Bitcoin has a bad reputation all over the world, as the virtual currency is often associated with scams, hacking and Ponzi schemes. Several financial experts went as far as calling Bitcoin – “the biggest Ponzi scheme of all times” – a few years ago. Unfortunately, the latest arrest of people allegedly associated with the MyCoin Bitcoin Ponzi in Taiwan will only fuel the fire.
Bitcoin has seen its fair share of “less than legitimate” marketplaces in the past, and it looks like more and more Dark Web marketplaces are embracing the digital currency for its pseudonymous nature. Just a few days ago, another Dark Web marketplace was shut down, and 11,000 Bitcoin wallets and private keys have been seized by Italian police officials.
Operation Babylon Cracks Down on Dark Web Marketplace
As soon as the topic comes up, most people will think back to the times when Silk Road and Silk Road 2.0 were around. Both of these illuster marketplaces allowed the trading of any type of goods or services – regardless of legality or morality – in exchange for the increasingly popular digital currency called Bitcoin.
When federal agents brought down the Silk Road platform, many people in the Bitcoin space hoped that using this disruptive digital currency for drug trafficking would slowly come to an end. Unfortunately, it turns out that is not the case; online drugs sales are still on the rise and pseudonymous and anonymous payment, such as Bitcoin, are still very popular in that market.
Silk Road Shut Down
Silk Road will always remain a bit of a black page in the Bitcoin history books. While the idea of an open and free peer-to-peer marketplace sounds great, there is always someone trying to use it for nefarious activities. Or, in the case of Silk Road, it became mainly used for illegal activities such as drug trafficking and other goods and services that shouldn’t see the light of day.
While most of the current focus is on the Silk Road trial, American intelligence services are still hunting down people responsible for operations conducted by Silk Road 2.0. As a result, US police has arrested a 26-year old man in Seattle who allegedly helped operating Silk Road 2.0, the “successor” of the infamous Silk Road online marketplace.
After the original Silk Road platform was shut down by US officials in 2013, it didn’t take long for the marketplace to pop up again under the banner “Silk Road 2.0”. To this date, no one is certain about the Silk Road 2.0 owner, who goes by the nickname Defcon. However, with the recent arrest made by US police, we now know who Defcon’s alleged “right hand man” is.
As the Silk Road trials started earlier this week, a lot of Bitcoin enthusiasts around the world are waiting to see what the outcome will be. Ross Ulbricht’s trial is a major milestone in the young history of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, as a lot of mainstream media is following the proceedings closely. The first shot has been fired however, as Ross Ulbricht did admit he created the Silk Road platform.
The US government is auctioning off some of the Bitcoins it seized from the illegal Silk Road operations. This isn’t the first time the US government is selling off its shiny Bitcoins in an auction. The first batch of Bitcoins that the US government sold at auction was around 30 000 Bitcoins. That auction, which was held in June, lured in 45 bids. A great number seeing how you needed a lot of cash to get in on the bidding.
The US government has decided to auction off the crypto currency seized last year at Silk Road, commonly known as the “Ebay for drugs”. The US Marshals Service is hoping for a windfall: The US agency is providing 50,000 Bitcoin for sale (current value US$ 19 million) and is doing so online, probably pushing up the proceeds for the US government by millions of dollars.
“ We were aware that some criminal elements were focussing in on creating a next gen version of the Silk Road.“ the FBI stated two days ago. “Like all new things, and the digital currency is something new, there are always opportunistically criminal elements that try to worm their way in. We let them bathe in the false sense of security long enough to collect data so we can prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law”.
The Internet is full of myths and weird things. Fake breaking news, alien stories, made up scandals etc. But world web isn’t just fields of mindless dreck. For instance, you could always take a crack at the web’s toughest crypto-puzzle. Those are not in short supply from ever-baffling Cicada 3301.
Appearing each year since 2012, these strange series of challenges have stumped computer whiz-kids all over the world. And it appears that the quizmasters eventually get in touch with whoever is able to crack the code to offer them a membership in their secret club of hackers.