The Silk Road: A Story of Bitcoin, Drugs, and the Dark Web

It's a story of drugs, aliases, corruption, conspiracy, and the dark web. ... people to buy drugs of any kind – cannabis, weed, hash, ecstasy – and that it ...

The Silk Road: A Story of Bitcoin, Drugs, and the Dark Web

Table Of Contents

The Silk Road: A Story of Bitcoin, Drugs, and the Dark Web

It drew mainstream media attention to bitcoin and cryptocurrency, but ultimately the website was shut down, leading to the arrest and imprisonment of Ross Ulbricht, a 34-year-old now serving a double life sentence plus 40 years without parole. The Beginnings of Silk Road. Launched in February 2011, the Silk Road website, created by American Ross Ulbricht, was envisioned to be a “Free-market economic experiment” that focused on user anonymity.

Using two key pieces of technology, bitcoin and Tor - a network of computers that makes it impossible to trace by routing internet traffic through servers by anonymizing IP addresses, Ulbricht believed that “People should have the right to buy and sell whatever they wanted so long as they weren’t hurting anyone else.” Of course, while Ulbricht may have envisioned an open market platform driven by the community, it wasn’t long before it started to gain the attention of the media. The name is often used to refer to Ross Ulbricht, but that’s not entirely accurate. There’s good evidence to suggest that Ulbricht handed over the site to someone else, and that person is the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Ulbricht Reportedly Sells Silk Road. With the website growing, Ulbricht initially turned to Richard Bates, a college friend, who had studied computer science and was working for PayPal and eBay. Over time, Ulbricht turned to an anonymous person he met through the site who eventually took control of it.

In a 2013 Q&A interview with Forbes, Dread Pirate Roberts confirmed that he was not the original owner, confirming that Ross Ulbricht had sold the site. DPR spoke about how the torch was passed to him from Ulbricht and that Ulbricht was fairly compensated for the site. The interviewee mentioned that he had discovered a major vulnerability in Silk Road and that while Ulbricht ignored him at first, DPR eventually got his trust.

Back in 2011, Ulbricht is reported to have told Bates that he had sold the website to someone and that it was no longer in his hands to shut down. French-born Mark Karpeles, former-owner of the now-defunct Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange, was, at one time, a suspect in connection with Silk Road.

Karpeles ran a DNS registrar and a web hosting company during the time the Silk Road launched, and it was this connection that aroused suspicion. As part of their rogue investigation, Bridges and Force hijacked a number of Silk Road accounts and arrested one Silk Road administrator named Curtis Green. Connecting Ross Ulbricht to Silk Road.

It wasn’t long before the government then apprehended Ulbricht. Of course, with Ulbricht’s email and a plausible explanation linking him to Silk Road, it was only a matter of time before the authorities found him. Ross Ulbricht was arrested in a San Francisco library while logged in to Silk Road as the Dread Pirate Roberts admin.

Why was Ulbricht logged in as DPR even though he had allegedly sold Silk Road and moved on? The defense claims that someone convinced him to briefly get involved again. Dread Pirate Roberts Logs On Again, While Ulbricht is Locked Up. Notably, at the time of Ulbricht’s solitary confinement, it was reported that someone accessed DPR’s Silk Road account before it was eventually taken down.

It confirmed what many believed: Ross Ulbricht might have started Silk Road, but he wasn’t the only one operating as Dread Pirate Roberts. One hundred people who knew Ulbricht wrote to Forrest asking for her to apply the shortest sentence. Ultimately Forrest gave Ulbricht two life sentences plus 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole for non-violent charges.

Following the verdict, even Curtis Green tweeted: “Ross Ulbricht got a raw deal. There is so much more to the Silk Road story than people know, and I can’t yet talk about. I don’t believe Ross is dangerous or that it’s in his character to order a hit on anyone.

He should never have gotten that horrible sentence.” Compared to Ulbricht’s sentence they got off lightly. Despite the truth coming out about several of those involved in the investigation, the sentence against Ulbricht still stands.