After the shutdown of the original Silk Road and the infamous ending of its successor the Silk Road 2.0, it has come a time for a new iteration to step up to the plate and try to dominate the Darknet marketplaces scene.
Seeing as Silk Road 3.1 has been around for some time now; many people must be wondering if the marketplace is legit and trustworthy.
For starters, it recently changed from Silk Road 3.0 to Silk Road 3.1, it has the same admins, design and feel (clone of SR 3.0) etc. The new site is even refunding all the bitcoins that got caught up in the Silk Orad 3.0 shut down. You just fill in the form after registering and you are all good.
As with pretty much all things “Darknet,” nothing is completely 100% safe, but there certainly are measures one can take to make sure you are not scammed, busted and safely receive what you ordered.
The first thing you want to do before you go through with ordering anything off of Silk Road 3.1 is to have your Bitcoin wallet ready and have some Bitcoin in it available for spending.
The whole process of safely acquiring and managing your Bitcoin is an entire topic in itself and will not be covered here in detail.
However, one can visit TotalBitcoin.org which does a good job of giving a guide on how to buy bitcoin anonymously.
Let’s order something…
1. Now that we have acquired our Bitcoin, using a VPN, registered an account, and accessed Silk Road 3.0 (3.1), the first thing we will be welcomed by is an automated message from the Silk Road 3.1 admin staff informing us of some basic things to check out on their site and the general information about the site itself.
2. Scrolling further up we will see the signature Silk Road logo and below it a bar with some links that will allow us to manage our account, visit the forum, read private messages, etc.
For now, we should click “home” which will take us to Silk Road 3.1’s homepage allowing us to browse through all the listings and showing us the latest listings posted by vendors.
In case we are looking for something specific there is also a possibility of filtering listings, and there is also a sidebar which offers all the listings separated into different categories.
3. After deciding on the specific category and opening it, we will again have the ability to filter further through the listings in search of something specific or we can browse the entire category in general.
Now, that we have narrowed down our search as much as possible there are two things that we need to take into consideration, the product we are looking for and the vendor selling it.
This is important because there are a lot of shady vendors on any Darknet marketplace, and we want to do everything in our power not to get scammed.
Luckily, there is a relatively reliable review system set up on Silk Road 3.0 (and 3.1) that allows us to see which vendors have previous experience and how many previous customers were satisfied with their service.
4. When deciding on a vendor, there are several things on Silk Road 3.0 that will greatly help you.
First is, of course, the review counter which tells us how many reviews did that vendor receive and which percent of those were positive.
Secondly, there is a tag that says whether said vendor is PGP verified.
This is extremely important because we do not want to have anything to do with a person who does not encrypt their messages. The same should apply to us.
It does not matter what the contents of the message are, whether they are our personal and shipping information or some random gibberish, we should always encrypt our messages using PGP.
5. When looking into the quality of the product, there is no surefire way to decide it before trying it. The best thing to do here is to check out some forums and third party websites that offer detailed reviews of products.
One of the biggest sources of such reviews is the DarkNetMarketssubreddit since it offers multiple detailed reviews of most big vendors on famous marketplaces.
6. After that, we just click on the listing, and it will take us to a page that gives further detail on said listing as well as all the reviews provided by previous customers.
We can filter out reviews that don’t have any feedback since they provide little to no information about the vendor and can even be fake in extreme cases.
7. Scrolling down we will see an order form that should be filled out with information like order quantity, currency (only Bitcoin is accepted) and shipping address.
As stated before shipping details should be encrypted before sending, but in case we provide unencrypted shipping data, the website will encrypt it for us.
Also, take note to be very accurate when writing down your shipping address and also be mindful of what information you give out. Do not give out any information outside your address.
By clicking “Place Order,” we have finalised our order and the appropriate Bitcoin amount will be withdrawn from our wallet after 15 or so minutes.
There is also the option of cancelling the order before the withdrawal is made in case there is a need to do so.
8. Depending on the size of the order and the location of the vendor an order can take anywhere from 2 days to an entire month to arrive.
It is always a good practice to be patient in this case, but if the order takes longer than 1 month to arrive there is a good chance that it never will.
In this case, you should consult with the vendor about the issue and how to resolve it.
You should be mindful before ordering about whether your vendor of choice offers refunds and reships in case a package fails to be delivered.
9. Raising a dispute is the last thing that we should resort to and should be used only in case our package fails to arrive, and the vendor decides to break all communication after that.
Disputes rarely solve anything on Darknet marketplaces so resorting to it will often yield no result at all.
That raps up our guide to buying items from the Silk Road 3.0 (3.1).
If you are buying anything from Silk Road 3.0 (3.1) whether it be legal or illegal, then you must take every precaution possible and be extra vigilant in protecting your identity.
If you are not using a VPN and Tor together then you better go and get a good lawyer as you will eventually get busted.
If you send through any personal details that are not encrypted using your PGP encryption, then you better get some street fighting lessons because you will be going to prison even quicker.
You can check out the essential tools needed to maximise your online anonymity and secrecy here.