What Motivated Ross Ulbricht To Create Silk Road

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Today, Ross Ulbricht is famous in the most macabre of ways. In his early 30’s, he is facing a long stretch in the criminal justice system for allegedly masterminding the then infamous online drug marketplace, the Silk Road. While most of us have read about Ulbricht, who went by the handle “Dread Pirate Roberts” in the darknet site, there are a lot of things a lot of people do not know, like what motivated him to go down that road? Well, it turns out that Ulbricht always had big dreams.


Ross Ulbricht

Ross Ulbricht went to Texas State in Dallas where he studied physics. Later, he moved to Pennsylvania State, where he completed grad school. He was always an entrepreneurial soul, opting to go it alone in the job market with ventures in video games and day trading. However, his first forays into self-employment were not very successful, so he chose to take up something a little more….mundane?

His next destination was Good Wagon; a store that collected used books and distributed them around. Here, he created a system of shelves that held thick volumes of books. One decisively life-changing night, Ulbricht was alone in the store when the shelves went to the ground like a hose of cards and books, which in the literal sense of the phrase, they were. For him, this was the tipping point. He walked down the Silk Road and never looked back.

At Good Wagon, the young engineer had learned all there was to know about bitcoins, the foolproof currency that the Silk Road clients later came to use. In his journal, he states that it was always his dream to create a liberal economy, where the “systemic use of coercion” did not exist, comparing his idea to the emancipation of slaves around the world.

Bitcoins Money

Just like that, Ulbricht started raking in millions from commissions for facilitating the sale of drugs, guns and fake identity documents on the Silk Road.

Today, Ross Ulbricht is a guest of the system, and it all begun with a falling stack of books. Maybe the Good Wagon was not so good at all; at least not for Ross.