The trail of Ross Ulbricht the alleged founder of the bitcoin fueled, dark web marketplace Silk Road starts today. He was nabbed 15 months ago by the FBI in San Fran and has some powerful libertarians lined up behind his defense team. We are likely to see a lively, dramatic and precedent-setting trial. This article sets out a few reasons to follow it closely.
If Ulbricht doesn’t take a last-minute plea deal and his trial begins as scheduled in a New York courtroom Tuesday, it will be the most significant case of its kind—in many ways the only case of its kind—to play out in front of a jury. The Silk Road anonymous drug market he’s accused of creating was an unprecedented experiment in online anarchy and black market commerce. And Ulbricht’s insistence until now on taking his case to trial means its fundamental issues will be argued in public.