The alleged founder of underground e-commerce website Silk Road has been arrested.
The site’s primary medium of exchange was Bitcoin, the digital, ostensibly anonymous currency.
And right now, the talk on Bitcoin forums is pretty grim, not least because the FBI’s indictment indicates the feds are monitoring them.
The criminal complaint alleges that Ulbricht went by the name “altoid” on Bitcointalk.org, one of the main Bitcoin discussion sites.
That has turned Bitcointalk users paranoid.
“Did this forum give up information via a court order? How does one extract IP information and possibly deleted posts with a normal account?” “fcmatt” asked.
A user named “Rampion” called out “theymos,” an administrator at Bitcointalk.org, for possibly cooperating with authorities (emphasis “Rampion’s”):
Read the indictment. They are monitoring these forums (and much more), they looked how a guy called “altoid” mentioned SR very early on, he had registered that account with his real email (BTW, Theymos: how did they get the email through which he registered his btctalk account?).
So they thoroughly monitored “Ross Ulbricht”, and they realised he had the same interests of DPR – they wrote about the same books, liked the same videos… So they started to follow his moves… And they caught him.
They are watching.
There’s some debate about how the arrest will impact the future of Bitcoin.
News of the Silk Road shutdown instantly caused Bitcoin prices to fall.
Entrepreneur and “hacker” Nik Cubrilovic says Silk Road may have processed up to 75% of all Bitcoins in existence.
“Uhh, silkroad was a huge part of BTC economy.. its not just the bitcoins that will be dumped, its the impact on the btc economy itself..,” VolcanicEruptor said.
But reddit user “brcreeker” argues prices won’t come down by much, since Silk Road may be just one of a host of similarly illicit sites:
There might be a sudden flash crash, but I cannot see this news dragging the price below $US100.
If you are computer literate enough to use Tor and Bitcoin, then you should be well aware that identical, and possibly better services are already in the pipe. This market is way too big to just leave on the table.
And some are actually welcoming the arrest, arguing Bitcoin’s reputation will be improved if it is no longer associated with Silk Road, which largely trafficked in illegal goods.
“This may be good news since there is nothing holding bitcoins back from becoming mainstream anymore,” ronimacarroni wrote.