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Silk Road 2.0 Launches (forbes.com)
322 points by teawithcarl on Nov 6, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 225 comments

I'd never buy heroin from a website, but I see the Silk Road as cyber-civil-disobedience, and I hope the persona of DPR and the site itself are as unsinkable as they claim.

The drug war is a ghastly thing, and the number of people we lock up in the US is more shameful than our foreign policy. You can begrudge the first DPR his lame security, shady murder contracts, and ill-gotten fortune, but he's the product of our system, and his shame is our shame.

I don't see the Silk Roads of the world making much difference with regard to the drug war.

Right now Silk Road is the eBay of drugs, where convenience is it's competitive advantage. I can get some drug without visiting a shady person in some shady place, but the drugs (in general) are still coming to the US the bloody, violent way via paramilitaries, druglords, etc. A huge part of the US war on drugs takes place among and between those parties, with the US not always supporting the side you might expect.

I'd be more excited about an Etsy of drugs, where people could buy whatever they want straight from the source, bypassing the blood trail. Good luck getting packages delivered from Afghanistan or Colombia though.

But the competitive advantage of druglords is controlling the means of distribution, not the means of cultivation. So, SilkRoad could help bypass those monopolized distribution channels and undermine the druglord's competitive advantage.

For example, if a druglord is competing directly with a mom-and-pop drug cultivator on SilkRoad -- the drug lord has higher costs (bribery, paramilitary force, etc.) and only marginally lower COGS from scale. Because they are unable to intimidate or kill other cultivators, like they do in meat space, the druglord could be at a real disadvantage.

The druglord would wipe out the mom-and-pop cultivator and happily live ever after with their higher costs.

That seems like it wouldn't be cost effective for them if there is even a small amount of anonymity between the buyers and cultivators.

I mean, cartels have been pumped up to pretty ridiculous heights by the war on drugs but it's not at the point where it would be realistic to have them say "here is a list of a few hundred usernames from SilkRoad spread out all over North America. Find them and murder them all."

Even considering that their MO is more along the lines of picking out the ones they can find and making a gruesome spectacle to scare the rest it still seems unrealistic, although so do a lot of things happening with drugs cartels these days to be fair.

>> it's not at the point where it would be realistic to have them say "here is a list of a few hundred usernames from SilkRoad spread out all over North America. Find them and murder them all."

This is not exact, unfortunately, because it depends also on some other factors. If the drug lords decide that they want to impose the fact that they don't accept opposition, they are actually going to do exactly that. They've done it already for several bloggers, it would make little difference if they decided to do it for the little indipendent dealers.

Keep in mind that in order to take out a few hundred independent dealears, they only need to torture and kill a few, and have the word spread.

"They've done it already for several bloggers" as in people that blog about drugs? Could you elaborate?

Another example was when Anonymous decided to start outing Cartel members. They kidnapped one of the people involved and Anonymous declared a truce to get that person released.

source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/member-anonymous-relea...

Here's one example. Googling for something like "cartel kills social media activist" will probably yield more.


But the Mom and Pop shop can now be anonymous and the evil druglord will have a hard time finding them since they can't go torture the street dealers that peddle Mom&Popshop & Co drugs.

There is no certainty of anonymity, especially in Mexico, for two reasons.

First, drug cartels have very easily control of the IT infrastructures, and second, they now employ hackers exactly to keep the internet information under control.

They've killed several bloggers already, and you can be sure they thought they were anonymous.

The cartels can employ all the hackers and torture all the bloggers they want but it will still be very hard to find sellers on SilkRoad. You will need to break Tor, trace BitCoins, trace deliveries, or trick sellers. This takes national or even international resources (NSA, FBI, Interpol, etc.). And they will have to do this in the US and Europe not Mexico.

>You will need to break Tor, trace BitCoins, trace deliveries, or trick sellers.

These aren't all of equivalent difficulty...

>it will still be very hard to find sellers on SilkRoad.

Apparently not hard enough. It is being done in Europe already.


They would be fighting a losing war (ironically, like the drug wars itself). Tracking down random silk road sellers is not really that easy.

Why would mom and pop want to base out of Mexico?

Here's what I'd consider the Etsy of drugs: http://www.rechemco.net/ -- they apparently synthesize the various active ingredients in their own lab, so you can get your 99% pure version of say, the various popular anti-narcoleptic drugs popular as concentration aids.

You can use digital black markets like the silk road as an analogue for legalization though. Forget how the vendors obtain the drugs for a second and just analyze the differences in distribution and consumption between offline and online drug trade.

Offline there is: - competition via violence - political narcoterrorism - profit maximization by product dilution - profit maximization by product deception (most street MDMA is amphetamine+nBOME mixture)

Online there is: - competition via quality, price (violence impossible in anonymous marketplace) - political separation via anonymity - drastically reduced product dilution (people do reviews with sources like ecstasydata.org) - drastically reduced product deception (see "The LSD Avengers" for example)

When you contrast these aspects you see that the online marketplaces do operate like a free market with the biggest difference being the incentives associated with deceptive vending. I think thats valuable just because it provides a real world simulation for what variables of legalization would look like without forcing any one country to take the initial plunge by themselves.

Violence amongst end user drug dealers is very rare and confined to specific, very poor, areas. Wholesale is the only place where you start to see significant amounts of cash, and hence most of the problems, and that has zero differences between offline and on. There is no 'political narcoterrorism' between the guys selling 8ths of coke in the neighborhood. You're also mischaracterizing the drug trade with regards to consumer habits. Drug users communicate about dealers and products the same way people communicate about every other local business. The internet has greatly expanded and enhanced this ability, but prior to the Internet, local businesses, just like local drug dealers, operated by word of mouth and competed in many facets of service. We know this as drug quality has gone up and up over the years.

Remember, the vast majority of offline drug deals do not consist of driving to the hood to pick up something from a gangster. I think this mis-perception clouds a lot of the analysis of operations like the Silk Road.

The majority of personal use sales are not conducted with a "gangster", true, but the small-time college ecstasy or coke dealer conducting those personal use sales IS making regular trips to the hood, purchasing from people who are hardened criminals. They expose themselves to a lot of risk in doing this.

You don't have to move far up the chain before you see some serious violence. Personal use weed dealer? Probably not going to get killed. But robbed? Yes, definitely, seen it happen many times. Personal use coke, ecstasy, heroin dealer? Much more likely to experience violence. The dealer one level above, supplying the personal use dealers? They get killed all the time, despite not being drug kingpins in any sense. It only costs 1000$-2000$ to have someone killed in many parts of the US, so that should say something about the chance of violence that small-time dealers face.

Silk Road was more than personal use sales, I'd bet the majority of its revenue came from pounds and half pounds of weed, sheets of LSD, and orders of 500+ ecstasy pills. Heroin and coke haven't caught on as much yet in the online scene, with prices still a little above what well-connected users can get on the streets, but give it time. Also keep in mind that the online drug scene is more than just SR/BMR/Sheep and that there are private forums that deal strictly in wholesale.

Additionally, although many street dealers operate in areas you'd probably associate with being high-crime, the drug gangs are pretty aware that customers need some sense of safety when buying product and don't have any more reason to see their customers robbed or assaulted than any legit shop owner.

If you're interested in an observed account of a drug gang, there is a book called "Gang Leader for a Day" where the author spent a lot of time in a housing project, with the guy who ran that faction of the gang. It has its flaws but it was an interesting read:


It's also a mis-perception to assume the hood is where all the gangsters are, a block outside the poverty stricken areas here the gangsters are suburban kids from affluent neighborhoods who are just as violent when it comes to protection rackets, extortion and taxing minor dealers.

Anybody running a small delivery line is almost always carrying an illegal gun, and willing to shoot competitors over peddling 8ths of coke.

> violence impossible in anonymous marketplace

if you read the report about the 1st silk road, you'll see that's not true

Alright. Let's assume the massive difference in quantity of violence is substantial. We're talking 10s of thousands dead via cartel trade vs. 2 alleged attempted hits on the silk road. Even then that was the operator of the marketplace defending users, it wasn't a vendor killing another vendor to gain a competitive advantage.

But your analysis specifically excluded the source of all of this violence, the wholesale procurement of the drugs by the end user dealers. None of that is different with the Silk Road.

That's the locus of the violence. The source of the violence (and of most of the other harms) is the prohibition.

Alcohol and tobbacco dealers aren't involved in shootings in the streets - instead we find them in their shops, carefully following laws and doing business peacefully. Nor are their customers suffering from adulterated goods, or committing robberies to afford black-market prices.

Yep, exactly. The Zetas cartel for example, do not necessarily import & export themselves. They are simply a gang of thugs who move into an area already teeming with drug smugglers/dealers, and extort them for taxes. Since these drug dealers can't go to the police for protection since they are doing something illegal they either pay up or the streets turn into a bloodbath. If you notice the Zetas are mainly concentrated in Northern Mexico where the major smuggling routes into the US are. By controlling those they can siphon off 20-30% of all drug shipments from every other cartel into the US and never have to touch drugs themselves, so are unlikely to be caught. They are just parasites off other people's hard work of manufacturing, smuggling and building sales networks. This business model will only work under prohibition.

Zetas do not hold up trucks full of tequilla and beer going into the US for extortion because they would be arrested. When your business is legal the solution for dealing with thugs is simple: call the cops or sue them. When you are gray area/illegal your only negotiation is to pay them or pick up a gun creating an all out war.

During the prohibition this was a bit different.

It depends on the drugs. There are a lot of cases of producers selling on these market places. Look at a lot of the marijuana vendors, the vetted LSD vendors, the mushroom vendors, etc. Beyond that, there is violence involved in later steps of the drug trade: smuggling, gang turf wars.

{I am strongly in favour of legalising all drugs}

There are problems with some of the manufacture of cannabis. Criminal gangs use trafficked workers, forcing them to work in cannabis farms.

If I was a criminal gang using slaves to grow cannabis I think I'd market it as some home grown organic low yield crop with images of open fields and nice trees.

Just like eggs from caged hens don't show battery farms, but happy chickens walking in green fields. http://www.ecolovers.co.uk/wordpress/labelling-matters-the-r... etc.

Maybe in Mexico they do this. Here there are investors who buy up a dozen houses through shell corps and hire one grower who sets everything up, and is paid a lot of money. The grower then hires people to maintain and protect the grow usually for pretty good money as well. http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3268.html

> Maybe in Mexico they do this.

It happens in England.

Silk Road was not an anonymous marketplace. Buyers had to provide some identity and address to sellers in order to receive shipment. There are obvious geographic limitations with how anonymous a person could be while still receiving the goods they want.

> I'd be more excited about an Etsy of drugs

I think you mean more of an Amazon Marketplace of drugs.

> the drugs (in general) are still coming to the US the bloody, violent way via paramilitaries, druglords, etc.

If the information and payment infrastructure is good enough, it should make producers and shippers invisible to other producers and shippers, including the paramilitaries and drug-lords.

I'm looking for an Etsy for drugs. I want my synthetic opiates cradled in a lace & cordoroy kerchief that states "rustic charm".

Vintage blotters?

It's called Alibaba. I haven't checked in about a year but I recall finding MDMA precursors, Meth precursors and bulk Opium for sale on it.

mmmmm bulk opium

For what it's worth, you can currently buy drugs on both Amazon marketplace and Etsy. It's not even a hypothetical.

In this context, we really mean illegal drugs. You obviously know this and are just being annoyingly pedantic.

There are plenty of gray area substances, e.g. precursors to schedule 1 drugs.

| but the drugs (in general) are still coming to the US th bloody, violent way via paramilitaries, druglords, etc.

Not necessarily. A lot of them appear to be shipped in via post from outside the US direct to the buyer.

I was trying to point out that the drug war doesn't begin or end at the border.

Yes, but that is where most of the enforcement is and therefore most of the violence.

Wow, this is incredibly uninformed.

For one thing, no one's bothering to attack the US border, whereas in Brazil the government is fighting numerous active paramilitary groups which are basically all just fighting each other for control of the drug trade.

Yeah didn't really think that through before writing, majority is the wrong word. I didn't mean attacking the border, I just meant that a lot of the violence occurs near the border as most cartels set up shop in locations most appropriate for later distribution into the U.S.

The previous silk road claimed to have many listings where the chemists themselves produced and shipped from Europe

IIRC, the biggest drug on the Silk Road was marijuana, which was probably not cartel grown. There are plenty of places in the US where it's effectively legal to grow marijuana, and the growers who have a legal enterprise almost certainly produce plenty on the side for the black market.

Cocaine and heroin are different stories, but are probably the exception compared to marijuana, various drugs that need to be lab-synthesized, and prescription pills being resold.

>I don't see the Silk Roads of the world making much difference with regard to the drug war.

It has symbolic value I think. While I don't feel particularly anarchistic, I think a solid dose of a rebellious streak in society is good. Just to keep the government on its toes. A counterforce to governments tendency to do NSA scandal type stuff if you will.

When you suggested etsy of drugs, my first thought was custom made to order small batches of drugs. Not farmer to addict direct sales.

> You can begrudge the first DPR his lame security, shady murder contracts, and ill-gotten fortune, but he's the product of our system, and his shame is our shame.

That is probably the dumbest thing I've read in months.

I agree that andrewljohnson's statement is debatable but I think it's also defensible. I'm envious of the quality of your reading material if you haven't read anything dumber in months.

How about you back that up with something...

It's actually quite spot on. The only reason the Silk Road is used is because there's a need for it. A need that's created by our current litigious and unproductive drug laws.

I presume that you are not actually looking for my reading list for the past month, but rather an explanation of why what you think is 'spot on' strikes me as 'dumb'.

Let's parse it:

> You can begrudge the first DPR his lame security, shady murder contracts, and ill-gotten fortune,

I spent a decent amount of time trying to figure out what that meant until finally it occurred to me that the OP simply does not seem to know what the word begrudge means. He saw a similar construction used in a well written piece and copied it.

> but he's the product of our system,

Utter abnegation of personal responsibility. What about the rest of us who don't try to have people killed? Are we not also products of the system?

> and his shame is our shame.

Most assuredly not. I have on occasion behaved shamefully. I have not tried to have people killed. I have not facilitated what I consider dangerous and debilitating behavior. His shame is not my shame, nor is mine his. Society is not to blame.

You say "The only reason the Silk Road is used is because there's a need for it." Nothing could be further from the truth. The only reason the Silk Road exists is because there is a desire for it. In the language of the moral theorists, not all desires are ordered desires. It's a tough pill for the libertarians to swallow, but disordered behavior does not warrant the same privilege as well-ordered behavior.

The current DPR is allegedly the third one, and the one in jail is the second, as he said in an interview with Forbes.

Are there holes in the timeline that connected Ulbricht to Silk Road? Because that timeline didn't really leave any time for there to have been a first DPR.

Reports indicate that the original DPR retired to Patagonia 15 years ago, and has been living like a king ever since.

How does work? Wikipedia says that the silk road started in February of 2011. And if that was months, it would still only give him around a year and a half on the site.

Princess Bride joke.

This one's the Fed Pirate Roberts :p

The way this site launched so soon after the original was shut down--with the same name, same styling, even the same "Dread Pirate Roberts" moniker--makes me very suspicious.

Meh, nothing more than a recursive wget will do that.

I am beginning to see the significance of the name "Dread Pirate Roberts".

In The Princess Bride, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093779/ it was actually a title that was handed down, and the current Dread Pirate Roberts is the third one.

The Princess Bride has wonderfully quotable dialogue, e.g. "Have you ever considered piracy? You'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts."


Forbes interviewed DPR (Ulbricht or not) in August.

"Roberts isn’t actually the site’s founder, he revealed in our interview. He credits Silk Road’s creation to another, even more secretive entrepreneur whom he declined to tell me anything about and who may have used the “Dread Pirate Roberts” nom de guerre before it was assumed by the person I interviewed."


Yeah, he was just saying that to throw people off his trail.

NOTE: I live in Austin and am acquaintances with a few people who knew him a bit while he was here.

From what I understand, at the time of Silk Road's creation, he was not nearly technically capable of creating a site like it. He seems to have learned enough to administer and update the site, but the initial construction was done by another.

SR was just a glorified rails app, and my understanding was that it was initially pretty buggy. It's within reason that someone could pick up the knowledge they need within a few months to build such a thing, at least enough to get it rolling.

I thought it used PHP? At least the question on StackOverflow that allegedly led to his demise asked about PHP issues.

I don't actually know - what I mean is, it's a basic CRUD app without much special sauce.

It used CodeIgniter (PHP).

I completely agree with this. Looking at it from a civil disobedience standpoint really exemplifies what we need to do to protect our freedom on the web in the coming future. With the onslaught of information with PRISM, spying, etc. the general public becoming aware of these sort of "rogue web pirates" is quite important to raising awareness even if it is only due to shock value that the general media is reporting it.

> I'd never buy heroin from a website

I'd rather buy heroin from Silk Road (where it's peer-reviewed and often tested by third-parties) than on the street.

Buying online is just overall less risky.

Used to be less risky now they slam you with interstate trafficking charges which can climb to 10+yrs whereas getting jacked on the street and losing $50 doesn't sound too bad in comparison.

Maybe if you are a USA resident.

Depends how well you know your dealer.

Are you saying heroin specifically because you do buy it but not from websites, or because some drugs you'd trust to a website (regardless of whether you personally buy them or not) but heroin not, or were you just naming a random drug?

I chose heroin specifically because that's the drug I associate most with the Silk Road, probably because of this story: http://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/07/mail-from-the-velvet-cybe...

And I thought it was a memorable way to phrase it... I've never seen heroin, except on The Wire.

I will never understand why Silk Road is easier than just hitting up your dealer

I've never used SR (or similar site), but there's plenty of drugs which I couldn't get locally if I wanted them - I'm sure they are sold near me, but I wouldn't know how to find them. Heroin, LSD... etc. Hitting up a dealer is only easy if you know how to find a dealer. (Personally I've looked for mushrooms in the past with absolutely no joy. So I've never done mushrooms.)

For all drugs, it's quite possible that online offers better quality. I've known cocaine users whose local dealers only sold shitty quality, afaik I don't know anyone who has bought online but it might make sense for them in that case. And drugs like weed, might well be that you want a choice of strains whereas most dealers just have whatever they managed to buy, not a supermarket range of choices.

Unrelated, but have you ever tried mescaline via san pedro? One of the good legal psychedelics if you're thinking about shrooms.

I've never used any psychedelic, legal or not - a quick Google makes mescaline via cactus sound fairly complicated..

Half-day trip on san pedro in college... good times

try camping in Joshua Tree with a ziplock of peyote buttons and a gallon bottle of cactus juice. I lost my fucking mind there in the desert sand, and then found it two days later, in better condition than when I left it.

haha I can appreciate that

Finding psychedelics in the Midwest is impossible. I can swing a dead cat and find all the heroin you could ever want though. Supply and demand doesn't work so well on the black market. Which makes an online brokerage pretty enticing.

Your situation may be different, but I personally would not even know where to start looking for a local dealer. Being a sheltered upper middle class youth has its disadvantages :)

The one glaring problem with anonymous purchasing of items is assassinations / hits that people seem to be hired for through it. There are other bad things too. Society could become a very fucked up place - even more so than now as people gain trust for that system.

I didn't produce him, or it. Thus I feel no shame.

But you pay taxes that finance the government stupidity and violence.

It's not like he has a choice.

There is choices, it is not easy to do, but there are ways. Because everyone gives up that government do shit.

Yesterday my cousin was found dead. He had committed suicide. It was the end of a long battle he had been waging against himself. Drugs have destroyed this small part of my family, but i'm really glad to see something like the silk road revitalized.

I think the sooner we realize how fleeting a battle it is to fight them, the sooner we can place the money where it belongs.

My cousin is dead now, but I think my tax money would be better spent helping him kick his habit, than locking him up.

I've been an active Libertarian for several years now, and just looking at the countless stories I've heard like this leads me to hold the same belief as you do. It truly is tragic the way many people are simply thrown in a cell rather than helped with what is clearly an illness. Addiction itself is not a choice. Using a drug is, but the consequences that follow oftentimes cannot be overcome. I'm sorry for your loss.

> this leads me to hold the same belief as you do

His belief was that tax money should be spent on rehabilitation instead of the drug war. Shouldn't you be against using tax money for this and instead supporting private charities?

Being Libertarian doesn't necessary mean you have to be against all tax. For example (in the Libertarian point of view), taxes should only be used to maintain order, that being said the government should run prisons. However, in the case of drugs a rehabilitation program likely would be cheaper than a drug war and still under the classification of "maintaining order." Since drug users can often be violent, unable to drive, etc. and could cause harm.

Therefore, it's actually better and fair to use a small tax for rehabilitation than it is to use prisons to keep drug users locked up. This is according to the Libertarian point of view.. Strictly Libertarians are against tax, however in this case a more middle road can be argued for and be within the Libertarian's view.

It truly is tragic the way many people are simply thrown in a cell rather than helped with what is clearly an illness.

So true. The privatization of jails in the US seems to be the root cause of this. Private jails want to increase profits, so they lobby for “3 strikes” laws that play well for politicians who want to seem “tough on crime”. The end result is a lot more people in jail, but without the reduction in crime and certainly absent of actually helping people stop their drug habits.

It's tragic that money that could have been spent on social programs like ones I've helped run was instead going to ridiculous and ineffective tactics. Sorry for your loss.

Humble brag. Not that I disagree with you.

Sorry for your loss. I think a system like Portugal [citation needed] would go a long way. Treat drug addicts like patients rather than criminals.

May I ask what drugs he was battling with?

Senator Tom Carper's statement on the launch:

“This new website – launched barely a month after Federal agents shut down the original Silk Road -- underscores the inescapable reality that technology is dynamic and ever-evolving and that government policy needs to adapt accordingly. Rather than play ‘whack-a-mole’ with the latest website, currency, or other method criminals are using in an effort to evade the law, we need to develop thoughtful, nimble and sensible federal policies that protect the public without stifling innovation and economic growth. Our committee intends to have that conversation – among others - at our hearing this month on virtual currency.”


This scares me more than reassures me. Given the US government's history of response to questions like these, I suspect this message will get through, minus the "without stifling innovation" part.

Yeah, how about redefining what a criminal is in the first place. Then you don't need to protect the public.

Not unexpected of course, the demand for narcotics and other services is still out there. I can't help but wonder if this isn't a bit like becoming the new head of some terrorist organization, the target is now painted day-glo orange and we know that it is not only on the 'radar' of law enforcement, its a priority target. The clock starts, and a number of resources are now tasked with taking you out.

Of course the genius of the Princess Bride with respect to the DPR character is that the character cannot be killed or captured or prosecuted, because it isn't really a person, it is an idea. And that was wonderfully illustrated in the book, film, and now in world around us.

I think it will be interesting to watch, no doubt this time round the creators have been anonymous from the get go. Avoiding all the errors that DPR/Ulbricht made would be quite simple given the knowledge we have from court documents of how he was caught.

If these guys get caught then I think we can more safely assume that it was a case of parallel construction after the targets were initially identified by the NSA/GCHQ tracking them via Tor. Only the biggest dealers and the operators would be worthy of the resources required to undertake that task.

I have a sneaking suspicion that it's a honeypot. Just a hunch.

The Silk Road seizure demonstrated that the only reasonable way to participate in any online drug market is to assume the market itself is compromised and untrustworthy. That means you never upload identifying information in cleartext (e.g., buyers encrypt their addresses with the seller's public key), and you run all bitcoins sent to or received from such a site through a third-party mixer.

Of course, there still has to be some level of trust on the part of a buyer, that the seller they're connecting to is actually a real drug dealer and not an undercover cop. But that was still an issue even on the original Silk Road. It was partially addressed by the feedback/review system -- which does involve a certain amount of trust in the site not to fabricate reviews -- but more importantly by the fact that high-level law enforcement is really only interested in tracking down sellers. And assuming the users are competent, running a honeypot gives you very little information about the sellers.

> It was partially addressed by the feedback/review system -- which does involve a certain amount of trust in the site not to fabricate reviews

Many users over in Europe took to themselves to review sellers on trusted third-party sites, such as flashback.org. There trusted sellers were "greened", as it were, and word was quickly spread when some seller tried a bait-and-switch by giving good drugs to the first buyers and scamming the second wave.

Full Disclosure: I am a user of flashback.org but I never used drugs or silk road.

Is it really illegal to try to buy drugs? Doesn't an actual illegal substance need to be involved/seized for it to be a crime? Honeypot sellers don't really make sense to me.

What good does that do if the sellers are also fake?

Law enforcement would rather go after the vendors than buyers. There are probably too many buyers for officers to deal with, and they would have to make all the arrests simultaneously. In meat-space, they arrest buyers so that they will rat out their dealer. This is not possible on SR because the dealers do not expose any identifying info to buyers.

The fake seller issue is independent of the honeypot issue. There was nothing stopping anyone from creating fake sellers on the original Silk Road. I assume the main reason it didn't happen is that doing so would only help catch buyers, and governments really want to catch sellers.

I think you missunderstand me... I'm saying what if the sellers are also honeypots? Encryption means nothing if the NSA created the "sellers" key in the first place.

My point is that you don't have to control the marketplace itself in order to create honeypot sellers. There was nothing stopping law enforcement from registering honeypot sellers on the original Silk Road. Controlling the marketplace itself would let them avoid the (trivial) registration fee to create a honeypot seller, but doesn't otherwise give them any extra power.

With good opsec (i.e. only PGP-encrypted messages) sellers should still be able to operate safely.

Buyers slightly less, considering that the sellers might be cops (which is also the case on a non-honeypot site), or because the PGP-keys of the sellers might be fake (for MITM).

But considering that feds generally seem to target sellers, I don't think the usefulness of this as a honeypot would be huge. But it's definitely possible, especially given that the feds have the source code and all.

> considering that the sellers might be cops

Why wouldn't law enforcement pose as buyers, as well? This is a common tactic in narcotics enforcement. Entrapment often isn't an issue, as the seller took the first step of advertising the drugs for sale.

Are you getting at the fact that the buyer must have a receiving address, while the seller can ship anonymously? I would be skeptical of that. If I were attempting to track the source of a package, and I had the full force of warrants behind me, I bet I could track down most shippers.

Every shipping company has its own tracking information. Much of this may be opaque to the end user. The tracking might be much more detailed than what you can see as an end user with a tracking number. Assuming the carrier cooperates with law enforcement, tracking could (presumably) be further enhanced for targeted post offices, routes, etc..

For example, suppose I, as a law enforcement agent, receive an order from a Silk Road seller. Let's say it was shipped in an envelope, dropped off at a USPS street-corner box. From the tracking info, I identify which post office first handled the envelope. Thus I narrow my search to a few possible mailboxes served by that post office.

I instruct the carriers at that post office to assist me. As they follow their routes, emptying mailboxes, I have them sort outgoing mail into separate bags, one per box. I have the post office flag any mail going to my address.

I place another order from the same seller. When it hits the post office, it gets flagged, and because of the per-box sorting, I know which mailbox was used.

For round three, I place yet another order, this time with the mailbox under surveillance. I also install a camera inside the mailbox that sees the destination address of every envelope deposited. When the seller drops his shipment, my surveillance team detects it. They then follow the person who dropped the letter. Now I have the shipper's identity.

Can these measures be defeated with appropriate opsec? Maybe, if you know exactly what tactics law enforcement will employ. But you don't. You could spend all your time defending against the tactics I just described, only to get caught because law enforcement came up with a totally different strategy.

My point is, opsec is really, really hard.

This is what made Kaczynski (the Unabomber) so difficult to track. IIRC, he would travel for a few hours (by bus) to a town and deposit his packages in a mailbox there [citation needed]. This made it difficult to track him, since the origin of the package didn't leak any information about the sender.

For sellers, proper OPSec requires that they do not leave fingerprints in/on the package, that mailing locations are reasonably random and not isolated to a small geographic area, and that the sender masks his identity (veiled face, no cellphone, no car) when dropping off the packages. Additionally, a seller should use a variety of packaging types for shipments to make detecting the illicit shipments harder.

Given these precautions, it would likely be infeasible for law enforcement agencies to identify a given seller. However, they would also reduce profits for the vendor.

A good precaution would be to use a range of mail boxes that, when plotted on a map, form a ring around a population centre far removed from the one you are actually residing in.

Even then, there are still possible information leaks.

For example, conceivably when you package the drugs in your warehouse, local pollens and molds could find their way into the insides of the packaging. If the distribution of pollens and molds is unique to a reasonably small area, that would be an information leak.

A bit sci-fi? Sort of. You'd need a database of mold and pollen distributions for the whole country, plus tools to analyze the distribution in a given package. That's daunting, and maybe it's more trouble than it's worth for drug enforcement. But it's not outright impossible. And I have no idea what's the maximum effort DEA is willing to spend to track down Silk Road sellers.

This is just one example of a possible information leak, off the top of my head. I'm sure we could come up with others, if we thought hard enough about it. All of this is to say that it's not the information leak you're worried about, it's the one you haven't thought of that will ruin you.

DEA effort is generally a faster than the slowest person type problem, you don't need to be better than the DEA, just better than someone else.

Agents need to make busts in order to get promoted, therefore 'rational' agents will catch those easier to catch before devoting resources to harder to catch suspects.

In the aggregate, I'm sure this is true. If I were an individual criminal, I'd still be nervous. What if I'm the outlier, i.e. the criminal who gets caught despite an abundance of caution?

Not that I'm disagreeing with you at all. Your point seems spot-on.

Isn't that also a result in the quantity of packages sent? If you want to run a business, you'd need a much larger set of "random" mailboxes then if you are sending out a handful of bombs over years.

Exactly. There's very little incentive to participate as a seller on Silk Road if you have to take these extreme measures for every package you send out. It's not economical.

If you're smart enough to devise these opsec procedures, you're probably smart enough to make a decent living doing something legal. So being a drug dealer is only worth it if you can do it at scale and make serious money. But these opsec procedures would significantly erode your hourly rate, making Silk Road an unattractive proposition. Unless, of course, you're willing to throw caution to the wind and optimize for efficiency rather than security.

Unless the seller is actually a co-op of sellers, distributed world-wide. It would be fairly trivial to make the seller group wide enough, and using a lifestyle type of profit (i.e. each person makes a reasonable amount of money, but no-one becomes a millionaire) it may not be worthwhile for law enforcement to coordinate and monitor so many drop points around the world

Not really, if you take a major metropolitan area there are plenty of mailboxes.

The post office also happens to have a list of these mailboxes, if you use random selection and travel during peak hours they can't reduce much below the 'people who live in the metro area and commute' level.

I'm sure there are other examples, but this method of monitoring mailboxes was used more than a decade ago to catch the person behind the Tesco letterbomb campaign:


That guy seems to have been pretty stupid, to be frank. Used the same postbox for all letters, and didn't put enough stamps on some packages. I don't think this in any way suggests somebody with basic common sense couldn't be quite considerably more secure when sending things they don't want traced back to themselves.

   "...while the Royal Mail intercepted several other packages, which had been held up because insufficient stamps had been put on them."

    "After receiving the second letter, which had been damaged by fire, police made enquiries with the Royal Mail and discovered that a fire had been reported in a postbox on Bradpole Road, Bournemouth, leading to speculation that "Sally"—the alias by which all the letters were signed—had changed his mind and attempted to destroy the letter."

    "The police received another letter from "Sally" on 7 December. Once again, the letter was traced back to the Bradpole road postbox, where the surveillance operation had continued. The operation had captured good-quality footage of all the users of the postbox that day, but, as it was close to Christmas, the postbox was busier than normal, with 172 items posted by 38 people. Royal Mail regulations meant that detectives could not open or delay the letters, so they made enquiries with the recipients to identify the senders. They eventually managed to identify all but a small number of the senders."

    "On 17 February 2001—over six months after the receipt of the first demand and three months since the last letter from "Sally"—the police made a major breakthrough. Detective Constable Alan Swanton, a junior detective on the case, spotted one of the people caught by the surveillance of the postbox who had yet to be identified. The man was carrying a fuel container, which Swanton believed had come from a nearby filling station. Officers obtained CCTV footage from the filling station, where their suspect had paid by cheque, and identified the man as Robert Edward Dyer."

> Why wouldn't law enforcement pose as buyers, as well?

And then you end up with covert LEO buying, and covert LEO selling ... and find yourself knee deep in a Philip K Dick novel.

> Why wouldn't law enforcement pose as buyers, as well?

Because as a buyer you don't know who the seller is. You just receive your package.

But as a seller, you know your buyer's mailing address. It becomes trivial to catch the buyer.

As described in my post above, the police don't initially know who the seller is. But the whole point is to find out by working backwards from the package the police receive.

If this is a honeypot, couldn't they conceivably deanonymize users based on timing, using either ISP data or data from honeypotted Tor relays?

Wouldn't it be a great honeypot for one big bust? Delay the launch as long as possible due to "load issues" to bring in as many sellers as possible and then take them all down after their first transaction.

How are you going to find a seller? They use Tor, don't need to enter their details anywhere; they just send packages to addresses they receive in encrypted form.

Most sellers are too lazy/cheap to properly set-up their fulfillment operation with good enough security. If you read accounts of the seller busts from Silk Road 1.0, the authorities can trace where your packages have been sent from and where you bought the postage from. If you don't operate as if the police are actively using this information to track you down, they will be able to.

Sellers don't reveal their personal details to the site - maybe having a honeypot site would make it easier to track them down, but it wouldn't be simple.

It's run by one of the admins of the original SR according to the article.

And would it be even legal for the police to do this?

Since when in recent years has that been a determining factor? The war on Bad People has been the go-to excuse for all sorts of things which we might feel should not be legal, or which are not. The Justice Department can merely choose not to prosecute them, congress can enact legislation granting immunity, or the agencies can flat-out lie about what they are doing.

If the government is running a drug marketplace as a honeypot to catch sellers and buyers, it's possible that some of those buyers and sellers might mount an effective suit ... but I'd say the expected result is much more likely to be jail time for the buyers/sellers.

Moreover, the courts will rule that only people directly harmed by such things can sue for it, and then will deny THEIR suit unless they are able to prove that it happened. Since it'll all be classified up to the moon, the government will deny its existence, and no suits will happen.

This is a deliberately cynical take on how that would go down, but I fear it's probably not inaccurate.

Could be, but would they really dare to mock themselves in the honeypot? If it is a honeypot, it's very convincing and elaborate.

> If it is a honeypot, it's very convincing and elaborate.

There is no other way to run a honeypot. Reminder that the feds ran the two largest carding forums on the web:


They almost entirely destroyed English-language US-based carding forums in the process.

I would say, that's exactly what you want from your honeypot.

What I don't really know, I guess, are the legal implications of entraping people on such a mass scale.

I'm also not sure about the usefulness of such a honeypot, since you can't actually track the buyers. Just because someone pays you to send drugs to some address, doesn't mean it's their own address

IANAL, but my understanding of entrapment is that law enforcement has to persuade you to break a law that you wouldn't otherwise have broken - for example if you walk up to a cop and say "sell me some weed" that isn't entrapment, unless he initiated it and persuaded you to try to buy some weed - so if this site was a honeypot, it wouldn't be entrapment, as buyers and sellers are both going there without any persuasion, because they already want to do something illegal.

That said, I agree with other comments here as to why it's unlikely to be a honeypot.

>would they really dare to mock themselves in the honeypot?

Of course they would. The makers of a maximally-effective honeypot aren't going to shy away from making fun of TLAs. They'll do what's most effective.

With that said, I doubt it's a honeypot. Of course I don't plan to test that hypothesis.

To me, that seems like the easiest possible thing to do. If they have the original site code, then it's just a matter of making some superficial changes and re-launching as "Silk Road 2.0".

Would an undercover cop say "fuck the police!" when talking to the people he was angling to bust? Of course he would.

Nah, I believe the motive is money. Did you hear how much was seized from the previous admin? To make such money just sitting behind a computer, without having to worry about guns and the violence that comes with dealing drugs? There are many people who are willing to risk it.

Well, to be clear, you've still got to be worried about guns and violence. They just happen to be wielded by thugs who happen to have a badge and uniform.

You'd have to be a complete moron or a huge addict to use this. How much do you want to bet this is run by the FBI and filled with various browser exploits designed to de-anonymize you? I wouldn't even connect to it, let alone buy or sell drugs on it.

Then there a lot of moron drug addicts on this forum.

Easy way to find out buy something cheap and ship it to your neighbor. Your neighbor will have a bad day but won't won't get in trouble and there won't be any evidence that he bought it only that someone shipped it to him/her.

>Your neighbor will have a bad day but won't won't get in trouble

This may result in your neighbor being raided and possibly being injured (and small chance they might be killed). Please read the description of some of these botched raids http://www.cato.org/raidmap before you willfully endanger people you should be looking out for.

This is one of the most irresponsible things I've ever read.


Seriously? You don't think that sending a schedule I substance to an unknowing stranger through the mail and across state lines isn't irresponsible? Are you going to valiantly turn yourself in if your neighbors get raided?

If you get drugs shipped to your house, they will charge and probably convict you. Doesn't mean it would hold up in an appeal, but why would you risk an innocent's life, freedom, finances, and social standing just to order drugs off the internet?


32 pounds of marijuana in that case. If you were going to do a test run in this way, you could send a single schedule IV Xanax or something. I'm not saying it's a good idea but the likelihood of putting your neighbors in danger is probably smaller than many common actions. It's probably less dangerous statistically than giving them baked goods with nuts.

All I was responding to is your statement, "One of the most irresponsible things I've ever read." If I ranked all statements I've ever read in order of irresponsibility, this is pretty middling.

Maybe I should clarify: it's one of the most directly irresponsible things I've seen unironically suggested here.

If you don't see the irresponsibility of implicating an unknowing third-party in a serious life ruining felony, I don't know what to tell you.

Given that this is most likely filled with vendors who are either agents or guys who have been popped and are now confidential informants, your statistics are way off.

If you want to see really un-ironic irresponsible ideas, go read the post on the anarchist solution to healthcare. I'll give you the tl;dr: anonymous healthcare for bitcoins.

I try to avoid anything that would bring the bitcoin crowd out, or I might have an aneurysm.

I'm alright with people buying and selling drugs, as long as they risk their own lives.

But that is just low. What kind of psychopath do you have to be to ruin some innocent persons's life just because you want to check some theory.

While I do agree with your point wholeheartedly, I believe that the mere fact that an innocent person's life can be ruined by these types of shenanigans shows the flaws in our current system. Our system is supposed to protect innocents, but as we have seen too many times, the cops rush in on flimsy evidence and wreak havoc. This is what needs to be addressed.

This is just an example of the massive waste of resources used up by the drug war (assuming this is what it claims to be, point stands regardless). So the Silk Road was shut down, but all that did was reduce the available supply of the drugs. It did nothing to address the demand side of drugs, which is really what drives everything. All attacking the supply does is make it more lucrative for those who are able to evade law enforcement.

There is some role for law enforcement to play in discouraging the supply of drugs (if the society we live in remains one where drug use is considered negative). However, the vast majority of resources should go towards addressing the demand (making people want them less, treatment, etc., I don't mean just arrest all the buyers).

My favorite bit is Forbes' publishing software automatically linking the handle "Steve Jobs" to their profile of the real Steve Jobs. Classy!

There is cool interesting feature — two factor auth. But not your usual one. It ask you to decrypt random string encrypted with your public GPG key (you provide it in prefs).

A serious question: while I have nothing against Silk Road (the drug war is a waste of money anyways), aren't people afraid of putting stuff in their body that they had an anonymous person send to them? I mean, unless the seller has a reputation, isn't there is a substantial risk of using that drug?

Are my fears unfound? On one hand, the idea of buying drugs online is probably more safe than doing it on the streets, but the anonymity this offers has a potential downside like the one I mentioned above.

Your fears are no larger than those of a drug addict on the street, not sure what exactly is in the little baggies they buy. Frankly, I think online is safer, as the guy you're buying from online has a reputation system, and is less likely to stick a gun in your face and take your money. And less likely to sell you baby powder and run.

Do you ever buy anything at grocery store, drug store, restaurant that you put in your body?

There is risk in everything. Generally people aren't sociopaths and aren't out to harm others. Risk is minimal but exists.

Sellers on Silkroad do have reputation? Anonymous does not mean "unknown".

> Do you ever buy anything at grocery store, drug store, restaurant that you put in your body?

Not really a fair comparison. If a grocery store assaults or defrauds you, you have legal recourse.

There is nothing you can do if an illicit transaction fails.

The rest of what you say is true, of course.

You can leave bad feedback, and take it to the dispute center to force the seller to defend themselves to the SR admins.

This is more recourse than you have in practice against a grocery store if they refuse to give you a refund - what are you going to do, sue them?

If a grocery store harms you in an illegal way you they can be punished by the force of the state in a variety of ways. The same is not true of a anonymous person on an inbound tor site.

If someone sold bad shit on the silk road, they'd lose all of their rep and stop making money.

On the original silk road, it cost a very large amount to get a vendor account. So if you decided to start selling bad shit, you'd have to play nice for a while to break even, a while longer to build trust, and then go out in a blaze of bad shit.

I don't really see why anyone would do that. If you have good enough connections to get a good rep on the Silk Road (or similar site), you have good enough connections to never need to sell bad shit. As Stringer Bell would say, it's all about the product. If you have better product than your competition, you'll win in the end.

> If a grocery store harms you in an illegal way you they can be punished by the force of the state in a variety of ways.

Hypothetically. If you have enough money. And enough evidence. Good luck with that. I'd rather take my chances in SR's dispute resolution center...

You act like the health department is some kind of ivory tower

Not the grocery store, the guy at some factory somewhere that peas into the soup that eventually makes it way to your shelf.

Point is there is a huge web of people everybody trusts to not be evil. They are trusted for no good reason (other than as stated most people aren't sociopaths). But some are. Protecting against them isn't worth the tiny risk of exposure.

Likewise fretting over being "defrauded" by anonymous (but reputed) persons whom you buy illicit goods from is not worth worrying about. Same with ebay, kickstarter etc.

> Do you ever buy anything at grocery store, drug store, restaurant that you put in your body?

These are all inspected by governments. You can argue that this is imperfect, does not happen frequently enough, leaves something to be desired, won't catch everything, etc., but speaking personally, I do take those inspection scores seriously when I see them posted on the walls of places.

I'm rather sure that Anonymous does mean "(of a person) not identified by name; of unknown name."

It would not be controversial to state that the Federalist Papers were published anonymously, despite the fact that the authors gave themselves the pseudonym "Publius".

You've clearly been watching too much tv. Most people don't buy drugs from random dudes in sketch alley. They get them from a dealer a friend knows. This peer network will have a stronger safety record. A dealer would never risk selling something that's unsafe, as sales would dry up within days of hearing about a bad incident.

There are kits you can buy to test the purity of drugs you buy: http://dancesafe.org/products/testing-kits

There are actually some independent people who test various drugs on Silk Road. Obviously they could be wrong/rigged, but it seems like a far better step than buying anywhere else:

The LSD Avengers are a group of individuals that perform trip, reagent, and lab tests on LSD that is found on the Silk Road in order to verify the legitimacy of the product and to weed out scammers. Their primary goal is to aide individuals in easily finding the holy grail of psychedelics.

This applies to most recreational drug taking. It all entails risk. Dealers are shady and so are their sources. There aren't a lot of "completely trust this guy who sells me LSD" scenarios.

They do, but they take the risk. Shows how much people want that stuff in their body.

The fear of unknown chemicals in there is extremely warranted. However, I believe the fear of there being a higher probability online is unwarranted. Because of the anonymity between online and real personas, you're probably more likely to be buying from someone with a high online reputation, which would be more likely to give untainted products.

Same with any drug buying process. At least online you have seller reputations and reviews to go on.

They have ratings systems on there to help this - obviously it doesn't mean it's not possible to get stuff that isn't want you think it is, but it's not too much better or worse than trusting a local dealer on the street.

But dead people can't leave negative reviews.

killing your customers seems like a poor business plan though

Depends how long it takes.

If you kill people slowly, so, booze, fags, fatty food, pollution, and so on, then its fine. Killing people really fast, well, that's then it gets iffy. Oh, unless you are a government waging a jihad, or is it "war", on something.

Im sure they must be a line some where...

Unless you're a serial killer.

They also can't leave any postive reviews.. Nice way to stay at the bottom of the seller list.

Of course there are risks, it's a trade-off. But sellers are motivated to sell high-quality products.

There was a reputation system on SR similar to ebay.

Sellers have profile reputation system like on Ebay.

Never, ever, ever trust anyone or anything that suddenly reappears after a major bust by the authorities. NEVER.

Move on.

One would think that they'd start moving to technologies that are decentralized using technologies such as distributed hash tables. This puts the onus on the users to have a client app that helps host the transaction system for everyone else.

The clients would openly share the buy and sell orders and then communication would moved to an encrypted channel that supports perfect forward secrecy.

The only part that ostensibly needs to be centralized is a ledger maintaining the reputation tied to some pseudonym.

i.e. the identity of DPR is passed along to all the users of the site collectively.

Yes, but those systems don't exist yet, and the cost of setting up a Rails app hidden inside Tor is much lower.

You don't need the ledger to be centralized either. A bitcoin style blockchain stores transaction histories tied to a specific set of keys/wallets. In the future I imagine some sort of reputation system will be maintained using this.

Ya. Wouldn't it just have to be something like they are doing with Namecoin (decentralised DNS)

Hopefully it won't be another "Project: Black Flag", http://buttcoin.org/silk-road-replacement-project-black-flag...

The sudden rise of terribly programmed, horribly insecure marketplaces as hidden services since SR went down has been absolutely fascinating.

Any particular reason you're assuming this one is terribly programmed and horribly insecure? Other than past experience, I guess.

The litany of hidden service marketplace failures in the past month alone is enough to make me have little faith in this endeavour. I'm just glad im watching on as am outsider: quite a few people in desperate situations are losing lots of money.

I don't know where you got this from. Silk Road wasn't busted because of anything in the sites code-base.

Well, that was inevitable.

I think the word you're after is INCONCEIVABLE

You keep using that word.

Is there a place he could run this from and be safe? Like a country without extradition where it would be difficult for US gov to come in and arrest you anyway.

The single dumbest thing the last DPR did was continue living in the US

I don't remember the exact details, but I don't think that was DPR's mistake. I thought he had ordered some fake passports that were intercepted.

He also promoted the site from a forum account with his real name and real name gmail account in another post.

True, that was very stupid. But, if he were in a place where the US gov couldn't operate, that wouldn't have really mattered

As I've never heard of the site before it was seized, the DEA gave it some good advertising. They probably will have grown the site much quicker by trying to stop it.

So how do we know that this is not the FBI waiting for people to place orders/post listings so they can arrest them?

They claimed to have caught the Dread Pirate Roberts... but then again who's to say?

I am serious here too: I don't support the website's initiative. I endorse the technical aspect of it as a way to test whether the design is optimal and achievable, but in no way would I ever support drug dealers.

An honest question: Why not?

1. I am against illegal drugs. It is up to the society to have a consent whether x drug should be legal or not. For example, marijuana.

2. Liability and safety. It's safer to assume your pharmacist is giving the right drug and the right amount and the right quality. I am all for reducing the cost and I think we should lower the cost whenever possible, but getting through silk road because it's cheaper/easier to get doesn't meet my standard.

I, too am against illegal drugs like heroin, but I believe legalizing all drugs would help everyone, both the addicts and normal people. Taking away the black market would reduce crime and stop the flow of money into powerful crime organizations. The addict would benefit from cleaner drugs and would not have to break the law to get their fix.

I have seen heroin ruin people's lives and I wish with all my heart that it could be eradicated. However, this is just not possible, and we have to figure out how to live in a world that includes such terrible things. The only people who benefit from criminalization are law enforcement and prison owners.

> I have seen heroin ruin people's lives and I wish with all my heart that it could be eradicated.

Not disagreeing with you, but I (personally) have seen far more people's lives ruined by legal drugs such as alcohol, tobacco and various painkillers than I've seen from hard/illegal drugs (heroin/crack/cannabis/etc).

> It is up to the society

What is this society that you refer to. Surely it can be the people of the nation, because only 30%-ish of the population votes, so the majority can't be said to be in agreement (I also never recall a nation wide vote on the legality of drugs). Are you referring to politicians' decisions? They are an even smaller part of the overall population and don't even represent the people that they are said to (Money in politics etc). Plus, even if 99% of the entire population were to decide that these drugs are dangerous, why is it then ok to violently stop the 1% from doing something that only harms themselves? If that is just, would it the be ok if 51% of people decided that all soda was dangerous and banned that too? What about cheese burgers, we, as a society, have to stop obesity right? What about cars, which kill more people than drugs ever will?

The idea of the morality of democracy is just another version of the might makes right argument.

> because only 30%-ish of the population votes,

The choice to let other people choose for you is still a choice.

Its not allowing people to chose for you, its simply not participating. Not giving consent to any action of any kind can not give consent to an action of others choosing, its akin to saying 0 equals 1.

> Its not allowing people to chose for you,

Yes, choosing not to vote is allowing other people to choose for you. You have the choice to participate in the decision or not, and you choose not to participate. That means you are choosing to allow other people to choose for you.

> Not giving consent to any action of any kind can not give consent

Consent is not the same thing as choice (it may require choice, but it is not equivalent to it.)

> 1. I am against illegal drugs. It is up to the society to have a consent whether x drug should be legal or not. For example, marijuana.

Is this only for drugs? If so, why only for drugs? If not, does that mean you want to be governed by popular opinion?

I'm actually astounded someone on HN would make this statement so I'm genuinely interested in the rationale.


The interesting thing to me is that, in theory, the same kinds of extreme privacy-protecting, anonymity-maximizing measures which can be used to host any kind of Silk Road, or to visit it and use it, can ALSO be used by... wait for it... wait for it... yes the law enforcement folks. In other words, how can you be sure that this new Silk Road 2.0 is not a sting honey pot setup by the FBI itself?

I don't buy stuff like that and never will. But if I did, I wouldn't go near anything using the Silk Road name after a seizure/arrest has been publicly documented.

Remember, on the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog. Or a teenager living in your mom's basement in Russia. Or an FBI agent munching on donuts in Washington DC. Etc.

to be honest. When I first read it, I assumed that it was just a rouge organization looking to defraud the ex customers of the old Silk Road.

As a black hat, that would of being my first play. The presence of ex Silk Road moderators does a little bit to assuage those fears, but they could be fooled just as any other person. Truly, I would never trust this Silk Road. Then again, I wouldn't of trusted the old Silk Road either.

pretty sure its a honeypot.

Domain registered by FBI

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