A 29-year-old man called Ross Ulbricht has been arrested for allegedly being the owner of Silk Road, an anonymous Internet marketplace best known as a destination for buying illegal drugs.
The criminal complaint against Ulbricht (which can be seen here) refers to a LinkedIn page for Ulbricht, saying he is a University of Pennslyvania and University of Texas graduate.
What appears to be Ulbricht’s profile can be found here (note that it actually lists Pennsylvania State University, not U. Penn, for his graduate studies).
The profile says that Ulbricht was a Graduate Research Assistant at Penn State from August 2006 to December 2008, before becoming a CEO of Good Wagon Books (a service that picked up unwanted books and gave them new homes) from January 2010 to May 2011. There are no more recent positions on the page.
The criminal complaint specifically mentions the second paragraph in Ulbricht’s summary: We’ve included it below:
Now, my goals have shifted. I want to use economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and agression amongst mankind.
Just as slavery has been abolished most everywhere, I believe violence, coercion and all forms of force by one person over another can come to an end.
The most widespread and systemic use of force is amongst institutions and governments, so this is my current point of effort.
The best way to change a government is to change the minds of the governed, however.
To that end, I am creating an economic simulation to give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force.
In the criminal complaint, it is put forward that the “economic stimulation” Ulbricht writes about must be Silk Road.
The email address listed on the LinkedIn profile also leads us to an account on Bitcoin Talk forums. In his most recent post, dated October 11 2011, he writes that he is looking for the “best and brightest IT pro in the bitcoin community to be the lead developer in a venture backed bitcoin startup company.”
In an earlier post that year, the same user wrote that “I don’t think I’m a millionaire….yet.” For reference, the seizure of Silk Road allegedly netted 26,000 Bitcoins, worth some $US3.2 million.