Ross Ulbricht, still noted for his involvement with the Silk Road marketplace, is set to auction his new collection of non-fungible token (NFT)-based artwork on April 6. The latest collection comes months after his Genesis Collection, in December 2021, fetched over $6 million at its auction. Till date, the collection remains to be among the most valuable, since it was fractionalised by the ones who acquired it.
The new series, named The Growth Collection, is being minted on the Bitcoin blockchain – instead of Ethereum, on which most NFTs are minted. The collection features four physical oil paintings and one ‘hand-drawn animation’, each of which will be presented to the winning bidder as Bitcoin-authenticated NFTs. The collection will be presented on 6 April at the Bitcoin22 conference in Miami, USA, on the occasion of the birthday of Bitcoin’s enigmatic founder, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Ross Ulbricht was perhaps one of the earliest controversies linked to cryptocurrencies. Ulbricht was linked and charged with running the dark web marketplace, called Silk Road. The latter was a store that facilitated the sale of drugs, fake identification documents and other items that are typically deemed as banned on the open web. Ulbricht was charged with facilitating the marketplace by allowing Bitcoin transactions, and in 2012, was jailed for two life sentences plus 40 years for his activities. Reports at the time had claimed that the Silk Road marketplace was directly responsible for at least six deaths, among other transgressions.
However, other reports have further highlighted that Ulbricht’s eventual trial linked to his role with Silk Road was rushed, and questioned if the terms of his imprisonment are fairly in line with his transgressions. Voices in support of Ulbricht also led to the formation of FreeRossDAO – a decentralised autonomous organisation that used its own crypto token to accept donations, and acquire funds for his family to fight for his case in court.
The Supreme Court in USA has since turned down an appeal on Ulbricht’s behalf in 2018 to revisit the terms.