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Trump Pledges to Free Silk Road Creator Ross Ulbricht If Re-Elected

Donald J. Trump has pledged to commute Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s life sentence to time served if he’s re-elected president.

“If you vote for me, on Day 1, I will commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht to a sentence of time served,” Trump said during his Saturday night remarks at the Libertarian National Convention in Washington, D.C. “He’s already served 11 years, we’re gonna get him home.”

“I am very positive and open minded to cryptocurrency companies, and all things related to this new and burgeoning industry. Our country must be the leader in the field. There is no second place,” Trump wrote, adding that President Joe Biden “wants [the cryptocurrency industry] to die a slow and painful death. That will never happen with me!”

In his evening address, Trump’s pledge to free Ulbricht was met with raucous cheers from the assembled audience, many of whom were holding up signs reading “Free Ross.”

Ulbricht has become something of a martyr for many in the crypto community, as well as to many Libertarians, who see Ulbricht’s draconian sentence as a governmental overstep and a violation of his constitutional rights. In 2018, the Libertarian Party called on then-President Trump to pardon Ulbricht.

Before Trump’s presidency ended in January 2021, he granted clemency to 143 individuals – pardoning 73, including Ripple board member Ken Kurson, and commuting the sentences of 70 others. He did not offer clemency to Ulbricht, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, who released details about a U.S. surveillance program to American journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Trump also made more general comments about cryptocurrency at the convention, telling attendees that he would “stop Joe Biden’s crusade to crush crypto – we’re gonna stop it.”

“I will ensure that the future of crypto and the future of bitcoin will be made in the USA, not driven overseas. I will support the right to self custody,” Trump said, to cheers. “To the nation’s fifty million crypto holders, I say this: I will keep Elizabeth Warren and her goons away from your bitcoin, and I will never allow the creation of a central bank digital currency.”

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