Sun, June 16, 2024

Trump Vows to Free Ross Ulbricht if Re-Elected in 2024

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Quick Look:

  • Trump promises to commute Ross Ulbricht’s life sentence if re-elected.
  • Silk Road, a darknet marketplace, operated from 2011-2013, primarily selling drugs.
  • Trump endorses cryptocurrency, contrasting Biden’s stance, and accepts crypto donations.
On 25th May 2024, Donald J. Trump made a significant pledge during a convention, promising to commute the life sentence of Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, if he were to be re-elected as President of the United States. Ulbricht, who has already served 11 years, was sentenced to two life terms plus 40 years for creating and operating the infamous darknet marketplace.

Ulbricht Faces Two Life Terms Plus 40 Years Since 2015

Silk Road operated from 2011 to 2013, providing an anonymous platform for buying and selling goods, primarily drugs, and marked the first significant real-world use of Bitcoin. Ulbricht’s arrest and subsequent sentencing on 29th May 2015 sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency community. The case highlighted the potential and pitfalls of decentralised digital currencies, which have since evolved significantly.

Trump’s Cryptocurrency Endorsement

Trump’s support for Ulbricht aligns with his broader endorsement of the cryptocurrency industry. On the same day as his Ulbricht pledge, Trump praised the sector on Truth Social, expressing his very positive and open-minded attitude towards cryptocurrency companies and all aspects of this new and burgeoning industry. He emphasised that the country must be the leader in the field, as there is no second place. This starkly contrasted his predecessor, Joe Biden, whom Trump criticised, accusing him of wanting the cryptocurrency industry “to die a slow and painful death.”

Libertarian Party’s 2018 Clemency Appeal for Ulbricht

The movement to free Ulbricht has gained traction over the years. On 15th May 2018, the Libertarian Party called on then-President Trump to pardon him. Despite the growing support, Trump did not grant amnesty to Ulbricht during his first term, even as he pardoned 143 individuals on 19th January 2021, including several high-profile figures, notably excluding Ulbricht, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Trump Campaign Embraces Crypto Donations in 2024

Trump’s recent statements are part of a broader strategy to position himself as a pro-crypto candidate. On 22nd May 2024, he posted on social media about his positive outlook on cryptocurrency companies, reiterating his vision of the United States leading the field. His campaign has also started accepting crypto donations, making him the first major party candidate to embrace digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ether.

House Passes Crypto Bill, Faces White House Opposition

The political landscape around cryptocurrency is rapidly evolving. On 24th May 2024, the White House issued a statement opposing a crypto market structure bill passed by the House of Representatives, although President Biden did not threaten a veto. The following day, the House’s approval sent the bill to the Senate, marking a critical juncture for the regulatory framework of digital currencies in the US.

SEC Approves Ether ETFs, US Market Integration Advances

During the convention on 25th May, Trump outlined his vision for the future of cryptocurrency in the United States. He promised to ensure that the future of crypto and Bitcoin would be domestically driven, not pushed overseas. Trump assured that he would support the right to self-custody and vowed to protect the crypto community from political adversaries. The former president addressed the nation’s fifty million crypto holders, promising to keep Elizabeth Warren and her allies away from their bitcoin and never to allow the creation of a central bank digital currency. These remarks were met with enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Ulbricht’s Fate Tied to 2024 Election and Crypto Politics

The discussion around cryptocurrency continues to be polarising. While Trump’s supporters cheer his pro-crypto stance, critics argue about digital currencies’ potential risks and regulatory challenges. The forthcoming debates and legislative processes will undoubtedly shape the future of cryptocurrency in the United States and potentially worldwide.

Amidst this, Ross Ulbricht’s fate hangs in the balance, contingent on the outcome of the next presidential election and Trump’s commitment to his campaign promises. The intersection of politics, technology, and justice will be a space to watch closely in the coming months.

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