Prominent bitcoin entrepreneur, Roger Ver, has successfully raised a reported $150,000 dedicated to the defense fund of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged owner of the now-defunct illicit online marketplace, Silk Road.
It all began on July 5 when Ver, affectively known throughout the bitcoin community as “Bitcoin Jesus” fired off a tweet pledging a $10 donation for every single retweet. Soon after, Ver’s twitter account was flooded with support, receiving in total, now over 17k retweets at the current time of publishing, though this has now exceed the donation limit.
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) July 5, 2014
In a statement provided by the bitcoin evangelist himself, he tells Ars Technica:
“I don’t have or want to donate $100 million if the tweet has 10 million retweets,” he wrote. “I am sure the final amount raised will be well into the six [US dollar] figure. I’ll be working out the details with the family or lawyer some time this week or next.”
While authorities thus far have painted a grim picture of the alleged mastermind behind the Silk Road, Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), hurling accusations of money laundering and conspiracy among many other crimes, many throughout the bitcoin community are praising him as a hero. Ver himself explains that “I think that each individual owns their own body, and has the absolute right to put whatever they want into it.”
Echoing many throughout the community, Ver went on to explain:
“The police, judges, and jail guards who lock people in cages for ingesting substances without the permission of strangers are the ones committing evil and need to stop. If Ross Ulbricht is [Dread Pirate Roberts, the persona of the leader of Silk Road] and helped facilitate these voluntary interactions, he is a hero for helping provide the technology that allowed peaceful people to ignore the violent threats from strangers calling themselves politicians and law enforcement. If Ross is falsely accused and was not [Dread Pirate Roberts], then he deserves the best defense money can buy. Either way, he deserves the support of anyone who is opposed to the war on drugs.”
While many have vowed their support for Ulbricht whether or not he is found guilty, his mother, Lyn Ulbricht, for one, doesn’t believe that her son is the DPR. Mrs. Ulbricht, who recently spoke on behalf of her son’s support at the recent annual freedom festival, Porcfest, also provided a brief statement from Ross himself, which is posted on the family-operated support website, FreeRoss.org.
— Free_Ross (@Free_Ross) July 1, 2014
The statement reads:
“One thing I’ve learned since beginning my tour of the federal criminal justice system is that these guys are not all-powerful, they can be beaten and precedent can be set that will limit their ability to infringe on our rights. [...] The outcome of this legal battle will have a lasting impact on you and the rules you live under in this country.”
Ross Ulbricht’s trial is currently set to commence on November 3, 2014 in New York.
Image Credit: RogerVer.com