"Bitcoin Jesus" pledges $150,000-ish donation to accused Silk Road creator, following viral tweet of support
Ross Ulbricht, the man accused of masterminding the Silk Road dark Web drug marketplace and of several related attempted murder-for-hire charges, stands to receive tens of thousands of dollars in donations to his defense fund and some much needed publicity.
This after noted bitcoin entrepreneur Roger “Bitcoin Jesus” Ver pledged over the weekend to donate $10 for every retweet of a message in support of Ulbricht.
I’ll give $10 to @Free_Ross for each RT. If guilty, he’s a hero. If innocent, he needs help. http://t.co/XwhqrN06UT pic.twitter.com/Oau4dkFvdV
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) July 5, 2014 The tweet has subsequently gone viral. As of 12:00pm PT today, it has accumulated 16,818 retweets and 222 favorites. Ver, however, sent a follow-up tweet at 3am PT this morning, capping the donations (at an unspecified level, seemingly in the range of $150,000) but welcoming additional retweets for the purposes of spreading the word about Ulbricht’s case.
Amazing support for @Free_Ross https://t.co/DyCFsnDMpv More retweets welcome, but the donation limit has been reached. #Silkroad #Bitcoin — Roger Ver (@rogerkver) July 7, 2014Ver’s call for support included a link to a letter apparently sent from prison by Ulbricht to the organizers of the Porcupine Freedom Festival on June 21. In it, he writes:
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.
I urge you to stand by me and do what you can to turn this horrible situation into a win. Ver, who is based in Singapore, is an investor in a number of prominent bitcoin companies, including BitPay, Coinsetter, Kraken, CoinLab, Blockchain, Safello, and BitInstant. It’s unknown just how much bitcoin wealth Ver has accumulated, but it was enough for the entrepreneur and angel investor to donate $1 million worth of bitcoins to charity in November 2013, when bitcoin was near its all time peak of $1,200. He also recently issued a $20,000 bounty on the head of a hacker who attempted to breach his personal network.
The Free Ross Twitter account thanked Ver for his support, writing:
.@rogerkver is hero & champion. We're privileged to have him as an ally & are profoundly grateful for his awesome support. Thank you Roger!
— Free_Ross (@Free_Ross) July 7, 2014 Such support is particularly welcome in light of the prosecution’s recent evisceration of Ulbricht’s planned defense. This, on top of the fact that the Free Ross donation campaign had until this point received only minimal donations, according to Ulbricht’s mother Lyn, with the largest such contribution coming in at just $17,000. The spike in attention driven by Ver's tweet should also help Ulbricht's family and defense keep the case top-of-mind among potential supporters -- though it's not like the prosecution is likely to go easy on him as a result.