Ever since alleged Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht was arrested, the former software engineer’s defense attorney has been urging the public to believe that he is not the mastermind behind the online drug vendor despite the myriad of evidence against him.
Facebook is laden with comments coming to Ulbricht’s defense. One such post reads:
“Don’t believe everything you read. I am in contact with Ross Ulbricht’s family and have direct knowledge from a reliable source that many of the more serious and character smearing accusations are confirmed to be false.
“It is becoming more clear that Ross did not start the website Silk Road, he was not involved at the time he was arrested and any involvement that he may have had would be drastically different than what is being alleged.
“His family is setting up a defense fund, more to come shortly. Please do not comment at all to any media outlet and if you’re his friend, keep down the online chatter.”
The 29-year-old’s legal team’s most valuable case may have fallen right into their laps Wednesday morning when Silk Road 2.0 was launched.
Forbes reports that, just like the original Silk Road that the Department of Justice shut down just over a month ago, the new site uses the encryption tool Tor along with online currency Bitcoin to hide transaction details from authorities.
As of yesterday morning, nearly 500 requests for illegal drugs have taken place, ranging from sales of marijuana, to ecstasy, to cocaine. The administrator of the site is going by the handle Dread Pirate Roberts, the same pseudonym used by the previous owner of the Silk Road.
According to Forbes, the only noticeable difference between the two sites is a new security option that allows users to use a PGP encryption key for extra authentication. It also has a different login page that actually parodies the seizure notice posted by the DOJ on the former site’s homepage.
The DOJ’s notice “This Hidden Site Has Been Seized” has been replaced by “This Hidden Site Has Risen Again.”
“You can never kill the idea of Silk Road,” Dread Pirate Roberts’ Twitter feed read approximately twenty minutes before Silk Road 2.0 was launched.
But the site is not fully operational, Forbes explains, as its administrators are reportedly still trying to get a firmer grasp on the massive traffic load.
Orders will not be accepted until later this week.
Yet even when it does resume sales, users may not initially trust Silk Road 2.0. Three black market sites, including Silk Road alternative Project Black Flag, have been shut down in the past six weeks, taking all of the online currency stored in its accounts with them.
“I for one do not trust the new [Silk Road],” wrote one user on the site’s forums. “I just get an eerie feeling from the whole idea of it, right now i will steer clear…only time will tell, i want to dive head first into it, but i want to see it play out for a little bit before i slap down another 500 bucks, an investment i made the day before [Silk Road] was closed.”
Many other users, however, will be reassured to find that Silk Road 2.0 is being managed mostly by administrators from the original site. One of these moderators is Libertas, the most vocal representative of the Silk Road community since Ulbricht was arrested on October 2.
“Silk Road 2.0 will be reborn better, much much more secure as testament to the tenacity and determination of this wonderful community of ours,” wrote one moderator on the new Silk Road’s forum site with the name Synergy. “We will not be down trodden, we will rise again.”
Ulbricht is scheduled to have a bail hearing this week in New York.
While his defense team insists that Ulbricht did not in fact start Silk Road, most users seem to paying tribute to his alleged ventures rather than defending his innocence.
“Within the excitement and morning light glare of a brand new day for all of us…say a kind prayer for Last DPR,” user Steve Jobs writes.
“Forsaken, fading, atrophying alone in a concrete box cell… who brought us all together here and gave me a home, now he has none.”
Via: Forbes, Top Photo Courtesy: Google+