“There was this whole Bitcoin magical thinking that occurred in the early days that because of Bitcoin’s unique properties, it’s invulnerable to law enforcement. It was never true.”
— Patrick Murck, general counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation, on the future of bitcoin after the shutdown of Silk Road, whose customers paid for illegal drugs and other wares with the online currency. “It’s private, not anonymous,” Murck told the Washington Post.
Tuesday, FBI agents arrested a San Francisco man, Ross William Ulbricht, who they say founded Silk Road. The online marketplace reportedly processed transactions totaling millions in bitcoin, which has raised questions about the legitimacy of the currency.
But Murck says that although the price of bitcoin fell this week after the news — it was at about $145 at the end of September — it didn’t completely collapse. ”If you believe that the useful purpose for Bitcoin was to conduct illicit activity, you’d expect the price to be zero without the Silk Road. And it’s not. Last I checked, it was around $110. Clearly the market has spoken and there are greater uses than illicit activity,” he said.
Photo: This screen grab from the Silk Road website shows thumbnails for products allegedly available through the site. (silkroaddrugs.org via the Associated Press)