The founder of the infamous Silk Road marketplace on the dark web, Ross Ulbricht, celebrated his 36th birthday on March 27th. He marked the occasion from a small cell at a federal prison in Tucson, Arizona.

This was the seventh time Ulbricht's birthday happened behind bars. He is currently serving two life sentences with an additional 40 years tacked on for good measure. Anything less of a formal pardon for his crimes likely means that prison birthdays will be the norm for the remainder of Ross Ulbricht's life.

Authorities claim that Ulbricht, using the alias Dread Pirate Roberts, created an online underground marketplace for selling illicit drugs in 2011. The transactions on the Silk Road were carried out with Bitcoin. At the height of its popularity the Silk Road allowed sales of opioids, marijuana, guns, and illegal porn. The market was also a place where individuals could seek out murder-for-hire opportunities.

Ulbricht was found guilty of trying to hire a hitman to dispose of an enemy, among other things. Ross Ulbricht claims that he only wanted to create a marketplace where individuals had the freedom to buy and sell whatever they pleased. He asserts that things spiraled out of his control.

There have been campaigns to secure Ross Ulbricht's release from federal prison. It seems unlikely that these efforts will succeed. The US government has saw fit to make Ulbricht a poster boy for attempts to create a black market on the Internet. His supporters admit that there is little chance Ross will see the outside of jail again. They persist in lobbying for his release out of principle.

Today the dark web continues to thrive as new marketplaces have stepped up to take the Silk Road's place. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continue to be used for dark web transactions, and there is little authorities can do to prevent these marketplaces from proliferating.