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Silk Road 101: How did the now-busted online black market work? (+video)

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The site was started around June 18, 2011, according to authorities.

Who ran the site?

The site’s most recent operator, according to the FBI, was Mr. Ulbricht, who worked under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts,” or “DPR” for short. (Dread Pirate Roberts is a character in the film "The Princess Bride.")

Ulbricht, a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, moved to San Francisco in the fall of 2012 and was in transition from a career in physics to work as an investment adviser and entrepreneur, according to his LinkedIn page.

Ulbricht, who is in his late 20s, assumed control of Silk Road in early 2012, according to the criminal complaint.

So what exactly did DPR do on Silk Road?

In an interview with Forbes before Silk Road was shut down, DPR said that the site was a collaborative effort, but that he was in charge of all the “important Silk Road assets,” which included access to private forums and funds. 

Did DPR make a profit from the site?

Silk Road generated sales of roughly $1.2 billion, according to the complaint, and with Ulbricht’s arrest, authorities seized $3.6 million. It is unclear how much of Silk Road’s revenue DPR might have used. 

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