Notes on Site Development by Silk Road Founder


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Ross Ulbricht, the accused operator of the online illegal drug marketplace, appeared to have had a digital journal on his computer describing the development of Silk Road and predicting that it would become a “phenomenon”.

Indeed, the prosecutors showed the court journal entry excerpts from 2010 and 2011. The digital journal was found on Ulbricht’s laptop seized when the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested him and accused of running the Silk Road website, where drugs and other illegal products could be bought in exchange for Bitcoins.

The excerpts from the journal read that Ulbricht believed Silk Road was going to become a “phenomenon” back in 2010. This evidence was presented on the 5th day of the trial as part of the efforts of the American authorities to crack down on the use of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency for drug trafficking and other crimes.

Ross Ulbricht is accused of operating Silk Road under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts” and profiting about $200 million in drug sales before the FBI shut the service down. He denied all allegations, including conspiracy to commit drugs trafficking, acknowledging that he did create Silk Road but then passed it to other operators.

In response, the prosecutors showed the journal entries, which revealed that the website was supposed to be launched under the name “Underground Brokers”, with the idea being to create a service where Internet users could purchase anything anonymously, and no trail whatsoever could lead back to them. Then the journal described the launch of the service in 2011, noting a “huge spike in signups” after getting attention in the media and calls by a couple of American senators to shutdown the online blackmarket. This is when Ulbricht wrote that he was “mentally taxed”, and felt very “vulnerable and scared” at the time. He expressed fears in the journal that the government of the United States, his “main enemy”, was aware of him and some of its members were calling for his destruction.

Finally, a journal entry dated as 29 December 2011 described Ross going out with a woman who knew he worked with cryptocurrency and telling her about having “secrets”. At that moment, Ulbricht recognized that he felt wrong to lie completely so he just tried to tell only a part of the truth “without revealing the bad part”.

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