When people think of the websites that flourished thanks to the shift to the web 2.0 way of interacting online, they often think of sites and companies like Facebook, Yahoo, Google, and many others. However, some of the major points of the web 2.0 philosophy, user-based content and user-to-user engagement, haven’t always created the most respectable or admirable websites on the internet.
One site which grew out of the increased usage and reliance on the internet by millions of people in the US is the Silk Road. The Silk Road was well known as an “underground website … for drug trafficking and other illegal activity” as Matt Burns reports for TechCrunch. Silk Road was used by people all over the world to get illegal drugs, services, and almost anything else one can think of in a relatively safe and anonymous way.
As of yesterday, all of this illegal activity finally caught up to the site and its owner, Ross William Ulbricht. He has been charged with quite a bit, including conspiracy in narcotics hacking, computer hacking, and money laundering. Believe it or not, there were over 955,000 users accessing the site through a secure network called the Tor Network.
Its main competitor, Atlantis, “aimed to add a bit of whimsy and Web 2.0 marketing pizzazz to the same markets” but closed last month likely from pressure from the authorities. It goes to show you that people of all ranges of morality and ethics rely on the internet for good and bad. If it weren’t for the philosophies pushed by the founders of the web 2.0 movement, who knows if these sites or the ones we still use today (for completely legal activity!) would be here today.
Surprisingly, the Silk Road managed to rake in 9.5 million Bitcoins (a user-created online currency) that is equivalent to about $1.2 billion US dollars. That’s pretty remarkable, isn’t it?