Dread Pirate Roberts, Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht & the Bitcoin Course

On September 5, 2018, the Bitcoin exchange rate fell briefly by five percent just below the US$ 7,000 mark. This reduced Bitcoin’s market capitalization from 127.3 billion US dollars to 120.9 billion US dollars. What had happened? One of the tracks leads to DarkNet.

The Bitcoin exchange rate drops – suddenly around 6 billion US dollars are “missing” in market capitalisation. While the Bitcoin price in Iran is climbing to undreamt-of heights, for the rest of the crypto market it is sinking by almost 400 US dollars, depending on the crypto exchange. The community is mainly driven by a question: Why is the Bitcoin price falling? One possible answer leads to the dark side of the network.

On Reddit, the user sick_silk already predicted major price movements on August 30, 2018. He spoke of a Silk Road Wallet that had become active again after a long absence. So it should be a total of 111,114.62 Bitcoin with a value of at that time approximately 844 million US dollars, which were moved gradually on different crypto exchanges. These, it is assumed, belong to the infamous DarkNet black market Silk Road.

Who ran the news spy?

Remember: the news spy was a scam where you could buy illegal goods such as drugs, weapons or forged papers. It was operated in DarkNet, accessible via the TOR network – the Internet under the Internet, if you will. Bitcoin was the preferred means of the news spy – he promised fast transactions and above all anonymity.

One of the administrators of the online black market published his posts under the name Dread Pirate Roberts. In the haze circles of the Silk Road he was ultimately known, there was consensus that the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” concealed the operator or operators of the Silk Road. And it was exactly one of those operators who was made a few gross blunders that led to his true identity.

The mistakes of the Bitcoin secret

So it happened that Dread Pirate Roberts was looking for help for his Bitcoin secret project under the pseudonym altoid in the bitcointalk forum.

It was about using the Bitcoin secret: Here he made a first mistake and revealed the wallet address of his service in line six:

Later he was to advertise his online black market under the same pseudonym in the Bitcoin talk forum and other relevant channels. His biggest mistake was probably to search for developers for Silk Road under the pseudonym – in connection with his original (!) e-mail address: rossulbricht@gmail.com.

Therefore, it was easy for the investigators to convict the presumed operator of the Silk Road. Among other things, the authorities intercepted Ulbricht’s mail – and found a total of nine ID cards with different names and addresses, but they all had the same face: that of Ross Ulbricht.

On the developer platform Stack Overflow, he also posted instructions on how to gain access to hidden services (such as Silk Road) under his real name. He changed it to “frosty” for a short time. In retrospect, however, the authorities were able to identify him and initiate the process. Sentence: two life sentences plus 40 years and no right to a pardon. He was arrested on 1 October 2013. He was sitting in a cafĂ© in San Francisco near a friend’s house.

Ross Ulbricht in prison, Wallet remains active
About 15 days later, an entry appeared on the Bitcointalk forum. The user assortmentofsorts came across a Bitcoin Wallet address that caught his attention. It contained the proud sum of 111,114.62 Bitcoin. As it turned out later, the operator or operators had tried to obscure the origin of the address with a Bitcoin tumbler. Assortmentofsorts, however, used a shortest path algorithm to find out what the original address looked like:

It was this address that altoid had accidentally left on the Bitcoin Talk forum. Apparently it was the wallet address of the Silk Road. Then it became quiet around the wallet. There were still some smaller Bitcoin transactions here and there, but by and large nothing more happened. Until recently.

Sick_Silk is looking for owner of the Bitcoin-Wallet
So posted a certain sick_silk on August 30, 2018:

And indeed: It was worth it.

Because as sick_silk reports under just this link, the owner or owners of the wallet began to have great fun.