Alexandre Cazes, 26, the alleged founder of Alphabay, reportedly ended his own life one year ago today. Authorities claimed Cazes had hanged himself on his towel in his cell at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau in Thailand’s Laksi district. The United States Justice Department had requested the Canadian programmer’s arrest and extradition only days prior to the alleged hanging.
Innocence, or Lack Thereof
Cazes was no Ross Ulbricht aka Dread Pirate Roberts, the kid behind Silk Road. Ulbricht started a market, forum, and book club in a step towards creating something the government could not control. He openly voiced his libertarian views and perspectives.
[I want] to use economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and aggression amongst mankind. - his LinkedIn Page.
He, like Cazes, was only a kid started as a kid. (And Ulbricht got in way too deep.) Appeal judges have publicly acknowledged that life without parole was too harsh a sentence for Ulbricht. The Silk Road 2.0 owner has been free for years (Board of Prisons 20045-111).
Cazes, in more ways than I have spoken about, made poor life choices and lacked a moral compass. He cared for nothing but his own wellbeing. He was an awful husband. Some poor decisions can be justified. Leaving his family in Canada at 18-years-old to live in Thailand likely aided in his lack of decency. But nothing excuses the ways he treated his wife and unborn child.
Missed and Remembered
Yet, the alleged founder of Alphabay will be missed by hundreds of thousands of people. But not due to his character: due to the impact he had on the future of cryptomarkets. And, perhaps of equal importance, he will be remembered as the 26-year-old who felt death was a better option than facing drug charges in the United States. The United States Justice Department forced a young man to choose between death or time in U.S. prisons.
Ignoring the fact that Cazes never faced a fair trial, the DoJ ran through their song and dance about successfully ending the career of a drug kingpin. The operation, coordinated by Netherlands police and Europol, was truly a work of art. But the distasteful events the government held after his death were far from ethical.
And for what?
The life sentence handed to Ulbricht was intended to serve as a message to prevent others from following in his footsteps. Yet others have been following in Ulbricht’s footsteps since before the United States sentenced Ulbricht.
Cazes’ death only led to more hatred towards U.S. law enforcement. A new market appears every day. Some markets have dedications to Cazes on every page. The government’s operations are nothing more than publicity stunts. They created a game wherein the do nothing but lose.
Crime on the internet?
Child abuse forums on the darknet have exploded in membership. Hundreds of thousands of child abuse sites sit behind Cloudflare on the clearnet and the government ignores reports. Instead of spending millions in taxpayer dollars to extradite Gary Davis, the moderator of the Silk Road book club, focus on the sites advocating child abuse.
Rest in peace, alpha02. My heart hurts for your mother, for your wife, and for your father.