The Silk Road saga lives on, and this time, the code has been forked.
The newest Silk Road player, called Silk Road Reloaded (SRR), is distinctly different in at least two ways from previous Silk Road iterations.
First, the SRR is not run on the Tor network, as almost all other drug markets are. It is instead run on a lesser-known anonymizing network called the Invisible Internet Project, or “I2P” for short. I2P was released in 2003 and, unlike Tor, its developers are pseudonymous and they don't appear to be funded by a state.
Second, whereas previous Silk Roads accepted only Bitcoin for payment, SRR uses a wallet that supports multiple cryptocurrencies like Anoncoin, Darkcoin and Dogecoin. The wallet converts these currencies to Bitcoin and then delivers them to the user's account balance for shopping.
What's Good for Conversion Is Good for Bitcoin
Users wishing to pay in an altcoin on SRR are charged 1%. This minor loss in purchasing power incentivizes users to pay directly in Bitcoin, but also enables those who wish to use more anonymous currencies to do so.
A screenshot found of SRR's store (populated only with sample products) shows that the marketplace functions with all the same safeguards as other successful markets: product ratings, seller reputations and product feedback sections.
The sample offerings may now be replaced with the real stuff. The site announced on January 11:
“Sample data is being removed. Current vendor(s) your products will show shortly. Thank you all for making the site launch a success!”
A Marketplace Regulated by Philosophy?
Noticeably missing from SRR's offerings—as opposed to other Silk Roads—is credit card data. You know, the kind used to drain strangers' accounts of their fiat.
And credit card data may never be available on the site, as it's possible that the philosophy of the site's founders simply won't allow for it. The site reads:
“We created this to allow the most basic of human activities to occur unimpeded, that being trade. It's not only a major disruption of progress but, it is an interference to control someone to the degree that their free will is compromised. We may not be able to stop this but, we certainly won't contribute to it.”
And theft of credit card funds certainly isn't trade, is it?
Tor vs. I2P
If SRR turns out to be a secure shopping experience, this may cause other free markets to move away from Tor and onto I2P. Many security vulnerabilities have recently been discovered in Tor, and users are always eager for a network upgrade.
Have you visited Silk Road Reloaded yet? Or what about I2P—have you tried it? Share your experiences in the comments below.
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