Imagine you are trying to buy drugs. Maybe you meet your dealer in a back alley or on a street corner in a less than desirable neighborhood. When most people imagine how someone would buy something illegal, these are the thoughts that come to mind. However, the internet has made it possible for new and different ways for people to purchase illegal drugs. There are numerous legitimate websites where people may list illegal items and services, but most of these transactions are easily traced. There are also many different web bazaars, which were built purely to host illegal transactions and which promise more anonymity and a larger range of illicit items.
Ulbrict is 29 years old and ran the website, which included software that masked the location of the user’s internet connection. Instead of dollars, the site used the currency ‘bitcoins’ to allow people to purchase illegal items. The U.S. government estimated the website generated over $1 billion dollars in revenue since it launched. The Silk Road was known for the illegal drug sales it hosted, but it was also contained other items for sale such as software, social media hacks, currency, and even firearms.