Authorities Arrest More Internet Drug Dealers, Still Can't Open Internet Wallet

Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 11:38 AM

(Wikimedia Commons)

The past week has seen the first of what will likely be many arrests of Silk Road drug dealers. The FBI announced the arrest of Steven Sadler, who they say was a top Silk Road dealer. And British police arrested four Silk Road users today, with more to come. 

So what happens now? A lot.

The FBI and their British counterparts, the NCA, says to expect more arrests. Which makes sense. They've seized tons of data about the market, and most of the people operating it assumed that they were anonymous. 

Silk Road alternatives seem to be in the works. has an interview with the people who claim they're building Silk Road 2.0: “History will show it’s the will of the people that’ll win in the end and not that of the dictators in power and I thanks to the actions of DPR and others like him I believe I am now witnessing a full revolution in progress and I for one will be sticking around to document it.”

The digital wallet where the FBI is keeping seized Silk Road assets has turned into a digital Zucotti Park. Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht's Bitcoins are encrypted. So while the FBI is theoretically sitting on 600,000 in bitcoin, they're unusable without Ulbricht's cooperation. What's worse for the FBI is that the value of those coins is plummeting rapidly after the Silk Road shutdown. 

And it gets a little worse. Every Bitcoin transfer is public. Which means that when the FBI moved Ulbricht's unusuable Bitcoins into their digital wallet, any angry former Silk Road user could see where that wallet is located. This launched a wave of very small donations to the FBI's wallet. Why? Because Bitcoin allows you to include a public message with each transaction, which meant the FBI's Bitcoin wallet was transformed into a stage for druggy, internet protesting. 

"One star is born as another fades away. Which one will come next? is my favorite riddle." Said a girl puffing rings in a dot, dot, dash haze. "No worry, No hurry. They can't stop the signal."

You see, I think drugs have done some good things for us. I really do. And if you don't believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a favor. Go home tonight. Take all your albums, all your tapes and all your CDs and burn them.

And then, after the FBI's wallet became a sort of de facto message board, it was overrun by people claiming to have lost money in the Silk Road begging for help. And people mocking them: 

I have lost over 300 BTC which I had in my seller account on SR. Money which I desperately needed to pay my bills and pay back loans. Can someone help me out a bit please? Thank you: 14YmUErRBgv2Up3UgveLwxBtuHaQZbMtCTXX

I have many coins seized in SR ! i'm accept donation please ! crazy life =\ my address : 12qXk2G6eEGiVZJ1cMDdgLEqg2fj7h77bi

I'm a deaf blind albino midget with no legs. I hope one day to buy a karaoke machine so I can become a great singer to seduce Miley Cyrus. Any help is appreciated. 16snhVD8kBL8y7zdTYU163ghhXutJC2gXv

Oh, internet.




More in:

Comments [1]


Bitcoin prices did plummet the day the Silk Road bust hit the news, but they recovered pretty quickly. At the moment they're trading at about 96% of their pre-bust value.

Another fun fact: The wallet the FBI seized amounts to about 0.2% of the total bitcoin currently in circulation.

Oct. 09 2013 04:00 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.

Supported by


Embed the TLDR podcast player

TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

Subscribe to Podcast iTunes RSS