Ross Ulbricht, the incarcerated founder of the now busted Silk Road dark web marketplace, has fulfilled a major part of his sentence. A newly discovered court filing shows that last year, prosecutors quietly signed an agreement with Ulbricht to cancel out the $183 million in restitution he was to pay.
Ulbricht forfeits his claim to billions worth of Bitcoin to pay his $183 million restitution
According to the filing, a tranche of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and Bitcoin SV worth nearly $3 billion will be forfeited to the government. The agreement stipulated that proceeds from the sale of the assets will go towards covering the money judgment part of Ulbricht’s sentence and any other purposes the government sees fit.
Ulbricht further relinquishes all right, title and interest in the [69,370 BTC] and agrees that said property shall be forfeited to the United States and disposed of according to law by the United States, the filing said.
The said assets originated from the efforts of government investigators in the Justice Department. Back in 2020, the government confiscated the 69,370 BTC from a hacker who exploited the Silk Road marketplace before it was shut down.
The Silk Road marketplace was notorious for facilitating the sale of drugs and other illegal items. Often called the first modern darknet marketplace, it operated from 2011 till it was finally shut down in 2014 by the FBI, and it accepted cryptocurrency payments to keep users anonymous.
Ulbricht continues to appeal his life sentence
Since 2015, Ulbricht has been serving a life sentence for his role in founding and operating the marketplace. However, he has been appealing to turn the sentence around. With this settlement, it means that he will be allowed to earn money while in prison according to Wired who first disclosed the document.
Wired also reports that Lyn Ulbricht, the programmer’s mother who has been championing his advocacy efforts, said the settlement was a significant victory. She added that there was still hope for the “unjust sentence” to be corrected.
“We’re very pleased that the financial penalty that was wrongly imposed on Ross has been reversed, just as other false charges against him were dropped in federal court after trial,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ulbricht has been garnering support for his appeal case from within prison. He has so far carried out two auctions of his NFT digital art pieces. The proceeds of the auctions have been going to his case and his philanthropy efforts to help other inmates and their families.