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Imprisoned dark web marketplace founder Ross Ulbricht’s debut NFT sold for $6.2 million

Ross Ulbricht was convicted and imprisoned, and is serving a life sentence for crimes related to his operation of the Silk Road, a dark web marketplace.

By: Tech Desk | Pune |
Updated: December 11, 2021 4:30:43 pm
The first NFT sold from Ulbritcht’s collection is a pencil sketch called the “Perspective” (Photo: Twitter/ Thanos ETH)

Ross Ulbricht, 37, the alleged founder of dark web marketplace Silk Road, has sold his first non fungible token (NFT), a pencil sketch drawing titled Perspective, for $6.2 million (Rs 47 crore) at an auction kicked off at Art Basel Miami through the SuperRare platform.

Ulbricht was convicted, and is serving a life imprisonment for crimes related to his operation of the Silk Road, where people bought and sold drugs, fake identity documents and other illegal goods — often with Bitcoin.

NFTs enable users to own rare digital artefacts through the blockchain network that backs cryptocurrencies. All forms of art, tweets, music, GIFs, and more such digital assets can be owned through NFTs.

Until a few months ago, Ulbricht says that he was not even aware of NFTs, but his supporters who want him released have create a decentralised group called FreeRossDAO, and put out his art works for auction, in the form on NFTs.

The Ross Ulbricht Genesis Collection NFT is a collection of writings and ten artworks by Ulbricht, from early childhood to teen to prisoner. It also includes an original animation created by an audiovisual artist Levitate, with voice over by Ross, inspired by his experience in prison.

The NFT sale was made  for a total of 1,446 Ether (ETH). Ulbricht says his artwork shows his story, from being a toddler to finding himself behind bars at the age of 29, and will use the money to finance his release efforts.

“All proceeds raised from the Ross Ulbricht Genesis Collection NFT will not be owned by Ross Ulbricht or his family, but by a legally separate entity that will redistribute proceeds towards the Art4Giving fund and efforts to free Ross Ulbricht,” FreeRossDAO fundraiser site reads. “Stand against injustice. Free Ross.”

“This NFT collection is Ross’s creative journey of expression; it is his living and evolving story. Through drawings and video, we see glimpses of a man’s unfolding existence. This is his way to reach outside the walls of prison, as we continue the campaign for his freedom,” added Entoptic, the agency that curated the NFTs.

Not just collectors or investors, but Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Sunny Leone are also jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon.

It should be noted that people have spent over $9 billion in NFT sales so far—and total NFT sales are expected to reach $17.7 billion by the end of the year, according to a new research by Cointelegraph.

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