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Silk Road: Your Destination for Buying Illegal Drugs Online With Untraceable Currency

I'll be the first to admit that I don't get out enough and my life seems to revolve around taking my children to and from different baseball fields. But are you telling me that you knew that there was a website that enables you to buy illegal drugs online (heroin, LSD, cocaine, etc.) pretty much the same way you'd buy a book or a DVD player? And that you can do so using a supposedly untraceable type of currency called Bitcoins? I don't think so!

Adrian Chen of Gawker writes here about a website called Silk Road that "makes buying and selling illegal drugs as easy as buying used electronics -- and seemingly as safe. It's Amazon -- if Amazon sold mind-altering chemicals." It even has eBay-type "feedback" on sellers so you can buy your Afghani hash with greater peace of mind about your supplier.

Chen includes details on a buyer named Mark's experience purchasing 10 tabs of LSD, which were delivered in an ordinary envelope to his door by the U.S. Postal Service. Mark

found a seller with lots of good feedback ... added the acid to his digital shopping cart and hit "check out." He entered his address and paid the seller 50 Bitcoins -- untraceable digital currency -- worth around $150. Four days later, the drugs (sent from Canada) arrived at his house.

Silk Road uses Bitcoins as its only form of currency. Chen notes that Bitcoins are a form of peer-to-peer currency that are "the online equivalent of a brown paper bag of cash." Bitcoins are said to be untraceable, and can only be obtained from services like Mt. Gox Bitcoin Exchange. Mt. Gox offers the following video explanation of Bitcoins:

Another key element of Silk Road is anonymity. The site is reportedly only accessible through an anonymizing network called TOR. Chen writes that this could possibly cut both ways, and asks "How long until a DEA agent sets up a fake Silk Road account and starts sending SWAT teams instead of LSD to the addresses she gets?"

Silk Road users who may have gotten comfortable ordering their "sour 13" weed online do not seem happy about the Gawker article. One commenter seemed to speak for many when he asked, "did you HAVE to write this article? I know it's not all that secret that you can buy illicit drugs through TOR but the longer it flies under the radar the less groups like the DEA care about it. Ratting out my dealers, not cool man." Another said that the solution to Chen's notion that DEA agents might send SWAT teams to customers' addresses is to "have some volunteers invest a small amount of money ordering something illicit in the name of various political candidates, DEA officials and random innocent citizens."

Posted by Bruce Carton on June 6, 2011 at 02:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

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