Firstly, I would like to make WARNING for you to consider. This is to be used as an educational guide only. You should be warned against actually using Silk Road Reloaded or Silk Road 3 because the two previous Silk Road sites have been shut down by law enforcement and any other site that chooses to use the same name is painting a MASSIVE target on itself. If you want a Darknet Market with the biggest selection of goods, has been around for a long time and has a great reputation then I would head over to AlphaBay Market. You can find out how to get there here. >>http://AlphaBayMarket.com<<
In early 2011, the original Silk Road site was founded using Tor’s anonymous network. Over the next two years, it grew into the first major online black market. Law enforcement managed to shut it down in early 2013, but by then its name had become somewhat synonymous with these sites for the casual user, almost like Coke is for soda.
Barely missing a beat, the Silk Road 2 came not long after and sought to fill the void left. And it did to some extent before eventually being raided itself. In the meantime, several other darknet markets sprung up and were soon competing, eventually growing even bigger than Silk Road 1.
Which brings us to today and the recently launched Silk Road Reloaded, which has bucked the trend and switched from Tor to the Invisible Internet Project (I2P). This market is not to be confused with the Silk Road 3, which is completely unaffiliated and still uses Tor.
Silk Road Reloaded’s founders, who have no connection to the creators of the original, say they want to uphold the legacy and ideals of the first Silk Road. But the community is wary, especially since all other Silk Road sites have fallen to hacking. Some claim that the name is at best a marketing ploy, at worst a massive target for law enforcement.
Whatever it is, I’d like to have a look for myself – and I’m bringing you along for the ride. But to be clear, I don’t plan on buying anything, I’ll simply be browsing and guiding you, the reader.
So off we go.
Getting Started: I2P and PGP
• First things first, if you don’t already have and use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) app then go here and find the best one for you. This will encrypt all of your internet traffic and hide your locations from anyone looking at what you are doing online. The last thing you want is the authorities knowing what websites you are visiting and what you are doing. ISP’s and government agencies are logging everything at the moment so this will add that extra layer of anonymity to keep your Deep Web adventures to your self. Clcik here to find a VPN http://silkroaddrugs.org/i2pVPN
• You need to download and set up I2P. As far as you and I are concerned, the main differences between Tor are that I2P is more decentralized and can be used across other browsers, namely Firefox and Chrome. But also, it’s a bit trickier to configure.
• You can find the download on their official site here: https://geti2p.net/en/download
• If you want to buy anything on this site then I would highly recommend installing Tails operating system instead of Windows or Mac to protect your anonymity. You can see how to here. http://silkroaddrugs.org/Tails
• That shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and the actual installation process is very simple and straightforward. Just follow the steps.
• Once that’s done, start up your VPN and then you’ll go to your Start menu and select ‘Start I2P (restartable)’. This opens in Internet Explorer for me, even though that’s not my default browser. But not to worry, you can switch over.
• The next two things you’ll want to do is first, set your bandwidth. There will be an explanation in the welcome menu as soon as you’ve opened I2P. It’s easily accessible under settings. But unfortunately, I can’t tell you what your bandwidth is, that’s something you’ll either need to find out yourself or take a guess at. Even if it’s off, worst case scenario I2P will just run a little slower.
• The more important step is changing the proxy settings for your browser. You’ll find an explanation a lot better than any I could give (and pics!) here: https://geti2p.net/en/about/browser-config. It’s pretty easy, but is slightly different for each browser.
• Got it? Good. Now there’s one more thing we need to do. I know, I know, but it’s almost over.
• We’ll need a PGP software, which you can find (for free) here: http://www.gpg4win.org/download.html. It’s another small file and really easy installation.
• Once that’s done, run the program Kleopatra. Here, you’ll select ‘File’ > ‘New Certificate’ > ‘Create a Personal open PGP key pair’. Enter in a fake name and e-mail (for anonymity).
• ‘Next’ then ‘Create Key’. Create a password and confirm it (make sure it’s a strong one). Then you should get a message about the key being finished. We’re done here, for now. But keep Kleopatra open, because we’ll need it again in a minute.
• If you set up I2P properly, you should now be able to copy and paste this link into your browser and access the Silk Road Reloaded: http://hyn3mwmyeovcn2paujxur2eury2ufqpoahvbbqshfoggljn25tra.b32.i2p
Registering for an Account
Just a warning, I2P’s loading times can be pretty slow compared to normal browsing.
Upon reaching the Silk Road Reloaded, I’m greeted with their standard welcome page, much like you’d see on plenty of other sites. The site features a dark grey background, white text, and bright green accents. There’s both a log-in and register button; the latter of which is what I’m looking for.
Now, the registration process here is a bit more complicated than what you’re probably accustomed to. It contains multiple steps and requires the PGP key that we generated earlier.
Step one simply involves creating a username and entering a CAPTCHA. Be sure to make up one that has nothing to do with you. On the next page, you’ll need to enter your public PGP key.
To do this, go back to Kleoptra. Right click on the certificate we made earlier and select ‘Export Certificates’. You’ll then save the key wherever you want. Afterwards, open the file with Notepad and you should see something like —–BEGIN PUBLIC PGP BLOCK—– followed by a bunch of random letters and numbers.
You’re going to copy and paste this ENTIRE text into the provided box on Silk Road Reloaded’s registration form. Make sure to include everything, including the ‘Begin’ and ‘End’ PGP block.
In step 3, you’ll now need to decrypt a message from the site. To do this, copy the message, then go back to Kleopatra and select ‘Clipboard’ > ‘Decrypt/Verify’. You’ll be asked for your password again.
Once you’re done with this, the decrypted message will automatically be saved to your clipboard. So simply go back to the Silk Road Reloaded window and paste it where it asks for the decrypted message.
Then, the final step, step 4, you’ll create your password. And finally, we’re done. That wasn’t so bad, now was it?
Browsing the Site
The first thing you’ll see when looking at the Silk Road Reloaded is a message asking you to load your wallet with bitcoins or altcoins. SRR accepts quite a few different altcoins – including blackcoin, dogecoin, litecoin, etc. – which is something not many of the current darknet markets do. There’s a list of the current exchange rates at the bottom of the screen.
But I’m not going to worry about this part now, as I don’t plan on buying anything – just browsing.
Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot to browse just yet. The site just opened about a week into January and was fully operational less than two weeks before today. But if this is your first time on the darknet, I’m sure you’ll still get that ‘wow’ factor.
As of writing this, there are only 19 drug listings between two vendors, all of which are cannabis. Plenty of exotic strains to choose from though, from “girl scout cookies” to “space cheese”. There are also 3 ‘Money’ listings, all for the same item: prepaid VISA cards.
I click on a listing for an ounce of “sour diesel” marijuana and am taken to a page where I can set the quantity and ‘Add to Cart’. That’s as far as the site lets me go with an empty bitcoin wallet however, so I can’t explore the rest of the checkout process.
Though vendor “TopGun420” hasn’t received any feedback yet, the rating system at the bottom of the window does seem pretty detailed. It shows the customers history and signup date. And for the vendor, there are ratings for product, stealth, shipping, and communication, as well as a section for a comment.
This should give buyers a better idea of a vendor’s history and service, by breaking it down and seeing exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are. For instance, some buyers may be more worried about stealth and product quality or vice versa.
I poke around the site a bit more, clicking through the toolbar to see the messaging system, cart, orders, and wallet. Under ‘Support’, there’s a link to their forum (which is pretty bare at the moment) and an ‘About Us’ that reads:
“Who are we? Ones who care about true freedom, self-ownership and self-possession. Yes believe it or not you own yourself.
What exactly does this mean? Many things but, first and foremost that we nor anyone else has the right/privilege to tell you what to do with your person, on any level except/unless you cause harm to someone’s property/person.
We created this to allow the most basic of human activities to occur unimpeded, that being trade. It’s not only a major disruption of progress but, it is an interference to control someone to the degree that their free will is compromised. We may not be able to stop this but, we certainly won’t contribute to it.
Enjoy the site.”
Other than that, not much else to see on this trip. But we’re sure the site will start to fill up soon when they’ve been up and running longer and the word starts to spread.
I’m going to end my journey here though and log out.
The Silk Road Legacy
There you have it, the Silk Road Reloaded. What did you think?
Like we mentioned, the site is still brand new. But it does seem to have a few things going for it, like pretty tight security procedures with the forced PGP encryption for both log-in and buyer/vendor communication. Whether the site lives up to the lofty name of the original Silk Road remains to be seen.