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

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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. 

How did users pay for items?

With Bitcoins: Users had to acquire this electronic currency before they could purchase anything on Silk Road. Transactions on Silk Road accounted for about 5 percent of all exchange transactions carried out with Bitcoins, according to Nicolas Christin, a cybersecurity researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. 

The Bitcoin currency is not tied to any government or bank, but rather is controlled through computer software, which means that the value of Bitcoins can fluctuate violently. After Silk Road was closed, the Bitcoin value dropped from more than $140 to $129 in one day.

How was the site accessed?

Silk Road was accessible only via a special computer network known as Tor

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