2) Ross Ulbricht
By creating Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht was actually following in the footsteps of Satoshi; his online, private, secure black market exclusively accepted Bitcoin as a means of payment for years after its launch. Silk Road was an e-commerce platform like Amazon or Craigslist but placed a heavy emphasis on privacy and security.
Though the media often portrays Ulbricht as a malicious drug kingpin, this could not be farther from the truth. An eagle scout and advocate for individual freedom, he simply wanted to create a platform that enabled individuals to freely trade goods and services. Silk Road placed unilateral bans on any purchase that would cause harm to others, such as child pornography, counterfeited or stolen items, and weapons. It also operated beyond the scope of the government, eliminating harmful taxes and regulations that make everyday transactions more difficult and costly.
So, what did people use Silk Road for? In short, everything else. The site sold everything from books to fireworks, musical instruments to garden equipment. Predominantly, though, people used it for small, user amounts of marijuana. A Carnegie Mellon study in 2012 confirmed this, asserting that sold quantities were usually small and that marijuana was by far the biggest seller.
A Marijuana and Privacy Leader
Basically, this puts Ross years ahead of the curve when it comes to marijuana acceptance. Colorado legalized it in 2014, with several states following since. But many still have not, and even in those that do, use is certainly not free. With strict taxes and regulations, the government is outlining very carefully the means in which someone can use marijuana.
Ross’ platform, on the other hand, did not come with these tight restrictions. He did not ask the government’s permission and didn’t wait for legalization; he took real action to help people get the product that they desired. Years before legalization had even occurred to most people, Ross Ulbricht had enabled countless adults to freely obtain their marijuana without asking permission.
Unfortunately, Ross Ulbricht paid a price for his work for freedom. After an unfair trial involving corrupt investigators and biased sentencing, he is now in prison with a double life sentence plus 40 years. Since, Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’ mother, has started Free Ross, an organization dedicated to getting the Silk Road pioneer out of prison. Sign the petition to grant Ross clemency here.