The Silk Road trials are set to begin today in US courts. After the platform was brought down by government officials due to relations with drug trafficking and other crimes, the alleged creator Ross Ulbricht faces his biggest challenge to date. The Bitcoin community has been anxiously awaiting this day, as we all hope to put the Silk Road chapter behind us and move on from there.
As of tomorrow, Tuesday the 13th of January 2015, jury selections for the Ross Ulbricht case will begin. According to insiders, the trial is expected to last for about six weeks, and a lot of eyes will be watching the events unfold. Silk Road cast a spotlight on the dark side of irreversible cryptocurrency transactions,and remains a stain on Bitcoin’s history to date.
The major reason why Silk Road gained the attention,of US government officials is because the platform was open to any sort of goods and/or services. It didn’t take long until malevolent parties decided to use Silk Road as a platform to traffic drugs, hire hitmen for assassinations, and many more illegal activities. In the End, the Silk Road turned into a full-fledged criminal organization.
Ross Ulbricht, 30 years of age as of this writing, never admitted to creating the Silk Road platform, and has pleaded “not guilty” on seven of the charges against him. These charges include conspiracy to traffic narcotics and operating and continuing a criminal enterprise. However, according to the prosecutors, Ulbricht took extreme measures in order to protect Silk Road, and going as far as soliciting the murders of six individuals who posed a threat. Do keep in mind the prosecutors have been unable to prove these events ever taking place.
If Ross Ulbricht would be convicted, he faces the severe penalty of serving life in prison. If his supporters, a group of Bitcoin enthusiasts and libertarians have any say in the matter, this “attack on Internet freedom” will not come to such a drastic conclusion. Mr. Ulbricht’s lawyer, Joshua Dratel, was not available for a comment at this time.
Despite only being in existence for two and a half years, the Silk Road platform generated sales of up to US$1.2 billion and commissions of up to US$80 million, according to the FBI. Furthermore, prosecutors go as far as calling ROss Ulbricht ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’; a reference to the movie ‘The Princess Bride’;
However, it was obvious from the start that Silk Road operated on the nature of trying to hide some of its less “normal” activities, by allowing complete user anonymity thanks to Tor integration. Due to this implementation, a lot of regular and shady people alike flocked to Silk Road, which ultimately lead to its demise in October of 2013.
Ever since Silk Road has been taken down, similar marketplace have popped up all across the Internet. Unfortunately for law enforcement, bringing down Silk Road lead to even more drug listings on other marketplaces, as these listing increased by as much as 78%. Silk Road 2.0 briefly saw the light of day in 2014, but was shut down shortly afterwards and several people were charged, including the alleged creator Blake Benthall.