The Dark Web Silk Road Founder and Dream Are Dead: Discover Why

The Dark Web Silk Road Founder and Dream Are Dead: Discover Why


Ross Ulbricht, a former operator of darknet markets, was born in 1984 and is most known for founding and directing the Silk Road market. He was detained in 2013, and a Manhattan federal jury found him guilty of seven offenses, including conspiring to launder money, hacking computers, trafficking illegal drugs online, and maintaining a criminal business two years later (the so-called kingpin charge). 

Ulbricht, a first-time offender, was found guilty of running a website where others sold illegal goods instead of engaging in natural drug and item sales. He received life in a prison sentence. A twenty-something libertarian from Texas who founded the Dark Web marketplace sold drugs, firearms, and cyanide for more than $1.2 billion in less than two years.

Childhood and Education 

Ulbricht was raised close to Austin, Texas, and attended the University of Texas at Dallas to study physics before going to Pennsylvania State University to get a master’s degree in materials science. 

Ulbricht became quite interested in libertarian interpretations of economic theory around this time. He adopted Ludwig von Mises’ political philosophy and allied himself with well-known libertarian leaders.

CRIMINAL PENALTY40 years in addition to two life sentences without the chance of parole and a $183,961,921 fine 

Earlier Years And Reason For Fall Of Silk Road

The Dark Web's Silk Road Founder and Dream Are Dead: Discover Why

Ulbricht returned to Austin and launched his own company after graduating from Penn State in 2009. After making some unsuccessful early attempts, he changed occupations frequently. In addition to creating a company to sell books online, he has tried his hand at day trading, game development, and video game creation. Ulbricht came up with the concept for an online marketplace using Tor encryption and bitcoin, which was still in its infancy. 

Ulbricht felt that his marketplace could give its users anonymity and security through encryption and cryptocurrencies, enabling them to avoid government investigation.

While bitcoin provides a decentralized and anonymous transactional platform, Tor effectively masks the identity and location of network participants by routing user information through a vast network of encryption techniques. The Silk Road marketplace would eventually grow out of this early concept.

After discovering the existence of the underground market, the FBI teamed up with the DEA, IRS, and Customs investigators, ultimately leading to the destruction of the Silk Road in 2013. Although the federal officers acknowledged that using Tor and Bitcoin to obfuscate addresses presented significant challenges, they were nevertheless able to crack down on the black market for drugs. As a result, the FBI deactivated the website permanently, seized more than 144,000 bitcoins, which were worth $34 million at the time, and detained several site users, including Ross Ulbricht, the creator. He earned over $80 million in fees from the site’s transactions. Ulbricht was found guilty in 2015 and is presently incarcerated for life without the chance of release.

Silk Road Was Doomed By Drugs And Paranoia

The Dark Web's Silk Road Founder and Dream Are Dead: Discover Why
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Using the online alias “Dread Pirate Roberts” in homage to the popular 1987 film The Princess Bride, Ulbricht established Silk Road in 2011. His LinkedIn page saw Silk Road as a way to “abolish the use of compulsion and hostility amongst people.” 

Additionally, he stated that he was “developing an economic simulation to allow individuals to directly experience what it would be like to live in a society free from the systematic use of coercion. 

Over a brief period, the Silk Road gained popularity. Then, in the middle of 2011, many media sites picked up reports about the market, which generated a lot of interest in the website and significantly increased traffic. So naturally, as the website gained more notoriety, authorities also took action to track down users of Silk Road and shut down the website.

Nevertheless, into 2013, Silk Road remained a well-known but obscure marketplace where both extremely criminal and lawful activities were conducted. The site generated roughly $213.9 million in sales and $13.2 million in commissions for its owner when it was shut down, claim the prosecutors.

Ross Ulbricht:  Why Was He Found Guilty and Arrested?

Early in 2013, The Daily Dot reported that an Australian drug dealer was the first person to be found guilty of crimes directly related to the Silk Road. However, as Silk Road users were identified later, the FBI eventually concluded that Ulbricht was the site’s creator and owner. He was detained on October 2, 2013, in a library in San Francisco and subsequently charged with seven offenses. 

  • The Silk Road was an anonymous internet marketplace where anyone could trade illicit or immoral goods.
  • People could trade narcotics, stolen passwords, unlawful data, and other contraband using privacy-enhancing methods like the Tor network and bitcoin transactions.
  • The FBI busted down Silk Road in 2013, and its creator Ross Ulbricht received a life sentence.

In a different instance, Ulbricht was charged with murder for hire in a federal court in Baltimore. In the end, these accusations were dismissed in 2018. 

The FBI took 144,336 bitcoins from Ulbricht’s laptop’s shared digital wallet as part of the shutdown of Silk Road. The Manhattan trial for Ulbricht started in January 2015, and he was found guilty on each of the seven charges. The problem was a hotly debated and well-publicized affair; although it was never established, the presiding judge allegedly received death threats from alleged Silk Road sympathizers. 

Before his sentence, the defendant wrote the judge a letter; Ulbricht explained how his deeds were motivated by his libertarian principles and how “the Silk Road was supposed to be about providing people the opportunity to make their own choices.” Nevertheless, Ulbricht was given two life sentences plus an additional 40 years to be served concurrently without the chance of release on May 29, 2015.


The impact of the Silk Road on history cannot be overstated. Along the Silk Road, ideas and religion were transported as quickly as products. Along the way, small towns developed into multiethnic cities. New technologies and innovations that would alter the world were made possible through the flow of information. The introduction of horses aided the strength of the Mongol Empire, and the introduction of Chinese gunpowder altered the whole character of warfare in Europe and other lands. The Silk Road was also used for diseases to spread.

According to some studies, the Silk Road was likely used by the Black Death to spread from Asia to Europe, where it wreaked havoc in the late 1340s C.E. Faster routes between the East and West emerged throughout the Age of Exploration. However, some sections of the Silk Road remained vital trade routes between many cultures. As a result, a portion of the Silk Road is now recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who was the Silk Road’s founder?

Although Ross Ulbricht claims that he started the Silk Road market with good intentions, a federal jury found him guilty of seven serious charges, including conspiracy to traffic drugs. Ulbricht is well-known for founding and operating the Silk Road market.

Where is the Silk Road’s founder right now?

Ulbricht founded and ran Silk Road, a dark web marketplace for narcotics, phony I.D.s, and other illegal goods. He is currently serving two life sentences plus 40 years.

What is the Silk Road’s history?

The first contemporary darknet bazaar, Silk Road, was an online black market. Users could browse the dark web privately and anonymously without worrying about traffic monitoring because it was operated as a Tor hidden service.

The Silk Road was utilized by whom?

Following China’s attempts to establish a road to the West and India through direct colonies in the Tarim Basin and diplomatic ties with the Dayuan, Parthian, and Bactrian nations farther west, the Silk Road essentially began to exist in the first century BCE.

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