Updated August 23, 2018 14:10:55After its initial debut in 2009, the Silk Road website grew quickly to become the most popular web-based marketplace in the world, and it’s still one of the most visited sites in the history of the world.
Today, its user base is estimated to be more than 200 million, and its most popular drugs are still being sold online.
Today Silk Road is in a state of flux, with its original servers shut down, but its operators continue to operate.
In a recent interview with Ars, Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht said that his original plan to shut down the site in early 2013 had not gone according to plan.
“The plan was to shutdown it, and we were trying to figure out how to do it and how to monetize the traffic,” he said.
“But I don’t think we made any money on it.”
“It was all very well just selling illegal drugs to other people,” he continued.
“We were able to sell to people who wanted to do the same things.
But we couldn’t make a living off of it, so we ended up shutting it down.”
While the Silk Route was one of those first sites that started to make money, its other sites have had a rocky relationship with the internet.
According to Ulbrithsts, the operators of Silk Road were “very secretive” about the fact that their site was shut down.
The first site that Ulbriths and his team shut down was called Black Market Reloaded, which was run by a group of ex-soldiers who had been recruited to help out the Silk Street operation by a shadowy company called Silk Road 2.0.
In the early days, Silk Street 2.1 was the largest of the three sites, with a combined user base of nearly 200 million people.
Ulbrismans team, however, believed that the site was too small and did not have enough traffic to justify shutting down.
In order to keep Black Market in operation, the team of ex soldiers needed to find ways to monetise the traffic from the site.
“They would ask people who were trying out the site, or people who had heard about it, to sell their goods for money,” Ulbrichs ex-military recruiter, Ryan Johnson, told Ars.
“The problem with Silk Road 1.0 was, it had a very low price to sale, and so it wasn’t an attractive option to many people.”
So, Ulbrithets team created Silk Road Marketplace, which had the exact same user base as Black Market 2.2.
The idea was to help Black Market users sell their illegal goods, while making a profit.
Silk Road users would sell goods, such as drugs and guns, for a low price and Silk Road sellers would sell their products for a high price.
The site had a relatively small market for illegal drugs, and the only other drug offered was heroin.
The site was also a place for drug dealers to sell drugs, which allowed for users to sell weapons and other items for a relatively low price.
In early 2013, the site’s administrators shut down for good, but the Silkroad 2.5 website still exists and is used by a few other sites.
“It’s still an important part of our operation,” Johnson told Ars, “but we don’t want to have a lot of people who are trying to make a quick buck.”
“I think we need to start looking at ways to keep it going,” Ulrichts former ex-Army recruiter added.
“There’s a lot that could be done to keep this site running.”
“We need to keep the traffic flowing,” he added.
In February 2014, Ulrichths former co-founder and co-CEO Ross Ulbrecht told Ars that the team had already reached out to the FBI, but it would be months before they would be able to reopen Silk Road.
“I would say we are a little bit in limbo, but we are going to keep trying to get a hold of the authorities,” he explained.
“Because they want to do something with us, they need to get in the way.”
Weber told Ars the team has been working on ways to reopen the site for a while, but he added that it is “not really something that I can commit to right now.”
“Our team is working hard to keep Silk Road running, but I would say there is a long way to go before we can get to the point where we are comfortable with shutting down,” he told Ars in a follow-up email.
“At the same time, we’re still very excited about how things are going.”
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