- This has been a joint operation run the cybercrime squad within the FBI’s New York field office. It involved the FBI, DEA, IRS and Homeland Security’s investigative unit.
- It’s unstated from when the investigation started, but they received a complete copy of the Silk Road web server on the 23rd of July 2013.
- This included user account and transaction information. It’s unclear whether or not this covers addresses and other sensitive transaction information.
- From February 6, 2011 to July 23 2013, 9,519,664BTC was generated in sales, 614,305BTC going directly to DPR in the way of “commissions”. This comes to a total of 1,229,465 transactions.
- Based on the copy of the site which the FBI received, they believe DPR to have been the sole operator and owner of SR, handling all aspects of the site himself and delegating only user affairs to appointed moderators.
- In March of this year, a SR user/vendor called “FriendlyChemist” attempted to extort DPR via SR’s private message system, providing proof that he had the names/addresses of thousands of vendors/users after having allegedly hacked a bigger vendor. He demanded $500,000USD, saying that he needed the money to pay off his supplier. DPR then stated that he wished to speak to FriendlyChemist’s supplier.
- A user called “redandwhite” then proceeded to contact DPR, stating that he was FriendlyChemist’s supplier and also the owner of his debt. DPR then solicited redandwhite to “execute” FriendlyChemist, supplying redandwhite his full name and address. After having agreed on terms, DPR sent redandwhite approximately $150,000USD (1,670BTC) to have FriendlyChemist killed. redandwhite later provided photographic proof of the alleged murder.
- Investigators could not find any record of somebody in that region being killed around that date or matching that description. This possibly implies that DPR was duped/scammed, but, DPR is also quoted as having told redandwhite the following: “Not long ago, I had a clean hit done for 80k.”
- DPR has been identified as Ross William Ulbricht.
- > “He is 29 years old, graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 2006. From 2006 to 2010, he attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Materials Science and Engineering.”
- His LinkedIn profile is at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rossulbricht
Now, onto how he got caught…
- An agent involved in the investigation (“Agent-1”), found the first few references to SR on the internet from somebody only identified as “altoid”, attempting to promote the site in its beginning days, in January of 2011.
- In October of the same year, a user also going by the name of “altoid” made a posting on Bitcoin Talk titled “a venture backed Bitcoin startup company”, which directed interested users to “rossulbricht at gmail dot com”.
- That email address is what led to DPR’s downfall.
Ross Ulbricht about himself on Linkedin:
“I love learning and using theoretical constructs to better understand the world around me. Naturally therefore, I studied physics in college and worked as a research scientist for five years. I published my findings in peer reviewed journals five times over that period, first on organic solar cells and then on EuO thin-film crystals. My goal during this period of my life was simply to expand the frontier of human knowledge.
Now, my goals have shifted. I want to use economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and agression amongst mankind. Just as slavery has been abolished most everywhere, I believe violence, coercion and all forms of force by one person over another can come to an end. The most widespread and systemic use of force is amongst institutions and governments, so this is my current point of effort. The best way to change a government is to change the minds of the governed, however. To that end, I am creating an economic simulation to give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force.”