Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ross Ulbricht

We take a brief interlude from discussions of wildlife to discuss some wild life:

  • How the feds took down the Dread Pirate Roberts
    But investigations always have many threads to pull. The feds couldn't initially follow the money to Roberts, nor could they find the physical location of his cloaked servers. In the absence of usual digital clues, the feds fell back on a low-tech approach: keep going back in time until you find the first guy to ever talk about the Silk Road. Find that guy and you probably have a person of interest, if not Roberts himself.
  • Feds Take Down Online Fraud Bazaar ‘Silk Road’, Arrest Alleged Mastermind
    Finally, DPR tripped himself up when he ordered some fake IDs from an international Silk Road vendor and had them sent to his residence. The fraudulent IDs were intercepted at the border by customs agents working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which paid a visit to the address to which the documents were to be delivered. The agents noted that while Ulbricht refused to answer any questions about the alleged purchase, one of the identity documents was a California driver’s license bearing Ulbricht’s photo and true date of birth, but with a different name.
  • FBI's Case Against Silk Road Boss Is A Fascinating Read
    The complaint notes that Silk Road was first advertised on different forums by a user named "altoid," in a manner that indicated altoid was connected with the site. Months later, altoid also posted elsewhere that he was looking to hire an "IT pro in the Bitcoin community" for "a venture backed Bitcoin startup company" -- but then told interested people to contact him at his actual gmail address: And, voila, the FBI had a name.
  • The FBI and the legitimation of the bitcoinverse
    Bitcoin’s the same: newer, shinier virtual currencies will arrive, the techno-utopians will latch onto something else, and eventually the people holding bitcoins will understand that if an asset doesn’t throw off any cashflow, the only way to make money from it is to sell it at a higher price than you bought it. In other words, bitcoin is the ultimate speculative vehicle, one which you might be able to trade in and out of, but one which has no value at all as a buy-and-hold investment. Which is something to bear in mind when you read the next big Bloomberg article on bitcoins as an asset class.
  • BitCoin Plunges Following US Government Seizure Of Silk Road Website, "Dread Pirate Roberts" In Custody
    That the US government would crack down on BitCoin and all affiliated services should not be surprising and is happening just as we warned it would back in March when we first charted the initial ramp of BitCoin. This move was especially inevitable considering none other than the ECB "warned" in November of 2012 against virtual currency Ponzi schemes (though it has no problem with fiat equivalents).
  • The Silk Road To Federal Prosecution: The Charges Against Ross Ulbricht
    If I were a betting man, I'd bet it happened like this: New York started investigating Silk Road in 2012, taking its time. Someone in the investigation figured out that Dread Pirate Robers was thinking about having the Maryland witness whacked and Maryland agents and prosecutors got involved. Maryland indicted first, asserting jurisdiction based on a scheme to murder one of its inhabitants. But New York made its charges public first and arrested first — possibly by agreement, possibly by gamesmanship.
Wild stuff, start to finish.

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