New trends in Technology industry are like daily events, because of the high number and quality of people working in this domain, innovation is almost a routine task – while doing the impossible or unthinkable is a near-future target.
Every now and then, the “regular” population adopts one of the new trends in the business, moving it from a curiosity to a world-changing idea.
In 2008, the most widely-accepted technological breakthrough was the Bitcoin. However, one of the biggest pieces of regarding the Bitcoin connected the currency to Silkroad – a famous online black market.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.
After the appearance of the Bitcoin, people have often wondered why a cryptocurrency took so long to appear in our lives.
The idea behind the Bitcoin is simple, it is a transfer of authority and a virtual currency which you can use to pay anything and everything online.
Although the idea went exceptionally well on paper, thereality was a bit slower to react.
Even in 2015, the number of merchants accepting payments in Bitcoins just passed the 100,000 mark – not enough to be called a full-fledged “revolution.”
The U.S. Government and security agencies didn’t give the currency lots of attention at the beginning either, but that all changed in 2011 when they targeted the above-mentioned Silkroad.
Since the currency was more-or-less completely anonymous and impossible to track, it quickly became the preferred way to pay for certain goods or services which were illicit.
This paired exceptionally well with the now-defunct website, the Silkroad.
It was owned by an individual called Ross William Ulbricht, which was a standard online marketplace – except for the fact that the goods that were traded in Silkroad were highly illicit.
Silkroad made a small fortune functioning as an online black market for drugs – but Ross Ulbricht quickly caught the attention of the authorities.
The founder of Silkroad was arrested in October 2013 and was charged with several accusations – ranging from drug trafficking to money laundering conspiracies.
Basically, he was charged to have conspired with every illicit dealing that took place on the Silkroad.
The FBI took the entire scene one step further, and at the end of that month, made its biggest Bitcoin confiscation in history, from various members of the Silkroad.
The FBI seized just over 144,000 Bitcoins, an amount equivalent to roughly $28 million.
Along with this operation, the U.S. authorities also shut down Silkroad and sentenced Ross Ulbricht to no less than life in jail.
The size of the undertaking was the impressive part of the story, along with bringing the Silkroad to nationwide public’s attention.
It’s not an everyday occurrence you see a government take hold of $30 million in Bitcoins, especially for online transactions involving websites like Silkroad.
The size of the action also showed the world the downsides of having a currency such as the Bitcoin: having it used to its fullest for wrongdoings.
Since Bitcoin transactions are hard to track, especially when using anonymity tools like Tor, they are the perfect method of committing online frauds or crimes.
While Silkroad was closed, there is no exact quantity of how many of these websites functions in the U.S. alone, not to mention worldwide, where information security isn’t treated as seriously as in the United States.
Ross Ulbricht’s trial was relatively short and easy. His only defense was that while he had indeed found Silkroad, he gave up its administration to other people – a fact which was quickly proven false by prosecutors.
He was quickly sentenced to life in prison and was turned into one of the most famous examples of 21st-century criminals.
Silkroad was quickly shut down after his conviction, proving that he was indeed one of the main players on the website.
Smart, using technology to his advantage and always on top of his game, Ross Ulbricht has been a great example of what can happen when crimes update themselves to get in line with 21st-century technology.
To sum up, the 28th of October will be remembered as the day in which the largest-ever Bitcoin confiscation was made.
This confiscation marked the end of the Silkroad and a lifetime conviction of its owner, founder, and administrator, Ross Ulbricht.
Privacy and power are great additions to everyday life for normal people, but if they fall into the wrong hands, we all know what they’re capable of.