The underground market called the Silk Road Reloaded has moved from the I2P network. The website is also accepting cryptocurrencies like dogecoin, anoncoin and litecoin.
The website is a recreation of Silk Road 2 which itself is a recreation of the original Silk Road. The Silk Road was founded with the aim of allowing free trade between people who for one reason or the other could not conduct their activities over the regular Internet. These include trade in drugs and weapons.
While indeed recognizing and accepting that the activities that go on in the Silk Road market are illegal, the founders were quick to stress that people should buy and sell whatever they wish to. It is the nature of a free market. Typically, the internet as many people know it is indexed by the major search engines such as Google and Bing. The websites that run in the Tor and I2P networks are interested in providing services which would most typically be blacklisted by the major search engines.
In order to understand the need for anonymity that Silk Road Reloaded seeks with such zeal, one has to understand the state of anonymity or rather the lack of it – over the internet. Tor, as explained widely on the Internet, is a network that consists of users who would rather stay out the watchful eye of law enforcement and other snooping eyes. Ironically, the very people who are after the Tor users are the same who created it.
Tor has been a reliable network for many anonymity seekers online, until reports started emerging that the network was vulnerable. This was especially highlighted by the arrest of the alleged founders of the original Silk Road and the Silk Road 2 by the FBI. The fact that the alleged founders of the two Silk Road versions that have proceeded the Silk Road Reloaded have been arrested might be indicative of the vulnerability of the Tor network to snooping.
The I2P network is a relatively new anonymity network. The main stream media knows the I2P network by the name ‘The Internet Project’. By moving here, the Silk Road Reloaded is looking to force law enforcement to create a whole new approach to cracking it down.
In addition to moving networks, the Silk Road Reloaded has changed the monetary policy. The new Silk Road will now accept newer types of cryptocurrencies like anoncoin, litecoin and dogecoin. However, in order to change these new currencies into the more common BitCoin, the Silk Road Reloaded owners will charge a 1% currency conversion fee, in addition to their regular commission.
Now, considering that the website has moved, one wonders how users will be able to access the new site. Well, in order to access any site on I2P, one needs to download special software. That said, it is important to note that the anonymity in the I2P network is not guaranteed but founders expect it to rise when the number of users rises. Typical of anonymity networks like Tor, I2P will rely on gaining a high number of users to make snooping difficult.
Top/Featured Image: By L3lackEyedAngels / Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Silk_Road_Logo.png)