Ross Ulbricht, the Founder of the Silk Road Online Drug Bazaar, is a Proud UT-Dallas Grad

Categories: Drugs, Technology

RossUlbrichtLinkedIn.jpg
Ross Ulbricht, via LinkedIn
For the past two-plus years, the Silk Road has been the go-to place for tech-savvy drug users -- and entrepreneurial drug sellers -- looking for a safe and anonymous way to get their fix. Weed, cocaine, LSD, heroin, you name it -- it could be at your door in a matter of days.

Today, the whole operation came tumbling down. The FBI seized the Silk Road website and $3.6 million in Bitcoin, a small percentage of the site's reported $1.2 billion in sales but still the second largest Bitcoin seizure ever. They also arrested and unmasked "Dread Pirate Roberts," the company's formerly mysterious founder.

His name is Ross William Ulbricht, and he's a 29-year-old "investment advisor and entrepreneur" based in Austin, according to his LinkedIn profile, where he also hints at his libertarian ideology and outsize ambition:

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.

Ulbricht -- or rather Dread Pirate Roberts -- struck the same tone in a recent interview with Forbes.

"We can't stay silent forever. We have an important message, and the time is ripe for the world to hear it," he said. "What we're doing isn't about scoring drugs or 'sticking it to the man.' It's about standing up for our rights as human beings and refusing to submit when we've done no wrong."

The feds, however, say that Ulbricht fell far short of his stated ideals. Aside from running what the FBI calls "the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet," he once allegedly attempted to hire a hit man to kill a Silk Road user who was threatening to release the identities of thousands of other users.

In the coming days, expect a good deal more reporting to be done on Ulbricht's background. For now, it's worth noting that he is a proud UT-Dallas alum. His name is still on UTD NanoTech Institute's list of former students, and the registrar's office confirms that he graduated in 2006 with a bachelor's in physics.

Here's the criminal complaint filed against Ulbricht, via Gizmodo:

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25 comments
bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

It's always heart-warming to me to see an anonymous piece of crap, who uses the web as his platform for criminal misconduct, unmasked.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

It's always fascinating to me when such intelligent people are rendered insensate to the inevitability of the repercussions of their criminal actions. Greed and power are the ultimate opiates, yo.

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

Dread Pirate Roberts is just about as good a drug kingpin name as Heisenberg is.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Keep an eye on those physics grads.  They are shifty and will like as not develop nukes or grand criminal enterprises as a hobby.

Actually, I am sad to see it crumble.  I figure only a criminal enterprise can possibly have the means and motivation to keep its doings outside of state influence.  Illicit drug trading & such is a small price to pay for a venue or means to communicate and/or act without state interference.

J_A_
J_A_

Wow this lasted 2 years? How is that possible?

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

More proof that SMU is sliding: two decades ago, this would have been an SMU grad operation. C'mon, guys. Are you going to sit back and let the drug trade be run by people whose school doesn't even have a football team, or are you going to roll over for a school whose chess team could kick your asses?

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

U.T.D.  You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.

missdaisy
missdaisy

@CogitoErgoSum greed and power? He stood for something much bigger than drugs and money. He sacrificed his life to help spread what he believed in. You sir, are an ignorant piece of shit. 

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@JaniceA 

It's called "tor" - a technology that helps cowards to hide behind anonymity on the web.  He didn't create it - he just paid someone else to provide the service for him.

Skylights
Skylights

@LeroyJenkem

Why UT Dallas has smarter students and better SAT scores. To go to UT Dallas you need to be smart atleast, for SMU, you need money.

JZhu
JZhu

@LeroyJenkem Or, further proof that UTD is so bad at producing employable business students--no investment banks or consultancies at the school for academic squares--that the only options for a typical UTD grad are unemployment, underemployment, Tier 3 graduate school or the black market. 

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

Sure, I'm guessing his unbounded altruism prompted him to donate his millions to charity, right?

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@CometsCupid @JaniceA 

He's not a genius at all.  If he were a genius, he would have followed the protocols that kept his identity private.

He's jut an arrogant punk who paid others to protect him.

GaiasEyes451
GaiasEyes451

@JZhu @LeroyJenkem Wow, that's a pretty pathetic generalization and really far off base. I'm a UTD alum from the school of Natural Science and I went to a tier 1 graduate university, got a PhD and am a post-doc at another tier 1 research university. My husband is a UTD grad from the Computer Science school, he gained employment directly out of college and is making 6 figures... Sounds like someone's sour grapes for not being admitted....

djmilus
djmilus

@JZhu @LeroyJenkem is this serious? Sounds like someone who was rejected from the business school...this guy ran a billion dollar enterprise at the age of 27. That's billion with a b.  And he was a physics student anyway.

nickhinojosa
nickhinojosa

@JZhu @LeroyJenkem Bad at producing employable business students?  I'm a current employee of the business school and I'll tell you that you're pretty far off on that one.

GeekGirl
GeekGirl

@GaiasEyes451 @JZhu @djmilus @skylights

You're too good to justify.  Besides we can do things in bed he couldn't dream of doing, in ten lifetimes.

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