Today, the FBI seized the Darknet market Silk Road 2.0 and arrested its alleged operator, Blake Benthall. The former SpaceX employee now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for “conspiring to commit narcotics trafficking,” and could end up behind bars for the rest of this life.
The website DeepDotWeb has confirmed that two other Darknet markets, Hydra and Cloud 9, have also been seized by the FBI. But the remaining Darknet markets — and there are a lot of them — appear to be functioning normally.
It’s possible other markets may come down soon, or that they are already under the control of the FBI. But if this latest operation is restricted to just the three sites named above, it would affect only a fraction – anywhere from a quarter to a third – of total Darknet commerce.
In August of this year, the group Digital Citizens’ Alliance issued a report on the size of Darknet markets, including the number of items for sale on each. All told, Silk Road 2.0, Hydra and Cloud 9 accounted for roughly 20,000 out of 66,000 listings, including drugs and other items.
Silk Road 2.0 is the largest of the three seized sites, but a recent story by The Economist suggest that its overall Darknet market share has shrunk since August. It’s also very likely that a number of other Darknet markets have sprung up since then, and that the existing markets have boosted the number of items for sale.
– Read the entire article at Washington Post.