Mike Nudelman/Business Insider
Silk Road, the anonymous Internet marketplace best known as a destination for buying illegal drugs, has been seized by the FBI .
Ross Ulbricht, 29, has been arrested as the head of the site, which he allegedly operated under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts. Ulbricht recently posted a manifesto of sorts on economic reform to his LinkedIn page .
The seizure netted 26,000 Bitcoins, worth some $3.2 million. Bitcoins are an anonymous digital currency, so for the person who buys his drugs online, they're a must. This is the single largest seizure of Bitcoin assets to date.
You can read the full complaint here.
A close reading reveals that Ulbricht is also accused of hiring a hit man to kill a Silk Road user called "FriendlyChemist" for $150,000. FriendlyChemist began sending threatening messages in March of this year, saying that he'd publish the names and addresses of Silk Road customers unless he received $500,000, according to authorities.
At this point, another member named "redandwhite" was contacted in order to take out a "bounty" on FriendlyChemist's head, the complaint said. They allegedly agreed on a price of 1,670 Bitcoins. Redandwhite then wrote DPR back and said, "I received the payment ... We know where he is. He'll be grabbed tonight. I'll update you."
Prior to today, Silk Road users employed an anonymizing network called Tor to browse the site and make their purchases. Tor distributes your Internet traffic around the world so it can't be traced back to you specifically. Merchants and customers interacted on a bare bones basis to buy and sell their goods using the previously mentioned Bitcoin currency. If you want a walkthrough of how the site worked, click here.
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