Facebook Marketplace Looks Similar To The Silk Road After Launch

Facebook recently introduced Marketplace, a new feature that allows its users to buy and sell items with other people in their community.

However, the newly-launched Facebook Marketplace started off on a rocky note after a surprising turn of events converted the Marketplace into an online commerce platform similar to Silk Road.

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 <<

Highly Illicit Offers

Facebook Introducing Marketplace Buy and Sell with Your Local Community.
Facebook Introducing Marketplace Buy and Sell with Your Local Community.

One listing purportedly advertised the sale of baby hedgehog while another listed some birds for sale. One of the most shocking listings, however, featured a baby on sale at the price of $111.

Other illicit listings featured guns, adult services and, in one particular case, a £5 bill which was going for $10.

Some witty users resorted to using ruses to set up their illicit offers by placing a legitimate item, such as a canned drink, next to the advertised weapon.

It was not long before the Marketplace earned the title of the Silk Road with public access.

Technical Glitch

Facebook has responded and condemned the posting of illicit offers on their newly-launched Marketplace.

The director of the firm’s product management, Mary Ku, blamed the torrent of uncensored listings on a technical glitch that prevented the reviewing of the postings before they were cleared for posting on the Marketplace.

The Silk Road appearance of the Facebook Marketplace was attributed to a technical issue that arose during the roll-out of Marketplace, which prevented the firm from reviewing and eliminating any offensive or illicit postings.

Ku admitted that the glitch was the main reason why people were able to take advantage of the platform in ways that violated their policies.

She pointed out that action was already being taken to fix the issues and that the company was closely monitoring their systems in order to detect and eliminate any listings that went against their policies.

Brazen Criminals

Facebook’s Marketplace has been compared to the Silk Road days after its launch due to the illicit postings that have been the cause of outrage from the public.
Facebook’s Marketplace has been compared to the Silk Road days after its launch due to the illicit postings that have been the cause of outrage from the public.

Darknet marketplaces such as the Silk Road thrived under the cover of anonymity offered by the highly secure Tor network among other encrypted platforms.

The Facebook Marketplace has however shown how online criminals will not hesitate to turn any mainstream platform into an instrument for their illicit activities, despite the lack of the protective cloak that surrounded the Silk Road before its demise.

Much like the Silk Road marketplace which was shut down by the FBI a few years back, the Marketplace was full of illicit listings only a few days after it was launched to the public.

The highly public and global profile of the social media platform did little to deter the posting of illicit offers on its Marketplace.

Despite the lack of levels of anonymity offered by platforms such as the Silk Road, users can still hide under made up pseudonyms with fake profiles, which is an effective way of concealing one’s identity.

Bad Start

The launch of the Facebook Marketplace has been met with a lot of skepticism, even more so now thanks to their shaky start.

The limited roll-out and the lack of a desktop version as of yet might greatly slow down progress, and it may take a while for the concept to gain any meaningful traction.

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Winning Bidder Claimed 2,700 Bitcoins at USMS Latest Auction

An anonymous bidder, who won the bid, bought 2,700 bitcoins at the United States Marshal Service (USMS) auction held recently. It is roughly worth 1.6 million dollars.

The government had announced an auction of the 2,719 bitcoins that were seized during many raids and cases like those of the Silk Road, the online black marketplace.

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 <<

bitcoin bidding
USMS, US Marshals. A winning bidder claimed 2,700.

The auction was announced at the beginning of the month, and the USMS confirmed that four bids were received for the same. The auction took place on August 22 between 13.00 and 19.00 UTC.

This auction was the smallest event held by the USMS. There were only five registered bidders for the auction of the 2,700 bitcoins.

Those who wished to take part in the auction were required to register before August 18. They were also required to deposit a fee of $100,000.

The USMS auction that took place in November last witnessed a higher turnout when 44,000 bitcoins were auctioned off.

The bitcoins auctioned off were worth $14.6 million and there were 11 bidders. Like in previous auctions, USMS also announced that the winning bidder could choose to reveal their identity if they wished to do so.

Previous bidders for the 44,000 bitcoin auction include investor Tim Draper, OTC trading firm Cumberland Mining, and the Bitcoin exchange itBit among the 11 bidders.

The USMS auction process is conducted in such a way that the winning bid is not made visible to anybody that makes a bid in the auction.

Earlier in June, Ernst & Young in Australia auctioned off 24,500 bitcoins that were confiscated from a Silk Road user.

The Source of the Bitcoins

bitcoin
An anonymous bidder purchased 2700 bitcoins worth about $2 million in an anonymous auction held by US Marshals Service

Silk Road was an online darknet marketplace that used bitcoins for its transactions.

Users traded and bought products on the site using bitcoins. A number of bitcoins were confiscated from the site creator, Ross Ulbricht.

He was sentenced to life in prison last year in May. Out of the 2,719 bitcoins that were auctioned off, a majority of them came from investigations related to the Silk Road.

About 1,300 of the auctioned bitcoins were related to Mathew Gillum, a Silk Road drug dealer.

This individual was sentenced to nine years in prison in the year 2015.

The bitcoins were seized in a civil case. 2.8 bitcoins only belonged to Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road.

Ross was convicted in May 2015 and sentenced to life in prison for running the website.

65 bitcoins came from a former DEA agent Carl Force IV, who was part of the Silk Road investigations.

He stole many bitcoins during the investigation and was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison. About 665 bitcoins were related to the Sean Roberson case.

This man from Florida allegedly traded stolen credit and debit card details through an online shop that he had set up.

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US Marshals To Auction Over 2,700 Silk Road Bitcoins

The United States Marshals Service recently made its plans to auction more than 2,700 BTC that’s worth over $1.6 million, taken from several cases, including those stemmed from the investigations on the Silk Road and its founder Ross Ulbricht.

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 <<

US-Marshalls-50000-Bitcoin-Auction-complete-Ulbricht2-825x510USMS tells how the soon-to-be-auctioned bitcoins are linked to some civil, administrative, and criminal matters pursued by the US government in previous years.

The highest profile among them is the case involving the Silk Road dark web marketplace.

Bitcoin Sources

As the first ever darknet market, the Silk Road soon became a notorious online platform where users were able to buy and sell illicit drugs and various other goods and services.

In line with maintaining anonymity is the use of bitcoin for all transactions, which were ultimately confiscated from the site’s creator, Ross Ulbricht.

Ross Ulbricht was sentenced May last year to life in prison, following the conviction of running an online marketplace which facilitated over $200 million anonymous drug sales transpiring online within the dark web.

The sentence is currently being appealed.

The Silk Road creator’s case is just one out of 9 cases from which a total of 2,719 BTC was forfeited, and now subject to the latest auction according to the US Marshals Service.

In fact, only around 2.8 bitcoins in the upcoming auction actually stems from Ulbricht’s case.

USMS reveals that the bitcoins accounting for 1,294 stem from a civil case associated to Matthew Gillum, a drug dealer from Silk Road who’s been sentenced to 9 years in prison in 2015.

The federal law enforcement agency tells of another 65 BTC coming from the case of former U.S. DEA agent Carl Force IV.

He was sentenced to 78 months back in October 2015 for stealing bitcoins while investigating the Silk Road.

Another 664 out of the 2,719 bitcoins came from Sean Roberson’s case, who allegedly created an online shop catering to counterfeit debit and credit cards.

This Florida man was sentenced to prison for 78 months in November 2015.

Auction Details

bitcoin-auction-participantsThe bitcoin auction will be held this August 22.

Those who wish to participate must register by August 18 and are required to deposit $100,000.

Potential participants outside of the U.S. are welcome as long as they do not belong in the “Specially Designated Nationals” list by the Treasury Department.

USMS said that winners would be notified right on the same day.

The auction is deemed a blind process, meaning the winning bid is not visible to those who make an offer.

August 22 marks the latest of several auctions held by the agency in the past two years, counting four from June 2014 – November 2015 with the Silk Road auction as the last one held during late 2015.

Going back to June, 24,500-bitcoin cache was auctioned off by Ernst & Young in Australia, confiscated from a former user of Silk Road originating from the country.

To date, bitcoin’s legal status may be in a grey area in most parts of the globe. Federal government auctions have increased its legitimacy in the US.

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Former Silk Road Employee Granted A Blue Card

A man named Peter Philip Nash was put in jail because of his involvement with the online drug marketplace called the Silk Road. He has reportedly won an appeal that he had filed for obtaining a blue card in Brisbane. He was extradited to the US from Brisbane in 2013 after he was charged¬ with conspiracy to money laundering and committing narcotics trafficking. The Silk Road website with which he was associated generated over $200 million in sales through the sale of illicit goods.

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 <<

Peter NashPeter Nash pleaded guilty but said that he had bought illicit as well as controlled substances through the Silk Road website for his personal use. He was later on contacted by the operators of the Silk Road website to work as the moderator of an associated chat forum. He confirmed that he worked for ten months as the moderator of this chat forum.

Nash also said that he received his salary in bitcoins and used approximately $25,000 he earned for buying drugs on the Silk Road for his personal use. He was sentenced to 17 months in jail on 26th May 2015 and was subsequently released from custody.

Peter Nash had shifted base to Brisbane and was working in an adult forensic disability services center before he was arrested in 2011. He wanted to return to Brisbane and work in the field of providing services to people with challenging behavior and intellectual disabilities. He did succeed in securing a job in his chosen field but was informed about the cancellation of his blue card. Though he applied once again, the Public Safety Business Agency (PSBA) informed him that he was not eligible for the blue card.

Peter Nash then made an appeal to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Queensland. On reviewing the history of Nash, the Tribunal found out that he had been using drugs for recreational purposes in his 20s and 30s, but started self-medication since 2011 to cope with stress at his workplace.

Peter Nash 2Nash had taken steps to get rid of his drug addiction weeks ahead of his arrest and used his time in prison to complete drug abuse education, treatment, and rehabilitation. He even completed a stress management course.

A report on Peter Nash, given by an independent psychologist noted that the offending behavior of Nash could be attributed to social isolation (there was no support network when he came to Brisbane for the very first time) and workplace stress. The psychologist also noted that he was never a direct threat and posed a low risk as far as children are concerned. Peter Nash’s character witness submissions pointed out that he was a role model during his tenure with forensic disability services.

Though the tribunal determined that the sobriety of Peter Nash was in its infancy (2.5 years), the chances of a relapse were considered to be low because of the ongoing support arrangements and plans. Member Howard said that he was fully satisfied with Nash’s case because of the life-changing experience that he had gone through. He concluded that the right action in Nash’s case would be to set aside the ruling of PSBA and substitute it with a favorable decision and issue a blue card to him.

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Silk Road Creator’s Mom Has Lost Faith In The US Justice System

Ross Ulbricht,the founder of the Silk Road, is in prison serving a double life sentence without parole since May 29, 2015. He was charged on many counts, including conspiracy to sell drugs, money laundering, etc. He worked under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” as the administrator of the website.

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 – Appeal for Retrial by Lyn

Lyn UlbrichtLyn Ulbricht, mother of Ross, in the meanwhile, has been working to file an appeal for a retrial of the case as she believes that the life sentence that was awarded to her son has been unjust. The appeal was filed on 12 January this year, and the government has to reply before 17 June this year.

Lyn said that she has lost faith in the US legal system and hoped that a retrial would take place soon. In this context, it is interesting to note that two government agents, Shaun Bridges and Carl Force, who were part of this case, were indicted on charges of corruption, theft of bitcoins and extortion.

Lyn Ulbricht said that the two agents had access to the highest administrative levels of the Silk Road, and they committed the crimes by changing, adding and removing data to the site. A lot of this tainted information was suppressed during the trial which Lyn claims is unlawful and goes against the Brady Rule. Some of the information was let out only after the trial, according to Lyn. This is the point bywhich she is demanding a retrial of the case against the Silk Road administrator. She believes that the basis for the retrial and its outcome would be of benefit to all Americans and would help to repose her faith on the American legal system.

Such a sentence was awarded to Ross, according to the concerned judges, only because he set an unhealthy precedent. He showed how the Internet can be used at its worst, they said. Lyn, however, felt that the sentence was unfair as the biggest drug dealer on the website was awarded a mere sentence of 10 years, and a cocaine-heroin dealer was awarded a 5-year prison term. The tainted agents received six- and seven-year terms.

Lyn’s Thoughts

Ross-UlbrichtThe Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht, has spent a year in prison now and his mother Lyn believes he becomes matured in the periodand is not as naive as when he started the website. She hopes that a retrial would allow her son to return to the society with a mind that has turned wiser and older. Her son was a person of libertarian thoughts who only wanted to offer people the experience of free markets, in every sense of the word. He had lectured on free markets before he was convicted and it was all that he wanted. On the day of his sentencing, Ross Ulbricht even said that he did not mean any harm to anyone by running the Silk Road.

Lyn believes that her fight for the retrial would contribute towards the protection of constitutional, freedom and privacy rights of all the Americans.

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User of Original Silk Road, Now Busted By Cops

Cannabis-Flower-1There have been several high profile and technical busts, targeting users, dealers, and administrators of some websites operating on the dark web. In one such recent case, the German police tracked down a person who had used the original Silk Road marketplace for buying cannabis, a few grams at a time.

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 <<

Gwern Branwen, an independent researcher, reportedly said that the authorities recently fined this person from Germany, who ordered cannabis seventeen times on the Silk Road and another darknet market, more than 3,000 euros. In one of the Reddit posts, he noted that he was directly contacted by the buyer to inform the same. Gwern even uploaded a letter addressed to the apparent user.

Motherboard pointed out that as the names, as well as other information contained in the letter written in March 2016 by the law authorities, were redacted, they could not contact the recipient of the letter. However, the letter indicated that the customer made 17 purchases – quantity varied from 1.5 grams to 7.4 grams of cannabis during the period January 2013 to October 2013.

Law enforcement authorities have punished many dark web users who purchased drugs from darknet markets like the Silk Road in the past. They have even tracked down people who bought weapons, poisons, and drugs such as methamphetamine or MDMA from websites operating on the dark web. Additionally, a few cases involving marijuana purchases have also been reported.

However, what makes this particular case notable is the fact that law enforcement is still keen on tracking down buyers years after the Silk Road was closed down by the federal agents in 2013. According to reports, the customer was identified after the German police busted a seller of cannabis who had maintained a record of all of his customers. The customer reportedly told Branwen that he always ensured that his address was encrypted whenever he provided it to vendors.

Based on this information, Branwen believes that the police might have sifted through the records available on the server used by the Silk Road to find out more about the purchases made by the customer as he used only one username consistently. However, it is not entirely clear as to how the authorities have managed to find one of the orders he placed on the Outlaw Market, which continues to operate on the dark web. The letter, however, noted that the communications between him and the Silk Road have been used.

reddit_log-100011890-large (3)Branwen also pointed out in the Reddit post that it is not sure as to how a buyer could get into any trouble or be prosecuted if he/she is not charged with possession of illegal drugs or packages addressed to the person has not been intercepted. He observed that the answer to this question seemed to be in the positive, at least in this case, in Germany.

Ultimately, this particular case goes on to show that even those people who have only used darknet markets briefly should be worried because law enforcement authorities could eventually track them down.

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Police Bust Silk Road Dealers In Norway

According to report, the Norway police’s largest ever online drug bust resulted in 15 arrests last month. According to the police, they nabbed fifteen people who traded drugs on the dark web.

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-12-worst-drugs-to-get-addict (1)Kripos, the National Criminal Investigation Service in Norway, launched an investigation under the code name “Operation Marco Polo” on the dark web. This turned out to be the largest operation to nab the perpetrators of organized drug crime in the country. An Oslo newspaper, Verdens Gang, reported that the sting operation culminated in the arrest of 15 people. Out the 15 arrested, it is believed that five men are the biggest online dealers of drugs in Norway.

The origin of the case can be traced to theSilk Roaddarknet site. The closure of the Silk Road marketplacein 2013 was attributed to the audacity of Ross Ulbricht (known by the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts), the founder of Silk Road, who posted his personal e-mail address in one of the forums.

Blake Benthall, who operated Silk Road 2.0 under the pseudonym Defcon, committed the same mistake when he registered a server in his own name. This enabled the U.S. authorities not only to shut down the operation of the Silk Road 2.0 site, but also to obtain a list of customers’ as well as vendors’ names. The list also contained the names of the Norwegian traders who made use of the Silk Road marketplace for selling drugs.

Norwegian operators used pseudonyms like “Kvalitetsbevisst,” “Alfa&Omega,” and “Deeplove” on different darknet marketsincluding Silk Road. The police has nabbed and indicted as many as 15 people – 13 men and two women – as part of the Marco Polo investigation since 2014. According to the authorities, the people who bought drugs from the dark web planned to sell them locally.

After a long period of monitoring darknet activities, the police were able to founda 150 marijuana plants in total in various stages of growth in the house’sbasement in Skien. In addition, the police confiscated over 80 communications devices. This included computers, memory sticks and hard drives. Information contained in some of these devices was inaccessibledue to high-quality encryptionand, therefore, were of not much use in police investigations.

Richard Beck Pedersen, who played a key role in Operation Marco Polo, said that the drug dealers could not be identified prior to the operation as the targets made use of technological camouflage right from 2013 to ensure anonymity.

download (7)Another challenge faced by Kripos was following the money trail. This is because the drug dealers accepted payment in bitcoins for the products they supplied. As the digital currency and the payment system are not backed by governments or banks, users carry out direct transactions and this makes things difficult for law enforcement agencies keep track of the movement of the cryptocurrency. Further, transactions were carried out on dark web under the hidden Tor network, which masked the identities of the Silk Road users.

According to Chief Investigator Olav Roisli, it is difficult to track money as there are several stages of transactions when digital currency is used. Further, the advantage of using the dark web was that it enabled the dealers to obtain a large customer base as the customers did not have to visit the country in order to purchase drugs.

The customers were mostly young people who used drugs for recreational purposes and usually have limited access to a physical drug market. Further, these youngsters who bought drugs would not have been able to get them without accessing the dark web.

It is expected that the Operation Marco Polo would be concluded before summer.

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Students To Plot Efforts To Help Pass Marijuana Legalization

 

origins-drugsAt least 500 students and advocates from different states and nations had participated in the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) International Conference held between April 15 and 17 to discuss about the present state of drug policy and plans for future reforms.Marijuana legalization was the main topic asmore U.S. states gear up to legalize medical or recreational marijuana in the month of November.

In this connection, Lyn Ulbricht, the mother of Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road marketplace, was among the speakers at the SSDP gathering. Other speakers include academics, elected members of the government, law enforcement and medical professionals. Ross Ulbricht is currently serving a life sentence in prison as punishment for many charges, including conspiracy with vendors to sell banned/illegal drugs through the Silk Road.

Demonstrations by both allies and studentsfollowed after the conference, whogathered outsideof the United Nations conferenceon the worldwide drug war.The protest occurred in time for the UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs, among the first ones to be organized in a span of two decades.

The young activists’ contention has been that officials always justify harsh actions on drug offenders as the right method to protect vulnerable youth from falling prey to destructive drug habits. However, the whole process has put youth at greater risks such as racial disparities during enforcement of drug laws, use of resources for building prisons instead of schools, provision of lesser funding for implementation of proven drug harm reduction strategies, among others. All these have caused much more harm, the young voices contend. The youth are looking to voice their opinion on how to change and combat drug use in the communities in which they live.

In more than five states in the US, voters may be casting their votes to legalize and regulate the use of marijuana in the month of November this year. This means a doubling of the number of states that are looking to end prohibition. It is also expected that the states of Florida and Ohio, that are considered important presidential swing states, will be casting their votes for ballot measures on medical cannabis. These are seen as important developments. In the past years, the youth activists have put in efforts to get as many young supporters of SSDP to find their way to get to the polls (in specific states) in a bid to increase youth turnout. The international arm of the SSDP made use of phone-banking to help supportive voters reach the poll venues.

Lyn Ulbricht

Screen-Shot-2013-11-20-at-5.57.08-PMLyn Ulbricht, mother of Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road founder, has relocated from Texas to New York to be near her son who is serving a prison sentence. She has also been giving speeches, raising funds for her son’s appeal and making appearances in the media in an effort to educate the public about the issues in her son’s case. She has repeatedly stated that her son did not create the Silk Road as a drug site and is only a free market libertarian. She believes that he was sentenced because he was a political threat and the sentence meted out to Ross Ulbricht was draconian.

She believes that he is being penalized for all the drug lords that they have not arrested yet. The drug war that has been going on for the last 40 years are only increasing the number of persons convicted for drug crimes, some of them falsely, while the problem still continues to fester. The drug war has not stopped too many from doing drugs, she adds.

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Man Arrested For Selling Drugs On Silk Road And Other Darknet Markets

 

download (2)David Ryan Burchard from Merced in California was arrested for distributing cocaine and marijuana all over the US through darknet markets such as the Silk Road, AlphaBay, Abraxas and Agora. The man who is 38 years old operated under the nickname Caliconnect. According to the Federal authorities’ estimate, the total value of all the deals made by him is $1.43 million.

The investigation against Caliconnect, which involved several people and agencies, started in March last year. Matthew Larsen, an HSI agent, launched an investigation against Burchard after he sold bitcoins worth millions of dollars to a digital currency exchanger who did not have a license.

Authorities carried out surveillance on his vehicle and residence through GPS, which revealed mailing of parcels by Burchard from a post office. Jessica Burger, a Postal Inspector, identified Burchard. HSI agents also observed Burchard’s attempt to mail parcels to a person in North Carolina. They retrieved the parcel from the bin and sent it to North Carolina Postal Inspectors.

Burger who had obtained a warrant for searching the seized parcel went to Fresno HSI office and with Larsen opened the seized parcel and found marijuana in it. In the meantime, a Postal Inspector from North Carolina reported that the addresses written on the parcels were bogus and that the parcels consisted of a controlled substance. A search of the parcels after obtaining a warrant showed that they contained marijuana.

HSI agents also learned that Burchard operated under the moniker Caliconnect and they searched the Internet for more information about Caliconnect. They came across Reddit posts and found out the names of people who had ordered marijuana from him. A review of the Silk Road vendor list given by HSI Headquarters helped Larsen to locate Caliconnect’s name on the list.

On the Silk Road, Larsen determined, Caliconnect was the eighteenth largest vendor. His sales volume was $1,250,248.65. Larsen also came across a vendor by name the_real_caliconnect on Agora, who claimed to be a vendor at Silk Road, Silk Road 2.0 and the Black-Market Reloaded as well. He also sold marijuana. A search of the PGP key of the_real_Caliconnect on Grams showed that he operated under the name Caliconnect4life on AlphaBay.

In the meanwhile, Larsen determined, through postal tracking numbers, that the post offices used for sending the parcels were all located near to Burchard’s home. He also learned through DEA that a vendor with username Caliconnect2 bought phentermine from the Silk Road marketplace. A review revealed 977 transactions carried out by Caliconnect on the Silk Road marketplace and HSI determined that he sold 10.5 grams of cocaine and 704 pounds of marijuana.

Subsequently, Larsen along with another HSI investigator obtained surveillance photos from Raley’s Supermarket, which helped people ship products, to get pictures of Burchard as he booked parcels from this supermarket. Larsen followed David Burchard to Raley’s Supermarket and reviewed response received from AccountNow as regards a Prepaid Visa card. The information from AccountNow matched with the data Larsen had collected on Burchard.

Intern Mann, Daniel, a detective in Fresno Police Department, and Larsen contacted Caliconnect4life using username Megiddo to buy half a pound of marijuana (OG Crack) for $900. The packet was to be delivered at Buffalo in New York. Caliconnect4life informed Megiddo through a private message as to when the delivery can be expected. Larsen received the packet at the specified address.

Following this, Larsen obtained a warrant to search Burchard’s residence. It was executed by the IRS, Larsen, the USPIS, other HSI agents, California Highway Patrol and the Police Department in Merced. They found Burchard, his wife, and 3 children at home. They also seized various computers, storage devices and other items that are normally associated with narcotics. They also found clothing with Caliconnect label on it.

Though Burchard denied selling marijuana, he did admit that his clothing brand’s name was Caliconnect. Further, computer forensics revealed incriminating evidence about his dealings in the darknet markets.

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OpenBazaar Unlikely To Be The Next Silk Road

Do you want to buy R2D2 t-shirts, a dog or a cat, or Rick and Morty’s imagery products? Well, these are the things you are likely to find on OpenBazaar. After a very long gestation period, the beta version of the peer-to-peer digital mall has been made available for testing purposes. The full launch is expected to happen later this month.

What OpenBazaar proposes is a distributed marketplace without a central authority for holding accounts, use of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and some rules that are non-existent as of now. This has led to assumptions that OpenBazaar would be the next-generation of difficult-to-trace darknet markets like the Silk Road. The Silk Road was infamously known as a platform for selling illicit drugs. OpenBazaar may still be in its initial stages, but as of now it resembles an anarchist eBay on acid, according to Forbes.

What Is OpenBazaar

OpenBazaar, an open source project, creates a network for decentralized online peer-to-peer commerce using Bitcoin. It does not charge any fees and it cannot be censored.

OpenBazaar
Typically, online commerce uses centralized services, employs restrictive policies and charges fees for both listing and selling products. The forms of payment accepted by them cost money to buyers and sellers. Further, personal information is required to be provided. Buyers and sellers are generally not allowed to exchange products and services with each other because companies and governments can censor entire trade categories.

OpenBazaar redefines online commerce by putting power back in the hands of users. OpenBazaar connects buyers and sellers directly. There will be no middlemen and, therefore, there will be no fees, no censoring of transactions and you can choose as to what personal information you want to reveal.

What Benefits Does OpenBazaar Offer

One of the key benefits offered by OpenBazaar is anonymous trading. Encryption helps to prevent simple snooping. The peer-to-peer setup prevents governments from targeting a centralized body with the help of a technical taskforce or subpoena. It may not be impossible to bring the network crumbling down, but it would be considerably harder to do that. Further, the chat feature offered by OpenBazaar will be end-to-end encrypted to prevent mass government surveillance.

Why OpenBazaar Would Not Operate Like the Silk Road

All said and done, there are a few reasons as to why OpenBazaar is not likely to be like the Silk Road. The first and foremost reason is that people who have the technical capability can view the IP addresses of users. By pulling out data from the OpenBazaar API, a crawler that is capable of mapping out information about all of the participants in the network can be built. If the police have a warrant, they can quickly identify and locate individuals who are not masking their IP address by using a VPN or Tor. In fact, OpenBazaar warns people during registration that users would not be anonymous by default and that IP addresses are public even though most of the communications between parties is encrypted.

OpenBazaar Sites

The second key aspect is the credentials of the chief purveyors of OpenBazaar. They are Brian Hoffman, who worked as a lead associate for cybersecurity at Booz Allen Hamilton, old employer of Edward Snowden; Sam Patterson, a Bitcoin specialist; and Dr. Washington Sanchez, an academic. Their goal is to create a platform that is free from government control so that companies are in a position to make more money by getting rid of the middleman. Bitcoin helps to do away with middlemen, credit card providers and banks, who take a cut from each of the transactions. Even the darknet markets like the Silk Road are not free from the involvement of middlemen. However, in the case of OpenBazaar, the dealings are directly between the buyers and sellers.

Finally, the purveyors are not likely to earn anything by creating the OpenBazaar network. That is why they have founded OB1, which aims at bringing big names to the network. They will partner with these companies for setting up certain stores. Additionally, OB1 will also provide merchant support services like vetting legitimate businesses, arbitration, etc., for a charge. According to Patterson, hundreds of individuals and businesses have requested that they be notified when OpenBazaar goes live. He also added that peer-to-peer commerce is not going to be popular overnight on the Internet and that they are in this for the long haul.

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