Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

… at his sentencing next week

Ross Ulbricht, convicted of being the Dread Pirate Roberts, owner and operator of the original Silk Road, is due to be sentenced next Friday. And his family would be happy to see you there.

Ross Ulbricht (far right) and family

“It would be good to have some support. I think it’s going to be very difficult,” said Ross’ mother, Lyn, who has campaigned tirelessly on his behalf. It is clearly taking its toll on her and the rest of the family and no wonder – even the “best” outcome is pretty shitty.


Dr Fernando Caudevilla, better known to the darknet market users as DoctorX, has thrown his support behind Ross Ulbricht, convicted of being Silk Road’s Dread Pirate Roberts.  DoctorX has provided an affidavit in support of Silk Road and it’s owner.

Dr Fernando Caudevilla aka "DoctorX"

Dr Fernando Caudevilla aka “DoctorX”


Last month a friend who had just started reading my book rang me almost hyperventilating. “It’s Landmark!” she said. “It’s fucking Landmark!”

Did DPR copy'n'paste for his charter?

Did DPR copy’n’paste for his charter?

She had noticed some startling similarities between the Landmark Forum’s 2020 Charter (which seems to have been superseded since it was written in the 90’s) and the Silk Road Charter, which is quoted at the beginning of the book. As a long-time member of Landmark (a “group awareness training seminar” that many have accused of having all the aspects of a cult), she recognised the words immediately. She followed up by email, and wrote:


After last night’s 60 Minutes, any parent could be forgiven for barging into their teen’s bedroom and confiscating their computer, terrified that their offspring is accessing the 90% of the hidden internet filled with hitmen, weapons and drugs. Teens everywhere are doing it apparently.

Image: "Dark Web"

Image: “Dark Web”

The 60 Minutes report is available here: 60 Minutes report on The Dark Web from

Whilst parents need to be vigilant in protecting their children, this sort of scare-mongering does nothing to advance the drug debate. Parents would do better educating their kids and being aware of where the true dangers lie in illicit drug-taking: adulterated substances being sold as something else, dodgy clones of well-researched drugs, misinformation about the effects of different types of drugs and potential violence in a drug deal.

Here is an analysis of what I believe the 60 Minutes piece either got wrong, misrepresented or exaggerated: (more…)

For the first time since its original incarnation’s launch in January 2011, Silk Road has been knocked off as the dark market’s leader. It now comes in third.

According to Vault 43, Evolution has 15,851 listings, Agora 15,522 and Silk Road a mere 11,025 listings.

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“While our staff is the largest and most experienced in the darknet, we understand that marketplace diversity is a very good thing for our community,” says current leader of Silk Road, Defcon. “We already have a massive target on our foreheads from international press coverage. We welcome competitors.”


‘This could be it. This could be the killer application for bitcoin’ – Free Talk Live host, March 2011

Old School Silk Road... it came a long way

Old School Silk Road… it came a long way

Whilst researching the early days of Silk Road for my book, I came across a wonderful little piece of history: a radio show by Free Talk Live which ran a comprehensive piece on Silk Road on 17 March 2011 – around six weeks after Silk Road had launched and a good two-and-a-half months before Adrian Chen’s Gawker article. At the time, Silk Road had 151 registered users, 38 listings and 28 transactions to date. By the time it was shuttered in October 2013, it had just shy of a million registered users.


VICE is onto the documentary, yours truly is bringing a book out. But who would’ve guessed that the most notorious online black market in the world could be coming to a theatre near you?

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Emerging playwright Alex Oates plans to bring his one-man play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. Like many young writers, he’s hoping to raise the funds for it – at least GBP11,000 – via crowdfunding. But his approach is a little different.