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Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht faces life in prison

Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht could face life in prison for creating and actively running the illegal narcotics service. Ulbricht is on trial in Manhattan court today for his involvement, with a minimum of 20 years in prison.

The court found Ulbricht guilty of selling illegal drugs, drug trafficking, hacking, money laundering and selling fake IDs. The alleged hired hitmen were not added to the list of convictions, due to a lack of evidence.

Silk Road was one of the largest online drug sellers in the US, working through Tor network and receiving payments in Bitcoin. The FBI shut down the website a few months ago, but questions have arisen due to the way it found Ulbricht’s identity.

Ulbricht went under the name Dread Pirate Roberts, the admin of the Silk Road.

Hacking is one of the ambiguous parts of US law, with some hackers being let off and others getting life sentences. The case against Aaron Swartz landed him a 35 year prison sentence, just for stealing intellectual property from a college.

If Ulbricht were to receive the maximum sentence, he would spend 35 years in a maximum security prison, despite no assault charges. His mother, Lyn Ulbricht, claims the 20 years is already too much and his son would not commit another crime.

Silk Road has been replaced with several new online drug stores trying to replicate the ease-of-use of the original. Some questions have been raised as to the advantages of shutting down Silk Road, considering a lot of the providers were clean, while on these new sites criminals are taking advantage by selling cheap and potentially deadly drugs.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.