Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Silk Road - Underground Marketplace for Recreational Chemicals

EDIT:  this site is long gone.  I am mildly embarrassed that I gave it any press, given that there were some slightly shady things that may have gone on there.  But I don't personally consider reasonable amounts of certain substances in safe environments to be shady.

This site made the news a while back, an underground marketplace hidden more or less in plain sight.  I happened to think of it again when a friend of mine who lives a couple of thousand miles away was trying to source a few difficult to find items.  The link I have is:


But you can't access that link with an ordinary browser.  As far as I know the only option is to use the anonymous Tor browser bundle, so in theory everyone approaches the site anonymously.  The Tor browser bundle sets up pretty neatly as a one-click solution using a version of Firefox as the browser.  However, due to the anonymizing, it starts slower (I often wonder if something is wrong) and everything loads slower than your regular browser.  Once at the Silk Road site you'll have to create a username and password to look around.

Mainly recreational chemicals are sold, everything from cannabis, shrooms, LSD,  MDMA and Ketamine to name a few, and when I just now took a look, there were 1557 drug items being sold.  My recollection is that there is a lot more going on there than when I first took a look some months back.  Trades are made using Bitcoins, a digital currency which I presently know next to nothing about, except that some of the prices seem a bit high.  As of today, a Bitcoin trades for $2.77 USD.

Sellers receive ratings from buyers, which if accurate would help to prevent rip-offs.  Without ratings I'm not sure such a site would be practical.  Given reasonable ratings, most of the risk involved would be in receiving the package itself.

I have not used the site myself, but I find it very interesting.

I have a certain amount of libertarian sympathies in me, and I would tend to agree with one highly-ranked seller's viewpoint on this kind of thing:

About me: Cautious, normal, everyday person who ships high quality products discreetly. I believe that the use of drugs is a personal choice. I also believe that those who are able to navigate the complexities involved with acquiring Bitcoin and configuring Tor are intellectually fit enough to research their drugs and take appropriate doses relative to their experience and comfort level. Try visiting erowid.org as a nice informative starting point if you're unsure.

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