End of Silk Road doesn’t mean the end of Bitcoin
Although the US Government is in permafrost until further notice, it hasn’t stopped the courts and police from being busy. New York prosecutors announced yesterday that Silk Road, a dark web trading platform for drugs which are paid for by Bitcoin, has been seized.
Ross Ulbricht, the alleged head of Silk Road was arrested and will be charged with several criminal acts, including money laundering and conspiracy to commit drug trafficking. It is alleged that he is known as Dread Pirate Roberts – a reference to the film The Princess Bride – but, according to the feds, the moniker is passed around a number of people rather than allied to just one.
Nearly 13,000 listings for drugs were available on Silk Road as of last month. It isn’t available on the public Internet but by connecting to the Tor anonymised proxy. Estimates take its annual revenues as $15m per year.
Since the bust, the price of a Bitcoin has fluctuated wildly – even more than it does generally – with the exchange rate falling by 15% after the news broke. In my best Collaterlie Sisters, 1BTC is currently trading (as of 03/10/13 10:12) at £69.38 / $111.50.
Of course, the end of Silk Road doesn’t mean the end of Bitcoin. We asked Michael Parsons, Bitcoin expert and Imperica interviewee, for his view: “Overall, the Silk Road event is good news for Bitcoin as it removed one of the principal targets which the media have been using against Bitcoin.
It paves the way for further progress into the mainstream of acceptance in the public mind. Now the main advantages of Bitcoin can be addressed (online payments without fraud risk, overseas remittances made simple and fast, zero/low transfer fees) without having to defend or excuse it’s use for illicit online drug purchases.
The case for governments, banks and investors to embrace and work with the Bitcoin protocol is strengthened.” You can hear Michael speak on Bitcoin and its future in greater detail at FinTech, an evening seminar which takes place in London next week (15/10/13).