US Government to Sell Seized Silk Road Bitcoin

The United States government has announced plans to sell more than 41,000 Bitcoin that were seized as part of the case against Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht. The news comes from a filing submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on March 31, which detailed the ongoing proceedings against James Zhong.

The U.S. government authorities have already begun liquidating roughly 51,352 Bitcoin (BTC) seized in the Ulbricht case. The filing reported that officials sold around 9,861 BTC for over $215 million on March 14, which leaves approximately 41,491 BTC remaining.

According to the court filing, “The Government understands [the Bitcoin] is expected to be liquidated in four more batches over the course of this calendar year.” It remains to be seen how the Bitcoin market will react to such a large influx of cryptocurrency hitting the market, but it is likely that this news will generate significant interest among investors.

Silk Road was an online black market that allowed users to purchase illegal goods and services using Bitcoin. The website was shut down by the FBI in 2013, and its creator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested and sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2015.

The U.S. government’s seizure of the Bitcoin associated with Silk Road was one of the largest cryptocurrency seizures in history. At the time, the Bitcoin was worth roughly $1 billion, although its value has since increased significantly.

This announcement from the U.S. government is just the latest in a series of moves to regulate the cryptocurrency industry. Regulators around the world are increasingly concerned about the potential for cryptocurrencies to be used in illegal activities such as money laundering and terrorism financing. As a result, we can expect to see further scrutiny of the industry in the years ahead.

In conclusion, the U.S. government’s decision to liquidate the seized Silk Road Bitcoin is likely to have a significant impact on the cryptocurrency market. Investors will be closely watching the market to see how it reacts to such a large influx of Bitcoin, and regulators will be keen to ensure that the cryptocurrency industry is not used for illegal activities. We will continue to monitor this developing story and provide updates as they become available.


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Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht Apologizes to the Public on the Eve of His 10th Year in Prison

Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht who is currently serving a double sentence in prison for his role in running a distribution network that allows buying and selling hard drugs through the use of Bitcoin made a statement on Friday describing his emotions on the eve of his 10th year in prison.


According to a Twitter post via his account run by a loved one, Ross shared that he regrets his actions as the mastermind of Silk Road. He admitted to having caused a lot of pain and ruined his life when he looked back at his many errors.


Ulbricht was arrested and sentenced to life in prison on seven charges in 2013; distribution of narcotics, distribution of narcotics over the Internet, conspiracy to distribute narcotics, furthering a  criminal enterprise, conspiracy to hack a computer, conspiracy to smuggle using false identification, and money laundering.


Ulbricht received proceeds through Bitcoin from about 1,229,465 transactions over the two-year operation from his ‘darknet’ website as stated by court documents. 


The Silk Road founder is still very much present in the crypto space despite his sentence. He introduced a decentralized social protocol (DSP) in 2021 stating how it will operate and the problems to solve.


Support for Ulbricht


Ulbricht has continued to receive support from crypto enthusiasts around the globe. Most of his supporters feel his sentence is unfair and therefore deserves a second chance. 


The ‘ClemencyForRoss’ support group on Twitter made a Twitter post on Friday stating that Ulbricht doesn’t deserve to die in prison because he is a first-time offender, his charges were non-violent and he has shown an exemplary life by giving help to others in prison.


According to a news report by Blockchain.News, a billboard in Times Square was rented for several months in 2020 by Ulbricht’s supporters to campaign for his release. 


Some of Ulbricht’s supporters believe that he only created a safe space for conducting business and the government is only after him because they didn’t get a share from his proceeds.

Image source: Shutterstock


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FreeRossDAO Wins Silk Road Founder’s NFT Auction With $6.2M Bid

Key Takeaways

  • FreeRossDAO has won the auction for Ross Ulbricht’s first NFT collection with a $6.2 million bid.
  • The DAO hopes to free Ross Ulbricht, advance prison reform, and provide fractionalized ownership of Ulbricht’s work to the world.
  • Ulbricht is currently serving a double life plus 40 years prison sentence for creating the darknet marketplace Silk Road.

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The funds will be used to support the Free Ross campaign and help prisoners meet their families.

Ulbricht NFT Raises $6.2 Million

Ross Ulbricht just sold his first NFT collection for $6.2 million. 

FreeRossDAO, an organization launched to acquire the digital collectibles, placed the winning bid after launching last week. Similar to Constitution DAO, which recently came close to acquiring a copy of the U.S. Constitution in a Sotheby’s auction, FreeRossDAO took contributions in ETH and pooled them in an effort to win the auction. FreeRossDAO’s mission was three-pronged: to free Ross Ulbricht, to “advance prison reform,” and to share Ulbricht’s work with the world while giving people an opportunity to own part of the work by fractionalizing the collection. 

Ross Ulbricht gained notoriety for operating a darknet marketplace called Silk Road, which was primarily used for the sale of illegal drugs. Silk Road vendors routinely mailed drugs to customers in exchange for Bitcoin. The marketplace became hugely popular, generating 9,519,664 Bitcoin in sales. Ulbricht, who operated under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” launched Silk Road in 2011 at the age of 26 and oversaw the operation until it was shut down by the FBI in 2013. Ulbricht was then sentenced to a double life and 40-year sentence without possibility of parole. 

Contributors to FreeRossDAO were promised ROSS tokens, which were planned to represent both governance rights and fractionalized ownership in the NFT collection. FreeRossDAO raised 1446 ETH and had 1390 ETH remaining after winning the auction; the remaining contributions will be sent to the FreeRossDAO treasury, which will be governed by contributors. 

Notable contributors to FreeRossDAO included personal friends of Ulbricht and PleasrDAO, which seeded 240 ETH and vowed to continue contributing if FreeRossDAO was outbid in the auction. 

Ulbricht expressed gratitude to those who had supported his NFT collection throughout the auction. “I’m so moved by what is going right now with the NFT auction,” he wrote in a Dec. 6 tweet. “I feel…acceptance, love, validation, many things. You humble me.” 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece held ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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Nifty News: Ulbricht’s NFT bids top 261 ETH, Irishman producer funds movies with NFTs

Silk Roads lead to nonfungile tokens

Bidding for a 1/1 NFT auction created by imprisoned Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht has surpassed 261 Ether (ETH), $1.17 million at the time of writing.

The NFT depicts a hand-drawn illustration from Ulbricht of a psychedelic eye, and is part of a collection of writings and nine other artworks he created, some while in prison, that are included as part of the NFT sale. The auction kicked off on day one of the Art Basil Miami art fair on Dec. 2 and is being hosted by SuperRare.

The auction is set to conclude on Nov. 8 and proceeds from the sale will go towards a trust supporting Ulbricht’s fight to be freed from his double-life prison sentence, and will also help launch the donor-advised charitable fund Art4Giving that aims to help prisoners and their families.

In a blog post announcing the NFT drop, Ulbricht said that while his future looks bleak during his ninth year in prison without parole, he can do something positive to heal all the “damage” he sees around him.

$225K NFT on sale for $20?

Speaking of the Art Basil Miami art fair, Dmitri Cherniak the founder of the Ethereum-based and algorithmically generated NFT collection “Ringers” made an appearance out the front, offering to sell one of his NFTs worth $225,000 for a mere $20.

It is unclear if the move was in jest, or a genuine offer however Cherniak shared a picture of himself at the event with a note on his Ipad that read “Ringers #0 for sale for $20.” Despite the floor price for Ringers NFTs currently sitting at 50 ETH or $225,000 on OpenSea, the artist noted that nobody took him up on the offer.

One user on Twitter noted that the stunt was similar to that of world-famous street artist Banksy, who has reportedly taken to the streets on multiple occasions to sell his art.

“This is just like Banksy selling on the streets and no one taking him up on it until he started slashing prices. Dmitri might have gotten a nibble from the normies at $5-10, they def ngmi,” user 5511 wrote.

Polygon to launch NFT games

Polygon (MATIC), the Ethereum-based layer-two scaling solution and its gaming unit Polygon Studios have entered into a strategic partnership with GameOn Entertainment Technologies Inc. to build NFT games.

GameOn is a U.S.-based sports prediction and gaming firm that caters to sports and media entertainment.

According to a Dec. 2 announcement, the deal will see GameOn launch a series of NFT games on the Polygon network, while Polygon Studios will provide non-dilutive funding for 50% of GameOn’s going product development costs.

The investment from Polygon Studios is part of a $100 million fund announced earlier this year that is focused on backing Web3 projects, with investments so far including DraftKings, DeFine and GameOn.

Related: Deadmau5 and Portugal The Man release single as 1M NFTs in bid to go platinum

GameOn stated in the announcement the partnership with Polygon Studios will significantly help the firm ramp up plans for the NFT sector.

“The Polygon Studios investment allows GameOn to offer the full stack of capabilities from the creation, minting and selling of NFTs, to the game layers it already deploys for white label customers such as prediction and fantasy games,” the announcement read.

Irishman producer looks to fund movies with NFTs

Neils Juul, the executive producer behind Martin Scorsese’s hit film The Irishman, has created a new NFT company that aims to fund Hollywood films via NFT sales.

According to a Dec. 1 report from The Hollywood Reporter, Juul’s new firm is dubbed “NFT Studios” and already has plans to fund a new comedy-drama film from NFT sales called “A Wing and a Prayer.”

The movie will depict the real-life story of Brian Melton, who became the first man to circumnavigate the globe in an ultralight aircraft back in 1998. The film aims to feature A-list actors and is set to be shot in Malta and London by next April.

“We are in the middle of a great transition in the entertainment business where traditional ways of film funding and ownership are being uprooted due to the rapid rise of streamers and other digital platforms,” Juul told the publication.

Other Nifty News

On Thursday, Adidas announced it was entering the Metaverse in partnership with the Bored Ape Yacht Club creators Yuga Labs, gmoney NFT, and PUNKS Comic.

On the same day, registered investment adviser and fintech firm Defiance launched the first NFT-focused exchange-traded fund (ETF) on the New York Stock Exchange Arca. The fund is listed under the ticker symbol NFTZ and has a management fee of 0.65% per year.