Prisoners Using NFTs to Pay Their Attorneys

Some of the world’s most high-profile prisoners are adopting blockchain-based NFTs to finance their legal fees. Legal fees can quickly climb into the millions with the complexity of high-profile cases.

That’s why even someone who is well-off could avoid paying these fees.

The Silk Road to freedom?

A notable example of an individual using NFTs for legal battle funds is Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. He currently lives at a high-security penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona, where he is serving two life sentences and 40 years, respectively.

That’s essentially a death sentence, so it makes sense that he’s been fighting to legally change the outcome of his trial since his 2015 sentencing. He may be able to muster enough capital from his followers to finance a reversal of the trial. This can be achieved via the sale of some of his personal items, which will become NFTs under the Genesis Collection.

In December of 2021, a large group of Ulbricht’s supporters came together to form FreeRossDAO: an entity encompassing the purpose of freeing the Silk Road founder from prison.

The Honey Project is fundraising through the use of Ethereum and NFTs, which makes sense because Ulbricht was an early player in the world of decentralized digital currency.

Most things were paid for with Bitcoin, which means users could make transactions on the site in complete anonymity.

The internet is perpetually evolving, and just five years after the creation of Silk Road, its illegality was uncovered and eventually led to Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht being imprisoned. He was charged with a number of different crimes conducted on the site itself, including illegal drug sales and weapons trade.


Allegations have been pointed at Ulbricht of using the Silk Road platform to arrange for six deaths.

The parties working to free Ulbricht

When the price of bitcoin first spiked to $1,000 in 2013, many of its original holders decided not to cash out their coins leftover from trading on Silk Road.

In the end, this decision by the group ended up being a good one. The coin’s value would go up considerably in the coming years before they eventually all became millionaires. Understandably, those who owe their fortunes in life to Silk Road hold a dept of gratitude towards Ulbricht.

The people on the list got involved in FreeRoss and formed the DAO FreeRoss. Together, they raised 2,800 ETH – worth over $12 million – to buy Ross’s Genesis Collection.

The text speaks about five blockchain-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – a type of digital collectible – that are set to be minted on the date of Satoshi Nakamoto’s birthday.

Beating the clock

Countless other inmates have benefitted from the business and strategy knowledge of the creator of Ethereum.

The AssangeDAO, comprised of some of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s biggest supporters, won an auction recently and paid a large donation to his legal fees.

They joined forces to purchase Assange and Pak’s Clock NFT for 16,953 ETH ($52.7 million), making it the second-largest single NFT sale in history.

Many people believe that criminals can use NFTs to fund their legal defense, even if they are popular and have many supporters since funding is done through crowdfunding. Ulbricht and Assange both used this to “crowdsource” funds for their legal fees.

It’s unlikely for ordinary people to be able to use NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) to fight for their freedom, given that other necessary variables haven’t been met.



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Peter Graham
Peter Graham
Hi there! I'm Peter, a software engineer and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. I have a passion for sharing my knowledge and helping others understand the latest developments in the tech world. When I'm not coding, you can find me hiking or trying out the latest gadgets.


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