Ross Ulbricht was swept up in Silk Road prosecutions, and got the worst of it: double life, no parole. His facts will be finally before the US Supreme Court by the end of this month, as the body determines whether to ultimately hear the case. As part of its growing podcast network, Bitcoin.com has another innovative audio project on air, Humans of Bitcoin (HOB). Its latest episode explores what it’s like to be the unwitting Mom of Bitcoin, as Mrs. Ulbricht fights for her son’s release and for freedom of the broader ecosystem.
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Lyn Ulbricht Is the Focus of the Latest Humans of Bitcoin Episode
Humans of Bitcoin could’ve easily exploited Ross Ulbricht’s more salacious charges: kingpinning, drugs, murder for hire, and then gone on about the usual polemics. It’s easy to do, and probably marketable in the most perverse sense. Instead, host Cady Voge chose another route: what is it like being Lyn Ulbricht, mother to someone so vilified in the mainstream press, to a son she might never see free from incarceration? What is it like being suddenly thrust into the crypto-anarchist milieu, surrounded by the sort of people she might never have given much thought to previously?
It’s yet another in a line of quite poignant, beautiful audio portraits presented by Ms. Voge (produced by Matt Aaron of This Week in Bitcoin and Blockchain 2025). “What I’ve discovered is that most people,” Ms. Voge explains to News.Bitcoin.com, “even those deeply embedded in the crypto world, don’t know every corner of the industry or movement or whatever you want to call it. It’s all moving and developing so fast, no one can know everything, and so it’s really easy to make mistakes. So I wanted to begin by just letting people tell their own stories.”
HOB, as of this writing, has five episodes under its belt, beginning with a stunningly candid conversation with Sterlin Lujan. Mr. Lujan is a well-known enthusiast in the space, but his personal story is downright cinematic. Luis Buenaventura and Nanu Berks are explored over the next two episodes, as art surrounding crypto is examined coincidentally and in-depth. Mr. Buenaventura is an expert in remittances, and also dabbles in illustrations. That particular episode is so conversational, so non-linear in a good way, listeners feel as though they’re there in the coffee shop and part of the scene.
“Of course my goal is also to educate listeners in a way,” Ms. Voge details. “The crypto world is still a subculture that most people don’t understand, and there are so many subcultures within it as well.” Crypto-art is not an area well known, and an introduction to Ms. Berks’ work, using only theater of the mind, proved to be a real challenge. It somehow gels, however, and listeners are once again brought into a very intimate world.
Based in Colombia, Ms. Voge revealed she “came across cryptocurrency in the context of Venezuela. I had been reporting on the crisis in Venezuela, specifically about Venezuelans migrating to Colombia seeking emergency medical care [….] I started looking into it and became really fascinated with the different faces of cryptocurrency and how for some people it’s linked to a whole ideology and way of life, and for others it’s a means of survival.”
Humans of Bitcoin is the latest project of Matt Aaron, best known for his This Week in Bitcoin podcast (which recently scored a cool celebrity interview with olympian Apolo Ohno). In between it and HOB, he launched Blockchain 2025, a geekier, more tech-prone show. It attempts to ferret out scams from legit use cases for distributed ledger technology, which is all the buzz. The latest episode examines breaking away from the usual content creation platforms, such as Youtube and Reddit, in favor of newer ideas like Steemit and Props, among others.
The strength in the programming lineup is its diversity united around a single phenomenon – cryptocurrency. “As a storyteller and story-consumer, I’ve always been more attracted to human-interest stories. But what I realized early on in reporting on cryptocurrency is something that’s so obvious that I almost don’t want to say it, but here it is: money impacts everyone. So it’s very easy to find the human interest angles while reporting on cryptocurrency,” the Humans of Bitcoin host reminds.
Indeed, with so much emphasis on price and regulation it’s easy to forget about the very real people behind bitcoin, people like Lyn Ulbricht. We assume she’ll be there, fighting, because that’s how we’ve learned about her. But that can rob Mrs. Ulbricht of her skin in the game: she’s both a victim and a heroine. And we do well to celebrate her strength, but we also need to be reminded bitcoin and cryptocurrency generally is for keeps; they’re real threats to established orders, and real folks are suffering in the wake of allowing something wonderful to exist.
Images via Pixabay, Cady Voge. Readers are encouraged to click
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