Did Ross Ulbricht Really Deserve a Double Life Sentence?

A few months ago I listened to the fascinating story of Ross Ulbricht. If you don’t know who this man is, you’ve been living under a crypto rock. Ross is the man who created The Silk Road, an online marketplace that was located on the dark web and used to sell drugs and many other things in exchange for Bitcoin. Ross was eventually caught in 2013 and given a double life sentence for creating this marketplace, and has now served 5 years of his sentence.

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The brilliant thing about this marketplace is that it was one of the first places where Bitcoin could be used to buy products, and it also created a safe environment in which people could purchase their drugs. I’m not a drug user, but if I were, I would much rather purchase my drugs via an online marketplace like the Silk Road than from someone on the street. Dealers on the Silk Road built up reputations based on the quality of their product, so you’d have some confidence that the product you were purchasing was as advertised and of decent quality.

The Silk Road was incredibly successful, and Ross made many millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin during the time that he operated the site. It is estimated that Ross made more than 600,000 bitcoins in commissions from the site which, in todays value of Bitcoin, would be worth roughly US $4.9 billion.

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Ross’s story is fascinating stuff, and well worth reading or listening to.  I’m not going to recount the story here as I don’t believe I can do it justice. So I would encourage you to listen to the Casefile Podcast which gives a good run-down of the story. You can find Part 1 of the podcast here.

I will include one caveat here though; this podcast tells the story based on the court proceedings and documents only, it fails to provide the story from Ross’s or his family’s perspective. There are a lot of problems with this case, and many errors made during the judgement. There are even examples of tampering with evidence which went unchallenged along with apparent corruption throughout the proceedings. You can read about this at the Free Ross website, this is also an interesting read and partly why I am writing this post today.

I am writing this post today because Ross has received a double life sentence for creating his online marketplace. His crime was not violent, and those who were convicted of selling drugs on his marketplace received much lesser sentences.

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The reality is that Ross was much like the creator of Amazon or Ebay. He provided the platform for the sale of these products, but wasn’t responsible for every item that was listed on the marketplace. Sure, he sold some magic mushrooms and possibly some weed but he wasn’t the sole distributor on the platform. In fact he sold substantially less product on the platform in comparison to most of the dealers who used his platform.

There have been examples of child pornography on Facebook, of Amazon selling cyanide to a young girl who then committed suicide, and many other examples of online marketplaces being used for questionable activities. But the CEOs and owners of these marketplaces have never been sent to jail.

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Ross should not be serving a double life sentence, he should not have been charged as a kingpin, which is a charge given to leaders or organised crime syndicates. Realistically, Ross should have already served his sentence. This is a man who is highly unlikely to go on and commit another crime. Let alone a violent crime.

So I encourage you to look at this case and see it for its failings. This man was given a sentence that was completely unjust and unreasonable. And I ask that you sign this petition to encourage the American government to overturn his charge.

I also encourage you to read or listen to the Silk Road story, it’s one of the most fascinating stories that I have ever heard. But a very sad one given the outcome.

Sign the petition here.

 

Taking on the Giants – The IAGON Solution

Taking on the Giants with Cloud Computing

Cloud computing services are currently highly centralised and are controlled by a select number of companies, the main companies being Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon.

This means, that these companies are in absolute control of vast amounts of data, which they can and will use as they please. And it also means that should there be a security breach, these companies could potentially leak this vast amount of data to anyone with ill intentions for its use. We’ve seen data leaks occur on multiple occasions, and these leaks continue to happen on a very frequent basis.

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What’s more, the need for increased computational processing power and and cloud storage is on a continuous uptrend, and with the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, and the increased utilisation of Big Data, cloud storage and processing power services are only going to be in greater demand as we progress through the years.

And these services are already big business, but it’s growing at an amazing rate:

“The size of the cloud services market providing both storage capacities and computational    processing capabilities to companies and to corporates is estimated by 45 billion USD per annum and it steadily grows.” Source

Decentralising the Cloud Services Industry

So I was very interested to read about IAGON in this week’s @orignalworks writing contest.  It’s not every day that you hear someone say that they plan to take on the likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM.  But that’s exactly what IAGON are planning on doing.

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IAGON aims to, in their own words:

“revolutionize the cloud and web services market by offering a decentralized grid of storage and processing. By joining the unused storage capacity in servers and personal computers and their processing power, we can create a super-computer and super data center that can compete with any of the current cloud computing moguls.”

They’re doing this through the creation of a decentralised cloud service network. This network will offer highly secure cloud storage services while also offering additional processing power for organisations and individuals who need additional computing resources for performing complex tasks such as processing Big Data and developing AI technology.  These services will be highly secure via military grade encryption and completely decentralised. IAG tokens will used by companies as the currency for paying for access to the network.

Individuals and organisations will be able to earn IAG tokens by “renting” their computers unused or under-utilised storage and processing power to the IAGON network.   And anyone will be able to purchase storage and processing power via these tokens.

The “mining” of IAG tokens is essentially undertaken through the provision of storage or processing power to the network. And this makes it possible for anyone to get involved in mining IAG tokens and participating in the network.

Big plans and bigger targets – can they achieve them?

There’s a lot to love about this project. And their goals are massive. Taking on the big players in the cloud services arena is a huge undertaking so you want to make sure you’ve got the right people around you and a solid strategy to make it happen.

IAGON have provided a very clear roadmap, which can also be viewed on the IAGON website. So far, all development of the project has met the deadlines listed on this roadmap.

You’ll find the roadmap here.

The first thing that impressed me about this project was that there are a lot of people giving this project a great rating, check out these scores:

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It’s a rare day that you see an up-coming project with ratings like this. The next thing that gives me confidence that this group know what they’re doing is the team.

The IAGON Team

The team behind this project is extensive and brings a wealth of expertise to the platform.  More importantly, the founders are highly qualified and experienced, and have employed the necessary people where their knowledge may be lacking.

See the full list of IAGON team members here.

It’s rare to see a platform with so many Doctors on the team. But with a project like this it’s not at all surprising.

And there are Partnerships

The IAGON team have brought on a number of partners into this project, which is a fantastic indication of just how much of a demand and support there is for a project such as this.  Below is a selection of some of the partners involved in this project, however even over the past couple of days there have been more announced

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The IAGON Main Net

IAGON have a functioning Main Net which, once the project has officially launched, will be comprised of the network of data centres and individual computers which have offered their under-utilised storage capacity for the storage of Big Data and any other information that users of the network choose to store on the platform.

What’s even more interesting, is that IAGON plan to implement the network on a hybrid blockchain/ tangle platform. I won’t comment on this given that I’m not technically astute enough to do this particular detail justice. However I did hear some talk of work taking place with IOTA to make this happen on one of the various YouTube interviews with the founders that you can find.

And the data centres and computers which have offered up their processing power will in-turn have their processing power combined into what can be considered a decentralised super computer which can be used to perform the complex tasks required for processing power intensive tasks such as AI technologies, speech recognition, robotics and so on.

And it is through this process that users offering storage and processing power to the network will earn IAG tokens, after corporations and individuals who need access to the network purchase their access using these tokens.

Decentralisation provides more than one solution

Creating a decentralised cloud services platform has enabled IAGON to solve two problems with the one solution.  Through a decentralised network, IAGON are able to provide a level of security that will prevent the types of data leaks that we’ve seen in this industry in recent weeks, months and years.

In addition to this, IAGON are able to combine the storage and processing power of data centres and computers globally to provide the level of processing power that is required to perform the increasingly complex tasks that we require with our rapid advances in the AI and Big Data processing space.

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Finally, IAGON will also be implementing machine learning and AI into their network which will allow the network to intelligently decide how to allocate storage and processing power resources to those who need them.  Using AI in this network will allow the network to continuously advance and improve on itself

Concluding Remarks

I think it’s quite obvious that I am a huge fan of this project. So much so that I have created an account and have submitted a mining application.  I’ll be offering part of my computers processing power and storage for use by the IAGON network right from the beginning.

I completely agree that we’ll be seeing a huge demand for cloud storage and processing services in the future, and IAGON are offering a fantastic solution to the limitations faced in this market.

Main Sale

The pre-sale for the project took place back in May this year, with the soft cap being reached. Now, the main sale is currently underway. So, if you want to get involved, then head on over to the website to find out more.

And if you want to get involved in setting up a mining account, then click here to get involved.

Learn more

Learn more about the project here.  IAGON are on Steemit!

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