The artwork of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht has raked in more than $6 million through an online auction that happened on December 9.
Ross, who founded the world’s first notable dark web marketplace, is currently serving a life sentence over crimes related to Silk Road activities within the underground economy. The platform facilitated the mass sale of illicit drugs, stolen identity, weapons and banned chemicals using bitcoin as the currency of choice.
The NFT, nonfungible token, sale was mad for the digital rights to 10 of the incarcerated Silk Road creator’s works, including a number of paintings and drawings that were created by Ross while serving time in prison and several childhood drawings.
Interestingly, one of the pieces of artwork includes the painting of a skull titled “Death” along with an essay that was written by Ross in reflection of his mortality as he spends the rest of his life behind bars.
The NFT sale is considered to be an avenue for Ross supporters, a majority of whom have since gained massive amounts of wealth off crypto investments, to support him through his prison life.
The rallying call to support the Silk Road founder can be found on this fundraising site, it partly read:
“Ross Ulbricht founded Silk Road, introduced hundreds of thousands to crypto, and received a disproportionate prison sentence of two lifetimes plus 40 years. Today we unite in solidarity for Ross, gathering funds to buy his Genesis Collection, and protesting the injustices of the American prison system. Stand against injustice. Free Ross.”
No Legal Obstacles
While reacting to the NFT sale, Ross’s mother published a post on Twitter intimating that the funds achieved from the auction will go towards efforts to free the convicted dark web mastermind and will also be channeled to a fund that will help connect prisoners with their children (See below).
Figure 1: A tweet posted by Ross's mother about how proceeds from the NFT sale will be spent.
The latest news reflects the personality of a man who image has achieved a cult-like status within crypto and dark web communities. As an early bitcoin adopter, Ross even made Bitcoin predictions in the past about the possibility of a crypto price fall.
So far, a section of analysts have been quick to analyze the possible implications of the NFT sale. It turns out that the $6 million will benefit Ross and his cause in light of the observations that have been made by legal experts.
While commenting on the sale, the head of the New York State Bar Committee on Media law Dan Novack said that the $6 million NFT sale is unlikely to violate any U.S. laws that prevent criminals from making money off the notoriety of their crimes – considering that Ross’s convictions did not capture any violent offences.