Silk Road, the forerunner of virtual traffickers – For many years, the darknet black market, Silk Road, was a big part of the development of Bitcoin. This allowed the purchase of contraband products via the Tor network, completely anonymously. Its founder, Ross William Ulbricht, was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in August 2014. The man was convicted of 7 counts, including money laundering and drug trafficking.
Silkroad, a new socio-economic experience
The main offer was to guarantee anonymity to its users, so that they could buy and sell all types of products. They simply had to connect to the decentralized Tor network , which did not depend on the classic web (Google,…). The website acted as an intermediary between buyers and sellers.
Like the Silk Road which linked Asia and Europe, Silk Road was a commercial place as rich as it was developed . In particular, it was possible to buy books, works of art and (of course) various drugs and medicines. The platform nevertheless imposed strict rules : services and products linked to violence (weapons, chemicals, etc.) were totally prohibited .
Above all, the platform seduced by its operation . The latter notably ensured the seriousness of the sellers and created a certain climate of trust within the site. Each transaction was carried out in bitcoins to guarantee the anonymity of each.
In 2 years of existence, the site would have generated no less than 1.2 billion dollars through 1.5 million transactions administered by a small team of developers, including Ross William Ulbricht. When arrested, the 29-year-old had $ 3.6 million in his bank account.
Bitcoin and drugs
The fall of Silk Road was a real “stress test” for Bitcoin. At the time, the illegal platform accounted for 4-9% of cryptocurrency transactions worldwide, with a price set at $ 130 . When the site closed by the FBI, the price fell by about 20% before gradually rising.
This fluctuation would have been caused by the thousands of sell orders , emanating from Silk Road users. The idea then was to determine whether Bitcoin technology was based solely on a flow of illicit transactions or if the value of the latter was very real . With a capitalization of $ 171 billion in 2020, it looks like the markets have answered this question.
The sale of drugs and illicit goods has come a long way since the closure of Silk Road. Forget about “decentralized networks” and “cryptocurrency” payments ! It is now on Snapchat or Instagram that the dealers operate.
According to a report published by DM For Details , 24% of young people have seen narcotics offered for sale publicly on social networks. The latter indeed offer new perspectives to traffickers: seductive photos, contests, promotions, etc.
The creative potential seems to be limitless. These platforms are mainly used by young people , which also offers a sizeable market. Note, however, that although Silk Road is closed today, there are a whole bunch of equivalents on the Darknet.