For better or worse, Ross Ulbricht has been one of the most notable names throughout Bitcoin’s history. If you don’t know who he is, Ross Ulbricht was the founder of Silk Road, one of the internet’s largest and best-known illicit dark web sites. This site, which quickly became a hotspot for trading firearms, drugs, and even assassination contracts, was what spurred the growth of Bitcoin as a method for payment.
This grabbed headlines all over the Internet, propelling Bitcoin into a political movement built on anarchist and libertarian principles. Silk Road has since been shut down and Ulbricht was arrested and is serving a double life sentence without parole for all non-violent charges. In honor of Bitcoin’s 10th birthday, Ross Ulbricht wrote a letter to the cryptocurrency expressing his sentiments from behind bars.
Happy Birthday, Bitcoin!
Bitcoin is turning ten, and like many of us, I feel like a proud parent, having watched it grow into its potential over the years. I guess I’m the estranged father in prison though, who can’t be there to help raise his kid.
Bitcoin: Mommy, when’s Daddy coming home?
Mommy: He’ll come home as soon as he can, sweetie.
Bitcoin: Why did he leave us, Mommy?
Mommy: I’ll explain when you’re older. Now run along and play blockchain with the other cryptos.
Bitcoin as a 10-year-old kid is not a bad analogy. The technology is still very young, still growing. It’s been shooting up like a weed and has gone through some growing pains, but it’s barely a pre-teen and has the rocky road of adolescence still ahead. It’s something we all have to go through to mature into adults, to discover who we are, and Bitcoin is no different.
We will see in the years ahead what Bitcoin is capable of, how it will be used, and the impact it will have on our world. I have high hopes that our gifted child will exceed everyone’s expectations and go on to greatness, but it is still a child that must be nurtured and protected.
Bitcoin needs us to continue guiding it with the values it was founded on, that gave it its potential. We must keep our focus on decentralization, privacy and empowering individuals. We are Bitcoin’s advocates and representatives. How far it goes and what it becomes in the crucial years ahead will depend on us. It is a technology with the power to make abstractions like peace and equality into reality. But it’s up to us to embody such ideals and be role models for the ever-growing Bitcoin community and for Bitcoin itself.
I’m so excited for what’s to come in the next ten years, for Bitcoin and all of its crypto cousins. I just hope I can come home and make up for these lost years and show everyone where my heart truly is.
(This letter has been taken from Bitcoin Magazine. To learn more about Ulbricht’s petition for clemency, please visit freeross.org. Follow @free_ross, @RealRossU and the #freeross hashtag on Twitter. Visit Free Ross on Facebook and freerossulbricht on Instagram.)
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