Why is Silk Road On the Dark Web Shut Down?

Do you know the real story behind the closure of the first dark web marketplace? The Silk Road is the first and the most famous dark web marketplace that offers more than 24,400 products related to drugs.

The original Silk Road was developed in 2011 and shut down in 2013 by the efforts of FBI officers. After that, Silk Road 2.0 was launched immediately after the cracked down and shut down its services in 2014. The Silk Road market has been a famous darknet marketplace for many years. Many individuals still talk about it because of its noteworthy history.

Let’s deep dive into the notorious marketplace on the mysterious web and its current status on the dark web. Additionally, we discussed what happened to the founder of the Silk Road market and where he is now.

What was the Silk Road Marketplace?

Silk Road on the dark web was the first mysterious marketplace active from February 2011 to October 2013 on the Tor network. It provides illicit items in the dark world to boost sales on the dark web. It was one of the leading dark net markets of its time, so much so that it is still discussed even though it has been some time since the market was shut down.

This dark web market was created by Ross Ulbricht, who was also known as Dead Pirate Roberts on the dark net marketplace. His main goal was to develop a program that would allow secret e-commerce sales by securing:

  • Protect the Identities of customers
  • Transaction Anonymity
  • Freedom of buying illegal stuff

It connected customers with incognito vendors in the dark world. The standard currency that was used for payment on the website was Bitcoin. However, before the consideration of the Silk Road market, Bitcoin was obscure, with the first Bitcoin transaction mainly being 10,000 BTC just for 2 pizzas. After the Silk Road on the Dark web market introduced Bitcoin as a primary currency, Bitcoin crossed $266 per coin, and the marketplace became a $200 million operation.

The Master Mind Behind Silk Road Creation

The founder of the Silk Road market was famous for their pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts. His real name was Ross Ulbricht. Based on the aims of individual freedom and voluntary exchange, Ulbricht Ross created the mysterious Silk Road marketplace in 2011. It allows users to exchange illicit items and services secretly without any rules and regulations.

Ultimately, the FBI arrested Ulbricht at his headquarters In San Francisco, California, after he made some mistakes that disclosed his identity and location, such as:

  • Prompted Silk Road on his personal LinkedIn account.
  • Uploading real pictures on the fake IDs to rent servers.
  • Asking for recommendations on how to enhance the Silk Road using his real name.

The last nail in the coffin was when Ulbricht Ross used the same profile to talk about the Silk Road marketplace and to post a job listing with his real email address.

That blunder exposed him, and a tax agent identified Ulbricht in 2011, which led to the seizure of his PC and Silk Road market crypto. He was arrested from his base and subsequent life sentence.

What Happened to the Silk Road Market?

The Silk Road was taken down in 2013 after the FBI knew about the existence of the secret marketplace and conspired with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service and customs agents. Although the federal agents admitted that the use of the Tor network and Bitcoin to hide addresses were important obstacles that they encountered, they were still able to suppress the drug marketplace.

The FBI closed down the site permanently, seized more than 144,000 Bitcoins (minimum valued at S34), and arrested many users of the site, including the owner, Ross Ulbricht, who made approximately $80 million in commissions from the transactions executed within the site. Ulbricht was convicted in 2015, and he is currently in prison for a life sentence without the possibility of any appeal.

Is The Silk Road on the Dark Web Still Active?

The Silk Road market no longer exists on the mysterious world of the Internet because of a US government crackdown. This mainly happened two years after the inception of this darknet market.

US Senator Charles Schumer led an investigation with the Department of Justice to determine the aim of the market in illicit darknet trades.

The outcomes of the deep securitize were not in favor of the respective darknet site, which is why the website was taken down in 2013 by the FBI. The cryptocurrency wallets of Silk users were seized after this crackdown.

By cutting the roots of the financial sources of the Silk Road, the US government shut down the first version of the Silk Road marketplace. However, this existence did not completely remove the market from Tor.

That is because it is impossible to prevent the reconstruction of the dark web market. On the Tor network mirror links are quite common and bring old websites to the web again.

This is why the illegal market did not completely vanish once it was taken down in 2013. That is because of the development of Silk Road 2.0 soon after the shutdown.

Is the Silk Road 2.0 Still Active On the Dark Web Market?

Most people still believe that this dark marketplace has been off the dark web since 2013, but that is not entirely true. The original market site was taken down that year after an FBI operation. However, another e-commerce site resurfaced on the darknet immediately after the original takedown.

The new dark Internet market was called Silk Road 2.0 on the Tor network. Its unique quality was that the same owners ran the site as the original dark web market.

Blake Benthall was the man who re-established the dark market in the black world. However, the site’s life was short on the anonymous network because it was closed in 2014.

The escrow accounts of the new dark marketplace suffered a blow within one year. That is because $2.7 million was stolen from the latest version of the dark online market, indicating its low security.

The Silk Road 2.0 owner was also arrested, which ceased its operations on the dark web. Since 2014, the Silk Road marketplace has been completely inoperative on the dark web. This means no other mirror link sites came into being after the closure of the second version.

In spite of being taken down, this dark site still concretes the way for another darknet market. So, while this website may not be inoperative, there are multiple alternatives to it on the mysterious dark world of the Internet.

What Could People Buy And Sell on the Silk Road?

Silk Road was commonly used for buying and selling drugs; by 2013, 70% of the products sold on Silk Road were drugs. On this darknet site, people buy banned energy drinks, hacking services, online goods like malware and pirated software, and fake and illegal documents and licenses.

However, there are some legal goods and services that are also sold, like art, jewelry, books, and medical supplies. Like any other e-commerce platform, Silk Road users could review and rate products and vendors. This way market promotes reliable vendors and kicks out the fraudsters.

In the beginning, the Silk Road restricted the sale of anything with the intent to harm or defraud: child pornography, assassination-related offers, and weapons. Along with narcotics, other darknet markets have offered cybercrime services, weapons, and counterfeit currencies.

Stolen personal data and selling on the dark web lead to identity theft is also a big commodity. Explore the dark web markets, and you may be shocked to find your personal details like credit card numbers or bank information for sale.

But the darknet is more than just illegal online marketplaces. You can use reliable dark web search engines to navigate helpful dark websites. You can also get secure email services, independent journalism sites, and even the darknet Wiki.

What are The Biggest Dark Web Marketplaces?

Silk Road was the biggest and most famous darknet market of its time. Today, there is more diversity of dark web markets- these new darknet marketplaces are more likely to categorize into specific items or unique transaction methods. Some copy the Silk Road phenomenon, while others find innovative ways.

Dark web marketplaces will exist as long as there remains supply and demand for illegal stuff. Here are some of the best online drug markets and biggest dark web markets today:

  • AlphaBay: Seizure in 2017 during Operation Bayonet, AlphaBay was re-established in 2021. This marketplace features a transaction system the same as eBay. All transactions are made via a safe and secure escrow system. Unlike most other prominent marketplaces, AlphaBay accepts other cryptocurrencies in addition to Bitcoin.
  • VersusMarket: VersusMarket is known for all-purpose dark web markets; it offers drugs along with a vast selection of bogus items, such as jewelry, gold, software, and carded items. You can buy illegal jewelry, gold, software, and carded items through illicit card purchases. It is considered a community website and includes customers in the development of the platform.
  • Vice City Market: This marketplace is best known for its user satisfaction. It prioritizes buyer’s and seller’s feedback to transform the platform and enhance the user experience. Vice City Market supports walletless purchases, so buyers don’t need to deposit additional cryptocurrency in their crypto wallets.
  • ASAP Market: Formerly known as ASEAN Market, this marketplace primarily focuses on narcotics. An account is not necessary to browse the products, but you need to register to buy products. One of the best perks of the ASAP marketplace is its advanced security system for identifying scammers and fake reviews.

Will Silk Road Back Into The Game In the Future?

Many individuals believe that the first and most famous illicit dark web market will come back in the future, that is because darknet users still thirst for the anonymity, privacy, and trustworthiness the dark market provides them.

However, it is likely impossible for the Silk Road to come back into being. It has been more than a decade since the market was shut down. After the closure of the Silk Road 2.0, no other versions appear on the dark web surface.

The original site’s founder is also still in prison and will be serving a life sentence. So, he can’t revive the market from jail. Blake Benthall has also been out of the scene since his arrest by the FBI.

So, there is no else left from Silk Road’s administration to continue the platform again. Of course, nobody knows what may happen in the future.

Someone may try operating Silk Road again, but it is doubtful that it will stay on the web for how long. That is because government agencies are more active than ever in shutting down illicit dark marketplaces.


Q. Is the Silk Road market still active on the Dark Web?

The Silk Road no longer exists since 2013, after the FBI cracked down and arrested the founder of the drug market.

Q. Why was the Silk Road Iliect if the Darknet wasn’t?

The dark web itself is not illegal; it is an anonymous web browser, but the sites on the dark web usually sell illicit goods and services and facilitate other unlawful activities.

Q. Why do the US and other governments try their best to shut down dark web marketplaces?

Governments take significant steps to take down dark web marketplaces due to concerns about illicit activities such as drug dealing, weapons sales, and cybercrime. Shutting down these online black markets is a strategy to protect innocent civilians.

Final Verdict

In this blog post, we have covered everything about the status of the Silk Road on the dark web. This marketplace has been inactive for more than a decade, so it is likely impossible that it will be revived in the future. However, always take security precautions while accessing dark websites or online black marketplaces. Always use a good VPN to access the dark web and secure your anonymity.

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