US: Silk Road, an “eBay for Drug Dealing” is Resurrected

Published: 07 November 2013


A 2.0 version of a shuttered online black market for drugs and other illegal goods has been launched.

One month after the Silk Road website was shut down by the FBI, “Dread Pirate Roberts” unveiled a new version of the marketplace. The new website manager posted, "It is with great joy that I announce the next chapter of our journey. Silk Road has risen from the ashes," reports PCWorld.

Dread Pirate Roberts, using the same pseudonym as the creator of Silk Road, later tweeted that there are over 7,000 users of the site who “add to the call of freedom.”

Other than additional encryption features, Silk Road 2.0 replicates its predecessor in most ways, Forbes reports. It again operates via Tor software to conceal users’ location and identities, and uses the virtual Bitcoin digital currency for payments.  The site already has hundreds of drug listings.

According to Mashable, the Silk Road 2.0 was supposed to launch at 4:20 on the fifth of November, harkening to Guy Fawkes Night’s spirit of protest and activism. However, the launch was pushed back. The present manager of the site has warned that there may be delays in payment processing as well, explaining that the website is still in beta mode. 

Regardless, users appear optimistic about the new website’s potential. One moderator who goes by the name “Synergy” writes, “Silk Road 2.0 will be reborn better, much much more secure as testament to the tenacity and determination of this wonderful community of ours” reports Forbes. Synergy adds, “We will not be down trodden, we will rise again.”

The man accused of being behind the original Silk Road website is Ross William Ulbricht, a 29-year-old former materials science student from Penn State. 

Ulbricht is charged with drug trafficking, hacking, and money laundering. In today’s trial in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Ulbricht’s lawyer has said he will plead not guilty, reports USA Today.

US authorities believe the original Silk Road garnered US$1.2 billion in sales and earned Ulbricht himself more than US$80 million.