With the re-emergence of the third iteration of Silk Road it appears that this iconic darknet market brand is here to stay. What is to be expected this time around?
When the Silk Road first launched in February of 2011 it did so to little fanfare. But as media coverage intensified and the authorities began to take notice the marketplace and all participants came under heavy scrutiny. We all know how that story played out. The dramatic downfall of Ross Ulbricht seemed to mark a very odd moment in history. For technologists, the darknet was very real and was worthy of tracking from the day one. For authorities around the world, this previously unknown threat now needed to be addressed.
Nevertheless, the system evolved. Leaning on this nifty trick of supply and demand that capitalism has encouraged for millennia the party continued.
Silk Road 2.0 popped up in November of 2013. It operated smoothly…for a month. A couple of admins were arrested in December of 2013. Then only one calendar year after it’s resurrection the Silk Road took another substantial hit. In November of 2014 Blake Benthall, pseudonym Defcon, was arrested in a sting operation in San Francisco.
Silk Road 3.0 took it from there. However in January of this year the site went down. But as of May 7th the site is back and fully operational. The revamped Silk Road 3.0 has some fancy new design features and the promise of increased security. The group that operates the site is supposedly by the same person(s) that run Crypto Market. (Also see this link.)
The outward concentration on security and aesthetics may mark a turning point in the evolution of these types of sites. The mainstream media coverage coupled with the changing attitudes about drugs have spun up a marketplace where the user base expects certain qualities in order to participate. Bitcoin and the first Silk Road will inseparable in the general public’s mind in 2011. Now it is different.
Although it has taken some time, Bitcoin has emerged as something other than anonymous drug money. Anonymity is no longer a bad word as multiple anonymous marketplaces and social apps have emerged in the past couple of years. Here’s one for selling your company.
Marketplaces like Silk Road will never go away…nor should they. Like it or not, we all play by the simple rules of economics. If there is demand it quickly follows that supply will emerge. And it should. Isn’t this the very basis of human freedom? Silk Road 3.0 seems to taking the basics of business more seriously than any previous version. They are seemingly smoothing the user experience and taking extra measures to protect their user base. Not to mention they are maintaining perhaps the most valuable aspect of the project, the brand name. A trusted brand operating in a trustless universe. Interesting times we live in.
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