Recently, the popular CNBC TV show American Greed did a feature on Silkroad, the controversial digital drug dealing darknet market platform conceived and owned by Ross Ulbricht.
The American Greed episode was entirely focused on Ulbricht’s supposed pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” and the operations of the illegal online utopia.
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.
While a number of the references have been positive, the large majority have always painted a very negative picture of these platforms even though they are not always involved in illegal activity.
The Silkroad, however, cannot be given the benefit of the doubt. It is well known to have been complacent in criminal activity with Ross Ulbricht currently facing life in prison.
American Greed’s Verdict on Silkroad
The American Greed show can be complimented for taking a somewhat different and unscripted direction in its exposé’s.
It highlights key events or operations through the accounts of witnesses and expert opinions.
This approach enables the show to document current and past events that shed light on the dark sides of American capitalism including Silkroad that corporate media fails to cover.
According to the show, Silkroad was founded mainly to provide a secure and anonymous means for sellers and buyers to transact illegal goods and services online through the Tor network.
The Silkroad marketplace operated only through Bitcoins, the cryptocurrency that facilitates anonymous online trade in darknet markets.
Dread Pirate Roberts controlled nearly every aspect of the Silkroad marketplace.
Apparently, he acquired the computer infrastructure needed to set up the marketplace, maintained the official website and also set customer and vendor policies. Some of these policies included what could be sold on the Silkroad.
Ross Ulbricht was arrested in October 2013 by the FBI where he was accused of being Dread Pirate Roberts. The Silkroad website was then seized and taken down.
At the time, Dread Pirate Robert’s wealth was estimated to be millions of dollars in bitcoins.
Ulbricht is now facing a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He was found guilty on several counts including conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and money laundering.
Points of Contention
While Silkroad is definitely villainous from the law’s perspective, it does not exactly fit the profile of American Greed’s show.
The show usually focuses on the aspects of people or entities stealing money, something that DPR is not guilty of.
In fact, the instances of theft related to this case occurred against Silkroad itself, something the show failed to dwell on but should have.
It could be because of the fact that Carl Force, the person responsible for siphoning bitcoins from the Silkroad marketplace happens to be a former DEA agent.
Nonetheless, it was an informative alternative account and is bound to generate interesting comments in days to come.
It is definitely recommendable to any open-minded person seeking to know more about this underground online crime platform.