Silk Road 2.0 Now Larger Than Silk Road Ever Was

from the strike-down-one-arm-and... dept

This is hardly surprising, but it appears that in the wake of the feds taking down the “dark marketplace” Silk Road and arresting its alleged creator Russ Ulbricht, replacement marketplaces quickly sprung into place to try to take its place. This was exactly as we predicted. A few of the markets have come and gone (usually associated with scandals), but it appears that the one that has stuck around is “Silk Road 2.0” — and it’s actually now larger than Silk Road ever was, in terms of the amount of products being offered. The article linked above, from Coindesk, notes that, somewhat ironically, the reason why Silk Road 2.0 seems to be standing out above the others is because it’s worked hard to establish trust.

This effect was likely boosted by sensible policies at Silk Road. Most significantly, soon after February’s hack, the site’s operators announced that they would pay back bitcoins lost by customers.

Silk Road’s moderator Defcon said at the time: “We are committed to getting everyone repaid even if it takes a year.”

In anonymous drugs marketplaces, as in any market, confidence is key, it seems.

That’s not to say Silk Road 2.0 is going to stick around — there are plenty of reasons to think it won’t. But, in some ways, you wonder if this is a kind of Napster moment all over again. After the original got shut down, a series of replacements all came about vying to take its place, leading to some interesting innovations — even if those who wanted to shut down the original decried how awful and illegal each new version was.

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Comments on “Silk Road 2.0 Now Larger Than Silk Road Ever Was”

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Seegras (profile) says:

Illegal marketplaces start with idiots outlawing drugs

If it wouldn’t be for some alliance of puritan pukes, temperance theologians and spoil sports that started the idea that there is some behaviour, to which all involved parties consent, that they still consider morally objectionable and want outlawed, we wouldn’t have a load of these victimless crimes, and thus the market for them wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.

But no, somebody always has to ruin it.

Anonymous Coward says:

I read a Wired article about a new decentralized P2P market being developed. It has a ratings and feedback system. Plus escrow holding accounts and supposedly is impossible to take down.

“Inside the ?DarkMarket? Prototype, a Silk Road the FBI Can Never Seize.”

Call me old fashion, but I prefer face-to-face deals with people I don’t trust. One of the lessons I’ve learned is there are a LOT of untrustworthy people in the world. Probably well over 75% of the world’s population is untrustworthy.

From lying politicians, to police officers, friends, family, and all the way down to strangers you meet on the street.

Once a large enough sum of money is ‘trusted’ to someone, that person will bolt off with that money. Guaranteed.

Darknet-User says:

Re: Re:

You have made several incorrect assumptions.

Markets today are built so that you don’t need to trust the vendor to complete a successful transaction. The worst thing that could happen is if the mediator (usually the marketplace admins/moderators) works together with a vendor (or vice-versa, the buyer) to snatch escrow funds. But this scheme wouldn’t last long, and the market would lose all its reputation if they do so. It’s wouldn’t be worth it.

With marketplaces such as http://alpaca7bcqv2rnu3.onion where all transactions are carried out with multiple signatures, your funds are safe in escrow until you receive what you ordered and that you are fully satisfied with the product.

Also, I’d rather pay 110 USD for a gram of (tested) ~95% pure cocaine, than 140 USD for a gram of standard (unknown) 20-40% pure cocaine from your local untrusted street dealer.

Ninja (profile) says:

Well, if the official version is to be believed (and this time I kind of do believe) the former Silk Road owner was engaged in criminal businesses directly. In any case, shutting it down does not shut down demand for the service. What police should be doing is going after the criminal activities in the site (while sensibly defining what’s criminal, criminalizing stuff like marijuana and things that people don’t think that are wrong simply won’t matter).

In the end it doesn’t matter how many times you shut it down. It will be reborn out of the demand. So why not analyze what’s happening, the causes and how it works and choose a better path?

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