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Critics of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have long contended that their widespread use would empower hackers and other criminals. Purported anonymity, ease of cross border transport, lack of clear regulations, and settlement finality are all features of cryptocurrencies that may appeal to those who wish to skirt the law. Gox bitcoin exchange, which sparked a vicious bear market in the price of bitcoin. Ulbricht got around this conundrum by using bitcoin as a payment method. Bitcoin addresses do not require a bank account, ID, social security number or name, and are free to open and maintain.
Silk Road opened to modest beginnings, with psychedelic mushrooms grown by Ross himself listed as the first items for sale. With increased media attention, however, came increased attention from one entity Ross particularly despised, the U.
Silk Road continued to grow, and with its growth, came continued problems. In November, Silk Road suffered a massive denial-of-service attack, which eventually shut the site down. Chronicpain, or Curtis Green, was eventually arrested and released on bail.
By the summer of , Silk Road was approaching its one-millionth account, with daily commissions often over ten thousand dollars. While Ross was a suspect at this point, the task force had not widely disseminated his name, and the agents left without making an arrest.
Ulbricht decided to change apartments, but declined to cut and run. The noose began to tighten. On October 1 st , Ross went to the local branch of the San Francisco library, laptop in hand.
As Ulbricht turned around, one agent swooped in and grabbed his open laptop, while others quickly arrested him. Ironically, an old-fashioned mistake led to the downfall of Dread Pirate Roberts. Ultimately, Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The immutable ledger or blockchain, provides a record of every transaction. The saga of Silk Road undoubtedly provided significant exposure to the idea of bitcoin and decentralized currencies.
Although this left a bad impression in the minds of many who viewed bitcoin as a vehicle for crime, Silk Road also provided an example of how bitcoin could function in the real world, proving that a decentralized currency was able to last and transfer value between participants in a global marketplace.
Casey, The Age of Crypto Currency Gox in , which led to its insolvency, crashed the price of bitcoin. See Wikipedia, Tor anonymity network , last visited, Feb. Google search unmasked Dread Pirate Roberts , bbc, Aug. Return to Fordham Law School. The Dark Side of Cryptocurrency.