Silk Road And Beyond

8 minute read

Posted by: DeepDotWeb

October 17, 2014

I know many of you are freaking out. If this turns out to be true this is the end of the road as we know it.

Most likely customers have nothing to worry about. We have to have faith that all incriminating evidence is kept highly encrypted. However, regardless, you won’t be busted for your small amounts of stuff. I hope you used pgp as everyone has been telling you.

Vendors. Time to clean house. Delete anything incriminating you may have now. We trusted you with our information, now make sure it’s gone.

Yes. The party is over. However, the only consequences for 99.9 percent of us will be having to look harder for stuff.

Stay safe.           – bassandlights

That was the post that confirmed the worst possible scenario was actually real and the impossible happened – Silk Road got busted. The seeming untouchable gigantic middle finger against the War on Drugs have been shut down by the feds. This was unexpected and devastating news to the darknet marketplace community. Silk Road existed as the clear leader in the online drug marketplace scene, but it was more devastating than simply losing a way to buy drugs online, they lost the underground leader of the movement against the War On Drugs. He did ask for permission by campaigning for legalization of drugs but instead acted without the law’s blessing. He did not need the law, but instead based his morality and actions on libertarian philosophical principles.

DPR was by the far the biggest lost in this bust, not the Silk Road marketplace. The code could be copied and an identical version could pop up, but it would not have the idealism of Silk Road’s original DPR. The community was devastated and horrified. A small number stayed clear headed but the majority of people were split between two beliefs, “All hope was lost. The dream of online drug markets was over.” and “It is impossible for the Silk Road to die, we must keep the dream alive!” These responses were polar in nature – nonexistent hope and unrealistic hope.

There was no darknet marketplace or darknet marketplace community. When people thought of the online drug market, even veteran users, only thought of the Silk Road or the Silk Road community. The Silk Road was everything. There were other marketplaces, especially towards the end, but few were given any use compared to Silk Road.

From there the community had to figure itself out. Many wanted to hold on to the past but that was impossible. In the blind denial, and fear of it all being over they fell for many scams. The biggest scam ever on the deep web, and one of the biggest thefts in recent history happen not to long after the collapse of the Silk Road. The owner of Sheep Marketplace stole BTC from its users by turning off withdraws, imprisoning money users had on the site. The owner was able to run away with 40,000,000 dollars’ worth of bitcoin! An incredible amount, but that is not end of the bad news that would come to the deep web because of this. The front-page of the Sheep Marketplace was replaced with what most of the community believed to be a lie, that a vendor, EBOOK101, had found a bug in the system and stole all the bitcoins, but the more interesting part of the post was an .onion url left for alternative marketplaces. All these Sheep Marketplace users were now stranded and flocked to the alternative address to find a new marketplace. TorMarket, which was the original address given for alternative address, pleaded people not to come, because it was too much for the site. They ended up having to switch their site to invite only. The alternative marketplace was then changed to Black Market Reloaded. Black Market Reloaded, like TorMarket, could not handle the traffic and also pleaded them to stop coming.

Backopy, the admin of Black Market Reloaded wrote, “SR is down, The Black Flag ended up as a scam, Atlantis ended up as a scam and now The Sheep Market follows that dark path. This puts BMR at the edge of the blade. Tor can’t support any site to be too big,” Later on, it turned out that TorMarket was a scam and made off with even more people’s coins. Black Market Reload was a great marketplace with a admin that was on par in regards to honesty and integrity with the original SilK Road DPR, shut down the marketplace for security reasons but made sure everyone could get their money out first. The strange alternative address that Sheep Marketplace left has made the community think it was an operation by the feds, but regardless, this left the darknet marketplace community out of 40,000,000 dollars, and down 3 marketplaces.

Since then the community has matured and grown. People are not as putting the same trust that they put into the Silk Road’s Dead Pirate Roberts into brand new marketplaces. He spent years gaining that trust and when that same is afforded to people did not earn it, the situation became fertile for scams. While scams continue to be a semi-regular part of the darknet marketplaces, it is becoming less and less frequent, and smaller amounts stolen.

Since the Silk Road got busted, the community has grown a lot. Numerous marketplaces have emerged. Many have had the intentions of scamming but the community is demanding more from these marketplaces. As a result, many scams are stopped before they are able to steal anyone’s money. Reviews of not just vendors, but of marketplaces have emerged. We at DeepDotWeb have interviewed numerous marketplace developers, admins, and owners giving the public more insight to these businesses. As a whole the community has been become more active and connected.

A competition for the best online drug marketplace has emerged. The founder of the original Silk Road, while being a diehard capitalist, was not in it for the money, but instead, political and philosophical reasons. His passion converted into the success of the Silk Road, which was revolutionary and one of a kind. Nothing like that has existed before. After its demise, there was no one to pick up the torch, and continue. There was no market back there. There basically was only one, the Silk Road. But after the news blew up with coverage of the Silk Road bust and how much DPR reportedly made, interest grew. Many people have come to the deep web looking to make fortunes from running an online marketplace. Some have come because they genuinely want to make a great marketplace and others to scam the ignorant. As the dishonest businessmen are being sniff out by the community, the honest ones begin to only ones remaining.

According to many researchers, the online drug trade is stronger than ever, even during the heyday of the Silk Road. The Digital Citizens Alliance, the internet’s version of the neighbor watch, published a study 6 months after the demise of the original Silk Road, which revealed that Silk Road 2.0, founded by the surviving staff of the first Silk Road, has more users, vendors, and drugs being sold on the site, than the original Silk Road. That is just tip of the iceberg, though. Silk Road 2.0 is still popular but a shadow of its former self, and many marketplaces have out passed. The Agora marketplace has surpassed Silk Road 2.0, and is currently the market leader. Besides offering more options for vendors and drugs, the site is run professionally. Regular maintenance and upgrades keeps Agora on top of the ever present threat of law enforcement. The site is proactively dealing with potential scammers and their support staff is the best in the game. While there are still many marketplaces, Agora is the clear leader and will likely be that for a while.

Since the bust of the original Silk Road, the darknet marketplace community has become bigger and more mature. They have become pickier with the marketplaces they use and have learn to spot out scams. They have moved out of the Silk Road identity and have begun to stand firmly on their own two feet. The reason why the future of the online drug trade is bright is not because of any marketplace, technology, or crypto-currency but because the community is stronger than ever.

I will leave you with this quote,

Silk Road is an ENTERPRISE that is just getting started. It could literally change the world as we know it. It is bigger than any one of us, and it is going to take the dedication and will of MANY talented people, a lot of luck, and RESOURCES to get from here to there. Do you want to see this thing go all the way and take the absolute piss out of the power mongers of this world? Do you want to give it every chance it needs to succeed? Why aren’t you telling me to raise the commission even further then? I don’t hear anyone refusing the commission break on high priced goods. I don’t hear anyone saying “don’t do that, you need it, you keep this whole thing going, we’re happy to do our part.”

As a community, if we are going to survive, we need to adopt a LONG TERM vision. Getting the most out of this thing before it gets taken down is NOT going to bring us success. In that world, Silk Road will be a shooting star that burns out quickly and dies as little more than a dream, swallowed by the nightmare reality of an ever-expanding, all-powerful global oligarchy. Planning ahead and doing everything we can NOW to prepare for the war to come is the only way we are going to have a shot at this. We are still mostly ignored by our true enemies, but this incubation WILL NOT last forever.

I don’t like writing this kind of stuff publicly because it taunts our enemies and might spur them into action, but I risk it because the context for what we are doing is too often lost in the day to day stuff that happens here and it needs to be put in from time to time. Silk Road NEEDS our support. It needs everything we have. The return on what we put into it will be immeasurable if we can get through the months and years ahead and gain a real foothold on the global stage. HELP ME GET US THERE!!! Do it for me, do it for yourself, do it for your families and friends, and do it for mankind.” – Dead Pirate Roberts

Updated: 2014-10-17