Silk Road

Topics: Illegal drug trade, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Silk Road Pages: 5 (2096 words) Published: December 14, 2013


Silk-road was at one time the top Cyber-black market in the game. An educated college graduate, Ross Ulbricht is accused of creating Silk Road. The website sold everything from illegal drugs, guns, porn, driver’s licenses and other illegal services. It was estimated that the website generated amounts of 1.2 million in sales. An FBI agent was quoted saying “ Silk Road was the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the internet today”. The website used an underground computer network know as “The onion router” or “TOR”, that relays computer messages through a minimum of three separate computer servers to disguise its users. Cyber-black markets are the future of illegal trade. Law enforcement will always be on their trail and criminals will always make a mistake leaving justice to prevail.

The site Silk Road was Founded in February 2011. The name Silk-Road comes from a historical network of trades’ routes, which started in the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) between Europe, India, China and many other countries.1 Silk Road was operated by "Dread Pirate Roberts" (named after the fictional character from The Princess Bride), who was known for espousing libertarian ideals and criticizing regulation.2 It wasn’t until June 2011 that the websites traffic increased and the site really began to take off. Users were skeptic at first, because it seemed as if the website was too good to be true.

Silk-Road was the drug market place equivalent to Amazon.com. Silk-Road sold heroin and marijuana where as Amazon sells watches and televisions. The cyber-underworld’s largest black market, with 1.2 billion in sales and nearly a million customer’s.3 “ The selection was endless; illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine could be bought on Silk Road, alongside illegal firearms, hacking tools like key logging software, fireworks, forged documents and more. As of March 2013, the site had 10,000 products for sale by vendors and 70% were drugs. The site's terms of service prohibit the sale of "anything whose purpose is to harm or defraud." This includes child pornography, stolen credit cards, assassinations, and weapons of mass destruction. There were also legal goods and services for sale, such as apparel, art, books, cigarettes, erotica, jewelry, and writing services.4” The quality of the merchandise was rated and commented on judging the quality of the products which were stated on the seller’s page. The website was not only operated in the United States but dealers and buyers from Britain, Australia, and Sweden had alleged ties to Silk-Road. The website was so extremely sophisticated and complex.

Silk-Road operated by a currency known as Bitcoins. “Bitcoins was designed in 2008 and released in 2009 by "Satoshi Nakamoto”, yet not the inventors real name, a stage name of the original developer or they’re for a group of developers. Bitcoins are a currency controlled by no government, no company, and no group, but rather by maths: a series of complex cryptographic calculations rule how many Bitcoins are in existence and how many are traded. Silk Road is the biggest user of the currency, followed by an unregulated online gambling site known as “Satoshidice”.5” The question may arise, are Bitcoins Legal? The question is yes; they are legal depending on what you are doing with it. Bitcoins are currently a part of an on going debate in the United States. Law enforcement is having an issues on ways to regulate and controls the use of Bitcoins. There are many concerns, as Bitcoins have the ability to be used anonymously, and therefore have a potential to be used for money laundering.6 The debate of Bitcoins is on going and the future of the currency is still unknown. That fact is that Ross Ulbricht used Bitcoins as his choice of currency for Silk-Road. Bitcoins paired with the route “Tor” make it nearly impossible to trace.

Silk-Road operated on a special browser known as...

Bibliography: Leger, Donna . USA Today, "Feds seize 'Silk Road ' online drug site." Last modified October 3, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2013. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/02/fbi-shuts-down-silk-road-website/2909023/.
Love, Dylan
Jump up to: a b c Ars Technica, How the feds took down the Dread Pirate Roberts October 3, 2013
Mac, Ryan
theguardian, " Silk Road: the online drug marketplace that officials seem powerless to stop." Last modified March 25, 2013. Accessed December 6, 2013. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/22/silk-road-online-drug-marketplace.
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