Ross Ulbricht is Dread Pirate Roberts? The defense will argue that Ross gave possession of the Silk Road to an administrator who becomes Dread Pirate Roberts in the continuation of the case tomorrow.
Does Ross Ulbricht stand a fighting chance against the evidence provided by the claimants? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Source: FreeKeene.com