The Silk Road used to be an ancient network of trade routes through regions of Eurasia connecting the East and West and stretching from the Korean peninsula and Japan to the Mediterranean Sea.
That was centuries ago. Then came the internet.
Silk Road: Then and Now
In a nutshell, Silk Road used to be an online black market and in fact, the very first modern darknet marketplace.
Essentially, it was an unground website. Silk Road was best known as a platform for selling illegal drugs.
As part of the dark web, it was not accessible through Google, Bing, Yahoo or any one of the regular search engines.
Users had to download a browser called Tor which was a hidden service that kept their users off the main internet.
The Silk Road website was launched in February 2011.
And Since Then…
Silk Road has since been shut down by international government forces only to be replaced by other darknet website creators.
The biggest and best known of these replacements was AlphaBay.
The term “was” is used to introduce AlphaBay since it’s recently become the latest casualty of a government seizure.
As of July 5 this year, AlphaBay was shut down with the arrest of its alleged creator and administrator who was living in Thailand at the time.
On Thursday, July 20, European law enforcement officials revealed that Dutch cyberpolice had their eye on possible AlphaBay replacements on the darkweb.
They knew from previous experience, that once one blackmarket goes down, like a school of fish, users swim to another site.
AlphaBay’s successor was the Hansa Market which is largely based in the Netherlands. It didn’t last long.
Short Lived Succession
Like AlphaBay, Hansa Market has now gone dark on the darknet. Authorities were successful in bringing down that site as well within mere weeks of shutting down AlphaBay.
In Washington, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared the operation “the largest darknet marketplace takedown in history.”
Sessions continued by saying, “Darknet vendors are “pouring fuel on the fire of the national drug epidemic.”
He cited cases of two U.S. teenagers killed this year, one a 13-year-old Utah boy, by overdoses of synthetic opioids bought on AlphaBay.
More than two-thirds of the quarter million listings on the two sites were for illegal drugs, said Sessions. Other illicit wares for sale included weapons, counterfeit and stolen identification and malware.
The police agency Europol estimates AlphaBay did $1 billion in business after its 2014 creation.
Below are videos with some information on Silk Road, AlphaBay and other darknet enterprises.
Thanks for reading. I wish you many imaginative tales. R.M. Robbins
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