Coen Brothers to Write the Script for the Silk Road Movie

Films about Cyber-crime or hacking are not in the mainstream nowadays. However, in recent years films with internet security themes are getting their fair share of high-end movie screen time. In the last two years, a couple of notable films with the same storylines are “Blackhat”, and Oliver Stone’s NSA breach biopic “Snowden”.

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.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Ethan and Joel Coen at the premiere of Hail, Caesar! in Los Angeles on
Ethan and Joel Coen at the premiere of Hail, Caesar! in Los Angeles on

According to reports, an upcoming film is going to add to this list. The film, entitled “Dark Web”, this film is based on a wired two-part account on the Silk Road and its convicted founder Ross William Ulbricht.

Fox Studios who has exclusive rights to the story have enlisted the services of two well-established and high profile film screenwriters, directors and editors in Hollywood; the Coen Brothers.

Ethan and Joel Coen are going to write the screenplay for the Silk Road film, but at the moment it is not known whether they will also direct the movie.

It would definitely be a great news if the brothers are directing the movie as well, but they are known to write films not as directors.

The Coen brothers have an enviable list of film-related achievements behind them spanning several decades including but not limited to “The Big Lebowski”, “True Grit”, “No country for Old Men”, “Fargo”, “O Brother”, “Where Art Thou?”, “Bridge of Spies” and “Hail Caesar”.

The brothers earned Oscars for their parts in “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men”.

As such, the expectations for this film will definitely be high. Silk Road, on which the film will be based, is the highly controversial online drug dealing dark web forum founded and operated by Ross William Ulbricht.

Silkroad was originally founded in February 2011, and derived its name from an old historical network of trade routes used between many countries .
Silkroad was originally founded in February 2011, and derived its name from an old historical network of trade routes used between many countries .

Silk Road was established in February 2011 and until his arrest in October 2013 by the FBI, Ulbricht operated the site under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

He is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole; a sentence that many people felt was unduly harsh.

According to investigations by the FBI, Silk Road facilitated anonymous channels for dealers to transact illegal goods and services most of which were drugs.

The film is set to dwell largely on the aspects of the dark web platforms.

According to some reports, the film will feature the alleged purchase of special services such as contract killings, an accusation that the FBI pointed at Dread Pirate Roberts.

Many Silk Road users have since slammed these allegations on online forums as false.

They deny the existence of such kinds of services claiming that Silk Road only facilitated the buying and selling of drugs.

Currently, the true inner details of the Silk Road and Dread Pirate Roberts are still murky.

As such, it is very likely that the film may not be 100% accurate as in the case with the majority of Hollywood movies that are based on true stories.

The aforementioned “Snowden” was the recent testament to this.

Also, the film will feature a part of the story that law enforcement agencies would rather prefer to stay low profiled.

Ross Ulbricht was not the only individual to be implicated in the Silk Road.

Two federal agents including Carl Force, a former DEA agent, were also charged with extorting and laundering bitcoins from the Silk Road platform and Ulbricht himself.

It is important to note that this is not the beginning of the work on this film.

The project started back in 2013, where Chernin Entertainment and Fox Studios enlisted Dennis Lehane to write the script for the movie. At the time it was titled Silk Road.

Lehane himself is a bestselling author and has films such as “Shutter Island”, “Gone Baby Gone”, and “Mystic River” under his name.

It is not clear what exactly prompted the changes or even if the new script is a continuation of Lehane’s work.

Fortunately for Dark Web, the Silk Road saga is still a developing story as a new Silk Road is currently in operation despite its founder being in prison.

Also, Ulbricht is still appealing the sentence with a major focus on the discrepancies in his trial process.

The film is still more than a year off with expected release dates in late 2017 or early 2018.

Therefore, the Coen Brothers still have an interesting range of directions in which to take the film depending on any developments within that given period of time.

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Top 5 Silk Road Alternatives

Everyone that likes the Silk Road needs a list of Silk Road alternatives, this is because our favorite darknet marketplaces never last forever.

We all know that the Silk Road has made history on the Darknet, and it is widely considered a pioneer in centralized Darknet marketplaces. The brand started its evolution with the original Silk Road, being one of the first marketplaces to employ this business model.

The brand started its evolution with the original Silk Road, being one of the first marketplaces to employ this business model.

The alleged mastermind behind it was a man called Ross Ulbricht, also known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” He held belief that drug consumption and trafficking is something that can be done safely and peacefully, without any fear, just like any other kind of shopping.

silk-roadEven though Silk Road has been closed after a very successful business campaign, some of its admins and prominent vendors did not want to give up on it that easily.

They all together decided to revive it and go on with their philosophy of free drug consumption and standing up against the authorities.

That is how a Silk Road alternative with the same name but with a 2.0 added was created.

It wasn’t long until the Silk Road 2.0 was allegedly hacked and shut down, and it is said that around 4 thousand Bitcoin were stolen.

The main problem with the Silk Road 2.0 is that the agencies that were in a raging war against drugs held Dread Pirate Roberts captive, together with his laptop and all the market data on it.

The data included some information about people who were later arrested for the involvement with the Silk Road.

Silk Road 3.0 and Silk Road Reloaded

Silk Road Reloaded was what many considered a cheap attempt at a Silk Road alternative by a small and obviously anonymous marketplace at trying to make money off of a name.

The critics were pretty harsh on the admins; many considered them rude and weird since they acted in a very impolite way in some cases.

bitcoin-silkroadOne of its many downsides is the fact that they didn’t use Bitcoins only, coupled with the fact that they were not accessible by Tor but rather its less popular counterpart i2P.

Another marketplace which tries to revive the Silk Road legacy has stepped up to the plate. Some say that it has no connection to the original Silk Road aside of the name; others support this by claiming that it is a small marketplace called Diabolus Marketplace.

However, security on the website is worth double-checking, since many people say that the Silk Road era is over and that no one sane would put any money or conduct business on such a site.

Whether this is true or not, this is what you encounter once you go to the website: first and foremost, you have to register, and then you are free to browse the site and do your business.

What most people are interested in are the listings. You have the possibility to filter your search by vendors or by product. The Silk Road 3.0 shows listings from vendors that have been active in the last three days.

There is a huge selection of goods numbering over 25 thousand drug listings, with total listings reaching as high as 35 thousand individual products or services. Given these numbers, it is more than clear that this is a drug-oriented marketplace.

If Silk Road goes down…

If the Silk Road 3.0 goes down, here is the list of Silk Road alternatives we recommend checking out AlphaBay, Dream Market, Valhalla, Outlaw Market, and Hansa Market. Each of the markets requests registration and after that allows you to explore further what they have to offer.

1. AlphaBay

alphabay-screenshotThis is the biggest Silk Road alternative, it is a regular marketplace which is designed to suit the needs of the people who want to sell products worldwide. It is founded by alpha02, who is according to the DeepDotWeb a reputable member on most carding forums and an experienced carder.

While this may come as a deterrent to some of the Darknet community, the fact that alpha02 is a Darknet veteran and an experienced vendor cannot be denied. Once you follow the onion link and land on the first page, you will see the captcha system set in place and will be asked to write a string of numbers in digits correlating to the names of the numbers displayed to you on the page.

After the site verifies that you have entered the data correctly, you will be redirected to the home page of the market. Now, you can browse AlphaBay at your leisure. AlphaBay is known for its numerous features that help in increasing both the security of the site and the comfort of use.

That being said, it is currently one of the most well-designed Darknet markets around. It uses both multisig and normal escrow systems and as with most reputable markets, the only currency accepted is the Bitcoin.

Apart from drug listings which are by far the most common at over 19 thousand, you can encounter listings of jewelry, weapons, and most notably stolen credit cards, which seem to be AlphaBay’s secondary focus.

Click here to find out how to access AlphaBay >>

 

2. Dream Market

dream-marketDream Market is currently one of the oldest Darknet marketplaces around making it a reliable Silk Road alternative. It has been up and running since December 2013.

Dream Market’s site will let you explore the offer they have without having to sign in with an account, but, if you want to conduct business there, you will have to register. You will have to provide your username and password, along with the captcha verification. The listings include drugs and drug related item (around 2000 of them), jewelry, hardware and software, forgeries and many other items.

Payment is being done in Bitcoin, and the status of Bitcoin can be checked by looking at the top of the site. Dream Market uses a traditional escrow system, and it seems that a good portion of Darknet community praises it for being decently scammer-free.

Click here to find out how to access Dream Market >>

 

3. Valhalla

Valhalla is also known by its Finnish name, Silkkitie. The change of name is supposed to signify the marketplace’s evolution from being a Finland-only based marketplace to international business. The site of this market is easy for browsing since its organization into categories and subcategories is quite well thought out.

When it comes to listings, you can find numerous listings of drugs, digital items, mushroom growing, and much more. The total number of listings goes around 8,500 to 9,000, over 5000 of which are drug listings. However, if you want to enter the website, you must register.
Write your username, password, and instead of captcha answer a simple question like “What day comes after Tuesday?”, or “What month comes after January?” When you submit your application, you will be able to explore and see all the listings and information that interests you.

As far as security on Valhalla goes, both multisig and traditional escrow are set in place, as well as a forced PGP encryption to make sure that no incriminating evidence passes through it unencrypted. Both buyer and vendor positions are invite-only as of recently, and one cannot open a business on Valhalla unless they have a referral link.

Click here to find out more about Valhalla >>

 

4. Outlaw Market

Outlaw Market is not well known for the beauty of the design of their website, but what it lacks in UI design it makes up in sheer security measures. For example, you will not find any direct link to profiles of the vendors, but there is a separate page reserved for them.

Upon following the onion link, you will be provided with the captcha page to prove that you’re not a DDoS bot. After that, you will register yourself by entering the username and password, and then you will be able to browse the market for what you are searching for.
Now, you may find the site slower than the others, but this is because they have several security systems in place which puts a slightly bigger load on their servers. The listing number which goes around to the number of 1,000 includes drugs, weapons, electronics, services, digital goods, and a handful of other products and services.

The number of vendors is also not overly significant. A unique vending system on Outlaw Market is their auction where buyers can compete among themselves to score better prices on some listings.

Click here to find out more about Outlaw Market>>

 

5. Hansa Market

This is a market with great precaution and safety measures make it into our top 5 Silk Road alternatives. They claim that there is no chance that someone would disappear with the customer’s Bitcoins.

The listings don’t come down to drugs only, and one can find many other interesting products, from digital goods, jewelry, services, electronics, erotica, guides and tutorials, counterfeits, fraud related tutorials, etc. However, if you want to see the listings, you will have to sign in.

The procedure is a very basic one; provide them with your username and password, and make sure that you type in the correct captcha letters. Once you are finished, you can start browsing Hansa.

Even though it is one of the newer marketplaces, it has gained popularity quite quickly as a legitimate and scam-free business.

Click here to find out more about Outlaw Market>>

 

At the end of the day, there are some markets that you can visit in case the Silk Road 3.0 goes down.

Hopefully, this article can help shine a little bit of light on the many possible Silk Road alternatives in the event of a Silk Road 3.0 outage.

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Alleged Key Advisor To Silk Road, Variety Jones, In Thai Prison

thai-prisonAnd so the ongoing Silk Road saga continues…

Three years after the demise of the original darknet market, we’re still caught up in the turmoil surrounding the eponymous online black market.

Roger Thomas Clark, allegedly one-time right-hand man to the owner of Silk Road, has been in prison in Thailand a long nine months. Considering the conditions in jails across numerous countries in South East Asia, this is no mean feat.

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.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Silk Road

But who is Roger Thomas Clark, and why is he seemingly rotting away in a Thai jail?

The answer lies in a convoluted mess of tiny bits of evidence – evidence obtained across the course of nailing the owner of Silk Road – one Ross Ulbricht aka “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

Ulbricht is currently serving life in prison after being convicted of charges including money laundering, conspiracy to traffic narcotics, and computer hacking.

Ulbricht was the brains behind the world’s first darknet market. Silk Road was launched in early 2011. Running over the Tor network, the online marketplace offered people a chance to buy and sell online in a completely anonymous fashion.

While built around the idea of a completely free market, in reality, the marketplace was a veritable haven for the trade of illegal goods and services including drugs.

With noble aspirations, Ulbricht descended into something far greater than himself and found himself ordering hits to protect his data assets and identity.

Ulbricht was caught mainly due to infiltration by an FBI agent, who was later found to have been dirty after siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin into his own accounts.

The plot really reads more like something out of a Hollywood movie.

Variety Jones

variety-jonesBut how, exactly, does Roger fit into the picture?

Roger Thomas Clark is allegedly “Variety Jones,” a key individual involved in the day to day operations of the Silk Road marketplace.

Variety Jones originally joined Silk Road in 2011, as a marijuana seed vendor.

Communications between Dread Pirate Roberts and Variety Jones, obtained from logs on machines of Ulbricht himself reveal a clever, worldly confidant, advisor, and manager in Variety Jones.

Variety Jones was a skilled technologist, and over the course of time became heavily involved with running Silk Road and advising Dread Pirate Roberts on murky areas related to business.

This even involved suggesting to DPR taking out a hit on people who were a danger to the working of the business. Variety Jones was DPR’s right-hand man – the go-to sounding board when things became unclear in business.

The man himself

Roger Thomas Clark currently sits in a prison in the country’s capital, Bangkok, while the US makes attempts to extradite him. Roger, at 55, doesn’t appear to the naked eye to be a devious international criminal.

And in terms of evidence against him, it is unclear just how much the US authorities have. When Roger was arrested and his assets seized, unlike Ulbricht, all his files were encrypted.

While there’s a trail of evidence that seems to lead towards him, just what they’ve got remains a mystery for now. Clark remains committed to fighting extradition attempts. After the life sentencing of Ulbricht, it’s easy to see why.

Extradition remains almost certainly a life sentence for Clark. The charges the US government is accusing him of include narcotics conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, where the outcome if convicted is likely life in prison.

A recent interview

advisor-in-prisonRecently, Ars Technica has been taking the time to interview Clark, both in the visitors’ section of the Bangkok Remand Prison, and listening in to the man while on his way to the courthouse in Bangkok to continue fighting extradition attempts.

And while Clark doesn’t seem to be proclaiming his innocence too much, he does raise another very valid point about the investigation.

“Guilt is a technical term,” he says, “They don’t have s*** on me.” This raises the point in the US that evidence needs to be shown that the accused is guilty without a reasonable doubt.

“Forensics could spend 30 years trying to decrypt those hard drives and still not get anywhere,” Clark says matter-of-factly.

Just what is on those hard drives will perhaps not be known for many, many years, which may indeed have put the US investigation into the matter on a bit of a deep freeze.

What’s next?

Clark alludes to friends in high places in South East Asian governments, deals with officials, and military information. It’s almost like a mystery novel.

The man is clever, for sure, and remains optimistic about his chances in Thailand.

The jail hasn’t beat Clark like it does for so many other foreigners who wind up in the prison system there.

Perhaps it’s because of the groundswell of support from those in the online community, or perhaps it’s because of his inherent nature.

Perhaps it’s just because of the genuine love of the country that Clark has acquired over his years of living in the country – it’s hard not to like, with its sun-drenched personality.

For the moment, Clark remains in a sort of international limbo. While conditions in Thai jail are surely not ideal, it beats the alternative for Clark.

We will have to see just what happens in this case and whether extradition attempts will be successful.

Whether the amount of evidence against Clark is enough to get him onto US shores, or whether the Thai government deems him too important to the country to free is yet to be seen.

All that is known is that Roger Thomas Clark fights on.

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Bail Granted To Alleged Silk Road Admin

Gary Davis, the man from Wicklow and an alleged administrator of the Silk Road marketplace, has appealed to an order of the High Court that he be extradited to the United States where he will face a trial. He has been granted bail.

Gary Davis has been fighting extradition since the year 2013, and a High Court judge had ordered him to surrender himself to the US authorities for a trial. On August 19, his appeal to overturn the decision of the judge was granted to him. This gives him more time to prepare for the potential extradition.

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.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

The Silk Road Administrator Granted Bail

Gary-Davis
Alleged Irish administrator of Silk Road website granted bail.

Davis is one among the three moderators of Silk Road that were arrested on charges of distribution of narcotics, computer hacking, and money laundering.

The other two were Peter Nash and Andrew Jones. Gary objected to the High Court judge’s order saying that he suffered from depression and Asperger’s Syndrome.

His defense lawyer stated that he would not receive proper care if detained in the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

The judge rejected his appeal that his constitutional and human rights would be breached. Davis was held in custody at the Cloverhill Prison.

The matter was taken up by the court once again when Mr. Davis filed an appeal against Justice McDermott’s order that he turn himself in and surrender to the US authorities.

The former Silk Road administrator requested that he be granted bail pending the outcome of his appeal.

Davis has been given ten days’ time to file a new appeal to turn down this decision of the judge.

Bail has been granted, and he now has time to prepare for his potential extradition. If extradited to the US and if he is convicted there, he could be awarded a life sentence.

bail granted
Judge orders Irishman Gary Davis to be extradited to United States.

The bail to Davis was consented to on the basis of a few conditions: he would sign every day with the Gardai; he would be let out on bail only on the basis of an independent surety of 15,000 Euros out of which 10,000 Euros were to be given as cash to the court; he should reside in Johnston Court (Kilpedder), demonstrate good behavior and not travel out of the jurisdiction.

Gary Davis was granted bail after his father John Davis stood up as the independent surety.

Davis had already been on bail as the extradition request was being dealt with by the court and was fully complying with all the bail terms that were set.

Gary Davis was accused of acting as the administrator of the online black marketplace Silk Road launched in 2011 under the name of “Libertas.”

The site was shut down in 2013 by the FBI. Ross Ulbricht, the creator of Silk Road, was charged, arrested and subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

With the US authorities’ claims that Gary Davis as the administrator had explicit knowledge of all the items that were on sale on the Silk Road website, the lawyer who defended the other alleged moderator said that Davis cannot avoid a severe “no-mercy” sentence if convicted in the US.

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Lawyer of Corrupt Silk Road Agent Withdraw from the Case

According to reports, Davina Pujari, the lawyer of Shaun Bridges, the corrupt Secret Service agent who also played a role in the Silk Road investigations, has requested that she be removed from the case as she finds his recent appeal to be frivolous.

Ms. Pujari is the third lawyer for Bridges from the start of his appeals process in December 2015.

In a recent filing to the Court of Appeals in the 9th Circuit, she noted that after a careful examination of the record and a thorough study of the case law and relevant statutes, she has come to the conclusion that only legally insignificant issues are being presented in the appeal.

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.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

bridges copyThe former special agent from the U.S. Secret Service pleaded guilty in August 2015 to charges of obstruction of justice and money laundering in connection with the incident of stealing bitcoins when carrying out investigations into the operations of the darknet marketplace Silk Road.

Subsequently, Bridges was sentenced to serve a term of 71 months in a prison.

Currently, he is serving this sentence in the federal prison located in Terre Haute in Indiana.

He is scheduled to be released from the prison in January 2021.

However, earlier this year in the month of February, the U.S. government pointed out that Bridges are likely to be involved in more thefts from the online drug marketplace Silk Road.

In her recent filing, Ms. Pujari has also highlighted an argument, which is partly based on Curtis Green’s testimony during the sentencing hearing of Bridges in December 2015.

curtis_greenCurtis Green was an employee of the now defunct Silk Road.

In her brief, she had pointed out that Green’s testimony was a surprise inclusion and noted that the claims were made for the first time.

She added that they did not figure in the plea agreement at all.

Moreover, the accuracy of these claims was questionable.

The district court had noted that the testimony given by Green was a significant factor in the case.

Bridges’ contention in the appeal brief filed by him is that the testimony of Green was not subjected to any kind of scrutiny or cross-examination and that his testimony cannot be considered as clear and convincing evidence.

When Green spoke at the sentencing hearing of Bridges, he was not a witness under oath.

Bridges argues in his appeal brief that his plea deal, which consists of an appeal rights waiver, is not valid as Green was permitted to speak.

He has also argued in the brief that the district court has made a mistake in the calculation of the losses incurred.

Green debriefed Shaun Bridges, Carl Mark Force (a former DEA agent who is currently behind bars on corruption charges related to the same Silk Road investigation), and other Baltimore agents in January 2013.

Following the meeting in Utah, Bridges got hold of the login credentials of Green and initiated the process of locking out the accounts of the Silk Road dealers.

Bridges then looted their accounts and grabbed as much as 20,000 bitcoins.

However, the recent filing by Davina Pujari does not address the new and unsealed charges that were brought up last month by the government against Bridges.

The government strongly suspects that Bridges has stolen another $700,000 after the finalization of his plea deal.

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A-Clinic Foundation in Finland Follows the Footsteps of Silk Road’s Dr. X

Combating drug harm with education has long formed part of darknet history.

It strives to grow along with the rise of online black markets like the Silk Road, the first ever and largest drug platform from which others have mostly sprung out of even after its shutdown.

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.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Dr. X from Silk RoadBuyers and sellers of illicit substances remained anonymous through utilizing Tor-hidden marketplaces such as the original Silk Road.

The drug trade in Finland has significantly moved a large part online, just like how the drug situation has evolved in various parts of the globe.

One Finnish charity aims to extend its operations into the dark web, in the light of helping people by providing addiction support and prevention.

With the help of IT specialists, the A-Clinic Foundation has now found its way into the Tor hidden network.

Tackling Addiction with Harm Reduction

Finnish media reports of the non-profit’s plan to launch a project dubbed “Muunto” which means “transformation.”

The A-Clinic registered charity founded back in 1955, offering treatment and rehab services for substance abuse prevention and expert services for other psychosocial problems, publicly announced plans to carry out this program for two years.

AddictionWordsThe foundation is has been working on finding up-to-date methods of making their services available to drug users.

Their harm reduction initiative offers anonymous contact and confidential e-services to Tor users to receive help from their team of experts on addiction.

The non-governmental organization currently has over 800 employees who abide by the guiding principles of respect for human dignity, tolerance, responsibility, and confidentiality.

A-Clinic tells how their presence is in no way paternalistic nor keeping watch.

Program coordinator Miina Kajos add that they try and approach people as equals as much as possible, and the outcome is desirable so far with very positive interactions from Tor users.

Their primary aim is to gain understanding directly from those who buy online, and from the drug dealers who sell there.

Successful contact would greatly help them identify patterns of drug abuse and effectively come up with ways of addressing it.

They are also exploring the viability of Finland’s first ever anonymous psychoactive substance laboratory testing service.

The harm reduction service follows the footsteps of the popular Dr. X. It’s been unraveled that Ross Ulbricht paid this doctor $500 per week to provide medical advice to users, even if this meant telling a person to ultimately quit using drugs.

Who’s Doctor X?

Dr. X came to be known beyond his popularity on the Silk Road for the services he offered.

Unlike almost everybody else, DoctorX revealed his real identity on a Silk Road forum right from the start since early 2013 and started giving free professional advice to drug users since then.

Doctor X, as he called himself, is Spanish Physician Dr. Fernando Caudevilla.

He explicitly expressed his wishes to contribute to the Silk Road forum and even referenced his CV in a link to his personal website.

A user wrote on the Silk Road 2.0 forum how amazing Dr. X is and that he’s a gift with invaluable knowledge he shares and how he never comes with any judgment.

Counting five months of purely volunteer work, Caudevilla eventually let Dread Pirate Roberts know that time commitment in keeping up with both the Silk Road forum and users has become too great to handle.

This was when the Silk Road creator offered him the generous weekly paycheck, an offer which Caudevilla accepted and took in bitcoin. They had bigger plans too such as a drug-testing project to ensure only safe and non-toxic substances were sold on Silk Road.

What presiding U.S. District Court Judge handling the Silk Road case, Katherine Forrest, has called Dr. X – someone who’s “particularly despicable” and “irresponsible,” is up to people to contemplate upon.

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Silk Road Online

It was a different time for Darknet marketplaces back in 2013. The whole idea of a centralized marketplace for something like drugs was not as accepted as it is today, at least not until Silk Road stepped up to the plate.

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.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Silk Road and Dread Pirate Roberts

DPRSilk Road was the first “real” drug marketplace on Darknet and one of the pioneers of the idea that drugs could be sold and bought over the internet anonymously. It was established by a man called Ross Ulbricht, known to many as “Dread Pirate Roberts” and his associates. Aside from the fact that this was the first Darknet Marketplace of this size, what separated it from other contenders at that time was Dread Pirate Roberts’ philosophy of standing up against the system and proving that drug consumption and trafficking can be done peacefully and safely. One of the main reasons for Silk Road’s existence at that time was to allow people who wanted to purchase illegal drugs, to do so without fearing for their safety.

The Bust

This went on until October 2nd, 2013 when an FBI Seizure Notice replaced the usual Silkroad login screen. Shortly after that, different speculations started circling the Darknet about what was the full story behind this. Most prominent theories were that either Dread Pirate Roberts was arrested, or he ran off with everyone’s money. There were some who still clung to hope that this was just a prank pulled by the site’s admins, but this was soon dispelled by the confirmation of the news that Ross Ulbricht has been arrested on the charges pertaining to running Silk Road.

What followed after could be very well described as a fall of a nation. Mass panic among the Darknet community ensued and many people were justifiably worried about their personal data and whether it was safe. Luckily, most of the buyers from Silkroad were not persecuted but were left with a difficult situation nonetheless. What was to be done now? Without Silk Road where will they purchase the goods that were so readily available to them just a few days ago?

Aftermath

People, who will in time be called “Silk Road refugees,” now had to find a new marketplace that will replace the hole that the site left. This was a period of many scams, one of the most well-known ones being the Sheep Marketplace scam. On the flip side, after the owner of Sheep Marketplace disappeared with estimated 40 million dollars in Bitcoin, a post appeared on the front page of Sheep Marketplace with several .onion links directing to other “trustworthy” marketplaces. The result of this was that not only Sheep Marketplace was shut down due to exit scam, but TorMarket and Black Market Reloaded also had to turn into invite-only marketplaces because their servers could not handle the sudden influx of people from Silk Road and Sheep Marketplace.

Silk Road 2.0

After the fall of Silkroad, some of the admins and prominent vendors refused to “give up” and decided to revive the site as it once was. The alias “Dread Pirate Roberts” was picked up by one of the well-known vendors from the site StExo. He then met with several mods and admins from the site to discuss its revival and even posted a notice on Silkroad forums telling Dread Pirate Roberts to contact him as soon as possible. Many speculated that this was an attempt to make the authorities believe they have a wrong person, or at least that “Dread Pirate Roberts” was not a single person, to begin with.

The Crew

Ross UlbrichtAfter establishing himself as a successor to Dread Pirate Roberts, StExo rallied a group of now-former Silkroad admins and decided that their first course of action was to create a new place of gathering for Silkroad refugees. The people assisting StExo were accurately described as “a colorful bunch,” but they all shared the idea that Silk Road was not dead for good.

Among the group was Scout, a former moderator of Silkroad forum, who was well known and well liked by the community, but had a history of “betraying his captain.” He has been discovered by Dread Pirate Roberts to be conspiring with an undercover federal agent to create a vendor account in an attempt to infiltrate Silk Road. He was laid off because of this and later reinstated just to be fired again, followed by another reinstatement under a different moniker.

Another part of the crew was a person known under the name Same Same But Different (SSBD), who was allegedly Dread Pirate Roberts’ most loyal confidant.

The last person to assist in the creation of Silk Road 2.0 was the former forum administrator Libertas. He was known as “Gestapo,” but nonetheless his seal of approval was what finally got people to rally to Silkroad 2.0’s forum.

Sometime after the creation of Silk Road 2.0 forum, StExo posted under his moniker that while he approves of the site’s forum, will never trust a marketplace opened under the name of someone else’s idea. This was, of course, arouse created to distance StExo from the entire operation.

In November 2013 the new Silk Road 2.0 marketplace opened for business, which was a direct taunt to the authorities. By now any possibility of Silk Road’s staff being on authorities’ radar has been dismissed, and the admins of Silkroad continued using their old monikers.

The problem was that Silkroad 2.0 was a huge taunt to the competence of agencies fighting the War on Drugs and those same agencies held Ross Ulbricht and all data stored on his personal laptop. Unfortunately, that data included personal information on SSBD, Libertas, and Inigo, who were arrested and charged for involvement with Silk Road and Silk Road 2.0. After this, StExo disappeared, but the allure of potential profit that Silkroad offered was too great. He returned under a different name, Defcon, and fabricated a story that would explain the current state of events.

Shortly after, Silkroad 2.0 was allegedly hacked and around 4 thousand Bitcoins were stolen. A post was placed on the site’s forum that contained personal information of said hacker, which later turned out to be fabricated. The accepted explanation is that StExo realized that it is no longer safe running the site and thus decided to run away with all the Bitcoin that was in escrow at the time.

Silk Road 3.0

Following the fall of Silk Road 2.0, a large majority of Darknet has started to shun the name and associate it with scamming. The name that once signified the battle against the War on Drugs is now nothing more than a shade of its former self. Given this, it is unusual, to say the least, that a small but relatively prominent marketplace called Diabolus Marketplace, decided last year to change their name into Silk Road 3.0 following the closure of its second iteration. The site has not only changed its name but has also actively rebranded itself to resemble Silk Road. The owner of the site has also admitted in an interview that they are working with a senior member from older Silk Roads to create the Silk Road 3.0. This has caused the majority of Darknet community to question the trustworthiness of the site and many people went as far as to claim that “you have to be retarded to put money into any site that has Silk Road in its name” and that “Silk Road era is done.” Even sites like DeepDotWeb are warning their users that any further Silkroad iterations are not to be trusted and will probably end up scamming their users. While the Silkroad 3.0 is still up and running, and quite well if one looks at the amount of listings posted on it, there is no telling how it will end and who the people are running it behind the scenes.

Silk Road Reloaded

As with Silk Road 3.0, Silk Road Reloaded was another marketplace that tried to cash in on the name. It got an even worse treatment than Silkroad 3.0, mainly because its admin acted very weirdly, even rudely in some cases, and was considered to be a troll by a majority of Darknet community. An interesting thing about the site is that it was based on i2p rather than Tor, which earned it a lot of side glances from Darknet community. It also had its inbuilt crypto-currency converter, meaning it was accepting payments in a currency other than Bitcoin, which was converted automatically by the site. It has been ten months since any news was heard from the site, which probably means that the marketplace has been shut down for one reason or another.

Future of Silk Road

While Silk Road 3.0 still stands and operates normally, many people who have been visiting Darknet marketplaces for a longer period are appealing to the newer users to steer clear of Silkroad brand. The name itself has been too heavily connected to scamming and foul play, making the majority of users decides on other sites as their source of business. And with the recent increase in personal vendor marketplaces which have proven to be much safer and trustworthy, centralized markets like Silkroad 3.0 are getting less and fewer visitors every day. It is possible that it will be the last real iteration of Silk Road since the name has started to bring more bad publicity than anything else.

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Curtis Green Is Back With His “Silk Road Memoir”

Curtis Green, also known as “chronicpain” in the dark web was an administrator of the black marketplace, Silk Road. He was in the news earlier as being the one that the website founder Ross Ulbricht was accused of attempting to murder. Well, he is back in the news once again and this time round, it is for his book. Green was arrested in 2013 with $27,000. In the months following Curtis’ arrest, the police had tightened the noose around the website and its owner as he had decided to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies and turned on Ross and the website during the progress of the case. Ross Ulbricht has purportedly paid $80,000 to have Green killed.

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.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Curtis Green – The Background

ross ulbrichtRoss Ulbricht founded the darknet drug marketplace Silk Road in 2011. It soon grew into a billion dollar business. The Silk Road was pulled down in 2013 by the law enforcement agencies, and Ross Ulbricht was arrested on charges of money laundering, hacking, identity fraud, and drug trafficking. He was convicted in 2015, and his lawyers are currently looking to file a second appeal for a retrial of the case.

According to the law enforcement agencies, Ross believed that Curtis Green, an employee of Silk Road, had stolen money from the website. Ulbricht purportedly wanted Green killed and ordered a hit. However, Carl Mark Force, a law enforcement agent that worked closely with Green masqueraded as the hitman. He pretended to kill Curtis and even sent staged photos of the hit. It was later known that Agent Force himself was stealing money from the website. Curtis Green had, in fact, taught the agents how to use Bitcoins, the digital currency that was accepted by the website.

Force and another agent Shaun Bridges were convicted last year on charges of blackmail and theft. The defense argued that it was not Ross Ulbricht, but someone else operating under the name of “Dread Pirate Roberts” who ordered Curtis’ murder.

Curtis Green – The Book of Memoirs

Curtis GreenCurtis Green is now writing a book with all the happenings at the Silk Road website that culminated in his arrest. Curtis is currently looking for a different kind of cover art for his book. Curtis Green’s book is not the first one on the topic, though. There are already many works published about the website including a book called Silk Road by Eileen Ormsby, a documentary by the name of Deep Web, and a full-length feature film among others.

Curtis Green did not serve any time for a felony in prison and was served only with a light sentence because he turned against the website and Ross and cooperated with the law enforcement agencies. He has also been working closely with journalists and writers as well as 20th Century Fox during the trial of Ross Ulbricht.

The book by Curtis Green is named Silk Road Memoir: A Story of Crime, Greed, and Murder will be released in the near future, and a Hollywood movie on the topic is also scheduled to be released soon.

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Silk-Road-Related Auction Partly Accountable For Drop In Bitcoin Price

Bitcoin recently took a huge hit across exchanges, falling below $700 in a significant 10% dip in recent price advances. The crash culprit? Bitfinex timeout and an auction that’s linked to the Silk Road, amounting to about $19 million.

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.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

From as high as $760 over the weekend last week, the Bitcoin price tumbled down to a lowly $698 come Monday, June 20th. This drastic occurrence of the BTC/USD price plunge is thought to be due to the Bitfinex trading outage and auctioning off massive Silk Road-related Bitcoins in Australia.

Bitfinex Unscheduled Downtime

Bitfinex Unscheduled DowntimeBitfinex is a fast-growing worldwide exchange, achieving its position among the highest ranks regarding of raw trading volume. The Bitcoin exchange holds the biggest USD trading volume at 37% of all their trades in USD.

Despite the leading Bitcoin trading platform’s scheduled maintenance done on the 17thof the month, which lasted for approximately an hour, trading was paused starting around 5PM Eastern Time. Bitfinex cited “server migration issues” as the main source of the maintenance delay, compromising their projected re-launch a couple of times. This allowed bursts of cancellation requests while they were attempting to fix the issue.

The initial update stated that they were recovering from the internal network issue, followed by an identified status revealing an ongoing investigation of a trading-impactful infrastructure issue and likewise clarifying that it did not involve funds or system security. Another update showed an investigating status as they are experiencing platform problems, altogether coming with the assurance of resuming operations in the soonest possible time.

The downtime continued to the night causing a lot of panic and several Bitcoin traders’ dismay, with some having lost their investments since deals could not be closed, and considering the millions involved in Silk Road-related auction. It went up again by 9:50, but had to be taken down again on June 21stdue to instability in the network within their data center, letting traders know that they are working with their hosting provider during this second halt on Bitfinex services.

Australian Auction

australia-bitcoin-auction-dinbits-2016June 20th marks the same day of the flooding of $19 million Bitcoins in an Australian auction associated with the Silk Road. These are proceeds of the crime connected to the closure of the Silk Road drug marketplace and Ross Ulbricht’s conviction in 2015, forming part of the civil forfeiture of Silk Road Bitcoins. Bidders of the 48-hour sealed auction include digital asset managers, digital currency exchanges, mostly American and European investment banks as well as hedge funds.

A Reminder

The outage that could have been triggered by the vastness of Silk Road Bitcoins in an Australian auction was only temporary but served as a reminder of Bitcoin’s volatility amidst its growth. Bitfinex has since reemerged online and trading exchanges are resumed.

Prices and volume are expected to increase once again to their pre-outage levels and continuously recovering from the uncertainty. Bitcoin price showed signs of immediate recovery with a strong sell-off, albeit would go a long way for several more weeks especially with traders exhibiting cautiousness and giving more attention to detail and potential risks.

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Silk Road 2.0 Key Player Gets 8 Years In Prison

Seattle. June 3rd, 2016. Brian Farrell, operating Silk Road 2.0 under the alias “DoctorClu,” was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard Jones to 8 years in prison as filed under case No. 15-mj-00016.

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.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Benthall and UlbrichtFounder of the original Silk Road underground drug marketplace in early 2011, Ross Ulbricht aka “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was sentenced to life in prison back in May 2015. The second version of the site was launched in November 2013 weeks after authorities had shut down the original darknet site and seized its creator.

Blake Benthall, the alleged operator of Silk Road 2.0 known as “Defcon,” was arrested in the year 2014 but denied creating the successor darknet site. However, its second-in-command staff administrator has admitted to the charges against him.

Key Player Unlocked

Silk Road 2.0Brian Farrell was arrested in January 2015, and during the search, federal agents discovered three handguns, drug paraphernalia, a myriad of prescription medications, computer media, 20 silver bullion bars with a $3,900 monetary value and cash amounting to $35,000. The silver and dollar evidence will be forfeited to the government in addition to the prison sentence.

He admitted his involvement with the second iteration of the darknet site when the authorities searched his Washington home ensuing Operation Onymous, an international crackdown that targeted suspected illicit marketplaces and various other Tor hidden services in the darknet.

The sentence followed months after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the distribution of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in March this year. These charges typically carry a minimum term of 5 years in prison.

The Department of Justice revealed in a 2015 press release that Silk Road 2.0 has amassed approximately $8 million generated sales per month. It had around 150,000 users who were granted the freedom to buy anonymously and sell illicit goods and services including drugs and computer hacking tools using the digital currency bitcoin.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Woods has stated that the Silk Road is a threat to public safety and health, as the platform expands a serious drug market throughout the country and the world. In line with this is a clear message from the government that such cyber crimes are bound to be faced with serious penalties.

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