U.S. Government Nets $48M from Sale of Seized Silk Road Bitcoins

After several years of uncertainty, the United States government has finally claimed the $48 million in funds earned from the Silk Road, a notorious online drug marketplace whose operations were terminated in 2013.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

FBI agent gathers evidence
The U.S. government has finally claimed $48 million brought in after the infamous Silk Road was seized by the feds in 2013.

In the successful government raid of the market, the authorities seized 144,336 Bitcoins, all which were auctioned off in 2014 and 2015.

The delay in receiving these auction proceeds came courtesy of numerous lawsuits from none other than Ross Ulbricht, the initial operator of the Silk Road online platform that sought to contest the legitimacy of seizing the units.

Nonetheless, Ulbricht has subsequently decided not to proceed with his claims, which therefore means that the U.S. government, through its Department of Justice, is now $48 million “richer.”

The Silk Road Takedown

Silk Road was a dark web marketplace which served as a hub for anonymous transactions for numerous forms of illegal activities and products, particularly narcotics.

Ross Ulbricht, who was then the principal figure associated with the operations of the Silk Road, disguised himself as the moniker of the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a character adapted from the film The Princess Bride.

The site started off as a typically anonymous venture, which mandated for word-of-mouth communications to gain access.

Even so, this site grew in popularity with Ulbricht accepting an interview by Forbes. Eventually, the site caught the attention of authorities who later on brought down the famed platform together with its original operator, the Dread Pirate Roberts.

In 2015, Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment after the jury convicted him of charges of hacking, money laundering and illicit drug trafficking.

He recently withdrew his lawsuit seeking to bar the U.S. government from not only selling the cryptocurrency for cash but also forfeiting the resulting funds to satisfy their legal suits against him.

Paul Grant, the attorney to Ulbricht, confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice would allocate the funds for general use—an act that he referred to as “sad for justice.”

In May of this year, a life sentence and jury conviction against Ulbricht was upheld by the Second Circuit court after he had challenged the ruling.

His decision to appeal the conviction was motivated by the fact that his prosecutors had conducted unlawful electronic searches to make a case against him, not to mention the fact that purportedly corrupt federal agents had attempted to draw on the investigation to disguise their intentions of extorting cryptocurrency units.

Grant later confirmed that he and his client were exploring legal means to overturn both the sentence and conviction.

As per the prosecutors’ claims, Ulbricht launched the Silk Road back in 2011, then permitting users to buy computer hacking software, illegal drugs and other illicit products.

Before officers brought its operations to an end in October 2013, the site used an exclusive Bitcoin payment system to carry out the transactions, a factor that ensured customers’ identities remained anonymous.

By the time the authorities burst its operations, numerous individuals had succumbed to drug overdose courtesy of the narcotics purchased from this site.

Prosecutors later tied these deaths to Ulbricht, who had evaded the authorities innumerable times under the codename “Dread Pirate Roberts” and later ditched the play and sympathized with the victims.

Still, authorities were able to tie him to another serious crime as well.

It was stated that he had tried to petition murder-for-hire cases against his blackmailer, among other enemies, at a total cost of $730,000.

Young FBI agent in uniform
FBI tracked him through several forged documents

The operation did bear fruit when the Federal Bureau of Investigations was able to track him down through assessing several forged identification documents in various packages originating in Canada and heading to a similar address back in San Francisco, California.

The Silk Road was subsequently shut down (although other versions later cropped up) and the suspect, Ross Ulbricht, was consequently sentenced to a life imprisonment without any possibility of parole for charges of conspiracy to trafficking narcotics, computer hacking, and money laundering.

Timing is Ever Crucial           

Finally, and this is where most Bitcoin holders will incessantly lament, by selling the 144,336 units at $334 for each in 2014 and 2015, the U.S. government has pocketed $48 million.

Surprisingly, had they waited until just after Ulbricht had finally dropped his legal claim about the unlawful seizure, the headlines would now be reading “U.S. Government Claims $630 million” for those same units.

Nevertheless, there is little information on exactly where this $48 million bankroll will go.

While federal agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the FBI or even the Department of Treasury might be the potential benefactors, it is only best to assume that this money will not be put to proper use since the federal government is never really one for financial responsibility when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

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Mother’s Latest Update on Her Son, Ross Ulbricht

It has been four years after the famous Silk Road was shut down by the FBI, and customers who benefitted from the website have moved to other leading darknet market platforms—bidding adieu to the dark web marketplace to excel their businesses elsewhere.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

male inmate behind prison bars
Lyn Ulbricht, the mother of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, speaks of the flaws in the justice system and offers details about her son’s present life.

While ex-Silk Road users found a new home at emerging marketplaces in the absence of the site, a fierce trial was taking place in the U.S. court system to bring down the market’s founder, Ross Ulbricht, who ran the Silk Road under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

After pleading guilty to drug-related charges, Ulbricht received a life sentence verdict. This left his mother, Lyn Ulbricht, distraught yet determined to reverse the ruling through the appellate courts.

For two years, she tirelessly worked to rally up enough support for her son’s appeal but, ultimately, she did not succeed. Earlier this year, a Second Circuit judge rejected the life sentence appeal.

Only a few months after Ross lost his life sentence appeal, Lyn confirmed that she had filed a rehearing with the Second Circuit panel.

As the name suggests, this filing requests the court that they should reconsider the verdict. But the court denied the request in August.

At this point, most professionals and lawyers do believe that it is not possible to change the verdict on Ross’s case.

Latest Updates on Ross, Lyn’s Candid Talk

At present, Ross Ulbricht is in prison without any chances of parole. His mother is persistent in working to change the U.S. judicial system and the way it treated her son.

In a recent public appearance, she revealed some detail about what went on during these years, opening up about her son’s life inside prison and the things she wants to see changed.

Life Inside Prison

Being the doting mother and son duo, Ross and Lyn have kept in touch throughout these years as she campaigned for his prison release and gathered supporters through the Free Ross movement.

Speaking about Ross’ life inside prison, Lyn confirmed that even though he had to spend three and half years in a New York prison institution, it is much better to be in the Colorado facility where Ross is currently located.

She also said that the New York prison is a transitional facility and never designed for long-term living, whereas the Colorado institution is much more spacious and inhabitable. It’s a high and maximum security prison, but not supermax.

Lyn felt that Ross should never be in a high-security prison because his crimes are non-violent but because of his long-term sentence, he is forced to be there.

Even if the judge had given him a sentence less than 30 years, he could be in a medium security prison. He has never been harmful in any way to be there, she added.

An Unfair Judgment for Silk Road Creator

mallet of judge
Her mother was dissatisfied with the justice system.

Lyn Ulbricht is extremely dissatisfied with the justice system for giving her son such a harsh punishment for a non-violent crime.

She felt that the FBI and law enforcement officials wanted to make an example out of him, forcing him to bear the burden of other darknet market dealers that sell and smuggle illegal drugs and weapons, or conduct other unlawful activities over the dark web.

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Silk Road Creator’s Appeal for Rehearing Denied by Court

Court of Appeals title on Legal Documents
The Court of Appeals has rejected a petition for a panel or full rehearing filed by Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road darknet marketplace.

It has been more than five years since the apprehension and subsequent court battles ensued for the founder of the infamous darknet marketplace, Silk Road.

The legal avenues for the convicted Ross Ulbricht, also known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” seem to thin out following the results of his petition last week.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business.

The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court denied Ulbricht a rehearing of his conviction and consequent life imprisonment sentence.

Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole back in 2015, following his arrest for creating and running the Silk Road, which was a highly popular dark web drug market before its 2013 shutdown.

He has since fought his conviction for crimes including money laundering and drug trafficking conspiracies, as well as the unduly harsh prison sentence.

Ulbricht had filed a petition for a panel or a full rehearing of the case, which was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The petition hearing was held at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in New York City.

It is worth noting that Ross Ulbricht had earlier this year filed an appeal for his life sentence, which was denied by the panel of the northeastern appeals court in May of 2017.

It would be safe to speculate that the reasons for the denial of the August petition are the same as the May petition.

gavel on table
Judges dismissed the arguments

In the May case, Ulbricht’s lawyers pointed out the illegal searches carried out by authorities investigating the Silk Road, as well as the involvement of corrupt federal agents in overseeing the effort leading to his harsh sentence for non-violent crimes.

The three-judge appellate panel addressed and dismissed the arguments and upheld the decision of the lower court, although they disagreed with the unexpectedly harsh sentence and American drug laws.

It is yet to be known whether the August appeal was denied on the same grounds, but it is highly likely.

The anticipated legal move for the Silk Road founder is a petition to the Supreme Court.

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Silk Road Founder Moved to Another Location

Family members of Ross Ulbricht, founder of the notorious Silk Road darknet market, tried to visit their beloved family member in the early days of July at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York.

Unfortunately, they could not find him at his assigned correctional facility. Instead, the family learned that the authorities decided to transfer him to another location.

 

NOTE: Silk Road 3.1 was supposedly HACKED and the owners have closed it down. It is a shame, but before too long there will most likely be a Silk Road 4. In the recent weeks, AlphaBay and Hansa markets were seized by law enforcement so they are also gone. But not to worry. The next biggest market is Dream Market. Go to https://dreammarketdrugs.com and you are back on another excellent darknet market.  You must keep your identity safe, always use a VPN, and PGP, never use your real email or name. Happy Trails.

corridor in a prison at night showing jail cells
Earlier this month, the Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was transferred to another correctional facility without any notice.

In response to this disturbing development, the family took to Twitter to inform the public of what they had just discovered.

They did so through the hashtag #FreeRoss. Ulbricht contacted them the following day informing them about the transfer. The family also tweeted about this development.

The family members have expressed a great deal of concern over the correctional facility that would house Ulbricht.

They feel that it might be hostile to him. For example, the July 6 tweet suggested that Ulbricht deserves a prison that has a safe and secure backyard.

Ross Ulbricht’s Vision & Philosophy

Ulbricht, a Penn State University graduate, wanted to build a dark web site using Bitcoin and Tor.

Tor would help him hide his IP while Bitcoin would help him hide the connection between his identity and his online wallet. He thought that this kind of anonymity would help him evade enforcement officers.

In 2010, Ulbricht embarked on his dream. More specifically, he started building the dark web market called Silk Road, where he would use Dread Pirate Roberts as his login name.

As indicated in his diaries, he wanted to turn 2011 into “a year of prosperity” through this Silk Road venture.

On his profile description for his LinkedIn page, Ulbricht hinted that he envisioned the world as a place that should operate without coercion or aggression.

Silk Road’s End

In October of 2013, Ulbricht was arrested in connection with the darknet marketplace he had built.

An IRS investigator, Gary Alford, first suspected that Ulbricht was in fact running Silk Road under the Dread Pirate Roberts screenname.

Alford’s suspicions started in mid-2013 when he was working with the DEA on the Silk Road case.

Upon his arrest, Ross was charged with money laundering, computer hacking, procuring hitmen for murder and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

Those who used his website accessed it via the Tor browser, after which they could buy anything, from jewelry to raw milk to narcotics. Then they would pay for these products using Bitcoins.

After his arrest, the Silk Road founder was put on trial where he would respond to all of these charges except the one for murder.

The prosecutor removed the murder charge but the people who procured various products from his site did not commit any murder with the goods they bought.

In May 2015, Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Post-Arrest Events & Subsequent Trial

Early in 2016, Ulbricht’s lawyers submitted an appeal claiming that the DEA’s evidence of the Silk Road investigation was illegally withheld by the prosecutor.

And in October 2016, there was an oral hearing of the appeal.

But in May of this year, the Court of Appeals ended up denying the appeal, confirming the judgment of life imprisonment.

However, Ulbricht argued that he was wrongly convicted and that the district court that arrested him violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects victims against unreasonable searches and seizures.

He claims he was denied the motion to suppress evidence. He also claims that he was deprived of the right to fair trial.

Ulbricht started his life imprisonment at the MCC in New York, but as of July 2017, he was moved to another location.

Dread Pirate Roberts’ Life in Prison

letters life prison barbed wire.frame
Family members said that Ulbricht deserves a prison that has a safe and secure backyard

Before Ulbricht was moved to an unknown correctional center early in July, reports from his family members indicated that the Silk Road founder had learned how to adapt to prison life.

Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’s mother, campaigned for her son’s release by telling the story of how he planted a seed in one corner of his cell and then used damp towel to support it until it sprouted.

Unfortunately, it was taken away by a prison guard and placed on the counselor’s desk.

Ulbricht’s Life Before Prison

Before he was nabbed, Ulbricht used to travel the world visiting some of the most beautiful beaches and engaging in surfing.

The drug kingpin and dark web mastermind looked like any other regular tourist. You would not have imagined him to be the Dread Pirate Roberts.

However, when he was not in the water surfing, he would be busy using his hotel room’s free Wi-Fi to manage his dark web site.

Conviction Actually Feeds Darknet Market Trends

Though the Silk Road kingpin was seized by law enforcement, drug trafficking has not stopped.

In fact, illegal trade on the dark web has seen an increase in sales after the news came that Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment.

From such results, one can only conclude that the media coverage of Ross Ulbricht and Silk Road only publicized his works.

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A Delve into the Silk Road Creator’s Coinbase Wallet Freeze

Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange company, has disabled the “Free Ross” campaign wallet that was meant to help raise funds for Ross Ulbricht, who was the founder and admin of the Silk Road.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

This freeze took place right after the campaign had received 16.5 Bitcoins in donations, a value equivalent to $40,200.

Bit-coin in the wallet
A look into some possibilities for why Coinbase blocked a digital wallet held by “Free Ross,” a fundraising campaign to help cover legal defense costs for the Silk Road founder.

The Ulbricht family is the official manager of the Free Ross campaign.

It was launched to raise funds for Ross Ulbricht’s appeal and legal defense.

After the news of the freeze, members from the Free Ross campaign and others who followed the case closely were quick to offer assistance in order to resolve the situation.

Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2015 for his alleged involvement with the Silk Road, an online market for drug transactions and other illegal business dealings.

The court revealed that he operated the darknet market under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

The site’s illegal products and services were the main reason for Ulbricht’s harsh sentence, due to the massive scale facilitated in the drug trade.

In May 2017, an appellate court denied an application from his legal team.

Ulbricht’s campaign team confirmed the Coinbase freeze.

They stated that they had moved the Bitcoins to Coinbase from blockchain, to enable them to convert to USD and pay for Ross’ defense. However, upon trying to validate their account, it was disabled without any explanation.

All they were told is that Coinbase would get back to them in 72 hours.

Coinbase is one of the most standardized Bitcoin exchange services in the United States.

This company is highly regulated. It’s registered and certified as a Money Service Business with FinCEN.

Hence, it is expected to comply with many financial services and consumer protection laws.

This company has been known to freeze accounts whenever any suspicious activity is noticed.

It also freezes the accounts of those who engage in online gambling. Coinbase has a strict policy where it requires details about how clients intend to use their Bitcoins.

The Silk Road creator’s campaign team has been in operation since the first time he was arrested in October 2013 over the same issue.

The Free Ross campaign has not engaged in any illicit activities. All the campaign does is just present Ulbricht’s side of the story.

In addition, the team tries to raise funds to pay for legal defense and appeals.

The campaign had not been storing all its Bitcoins on Coinbase, but was using the account to convert donations to USD.

Still, the Ross Ulbricht-related plot thickens. Just recently, Coinbase announced that a former federal prosecutor named Kathryn Haun was joining its board of directors.

holding a smartphone and virtual system diagram bitcoin
A digital currency coordinator at the United States Department of Justiceis now joining Coinbase’s board of directors

Haun was a digital currency coordinator at the United States Department of Justice, where her primary focus was on national security, cybercrime, financial fraud and gang activity.

She mainly led investigations into the corrupt federal agents that had been accused of theft and corruption during the Silk Road case.

Both suspects were successfully prosecuted and are now serving a jail term.

The news of Haun joining Coinbase’s board of directors did not sit well with some members of the Bitcoin community.

The freezing of the Silk Road creator’s campaign wallet was a little suspicious, especially since it happened soon after her appointment to the board.

However, it turns out Haun was not the prosecutor that convicted the Silk Road founder.

Coinbase has since unblocked Ross Ulbricht’s legal defense wallet after a flurry of complaints.

The Free Ross twitter account posted that the freeze was an auto security response that occurred after a possible link to previous compromised account.

This incident only highlighted Coinbase’s already beleaguered internal and external issues.

The Silk Road creator’s supporters said the statement was only a cover up of Coinbase’s other problems with IRS.

Thanks to the unfreezing of the wallet, Ulbricht’s campaign team can continue funding their campaign to help him receive some semblance of justice.

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The Silk Road Founder Loses His Life Sentence Appeal

Ross Ulbricht is now destined to spend the rest of his life in prison following the sound rejection of his appeal that was meted out the previous week.

The Second Circuit appellate court ruling was firmly delivered to the Silk Road drug kingpin, famously known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” in a manner that expressed subtle sympathy for the somewhat excessive, yet completely justified conviction of Ulbricht by the lower district court.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

Rubber stamping that says 'Appeal'.
A Second Circuit appellate court effectively ended Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s fight for justice, upholding the life sentence initially meted out by the district court.

This marked the end of Ulbricht’s five-year battle to escape his lifetime imprisonment sentence, which was influenced by an investigation marred with vast inconsistencies, according to Ulbricht’s defense.

Unauthorized Searches, Corrupt Investigators

The Silk Road investigation is one that will be remembered not only for its unexpectedly severe ending, but also for a number of inconsistencies which many believe played a hand in the largely unfair ruling.

These sentiments were echoed by the appellate court judges who seemed to concur with the majority opinion that the sentencing was heavier than most courts would have issued.

Ulbricht’s appeal was hinged on two key occurrences that his defense feel could have negatively influenced the outcome of his trial.

The involvement of DEA agent Carl Mark Force and Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges—two corrupt officials who stole from the Silk Road and also attempted to extort its founder—in the investigation forced his defense to file for a mistrial.

The appellate court also received and dismissed claims that the Silk Road investigators had conducted unauthorized surveillance of his home network, through which they managed to collect information from his social media and email accounts.

Ulbricht’s defense also raised the issue of what they termed as “unconstitutional searches,” which led to the seizure of his laptop. To this argument, the three-judge panel responded that the searches had been backed by warrants and were as such legal under the Fourth Amendment.

The appellate court upheld and maintained the life imprisonment sentence, despite the prosecution’s move to appeal to the district court’s emotional side by introducing statements which had little or no direct relevance to the Silk Road founder’s case.

Claims that this could have led to misgivings in the final ruling were shot down by the judge panel, who backed the district court’s ability to make decisions that weren’t afflicted by the wrenching testimony.

The three judges, however, agreed that the Silk Road customers’ deaths did not hold much relevance to the trial.

No Reprieve for the Drug Market Founder

Appeal word on card index paper
This marked the end of Ulbricht’s five-year battle to escape his lifetime imprisonment sentence, which was influenced by an investigation marred with vast inconsistencies, according to Ulbricht’s defense.

In the end, the final ruling of the appellate court terminated all hopes of Ulbricht clawing his way out of life imprisonment without parole. The decision to uphold the district court’s ruling was heavily influenced by the “kingpin” charge, which portrayed Ulbricht as a ruthless administrator who had gone to great lengths to protect the wealth he had amassed through the Silk Road under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts.

They reiterated that there had been overwhelming evidence of this, citing the three attempted murder charges that had weighed profoundly against Ulbricht and ultimately played the biggest part in his sentencing.

According to the court documents, the ruling, although excessive, was completely justifiable. In addition to Ulbricht’s actions, the judges called attention to the volume of sales generated by the drug-fueled marketplace, saying that any prosecution would be justified to seek extreme punishment in such a case.

His sentencing was initially intended to partially serve as a dire warning to other dark web drug kingpins which, in retrospect, worsened the situation drastically.

Subsequent versions of the Silk Road all raked in sales that amounted to more than double of what Ulbricht was arrested for in what was a brash display of impunity by online drug overlords who were now much more alert to the danger of being nabbed by the federal authorities.

The appellate court’s ruling also contained undertones of doubt and subtle sympathy for the extreme sentencing of a young man to spend the rest of his life in prison. The panel admitted that although the sentencing was permissible, they might have considered a less harsh ruling if the case had been presented to them first.

Be it as it may, the writing is finally on the wall: Ross Ulbricht, founder of the trailblazing Silk Road One, will live out the rest of his days in prison.

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American Kingpin: A Book on the Man behind the Silk Road

In 2011, a 26-year-old programmer by the name Ross Ulbricht yearned to create something that would reach the heights of global renown.

Driven by this need to succeed, the Texas-born Ulbricht would proceed to create Silk Road, a simple website hosted on a part of the internet known as the dark web.

The website initially served a purpose most deemed reasonable, if not salient. Ulbricht’s Silk Road started as a form of protest towards hypocrisy embedded deep into the system.

It made it possible for people to get access to psychedelic mushrooms and marijuana from a place that was well distanced from the government’s grasp.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

This idyllic utopia would not last long.

Book.
Nick Bilton speaks about his forthcoming book “American Kingpin,” which documents the rise and fall of the online drug marketplace.

‘American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road’ documents the journey of the young programmer and his brainchild, the Silk Road — throughout its growth, its eventual corruption and its inevitable demise.

Penned by New York Times bestselling author Nick Bilton, the book portrays not only the Silk Road’s development into a haven where cyber criminals could interact and conduct business undeterred, but also Ulbricht’s eye-opening transformation into a full-fledged crime lord who would willingly spill blood to protect his empire.

A Drug Empire Run from Coffee Shops

During Silk Road’s heyday, as Bilton learned through those involved in the drug-fueled enterprise, Ulbricht lived and worked from Glen Park, San Francisco, and would occasionally run his business from a number of coffee shops frequented by the writer.

According to Bilton’s account of the saga, one of the world’s biggest dark web empires was being operated under everyone’s noses.

Bilton drew from a number of sources in writing the book, including over two billion words in the form of private chats, images and journals that were left behind after Ulbricht’s arrest.

A building he habitually passed while walking, the Glen Park Library, would later become the place where the young programmer would be met with the arm of the law, as Bilton explained.

Dread Pirate Roberts

On his helm of power, Ross Ulbricht ran his business as Dread Pirate Roberts. This pseudonym might have been coined initially to serve as nothing more than a screen name but by the end of his tenure as creator of the original Silk Road, it had an ominous ring to it.

The bigger Silk Road grew, the more determined Ulbricht was to protect it, according to Bilton.

The corruption of the bright young mind was inevitable. By the time of its demise, Dread Pirate Roberts had made $1.2 billion in sales and an estimated $80 million in commissions.

Most of his wealth was stashed in bitcoin, the digital form of currency that made all transactions on the dark web possible, according to the FBI.

It was only a matter of time before money and power corrupted his morals.

Dread Pirate Roberts authorized a hit on one of his former employees, Curtis Green, who he suspected had been stealing from him.

Green had also been nabbed in a failed cocaine deal and now posed a threat to him and the continuity of his business as well.

Bilton captured the online exchange between Dread Pirate Roberts and Green’s would-be assassin, demonstrating that the former participant showed no remorse at all.

In fact, he claimed that Green’s lack of integrity had forced him into paying for his death.

Abominably, he retained a picture of what looked like a dead Curtis Green on his computer as proof of the murder.

Dread Pirate Roberts made his first and, ultimately, most consequential error in hiring an assassin who was actually an undercover DEA agent to do his bidding.

The Dark Web Thrives

Dark Web concept for inaccessible web addresses with white text - Dark Web - on a black enter key on a white computer keyboard viewed at a high angle with blur vignette for focus. 3d Rendering.
Driven by this need to succeed, the Texas-born Ulbricht would proceed to create Silk Road, a simple website hosted on a part of the internet known as the dark web.

Ulbricht has been referred to as the modern day Pablo Escobar many times after his arrest, a title befitting of a man who currently shares a prison with the infamous El Chapo.

The 33-year-old has already appealed his sentencing of life in prison and has a strong following behind him, spearheaded by his mother Lyn Ulbricht.

They believe the sentencing was too heavy-handed, an injustice committed on a promising young mind with ideas that could well usurp political state matters.

Ulbricht was ultimately sentenced as a mafia boss. This served as a warning to anyone who dared take the same path he did, a warning that remains unheeded.

Silk Road will forever remain a trailblazer; a template from which others can learn from to avoid making similar mistakes.

Darknet marketplaces have sprung and died, while others thrived to become ten times bigger and even more profitable than Ulbricht’s Silk Road.

Based far from the United States government’s reach, marketplaces such as AlphaBay may employ the same principles used by the now defunct Silk Road.

But they are ultimately more impenetrable and virtually untouchable. The dark web lives on.

Read More

Mistakes Made by Silk Road’s Dread Pirate Roberts

fbi
How the authorities busted the people behind the original Silk Road and Silk Road 2.0?

The original Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0 – these two sites may have avoided the authorities for quite some time, but now the two sites are demise – shut down by the FBI.

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 <<

So, how did the authorities caught the people behind Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0? In this article, we are going to explore that question.

The Idea

Before we address the main question, it’s best that we cover a few important details. Otherwise, you could end up backtracking on some information you might need to get grasp the entire picture.

At its core, the Silkroad was basically just like any other online store. However, what mainstream online stores can’t do is sell illicit merchandise or services.

There are basically two major problems when selling or purchasing items online. Let’s tackle the first one.

The first problem is identity. The mainstream internet is being monitored by the authorities. Everyone knows this. Hence, selling or purchasing illegal items may prove to be tough. Then, the solution came.

At some point, the Tor network was invented. The exact mechanism how the Tor network system works is beyond this article.

Yes, it can be very complex. For now, let’s just say that Tor can help you surf a special network, which is known as the Dark Web, anonymously.

With anonymity, you can free yourself from the worry of someone monitoring your surfing history. But here’s the second problem.

Money trail! Whenever you do a transaction, there’s always a money trail. This is particularly the case with digital money that came from the bank.

Even if you are anonymous when you purchase something illicit, the money can be traced back to you. That means that you could end up with a new cellmate. Then, the breakthrough came along.

Bitcoins! Bitcoins was the last piece of the puzzle that allowed Silkroad 1 and 2 to flourish.

Bitcoin is a form of online currency that allows anonymous currency transaction. After these two issues were solved, Silkroad was born, and the rest is history.

Now the question is – if the Tor network and Bitcoin currency provided the security by being anonymous, how did the Silkroad founder get busted?

Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0 Bust

dread-pirate-roberts
Months before Silkroad got popular, Ross Ulbricht was trying to spread the news of his new site; which was Silkroad.

First of all, nothing in this world is completely secure. Even the most secure network in the planet can be hacked.

It’s just a matter of allocating enough time and resources. Once we have that on the table, we can tackle the question a bit further.

The man behind the Silkroad was Ross Ulbricht a.k.a. “Dread Pirate Roberts” (DPR). He was the genius or the mastermind (depending on how you look at it) that married the idea of anonymous surfing and anonymous currency, thus creating an anonymous marketplace.

With Silkroad, one can actually sell anything. It’s just that the site was popularly used as a marketplace for illegal merchandise.

The idea of an anonymous currency and an anonymous network may be impressive, but the real reason Ross Ulbricht got busted was the plain old human error.

Months before Silkroad got popular, Ross Ulbricht was trying to spread the news of his new site; which was Silkroad. He did it by visiting forums sites.

In the forum posts, he left his email so anyone can contact him if anyone is interested. Here’s the thing – he publicly left an email with his name on it! This was the initial scent that the authorities followed, which eventually led to the fall of Silkroad 1. Now, how about Silkroad 2?

Silkroad 2.0 officially went up a month later after the shutdown of the original Silkroad. The man supposedly running Silkroad 2.0 was Blake Benthall, also known as “Defcon.” Here’s the thing – someone obviously didn’t learn their lesson.

When Silk Road 2.0 went up, the site can be traced to an anonymous server. In the server details, the authorities found out that the server was registered to a [email protected]! From then on, it’s Silk Road 1 all over again.

Bottom Line

There is no such thing as a 100% secure network on this planet. Even if you can create something that is truly secure, which is close to impossible, you still need humans to access it.

And that is the biggest security hole – human error. Just like Silk Road 1 and 2. Everyone thought that it would be a supercomputer doing complicated stuff to crack the site’s security.

When in fact, it’s actually a human error, like leaving an email unintentionally that will cause the first domino to fall down.

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American Black Cross Inspired by the Silk Road Creator’s Case

A charity organization known as American Black Cross was recently formed to help U.S. political prisoners attain freedom; the group says their inspiration came from Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s case; many people still believe he’s a political prisoner jailed for victimless crimes.

Bitcoin users are encouraged to donate towards their noble cause which champions the release of such unfairly imprisoned people.

All contributions will help in fighting the war on drugs, victimless charges and also promote overall internet freedom.

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 American Black Cross has been formed to champion the rights of political prisoners, especially those who have been jailed for victimless crimes.
The American Black Cross has been formed to champion the rights of political prisoners, especially those who have been jailed for victimless crimes.

Ulbricht was given a double life imprisonment sentence for hosting Silk Road, a darknet marketplace that dealt in prohibited drugs.

The war on drugs has ruined the lives of many individuals and their families.

It started in the 1980s when the government launched a campaign dubbed “Say No to Drugs,” this operation saw the U.S. prison population multiply by up to 5 times.

Statistics show that around 86% of the entire population of prisoners in federal incarceration are jailed for victimless crimes; these charges include drug offenses, public disorder and other illegal activities that don’t infringe directly on other citizens’ rights.

Ross Ulbricht is the most widely recognized figure arrested for a victimless crime; he was arrested in October 2013 for operating the Silk Road drug marketplace.

Despite his incarceration, many cryptocurrency users and those within the libertarian communities hold it that Ross’ trial lacked fairness, plus the prison sentence was quite extreme.

Apart from receiving a double life sentence, the Silk Road founder was also not given a chance for parole.

Ulbricht’s family believes their son was hurriedly prosecuted without any solid evidence from the government on the Silk Road case; they claim it was a legal atrocity and have since been campaigning for his release, including millions of other people who have been jailed for victimless crimes.

Ross’ family has fully endorsed American Black Cross; they recently reminded well-wishers at the end of 2016 that one of the ways they can help Ulbricht is by making tax-deductible donations to the organization.

Founded in 2015, the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charity organization’s main goal is championing the rights of U.S political prisoners, a class of individuals that’s rapidly growing by the day.

The institution accepts payment in various forms such as bitcoin donation and credit card transfers; all funds are channeled towards legal aid as well as defense funding for criminal charges where certain civil rights have been denied.

Political prisoners or their respective families can submit their requests for help from the charitable organization.

If you’re facing a victimless indictment similar to the Silk Road, or represent a person who was imprisoned while resisting the federal government, Black Cross can offer some assistance, especially if you believe the case might have a greater impact beyond the litigants’ interests.

All submissions would be checked by the Review Committee for consideration, and if they believe your case is strong enough some assistance or funding will be provided.

A charity organization known as American Black Cross was recently formed to help U.S. political prisoners attain freedom; the group says their inspiration came from Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s case
A charity organization known as American Black Cross was recently formed to help U.S. political prisoners attain freedom; the group says their inspiration came from Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s case

The American Black Cross consists of a group of volunteers and human rights activists, whose main goal is to defend the prisoners of American Imperium such as Ross Ulbricht of Silk Road, promote humanitarian relief and also abolish the nation’s industrial jail systems.

According to them, Black Cross acts as a civil liberties protection organization, focused on defending those who’ve opposed repressive government policies via the internet.

Their recent plan currently is committing funds towards assisting the legal efforts of the incarcerated Silk Road creator.

The organization considers Ulbricht’s conviction bitterly unfair and is actively involved in helping him with the ongoing appeal.

Political cases like that of Silk Road have a tendency of shaping precedence in future rulings; that’s the reason why many people in the cryptocurrency community are supporting Ulbricht and Free Ross organization.

Various aspects of the case including investigations, arrest, server shutdown and even double life sentencing leave a lot of questions to be asked.

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An Art Campaign for the Silk Road Founder

Three years ago, in October 2013, Ross Ulbricht was working at a public library in San Francisco when he was surrounded and arrested by federal agents of a special crime division.

He was detained for a short time before being sent to New York to face trial for starting, administering, and running the Silk Road darknet marketplace.

He was later found guilty of perpetrating and promoting the sale of drugs on the marketplace and sentenced to a life imprisonment with little to no chances of parole.

This marked the beginning of a spirited campaign by his supporters which seeks to free him or at least lessen the punitive life sentence.

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 <<

Supporters are making and sharing their art for the Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht, in "Art 4 Ross" campaign.
Supporters are making and sharing their art for the Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht, in “Art 4 Ross” campaign.

However, a few weeks after Ross was convicted for his role in the administration and operation of the Silk Road, some increasingly worrisome details regarding the case were leaked.

This includes allegations of corruption among the lead investigators from the Drug Enforcement Agency who were tasked with the responsibility of finding compelling evidence against Ross Ulbricht.

The arrest and conviction of the Silk Road founder saw his mother Lyn Ulbricht turn into a passionate activist and thousands of supporters – mostly libertarians – joined her cause.

Nonetheless, it is one of the most recent campaigns from the “Free Ross” team that has gathered an online storm lately.

The campaign, which is dubbed as “Art 4 Ross” taps into one of Ulbricht’s unique interests especially in drawing, solving puzzles and arts.

Now, through the hashtag #Art4Ross on Twitter, Ross’ supporters have shared their art in solidarity with the movement.

The art titled “The Trial I Saw” is a microcosm of the conviction from his perspective which apparently only took three weeks to be concluded.
The art titled “The Trial I Saw” is a microcosm of the conviction from his perspective which apparently only took three weeks to be concluded.

While in prison, the Silk Road founder has made an artwork that has been turned into a fun game.

Content wise, it makes use of an array of photos and drawings that seek to highlight the plight of Ross predicaments.

The art titled “The Trial I Saw” is a microcosm of the conviction from his perspective which apparently only took three weeks to be concluded.

Supporters of the Silk Road drug online bazaar creator can make their donations by simply playing the “Free Ross” game for a $1 per click to reveal a grid of each pixelated square.

One can either choose to reveal a single square at a go or make bulk selections of 10, 25 or 50 squares at a time.

Recently, the Art 4 Ross campaign picked up steam as the news surfaced that Dread Pirate Robert’s Silk Road forum account was still active even after Ross’ arrest.

Lyn Ulbricht has since made an official statement in the light of these new findings terming it as “one of the clearest signs of evidence tampering and corruption” in Ross’ case.

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