“You can never kill the idea of Silk Road”: this was the message that greeted the visitors of the new Dread Pirate Roberts Twitter account this Wednesday (6). The original Silk Road might have died, but the seeds of the illegal marketplace have now given place to the 2.0 version of the deep-web-based platform, which came online a few hours ago.
Much like the old Silk Road, the new black market for drugs and other contraband uses the anonymous Tor and keeps dealing with Bitcoin to protect the identity of users and dealers. Shortly after opening up, it was already possible to see a list with almost 500 narcotics, ranging from the “usual” marijuana to the more expensive cocaine.
According to Forbes, the new Silk Road is being administered by a manager with the same famous moniker – Dread Pirate Roberts -, a name that got famous after the arrest of the former administrator, Ross Ulbricht, on October 2nd.
So, does this mean that the illegal marketplace 2.0 is exactly like the original one? Well, although some things remain unchanged, other specs regarding the safety of the platform were improved to prevent a new investigation and consequent shutdown. The blog AllThings Vice reports a significant change: the introduction of a security feature that allows users to use their PGP encryption key as an extra authentication factor.
Besides, the Silk Road 2.0 also has a curious login page that is most certainly not pleasing the authorities. The renewed Dread Pirate Roberts used the seizure notice posted by the Department of Justice on the prior Silk Road’s homepage, but added the message “This Hidden Site Has Risen Again”.
Although the launch of the platform had to be delayed for 24 hours – the site was supposed to launch on November 5th -, the Silk Road 2.0 is still not fully operational, as the administrators are still assessing the marketplace’s traffic load before they start accepting orders, which is supposed to happen later this week.
In the meantime, the site of the US Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs published a statement from its chairman, the Senator Tom Carper:
This new website – launched barely a month after Federal agents shut down the original Silk Road – underscores the inescapable reality that technology is dynamic and ever-evolving and that government policy needs to adapt accordingly. Rather than play ‘whack-a-mole’ with the latest website, currency, or other method criminals are using in an effort to evade the law, we need to develop thoughtful, nimble and sensible federal policies that protect the public without stifling innovation and economic growth. Our committee intends to have that conversation – among others – at our hearing this month on virtual currency.