And so it goes, the Dread Pirate Roberts has returned As we have already reported. Perhaps, not in the form of Ross Ulbricht who currently resides behind prison bars, but in a new mysterious character who claims to be ‘DPR’.
Since Silk Road was taken down by the FBI for their illicit dealings at the end of October, much speculation has circulated the dark net about who will step in to fill its shoes. There was a similar drug bazaar that began operating shortly after the first Silk Road met its doom, called Project Black Flag. However, this operation ran aground within three weeks, and its captain jumped ship, fleeing with all of its bitcoins. Controversy surrounds the original nature of Project Black Flag, concerning whether or not the site was intended to be a scam in the first place; however, its closing assuredly reopened the gaping hole in supply for the demand of drugs on the deep web.
Anticipation surrounding the grand reopening of Silk Road has been building since the site went down in October. Though many in the community were apprehensive to invest, it appears as if they have banded together and bucked the FBI. According to AllThingsVice.com, it appears as if the anticipation was like waiting for Santa Clause to land on the roof:
“The new DPR spent the past week or so providing hints to members as to the date of the site’s re-launch via a string of cryptic clues and puzzles in his signature. The more geeky members eventually figured out the exact time of launch of the new Silk Road – 4:20pm on 5 November 2013. The countdown started and the excitement grew, reaching fever pitch today. It’s like the night before Christmas! cried one member. OMG OMG OMG, it’s tomorrow! squealed another.1”
On the 5th of November, coincidentally happening to be a day for modern revolutionary-types, the Silk Road displays a mockery of the Department of Justice’s attempt to force the community to cease and desist. The large text on the screen, reads: “THIS HIDDEN SITE HAS –RISEN AGAIN”. For better or for worse, the Silk Road rises.
With Silk Road 2.0’s opening, the Dread Pirate Roberts greets his fellow community members with a triumphant letter, opening with, “Welcome back to freedom,” in the beginning statements.
Embedded in the ‘official release notice’ are heartfelt messages of rebellion, community, and freedom.
“It took the FBI two and a half years to do what they did. Divide, conquer and eliminate was their strategy… but four weeks of temporary silence is all they got. And as our resilient community bounces back even stronger than ever before, never forget that they can only ever seize assets – they can never arrest our spirit, our ideas or our passion, unless we let them.”
To which, DPR continues: “We will not let them.”
However, what is uncertain is how long this new version of Silk Road will last, despite the blatant optimism of their administrative staff. They are now going to be forced to deal with several challenges, especially because the full weight of the media, federal law enforcement, and scammers, have become interested in Silk Road’s dealings.
According to Adam Clark Estes of Gizmodo.com, he believes that this attempt at rising will soon look more like an Icarus metaphor, than that of a Phoenix:
“So between the threat of getting arrested and the chance to abscond with thousands of dollars worth of virtual currency, it’s hard to tell if the Silk Road resurrection is a bad idea or a really bad idea. Just remember, though, the original Silk Road led to such shenanigans as hits being put out on users and the founder stashing away tens of millions of dollars. Let’s also not forget that users are being arrested now, too. [Forbes]”
In addition, it appears as if the Silk Road community may be a bit more skittish about whom they allow on the site. They aren’t too keen on taking in new members. In fact, members who are inviting ‘spammers or trolls’ will have quite a few problems on their hands, according to DPR: “Those who invite spammers or trolls who have their accounts deleted will also face repercussions, so please only invite those who are customers or associates.”
At the same time, this may be a sign that the Silk Road administration has learned from past mistakes, and intends to move forward with their operations. In addition, they had apparently put through, what DPR would call, a four-week ‘security overhaul’.
The future of Silk Road 2.0 has yet to be seen; however, the Dread Pirate Roberts and his associates seem to be brazenly optimistic and defiant, despite their most recent brushes with law enforcement. Now, they are probably already aware that the FBI will waste no money, minutes, or men to bring the Silk Road saga to a close. Nevertheless, the Silk Road continues on.