Quoted: on Silk Road, Dread Pirate Roberts and buying drugs

“He had basically commoditized security. It was a system that allowed people to buy drugs without fear that they would be ripped off.”

Nicolas Christin, assistant research professor at Carnegie Mellon University, on “Dread Pirate Roberts,” who ran Silk Road. Authorities suspect Ross Ulbricht, who was arrested by the FBI in San Francisco in October, is Dread Pirate Roberts. Silk Road was an online marketplace (and of course there are others) that accepted bitcoin for the purchase of drugs, fake driver’s licenses and other illegal items. A New York Times profile over the weekend paints a nuanced portrait of Ulbricht: He is described as a sensitive and forgiving soul but is accused of hiring a hit man to kill someone who was threatening to expose the identities of Silk Road users; he was an Eagle Scout; earned a master’s degree; founded a bookstore that donated 10 percent of its profit to charity. Ulbricht eventually embraced libertarian values; Dread Pirate Roberts once wrote “I walk tall, proud and free, knowing that the actions I take eat away at the infrastructure that keeps oppression alive.”

 

Screenshot from Wikipedia

Levi Sumagaysay Levi Sumagaysay (4113 Posts)

Levi Sumagaysay is editor of the combined SiliconBeat and Good Morning Silicon Valley. She also helps take care of SiliconValley.com, the Mercury News tech website. Email: lsumagaysay@bayareanewsgroup.com