Imprisoned Silk Road founder causes a stir with NFT drop

Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the now-defunct dark web marketplace Silk Road, has caused a stir by announcing that his series of nonfungible tokens (NFT) would be auctioned off starting December 2.

On December 1, the imprisoned early Bitcoin adopter revealed his plans to auction the Ross Ulbricht Genesis Collection on the Superare NFT marketplace from December 2 to 8. Ulbricht created 11 pieces of art, which were subsequently coined into NFT form by his followers.

Ulbricht created the paintings at various times of his life, from boyhood through his time in prison. Early works portray comic book characters and animals, but later works reflect events from his court trial and his emotional sentiments after his imprisonment.

The auction’s proceeds will go toward establishing a trust to support Ulbricht’s quest to get released from jail. Art4Giving, a donor-advised charitable fund “committed to alleviating the suffering of the prisoners and their families,” will also benefit from the funds.

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Since being sentenced to two life terms in federal prison in October 2015 for managing the Silk Road bazaar, Ulbricht has been a divisive figure in the crypto community. Silk Road, which first appeared on the dark web in February 2011, allows users to buy almost anything with Bitcoin (BTC), including illegal drugs.

The news triggered a flurry of mixed reactions on social media, with some criticizing Ulbricht’s move but the majority supporting his cause.

Although he supports Ulbricht, @francispouliot, creator of bullbitcoin.com, claimed that “the fact that the absurd and unethical NFT Ponzi has now been fully mainstream is very worrying.” Other Bitcoin maximalists, such as @vladenhawk, objected to the entire notion of NFTs “I can live with the emergence of worldwide marketplaces for drugs and weapons. But it’s at NFTS that I draw the line.”

Although some Bitcoin maximalists may be against Ulbricht minting NFTs, Crypto Cobain, the high-profile presenter of UpOnly TV, stated out in favor that he was essential in driving early Bitcoin popularity.