Second Edition Of Silk Road Founder Sentenced To Five Years After He Was Arrested
Silk Road 2 Founder Sentenced Five Years After He Was Arrested
Have you ever heard of Silk Road 2? Despite having a name that may sound like it has come out of from a movie, this was an illegal dark web marketplace that was named after the original Silk Road, which was disbanded in 2013.
The original Silk Road was an illegal marketplace set up on the deep web. You could use Bitcoin (BTC) to buy illegal goods like firearms and drugs. The creator of the place, who called himself Dread Pirate Roberts, was arrested when the marketplace was shut down.
Silk Road 2 has a very similar but short-lived story. As soon as the original Silk Road was shut down, a man who called himself Dread Pirate Roberts 2 (his original name was Thomas White) started the new (and not very original at all) project. He was arrested too just a few months later, in November 2014. His partner Blake Benthall was also arrested but is still not sentenced.
However, he received very different treatment. He was released on bail and then waited for five years for his sentence: only 64 months in jail for operating the illegal marketplace.
He was arrested in a joint effort between the FBI, Homeland Security and the Justice Department of the United States. At the time, he held 50 Bitcoin (which was worth a lot less than today).
White was not affiliated to the original group, but he sold fake IDs, drugs and counterfeit merchandise, as well as credit cards. By doing this, he was able to make around $8 million USD monthly. The main reason why the site grew up so fast was that people in the community admired the original one.
The whole scheme was based on creating a (very profitable) legacy for the Silk Road and it worked so well. “They may have sunk one ship, but now they have awoken the kraken”, White affirmed at the time.
After White was released on bail, he started to use the name The Cthulhu and commented on several privacy forums as a privacy expert. He was even interviewed by some tech-focused media outlets then.
The Original Dread Pirate Roberts Had a Much Harsher Sentence
What is maybe the most unfortunate aspect of this case is that, when you compare the first and the second Dread Pirate Roberts, you can see that the original one, Ross Ulbricht, is serving a life sentence, which shows just how unfair his trial was when someone basically takes on his legacy and gets “only” 64 months in jail.
The family of Ross Ulbricht got pissed off by the news, obviously. Their family member will stay locked up for the rest of his life while a copycat will serve five years and that’s it. The Free Ross Ulbricht movement once more demanded his freedom, then, a plea that will probably remain unheard by the Justice Courts.
Part of the complaints is that Silk Road 2 allowed for the trade of child porn while this was banned on the original Silk Road, too.
It does look arbitrary and the main reason why Ulbricht had such a harsh sentence was probably that the justice officials intended to make an example out of him. An example of how unfair the system is, it seems.