With just 44 days before Joe Biden’s inauguration as President of the United States, players in the crypto space are urging Donald Trump to use his pardon power for Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht.
In a recent tweet from Jason Williams, co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets he pleaded for Trump to “do the right thing” by forgiving Ulbricht as well as whistleblower Edward Snowden. Peter McCormack of the What did Bitcoin do podcast following suit a few days later, adding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the list of potential ponies.
.@realDonaldTrumphis legacy as president can be remembered very differently if he forgives:
– Ross Ulbricht (@RealRossU)
– Julian Assange
– Edward @Snowden
Mankind would only benefit from this.
Re-tweet the shit out of this.
– Peter McCormack (@PeterMcCormack) November 24, 2020
The three – Snowden, Ulbricht, and Assange – are among several names being put forward by conservative advisers, pundits, and commentators as Trump serves the rest of his presidency. Ulbricht, founder of the dark web market Silk Road, is currently serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole after being convicted of federal charges of money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.
Snowden, a former whistleblower National Security Agency contractor, left the United States in 2013 and was granted asylum in Russia. The Justice Department has accused him of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and stealing government property. He has since noted he will apply for Russian citizenship.
Although an Australian citizen, Assange has faced accusations from more than one national authority, including for allegations of sexual assault in Sweden. In 2019, the United States accused him of violating the 1917 Espionage Act concerning the release of documents provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning on WikiLeaks. Assange is currently in prison in the UK awaiting an extradition decision to stand trial in the US
According to a Supreme Court decision, the US President’s power to forgive someone is “unlimited” – although this ruling is being questioned in the media amid rumors Trump is considering spontaneously pardoning himself before leaving the House White on Jan. 20. Since taking office in 2017, he has forgiven, commuted, or revoked the conviction of 45 individuals accused of federal crimes.
Because there is no limit on the number of federal pardons Trump can issue, deciding who receives one can be a matter of responding to a public republic or personal choice. Trump said in August that he was “going to start looking at” forgiving Snowden, while a lawyer for Assange claimed a former Republican congressman had also offered the WikiLeaks founder a presidential pardon. While Snowden may receive a pardon, he does too advocate for Assange to accept one instead of himself.
Without a definitive statement from the US president and time running out, crypto players seem to be hoping to put Assange, Snowden, Ulbricht, or some combination of three to the top of the list – or at least prominently on Twitter – to catch attention Trump.
It’s time @realDonaldTrump i#FreeSnowden#FreeAssange#FreeRoss
And everyone else in prison for victimless crime. pic.twitter.com/dwQDThb6Bl
– Roger Ver (@rogerkver) November 26, 2020
REMEMBER: President Trump should forgive Edward Snowden and Julian Assange before he leaves office.
– Shyness (@APompliano) November 8, 2020
Not all crypto users were so keen to see Ulbricht possibly go free, given the controversial nature of Silk Road as a facilitator for drug buying and selling.
“I will never understand why so many Bitcoin extremists want to forgive Ross Ulbricht,” He said Draper Jax. “I think he got an extreme sentence, and he could change, but he’s far from innocent. ”