Opinion: 10 years ago, on this day, Bitcoin [BTC] was nothing but words on a paper; an idea in the mind of the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. Today, it is poised to become a new asset class; a first after almost a century.
Along the way, there existed many that popularized Bitcoin and made it the movement that it is today. However, none played a more instrumental and polarizing role than Ross Ulbricht, the creator, and operator of Dark Net marketplace known as the Silk Road.
The 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, snowballing Bitcoin into a political movement built on anarchist and libertarian principles.
Ulbricht was then tracked down and brought before a judge in mid-2015, where he was sentenced to double life imprisonment plus forty years without parole. This has also driven the creation of the FreeRoss movement, a petition which has garnered over 55,000 signatures.
Writing from prison on the occasion of Bitcoin’s 10th birthday, Ulbricht spoke about his pride towards the growth of the movement. In a letter revealed to Bitcoin Magazine, he compared himself to being a parent of Bitcoin, albeit an “estranged father in prison”.
He went on to compare Bitcoin to a 10-year-old child, as the technology was “still very young” and “still growing”. He predicted the next 10 years to be like a “rocky road of adolescence”, where Bitcoin is yet to discover what it is and mature into an adult. He stated:
“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.”
Ulbricht stressed the importance of going along with the values that the coin was founded on, and those that gave it its potential. He mentioned factors such as decentralization, privacy and empowering individuals, passing on the torch to the advocates of Bitcoin to represent it. How much further Bitcoin goes will depend on them, stated Ulbricht.
In his closing statement, he said:
“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.”
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