This is an editorial by Ross Ulbricht, founder of pioneering Bitcoin marketplace Silk Road, who is currently serving a double life sentence and 40 years in federal prison.
A lot more is said about Bitcoin these days than when I was in jail. On October 1, 2022, I will have been in this cage for 10 years. Now, as I pen on the page, the afternoon sun is streaming through the window bars and the murmurings of other prisoners meander under my cell door.
Over the years, I’ve heard people say all sorts of things about Bitcoin. I have heard that “Bitcoin is dead” and “Bitcoin is the future”. I have heard that “Bitcoin is bad for the environment” and “Bitcoin will set us free”. But I noticed that Bitcoin doesn’t seem to care what we say. Of course, it’s not an exchange. Like all financial markets, it is driven by the whims of people. I’m talking about Bitcoin itself.
Bitcoin has no ears. It doesn’t matter what we say. Without a social level catastrophe, Bitcoin he will keep adding blocks every 10 minutes forever. That’s the point. Since Bitcoin was born over 13 years ago, it has gone through all its ups and downs, despite the hype, despite the naysayers, despite everything, it never faltered.
I can’t say that myself, but again, I’m just a human being. A few years after Bitcoin started, I made the biggest mistake of my life. They created the Silk Road (anonymous online marketplace). Of course, I didn’t know at the time that it was a mistake. I thought it was a great idea. I thought I was putting Bitcoin to good use and giving people privacy and freedom. When illegal drugs were on the list, I believed drugs should be legalized, so I thought that was fine too. Don’t worry about what you risked.
A few years later, I was jailed for drug trafficking and sentenced to two life sentences without parole and 40 years. I was falsely portrayed in the media as a violent drug kingpin.The Silk Road story was reduced to a cliche of cops and robbers. Far from flinching, I hit rock bottom. I have been here ever since.
Bitcoin never wavered. Through the rise and fall of the Silk Road, through the years of my relentless imprisonment, through competition and catastrophe Bitcoin keeps ticking like clockwork he one block at a time.
As Bitcoin progressed, I struggled to rejoin the world outside the cage. But I am tired. I’m burned out and want this nightmare to end.
Before I went to prison, I knew nothing about hard drugs. Since then, I have been locked in an 8 x 10 foot cell with lifelong addicts for months. I was confronted with the fact that in making the Silk Road, I played a role in hurting so many lives. I don’t even think about the politics of the war on drugs anymore. I know I can never promote drug use again, legal or illegal. What if I was horrified to find out that someone I loved was addicted?
During my imprisonment, I went through many stages: despair, fear, guilt, acceptance, boredom, feverish despair, and all the while Bitcoin kept going. Today I am inspired by Bitcoin. Every day we take the next step. Continue adding the next block. I get my freedom back, or at the end of my life I can look back and say, “At least I tried.”
This is a guest post by Ross Ulbricht. Opinions expressed are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of his BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.
Bitcoin Motivates Ross Ulbricht in Prison – Bitcoin Magazine
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