The Silk Road is one Bitcoin related operation I've never had the occasion to use, and a large part of that comes from my active avoidance of it. I prefer my mind altering substances in the form of bottles of bourbon acquirable from the local liquor store, which is a fairly minor reason to avoid the endeavour. The larger reason though is that in the pre-Snowden era where the extent of the United States government's spying apparatus was largely unknown, involving oneself in a site that necessarily featured a lot of security precautions and I personally lacked the expertise to tell if those precautions were going to provide actual security or security theatre.1 The post-Snowden revelation that the Drug Enforcement Agency leverages NSA surveillance in their investigations makes it seem any venture of The Silk Road's kind is incompatible with the Drug Enforcement Agency's existence without some incredible implementation of actual security. Today's events aren't much of a surprise, beyond them happening today rather than some other day.
That tor on its own is not security, should have been assumed long before the Snowden leaks. When even Google Analytics breaks tor "protection" as frequently as it does, its probably safest to assume tor on its own can hide you about as well as a birth control pill can prevent syphilis.
One perk of finding the right things and right people to read is you get to read discussions like this comment thread and and reread them on days like today and see the right things were said by the right people. You get to see suspicions you shared with others about the small size of The Silk Road relative to the rest of the Bitcoin space confirmed.2 You also get to link to someone else's write up on the lulzy posturing and drama which contributed to the collapse of The Silk Road instead of having to write it yourself.
Meanwhile the Bitcoin/USD price is bouncing around on the exchanges, but largely isn't moving outside of where it had been these last several months.
- There's also the part where random internet nerds generally can't get protection as actual drug lords do from their BFFs in the CIA. [↩]
- A large motivation in starting to blog was that in the future I will be able to document having expressed suspicions like this. [↩]