Silk Road Decoded

Here is a post we found while floatin’ around – thought it would be useful.

The Bitcoin

The currency used to buy stuff on Silk Road are
Bitcoin. Bitcoin uses encryption and a system of
peer-to-peer double checking to create a
completely digital currency. No personal
information is associated with your bitcoins at all,
making them ideal for anonymous transactions.
Additionally, Silk Road employs a built-in tumbler
that mixes all incoming bitcoins through a series
of dummy transactions before they ever leave.
Silk Road employs a escrow system for all
transaction. This means that when you make a
order the bitcoins are deducted from you wallet,
moves into a temporary escrow account, then
after the vendor sends to order they confirm it
being sent. When you receive the package, you
confirm it being received and the vendor revives
the coin. If for whatever reason you do not
receive the package you can send the order into
resolution, where you and the vendor can resolve
the problem or should that not work Silk Road
well step in an resolve the issue. Keep in mind
this system is to prevent fraud on both the end of
the seller and the buyer.
Connecting to Hidden Services
If you are reading this now, you have at least
figured out how to access a tor hidden service,
good job 🙂 You have either installed tor and
configured your browser to use it, or you are
using a proxy such as tor2web. We strongly
encourage you to connect to the hidden service
directly rather than going through a proxy as it is
much more secure and anonymous. The Tor
Browser Bundle is available for all major platforms.
Getting Bitcoins
In the Internet you will find lists of reputable
exchangers that will take many different forms of
payment for Bitcoins. When they ask for your
receiving address, give them the address on your
account page that looks something like this:
1E8sKdGWSy9ysm5ndCbBfdySzRhiPwmYDr
Your deposit will appear in your account once the
Bitcoin network confirms your transfer. This can
take up to an hour or more. If for some reason
your transfer doesn’t come through, just let us
know and be sure to include the address you sent
the coins to.
Your account has a built-in eWallet for Bitcoins, so
you can buy and sell here without ever having to
worry about third-party services at all. When you
sell something, your account is credited, and
when you buy something, it is debited.
Shopping Cart
The first step to placing an order is selecting the
items you want to purchase by adding them to
your shopping cart. From the cart, you may
increase the quantity of your purchase, and
select the appropriate postage option. See your
vendor’s page or the item description for postage
instructions. When you’ve chosen your postage
and quantity, click “update cart” to confirm the
changes. Once your cart is ready, you must enter
the address you would like your items sent to.
This is the one point in the process where some
kind of personal information is revealed. We take
this very seriously and have taken every
precaution to protect it.
Receiving adress
From the moment you submit your order, to the
moment it is displayed to your vendor, the
information is fully encrypted and totally
unreadable. Then, as soon as your vendor marks
your package with the address and confirms
shipment, the address is deleted forever and is
not retrievable. For the extra cautious, you can
encrypt your information yourself with your
vendor’s public key so that even we at Silk Road
would be unable to view it, even if we wanted to.
See below for more ways to be safe.
Payment
If you have enough funds in your account to
cover your purchase, then your order will be
validated instantly and sent on to your vendor. If
not, then you must deposit enough Bitcoins into
your account to cover your total.
When your order ships, its status will change from
“processing” to “in transit.” Now just kick back
and wait for it to arrive. Once it does, don’t forget
to click “finalize” next to your order and leave
feedback.
Receiving packages
Use a different, unrelated address than the one
where your item will be kept such as a friends
house or P.O. box. Once the item arrives,
transport it discretely to its final destination.
Avoid abandoned buildings or any place where it
would be suspicious to have mail delivered.
Do not sign for your package. If you are expecting
a package from us, do not answer the door for
the postman, let him leave it there and then
transport it as described above. Do not use your
real name. This tactic doesn’t work in some places
because deliveries won’t be made to names not
registered with the address. If you think this is a
problem, send your self a test letter with the fake
name and see if it arrives.
If you follow these guidelines, your chances of
being detected are minimal. In the event that you
are detected, deny requesting the package.
Anyone can send anyone else anything in the
mail.
Escrow main article
Our commitment is to total satisfaction for each
and every purchase you make here. If your
package never arrives or is not in the condition
you expected, you may have a chance at a full or
partial refund of the purchase price. Just click
“resolve” next to your order. Our resolution center
gives you total flexibility in working out a mutually
agreeable outcome with your vendor, whether
you want to request a full or partial refund,
release payment to your vendor, or extend the
time you wait for arrival. In the rare event that an
agreement can’t be made, a Silk Road admin will
be right there to mediate and investigate if
necessary. The vast majority of orders are filled
exactly as expected, but to avoid even the rare
hang up, we strongly encourage you to read your
vendor’s feedback and ask questions of them
ahead of time.
NEVER go around the escrow and pay a vendor
directly. We will be totally unable to protect you
in this event and the vendor will have much less
motivation to serve you well. People HAVE been
scammed this way. If a seller requests that you
pay them directly, please let us know so we can
address the situation.
Purchasing statistics
Because you are totally anonymous on Silk Road,
the vendors here have no way of knowing if they
can trust you at first. To help them judge whether
they want to do business with you or not, some
statistics are kept about your past purchases.
When you purchase an item, before the order is
accepted, your vendor can see how long you
have been a member on the site, how many
orders have been shipped out to you, and what
percentage of the payments you made for those
purchases were ultimately refunded to you. They
can also see how many orders you ignored and
allowed to “auto-finalize.” So, the best way to
keep a good reputation and eventually be
accepted by all of the vendors here is to finalize
your orders as soon as they arrive and you
confirm they are good, and to only request a
refund when you deserve it. The statistics are
weighted toward the present, so you must keep
up your good behavior, but if you have a bad
streak, you can recover by doing well going
forward. You can view your own stats at any time
by clicking the link on your account page.
Here’s how Silk Road escrow works: you buy a
product using the site and Silk Road holds onto
your Bitcoins; you enter the shipping address and
it is sent to the seller, your order is now in
“processing.” Once the seller ships the product
they mark the order as “in transit.” (The seller has
three days to do this, or else the order can be
cancelled.) Once the package arrives, the seller
marks the order as “finalized,” the Bitcoins are
given to the seller, and the buyer can leave
feedback and a 0-5 rating. Finalization cannot be
undone and escrow is over. Some dealers
demand that buyers with less than five or so
transactions finalize before shipment, but not all
do. If there’s a problem between buyer and seller,
the Silk Road administrators will help resolve it. A
common result is 50% refund to the buyer if the
seller reships 50% of the product.
Tumbler
Just when you thought Silk Road couldn’t be
more secure, we went one step further. The
tumbler sends all payments through a complex,
semi-random series of dummy transactions, each
with a new, one-use receiving address, making it
nearly impossible to link your payment with any
coins leaving the site. The quantity, frequency,
and number of transactions are all varied
chaotically in a way that mimics the transactions
of the bitcoin economy as a whole.
Escrow hedge
Unfortunately, the Bitcoin exchange rate isn’t as
stable as we would all like it to be, and can
fluctuate wildly in a matter of hours, let alone the
days or weeks it takes for a package to arrive.
Because of this, there is a real danger that the
Bitcoins being held in your escrow account will
lose value by the time your vendor gets paid or
you are refunded. So, we’ve given the option to
vendors to hedge the future payments they are
expecting from escrow such that the dollar value
of the payment doesn’t change as the Bitcoin
exchange rate changes.
For example, a vendor is hedging the escrow for a
10 btc order you place with them, and the dollar
value of your order when you purchase it is $100.
Now, let’s say your order never arrives and your
vendor agrees to a full refund, but those 10 btc
are no longer worth $100, they’re worth $50!
Because your vendor hedged the escrow, you
won’t get a refund of 10 btc, you’ll get 20 btc
equaling the original value of $100. Of course, the
opposite is also true. If Bitcoins appreciate in
value while your order is in escrow, your refund
will be fewer Bitcoins, but still equaling the
original dollar value.
When checking out, you will see which orders will
be hedged and which won’t. After the order is
placed, your escrow balance will reflect the dollar
value of your hedged orders and the Bitcoin value
of your unhedged orders. All hedged orders are
hedged as soon as the order is placed. So when
getting a refund for hedged items, don’t be
surprised if the number of Bitcoins you get back
is not the same as the amount you paid.
Final Note
We do everything we can to protect your
anonymity and ensure that your visits here bring
you great satisfaction. However, you should
understand the risks of possessing and using any
of the items you purchase here. Research these
matters before jumping in and be responsible for
your actions. Learn how Tor and Bitcoin work so
you can understand how to use them and where
their limitations are. If you have any questions or
concerns, we are here to support you.
Making a Successsful Purchase
Making a successful purchase on Silk Road
requires several elements to work for you:
product discovery, order placement, delivery and
finalization of the transaction.
Successful Product Discovery
Research the vendor heavily, paying a lot of
attention to more recent feedback. Check
feedback on vendor’s profile on SR and search
them on the forum. Reputable vendors will show
up on the forum. If they aren’t there, you are
taking a big risk. Research the product you wish
to by related to the country in which you live.
Research success rates in deliveries between
countries. Research the etiquette in making a
purchase on Silk Road.
Read the sales page and the vendor page
thoroughly, noting any special instructions given
by the vendor. If you have any questions, send a
message to the vendor, using PGP if they request
it and especially if you have incriminating
information to discuss in your message.
Remember to include your public key if
necessary.
Pay special attention to whether or not the
vendor works in escrow or not. We always
recommend that you buy in escrow. If you don’t,
all of your protection as a buyer is gone. Use your
best judgment and if you choose to use a vendor
that doesn’t use SR’s escrow system, don’t spend
bitcoins that you are attached to. If you are not
comfortable with the way a vendor works, do not
do business with them.
Successful Order Placement
When you are confident that you are going to
have a good transaction, place your order. Be
sure you encrypt your name and address when
you place your order. Your odds for a successful
delivery greatly increase when you use your real
name and be sure your mailing address is correct.
Research this on the forum before you assume
that a fake name is best (see links below). Your
bitcoin will disappear from your account and be
placed in escrow. When your order is approved by
the seller, the status on your order page will
change to “processing,” and links to “finalize” and
“resolve” will appear. When your order has been
shipped, the status will change to “in transit” and
the options to finalize and resolve will continue to
appear.
Successful Delivery
If you have used a good name and address in
your order, and followed the above
recommendations, there is a very good chance
that your package should arrive to its destination.
Be wary if something strange happens during
delivery (being asked to sign for something you
weren’t expecting to sign for) and use your best
judgment to deal with the situation if it arises.
Remember you have an order coming from an
unknown person. Be generally aware of when to
expect your order and check all your mail
thoroughly. Your product could be hidden, and
hidden well.
Successful Finalization
When your order has arrived, the very first thing
you need to do after inspecting your package is
to come back to your orders page and finalize the
transaction by clicking the finalize link. This will
release your escrowed bitcoin to the vendor. They
have kept up with their end of the deal, it is
proper for you to swiftly do the same thing.
After finalizing, you will be sent to a feedback
page. Submit your honest feedback and
remember, if the postal service “lost” your mail, it
is not necessarily because the vendor didn’t send
it, If you did your research above, you should feel
confident that your vendor did his part of the
task, and an interrupted delivery is probably not
his fault. Your feedback is your opinion on the
seller, not the worldwide postal system.
An appreciated practice, if you have anything less
than a 5 star feedback for your vendor, is to
discuss your problems with the vendor before
leaving your feedback. Give him/her an
opportunity to make things right. Good vendors
not only sell good shit, they want you to have a
successful transaction too.
WARNING – do not leave details in your feedback
with specifics on a sellers shipping. This is
potentially incriminating information. Say the
shipping was great, super stealth, best ever – but
do not say anything about how it was done.
You can edit your feedback, in the event that you
finalized early (you didn’t finalize early, did you??),
or if you hadn’t tried the product when you left
your initial feedback. If you wish to do this, go to
your Account page on SR, then click on “View
Feedback” on the upper right side of the page,
then you will have opportunity to edit your
feedback.
Delivery
Absolutely none of your personal information is
ever required here. However, an address WILL be
needed to send delivery of any physical goods.
Because of this you will need to learn how to use
PGP, something you can do here. This program
will allow you to send your address in an
encrypted form so only the vendor sending you
the goods can read it. Even so, Silk Road further
encrypts stored data, and deletes it as soon as
your transaction is complete, so there is no record
of it. And, because Silk Road is a Tor Hidden
Service, the address remains encrypted within
the Tor network when it is transferred.
As for actual delivery you should never be asked
to sign for any package! At the time of receiving
your package you should should press received in
your orders page. After this a box will be shown
that ask for your rating and a comment about
your order, this does not need to be filled out
now! Please wait until after trying your product to
leave you rating and comment so it can
accurately reflect the product in question. Try to
keep your comments helpful and well thought
out.

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The Prohecy

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“Shun thy DarkWeb” they will soon say. “Silk Road is an online black market, and no one should support it, it’s pure evil!”. Indeed, it can be that if you choose to look at it that way. However, some choose to look at Silk Road as the Zenith, the Zion we’ve been desiring for the past millennium. Some such as myself, view Silk Road as simply, freedom.

Silk Road has liberated internet users from the conventional way of the financial world. Here is an environment that offers you the chance to sell anything in the world, anything at all, from nachos to heroine, and that isn’t even the best part. The best part is that you remain anonymous throughout the whole buying/selling process, meaning no one will ever know that you sell nuclear warfare at the SR during your lunch breaks – perfect!

On a more serious note, one must understand that this new world that Dread Pirate Roberts (The founder of SR) is opening is virtually infinite, a new universe with the potential to change the financial world as we know it. Therefore, a little caution…

Needless to say, the economic potential of Silk Road and the Bitcoin (The virtual currency that SR and countless other internet businesses operate with) is superb and people are beginning to invest largely into these opportunities. Groups such as the Silk Road Mafia and countless other internet “mobs” have been cashing in on this for a while now. This market is only gonna get bigger folks.

I had a dream last night, and a camal told me that we had a Boom coming.

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