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Silk Road: The online drug marketplace that officials seem powerless to stop

Authorities around the world know about the website, but closing it is another matter – partly because it uses Bitcoins

James Ball
The Guardian, Friday 22 March 2013

Mark Johnson* rifles through his mail as he gets home from work. Among the usual bills is a small padded envelope. Though it doesn't have his name on, it's the package he's most interested in: inside lie two grams of, he hopes, relatively pure MDMA.

Johnson has no idea who has sent him the envelope: he has never met his dealer, and never will. The delivery was facilitated through a website called Silk Road, an underground eBay-like site which has become the core marketplace for buying and selling drugs online – and despite law enforcement authorities across the world being fully aware of its operation they have, so far, been powerless to stop it.

The site has been shrouded in secrecy even since it was founded in February 2011, but research due to be formally published later this year tracked its growth during six months of last year. Over those months, sales on the site doubled, hitting $1.7m a month.

Johnson, a TV executive, is one of those contributing to those monthly takings. Describing himself as "not excited or impressed by drugs per se", but "interested" in them, he explains how he came to the Silk Road.

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Mmmmm.... Thanks for the tip.

I think I'll have to go check it out.

The Diamond Dog is a real cool cat. | Reporting on the world from an altitude of 420.

How to buy drugs on the Silk Road

Adam Kokesh


Exercise Your Rights. If You Don't Use Them, You Will Lose Them.
My News Twitter http://twitter.com/sharpsteve
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Jefferson's picture


THAT'S where Adam gets his DMT...;)

Thanks for the instructional video sharpsteve. AK's comments reminded me of those exploding targets you can buy called "tannerite." On the label in big letters it says "Don't ruin it for the rest of us."

I have to admit this website has my curiosity peaked. I wonder how one could be truly anonymous in their purchases. Would you have to get one of those prepaid debit cards to buy your bitcoins? Maybe there's a local bitcoin vendor that takes cash in my city. (not that I would engage in such nefarious activity..;)

Excellent article. Thanks

Excellent article. Thanks for posting it.

Jefferson's picture


debate in the comments section is somewhat interesting as well. Whether you're into drugs or not, it's kind of fascinating to watch a truly unregulated free market emerge where the buyers and sellers assume a certain amount of risk and responsibility. Reputation and trust are paramount in this self policing community. The bitcoin aspect adds a bit of intrigue as well.
Plus, anything that Chucky Schumer "vows to shut down" is something I feel compelled to promote.