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Thursday, 03 October 2013 09:14

US shuts down key bitcoin marketplace

Written by Nick Farrell

Silk Road was the Mos Eisley Cantina of the web 

US law enforcement authorities have shut down "Silk Road" which was a key bitcoin market place.

The untouchables claim that the anonymous Internet marketplace was the Mos Eisley Cantina of the Internet serving up illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine and criminal activities such as murder for hire. The Feds have arrested Silk Road owner, Ross William Ulbricht, 29, known online as "Dread Pirate Roberts," in San Francisco.

Local press desperate to get a Breaking Bad angle, have pointed out that Ulbricht, who holds an advanced degree in chemical engineering from Pennsylvania State University. His thesis was titled: "Growth of EuO Thin Films by Molecular Beam Epitaxy." He faces one count each of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

FBI agent Christopher Tarbell said in the criminal complaint that the Silk Road has emerged as the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet. The site was used by "several thousand drug dealers" to sell "hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs," he said.

It has offered tutorials on hacking ATM machines, contact lists for black market connections and counterfeiters, and guns and hit men for sale. There are more than 900,000 registered users of the site bought and sold drugs using the digital currency Bitcoin.  According to the complaint, Ulbricht, who shortened his alias from Dread Pirate Roberts to DPR when posting on Silk Road's forums, operated the site from San Francisco. (Online drug bazaar operating out of SF? We are shocked. Ed)

Nick Farrell

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