Q&A Thread With The Silk Road 2 Administration

13 minute read

Posted by: DeepDotWeb

June 6, 2014

Yesterday new silk road 2 admins called Khufu & Sneferu & Djedefre  chose a great way to introduce themselves to the silk road 2 users and started a thread on the silk road forums (http://silkroad5v7dywlc.onion/index.php?topic=42543.0;topicseen)  offering a Q&A with the Silk road admins for a few hours:


Silk Road Administrators do not appear to public often. It is time to open for questions for a brief time.

It is a crucial time for us on the administration team. After hack, after DDoS, after sudden staff changes, we have much to do this year. We will be more in contact with you from now forward.

Large changes are in store for this community. This year will be remembered. Your loyalty is enabling a historic repayment.

Post questions here. We will answer for two hours beginning in one hour from now.

And, hello.

And these are the published questions and answers that were posted on this thread (will update if he answers more questions):
Why is the conversion rate that SR uses incorrect? – SensiJackSilver

Maintaining an accurate average conversion rate across bitcoin exchanges, and across currencies, has proven to be very difficult. We are examining ways to improve its accuracy. Historically, any changes we have made to how we calculate our conversion rates have caused many complaints. Fix conversions for one currency, another becomes less accurate. This is a priority, but does not compare to higher priorities involving keeping the marketplace online.

Why haven’t you brought back buyer/vendor stats? – SensiJackSilver

It has simply been an issue of prioritization. We have been constantly bombarded by attacks, threats, and server scaling challenges. Due to our excellent staff, most of our largest challenges have remained hidden from the public eye. We are confident that recent organizational changes will allow for faster implementation of new features. Buyer/vender stats will be appearing very soon.

Why haven’t you made an escrow (or similar system) a priority? – SensiJackSilver

It is one of our largest priorities, and has been in very active development since the day after the hack. We want to ensure we get this piece 100% right before releasing it.

Why have barely any positive changes been made since Christmas? – SensiJackSilver

We are very cautious. We do not throw new code into production or recruit new staff members without much analysis and internal debate. There are massive crosshairs on our foreheads. Unfortunately despite our caution, we have still been hacked. This event only increased our caution. We are a very high traffic marketplace, with a very recognizable name, and many LE and hacker eyes analyzing us constantly. One mistake is all it takes for our life’s work to collapse.

Is DPR2 an adviser, coder or anyone related to running SR? – Prohibition

No humans who have played the role of DPR in this marketplace have ever seen a line of code, known anything about our server infrastructure, or known any personal identities of anyone. We aim to learn from SR1’s mistakes, and consider its single point of failure to be one of its largest oversights.

Why there are almost no search filters?! – Prohibition

Our priority has been to keep the marketplace online and secure above implementing new features. You are not alone in this request. We are also frustrated by the minimal feature set of our market. More filters are on the way. But a more pressing concern is to stay online despite DDoS and hack attempts. The scale of traffic and threats we receive makes it more difficult to focus on exciting new features.

I’ve been having untold difficulty logging into the marketplace for a few days now. It just displays the “Maintenance” message and ejects me. This surprised me because I thought thought this was carried out several days ago. – Whiteball

Ensure your Tor and browser are running the latest version. Other than that, there is not much you can do. We are receiving a very large inbound traffic flood from a hacker another entity hired to take us offline. Repaying our users is not something they want us to finish. We will succeed no matter which adversaries are upset by our honesty. The attack will stop eventually. We are working on new ways to provide safe access points for major users.

What kind of “large changes” will be made to SR2? – Whiteball

Security, safety, and usability are the focus. Concretely this means deeper PGP integration, a new escrow system, and large improvements to the site’s layout and core shopping features.

When opening up for vendor registration i personally think it should be for a short time only and that vendors that are verified as trustworthy from other markets or the old Sr1 get priority. Try to reduce the amount of scammers on to the site and shut down registartion again so we have time to find these scammers and put them out of the community. – mj420

Your input is appreciated. We are very disappointed by the number of trusted community members who have stabbed our buyers in their backs. Greed has consumed some of our most senior vendors. It is very unfortuate. We are very hesitant to allow new vendors into the marketplace until we determine the safest way to vet new vendors. This will very much be a community endeavor. Your input is appreciated and will continue to be heard elsewhere in the forum.

When will pending escrow be repaid to victims of scammers such as lidletter? – prognosticator

Once all pending balances and pending escrows from non-scammers are repaid. We can only do so much at once with the size of our staff. When we do this, any scammers which have balances remaining in their accounts will have their funds redistributed to their victims whenever possible. We hate that a no-escrow marketplace has turned so many trustworthy vendors towards greed, and we are fully committed to doing whatever we can to help the victims. We can only help so many victims at a time, however, and victims of the hack take priority at this moment.

Is this Movement a real movement or is this Just some Drug dealers Connections? – ThatStonerGuy21

We are here because we are believers in the power of the free market. We hold it to be a human right to buy what you want to buy: Freedom of Choice. We are here because we believe marketplaces run in the clearnet can never provide true economic freedom. Silk Road hopes to liberate those shackled by government oppression, and to liberate in a peaceful way: decreasing worldwide violence in a very violent industry.

What information is saved on the Server and for how long. is the information rewriten after It is used. – ThatStonerGuy21

This is a good question. We are working on a public posting of our data retention policy. All data is encrypted, but we do not want you to trust us or anyone. Addresses are wiped immediately when an order is shipped or cancelled. As to other data, I will wait until the development team posts our official Retention Policy.

What are your priorirites for SR user interface improvements? – paki23

Improving the visibility and accuracy of vendor and buyer feedback, implementing better filtering options such as filtering by price, increasing the visibility of the community forums’ review threads, and providing a better product discovery experience.

Do you believe SilkRoad could be expanded to cover all aspects of buying and selling, books, DVDs, food? – paki23

We deeply want to see this. We are a free market for all goods. Due to our brand and anonymity we have attracted certain vendors easier than others. We hope to expand into other product categories but anonymously recruiting vendors is an interesting challenge when the products are not banned by governments. Less incentive exists for those vendors, but we hope to see everyone vending here some day.

You guys are dangerous groundbreakers and we are the tiny cogs that drive this machine. I’m loving this, flipping the bird at the NWO. – paki23

Our jobs carry a base level of fear, and a way higher level of pride in the community we serve. Thank you for your encouragement. We hope that thousands of you will rise up to create even more impactful services for humanity. Silk Road, Bitcoin, and Tor are only the beginning. The world needs way more than just economic freedom.

Will women ever sell their panties on the road? – jimycrackpipe

We must strongly advise against vending any products vulnerable to DNA testing.

So hypothetically if I were to have some organs for sale… mostly chinese kidneys from executions… could I sell them? – GroovyBruce

Amusing, but this will always be our delimma. We never want to encourage harming other humans, yet we are strong believers in the power of a free market. For now we must direct you towards marketplaces more hospitable to the vending of human organs.

Pending escrow – how far are we from having the res. center? – domesticdoode

This will be released when the new escrow system is released. They are tightly integrated. Repayment of Pending Balances is the priority now. When that process is complete, our team is prepared to stay awake until all resolved disputes from the old escrow system are closed for good.

Strong escrow system [multi-sig] (and an ability to choose FE only or escrow only per listing) ? Is this in the works? – domesticdoode

Yes. We are very excited about it.

WE NEED MORE VENDORS! Is it always going to be this difficult to vend on SR? I see that coming up often. – domesticdoode

We agree. We are very cautious with adding new vendors while we are a No-Escrow marketplace. This will change once an escrow soluction is place.

If the servers are taken down by LE (I.E. SR 1 event) is there a solid failsafe? in short will our info be safe? I know what pgp can hide, but what about coin movement and open comms from customers? Is that all free game once LE has the servers? – domesticdoode

Yes. Many. We are very proud of the layers of security we have implemented. Much of the criticism we receive about “never doing anything” is very difficult for us to hear due to how hard we are working behind the scenes on borderline fanatical failsafe and security measures.

Your info is as safe as it can be with our current featureset, and we are working hard to gradually mandate the use of PGP to ensure your security even further. Rest assured we have planned for servers to be seized. Our design expectation of all new features is that our servers MUST be able to get seized without revealing anything. We design for the worst, and hope the world never hears the behind-the-scenes details regarding what we have built. But if the worst case happens, we hope that the next leadership improves our measures even further.

Will there be a system implemented so teams of people can log in to one vendor account but only one person can ship orders/move coin – similar to the system on SR 1 where each vendor username could have different subaccounts(passwords) with different authority levels based on what is assigned by the vendor account owner. – domesticdoode

This is in our feature list, but not a high priority until everyone is repaid and all escrow disputes are resolved. We want to see vendors prosper, and part of growing a successful business is to delegate tasks to new employees. Subaccounts will certainly appear as features once we get past the drama 2014 brought to our table.

Buyer stats/feedback/rating – WE VENDORS NEED THIS! Is this going to happen? I feel bad for the buyers with amazing stats as well, no one will ever know to treat them well until this happens. – domesticdoode

This is on its way very soon.

Alt coins – will this happen? – domesticdoode

Given how difficult it has been to keep our Bitcoin infrastructure secure and anonymous, we are very hesistant to implement additional surface area for attackers to inspect. We are interested in implementing additional coins eventually, but we want to be very safe and confident in our approach once we do.

Bulk reply/delete/FWD – When will vendors get this? – domesticdoode

This is high on our usability priority list, which has unfortunately been overshadowed by mitigating the DDoS and withdrawal issues. Hopefully this shows up soon, but escrow is a higher priority.

How confident do you admins feel that this SR will succeed? How confident are you that we will evade, evolve, and conquer. Why are we so different from SR 1? What sets us apart from agora?evo?etc (this is just a little something i’d love to hear) – domesticdoode

The exponentially-increasing list of competing marketplaces is proof that Silk Road has already suceeded in one industry. Our goal is to liberate all industries and expand beyond our primary products. We continue to learn many lessons from SR1’s mistakes as more revelations appear, but we believe that confidence is a downfall. We are ready to serve our lives in prison for this cause, and hope to postpone that fate for as long as possible by learning from SR1 and other markets’ mistakes.

We believe we’re different from other markets because many of us saw the internals at SR1. We are the same community, with many administrators who were trusted advisors in those days. Our inside information on exactly how things can go wrong in the worst way possible is what sets us apart. No other marketplace has seen exactly what it looks like to be watched by world governments and taken down. We know a few of the red flags, and are continually learning more from our past leaders’ mistakes.

Silk Road has seen the worst first-hand, and aims to continually learn from our mistakes.

How does it feel to be staff/admin/dev/mod or whatever for SR? Does it put a chill down your spine when you go for a walk? Does it make you look over your shoulder at every bump in the night? (again another little something i’d love to hear)

That “chill down the spine” is something of horror movies. It’s more of a punch in the gut. We are very aware of potential consequences of our direct defiance of authority, and our paranoia is way more consuming than merely glancing over our shoulders. Our jobs are a wild combination of adrenaline, purpose, and anxiety. Small mistakes can cost thousands of people their freedom. Large failures cost real lives. We design to prevent that as much as possible, and to anticipate our own human error, but when we fail it is devestating. We cannot look you in the eye and say that we are deeply sorry for making a mistake. Being on a darknet administration team is downright sickening when we fail, yet exhilirating when our community unites and rises above the world’s perceptions of what “monsters” we are.

A trusted long time senior vendor withdrew bitcoin and sent it to me +/- 80 hours ago and it never arrived. – ou812

Designing and maintaining a stealth Bitcoin implementation has proven to be very difficult at the scale of transactions we see per minute. There is a known withdrawal delay occurring please reference our other thread. These delayed withdrawals are being retransmitted very carefully to the Bitcoin infrastructure so as to minimize risk of causing patterns which can reveal your BTC addresses and our server locations. Our security constraints make the simplest of tasks extremely difficult and nerve-wracking.

We will keep you safe even if it hurts your perception of us in the short term.


Sure there are many more questions that could have been asked and the more harder questions are not present here (about some hack topics and why there is not escrow / multisig yet when it can be implemented in few hours as other Admins demonstrated before) and sure that some of the answers are directed more at the PR side rather than the real info side, but still any information sharing should not be taken for granted on the the deep web, and this is without a doubt a nice way to introduce a new admin.


Updated: 2014-06-06