Dread Pirate Roberts is the anonymous owner and operator of the Silk Road, the anonymous marketplace where people can buy illegal drugs online.
This is the Silk Road’s second go-around — it was shut down once before with the arrest of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged former owner. It has since relaunched with new management and is currently operating outside the reach of the feds.
If anything were to happen that threatened the continued operation of the site — even if the new Dread Pirate Roberts were arrested and held in lockup somewhere — it would be unaffected and would continue to operate per usual. He revealed how this is possible in
an interview with Ars Technica, saying:
There is only one person in the world that knows who [my second in command] is — me. So unless the feds have me they can never take down the Road, because as soon as I am missing he knows to just move servers and hit the killswitch on my access. Just think how much the FBI will be squirming in their seats and red-faced again if they could arrest the Dread Pirate Roberts and the Road continues to function in their face.
Just like the fictional Dread Pirate Roberts from “The Princess Bride,” there appears to be a new DPR ready to step in should the current one no longer be able to keep things running.