The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable

Making small talk with your pot dealer sucks. Buying cocaine can get you shot. What if you could buy and sell drugs online like books or light bulbs? Now you can: Welcome to Silk Road.

About three weeks ago, the US Postal Service delivered an ordinary envelope to Mark's door. Inside was a tiny plastic bag containing 10 tabs of LSD. "If you had opened it, unless you were looking for it, you wouldn't have even noticed," Mark told us in a phone interview.

Mark, a software developer, had ordered the 100 micrograms of acid through a listing on the online marketplace Silk Road. He found a seller with lots of good feedback who seemed to know what they were talking about, added the acid to his digital shopping cart and hit "check out". He entered his address and paid the seller 50 Bitcoins - untraceable digital currency - worth around $US150. Four days later the drugs, sent from Canada, arrived at his house.

"It kind of felt like I was in the future," Mark said.

Silk Road, a digital black market that sits just below most internet users' purview, does resemble something from a cyberpunk novel. Through a combination of anonymity technology and a sophisticated user-feedback system, Silk Road makes buying and selling illegal drugs as easy as buying used electronics - and seemingly as safe. It's Amazon - if Amazon sold mind-altering chemicals.

Here is just a small selection of the 340 items available for purchase on Silk Road by anyone, right now: a gram of Afghani hash; 1/8th ounce of "sour 13" weed; 14 grams of ecstasy; .1 grams tar heroin. A listing for "Avatar" LSD includes a picture of blotter paper with big blue faces from the James Cameron movie on it. The sellers are located all over the world, a large portion from the US and Canada.

But even Silk Road has limits: You won't find any weapons-grade plutonium, for example. Its terms of service ban the sale of "anything who's purpose is to harm or defraud, such as stolen credit cards, assassinations, and weapons of mass destruction".

Getting to Silk Road is tricky. The URL seems made to be forgotten. But don't point your browser there yet. It's only accessible through the anonymising network TOR, which requires a bit of technical skill to configure.

Once you're there, it's hard to believe that Silk Road isn't simply a scam. Such brazenness is usually displayed only by those fake "online pharmacies" that dupe the dumb and flaccid. There's no sly, Craigslist-style code names here. But while scammers do use the site, most of the listings are legit. Mark's acid worked as advertised. "It was quite enjoyable, to be honest," he said. We spoke to one Connecticut engineer who enjoyed sampling some "silver haze" pot purchased off Silk Road. "It was legit," he said. "It was better than anything I've seen."

Silk Road cuts down on scams with a reputation-based trading system familiar to anyone who's used Amazon or eBay. The user Bloomingcolor appears to be an especially trusted vendor, specialising in psychedelics. One happy customer wrote on his profile: "Excellent quality. Packing, and communication. Arrived exactly as described." They gave the transaction five points out of five.

"Our community is amazing," Silk Road's anonymous administrator, known on forums as "Silk Road", told us in an email. "They are generally bright, honest and fair people, very understanding, and willing to cooperate with each other."

Sellers feel comfortable openly selling hardcore drugs because the real identities of those involved in Silk Road transactions are utterly obscured. If the authorities wanted to ID Silk Road's users with computer forensics, they'd have nowhere to look. TOR masks a user's tracks on the site. As for transactions, Silk Road doesn't accept credit cards, PayPal, or any other form of payment that can be traced or blocked. The only money good here is Bitcoins.

Bitcoins have been called a "crypto-currency", the online equivalent of a brown paper bag of cash. Bitcoins are a peer-to-peer currency, not issued by banks or governments, but created and regulated by a network of other bitcoin holders' computers. (The name "Bitcoin" is derived from the pioneering file-sharing technology Bittorrent.) They are purportedly untraceable and have been championed by cyberpunks, libertarians and anarchists who dream of a distributed digital economy outside the law, one where money flows across borders as free as bits.

To purchase something on Silk Road, you need first to buy some Bitcoins using a service like Mt. Gox Bitcoin Exchange. Then, create an account on Silk Road, deposit some bitcoins, and start buying drugs. One bitcoin is worth about $US8.67, though the exchange rate fluctuates wildly every day. Right now you can buy an 1/8th of pot on Silk Road for 7.63 Bitcoins. That's probably more than you would pay on the street, but most Silk Road users seem happy to pay a premium for convenience.

Since it launched this February, Silk Road has represented the most complete implementation of the Bitcoin vision. Many of its users come from Bitcoin's utopian geek community and see Silk Road as more than just a pace to buy drugs. Silk Road's administrator cites the anarcho-libertarian philosophy of Agorism. "The state is the primary source of violence, oppression, theft and all forms of coercion," Silk Road wrote to us. "Stop funding the state with your tax dollars and direct your productive energies into the black market."

Mark, the LSD buyer, had similar views. "I'm a libertarian anarchists and I believe that anything that's not violent should not be criminalised," he said.

But not all Bitcoin enthusiasts embrace Silk Road. Some think the association with drugs will tarnish the young technology, or might draw the attention of federal authorities. "The real story with Silk Road is the quantity of people anxious to escape a centralized currency and trade," a longtime bitcoin user named Maiya told us in a chat. "Some of us view Bitcoin as a real currency, not drug barter tokens."

Silk Road and Bitcoins could herald a black market eCommerce revolution. But anonymity cuts both ways. How long until a DEA agent sets up a fake Silk Road account and starts sending SWAT teams instead of LSD to the addresses she gets? As Silk Road inevitably spills out of the bitcoin bubble, its drug-swapping utopians will meet a harsh reality no anonymising network can blur.

Update: Jeff Garzik, a member of the Bitcoin core development team, says in an email that bitcoin is not as anonymous as the denizens of Silk Road would like to believe. He explains that because all Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public log, though the identities of all the parties are anonymous, law enforcement could use sophisticated network analysis techniques to parse the transaction flow and track down individual Bitcoin users.

"Attempting major illicit transactions with bitcoin, given existing statistical analysis techniques deployed in the field by law enforcement, is pretty damned dumb," he says.

Red Star microdots. (Likely acid.) Price: 7.75 bitcoins ($67) for five. (All photos from Silk Road sellers.)

Edgarnumbers is selling these 2C-B "blue bees" tablets. Price: 1.15 bitcoins ($10) per tablet.

Avatar acid for sale by Bloomingcolors. "Avatar blotters are VERY strong (180ug per), and have been circulating around the EU for some time now. Ships sealed in an airtight plastic bag padded with paper in an unmarked envelope within 24 hours." Price: 2.42 bitcoins ($20) per hit.

Seller Greenco posted this time-stamped picture of his stash of marijuana in the forums to prove he was ready to ship ASAP.

1UP of Canada is offering 1/8 oz of "the infamous Jack Herer." He writes: "This is just classic stuff, well grown, well cured, well smoked." Price: 7.42 bitcoins ($64)

A satisfied customer posted this picture of the acid he received from a Silk Road seller in the forums.

Republished from Gawker



    tech news?

      Im desperately looking for 2cb i had it once and wuzz the most intense trip evaa!Please help me my facebook is JamesRMSteely.

    So long as you're smart, bitcoin IS untraceable. All transactions between bitcoin exchange sites should be through TOR, same goes for any trading.

    How do I buy some stuff?

    It's all fun and games till customs swabs your package and you end up with a couple of coppers knocking on your door.

    it is all fun and and games until bitcoins are used for assassination markets and customs agents get bullets through their doors

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

    Awesome. Hopefully the drug trade will become out of hand in every country now and then they will have to legalise every substance in order to not make drug dealers rich. Till then, bring this shit on and fuck the government and the fractional reserve fiat currency petro-dollar.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

    You can also buy bitcoins in Australia with cash through

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    who wants to give me bitcoin?

    This comment was deemed inappropriate and has been moderated.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    I haven't used silk road, though a friend of mine bought two grams of MDMA for about eighty Aussie dollars, it tested black in a litmus pill tester and was way stronger than any pills that have been around for ages, I think if someone wants to get stoned then that's their prerogative...damn governments making decisions for us, dictating rather than discussing, so much money goes into the so called war on drugs and law enforcement, how about decriminalising or legalising drugs so ppl can do what they want in the safety of their own homes and any spending by governments should be put into harm minimisation, education and rehabilitation.

      Hello, You dont know me but three weeks ago a boy fell from a balcony in Scarborugh in Western Australia. He was given acid by a teenage boy that purchaced it from Silk Road. He bought the drug and gave it to 5 boys at a motel room after a school ball. If this teenager did not have access to Silk Road. This boy would be alive today. This boy was my son and unless you met him you would not understand. He has never taken drugs before and this was his first experience. For you that think this site is good then I hope it happens to you.

        Maybe instead of blaming a site for your son's death you should have done a better job raising and teaching him about the dangers of drug use. Point the finger because you don't want to accept responsibility. That is what is wrong with people, easier to cast blame than to accept personal fault.

          Nah, that is not fair imho. You cannot say that this person Rod Bridge did not take responsibility while raising his/her kid. That is very not fair. I am sure this person hurts enough having lost the son. I am sure he/she has lived some hell struggles that I do not want to ever experience. Although I would put my vote FOR the silk road, I don't think this man deserves those comments.
          I think most kids at least try drugs. Some simply "take" to it. Particularly if they land something that really does something for them. I was one of them kids. I was very explorative. I learned that each one has its own special feeling that became magic to me. I indeed spent many days in my past with my personal favorites. Although I did this, I learned when I was a child growing up about all the dangers that accompany my favs. I did it anyways. Point being, it is not a matter of informing a kid. The kids know. They are also very curious. I was always a risk taker, perhaps that is something that helped get me into trouble.
          I must say, when I was using...this silk road would have been a convenient thing for me. Wished it was there but it was back in the 80s. 'sigh'

        I know the case well and if your teenager had known associated riaks of acid and of other drugs and not been DRINKING probably wouldnt have taken it i dont wish to lessen your pain u loat your son it should never happpen dont blame the drugs nor the people buying them blame the government for the lack of education our kids get
        Rod you have ny sincere sympathys on ur loss but look back to urself at the same age and tell me it was differnt maybe harder to get ir weigjt no it was easier and steonger and there was wars in and the world sucked ass in general bad things happen to good people instead of blame maybe tey to run a site yourself and use the profits from the site to start a campaign to legalize the drugs of non concern that cant be made in ones kitchen from things in rhe cleaning aslie at tour local supermarket yup u can make meth reallllllly strong meth and buy enough ingredients to make approx 2 pounds of it in the supermarket no worries ohh and the recipe u can google that aswell actually 4 of them depending on how mwssed uo u wanna get to be honest i dont say it lightly better hes gone that messeing round in wa now with meth so freely avialable and soo cheaply too i mean i mooved to a new area literally as far away from the previois as i could north to southj and still be in metro and with on 5 doors of where i am any drug i need its a joke the police gwt a few pounda butta and thats all when 1 million tonnes is shipped and tou loose hell evem 1 tonne do u rarely care as for thw other sites at least now thw site uaers and sellers are provideing info on strwgth charteristics what they do how rhey work best amounts to take etc its called proactive drug uae and well it works

      John your right, i got good MDMA,4MMC,JWH,MDPV AND MORE FOR SALE

        Awe how's to email me details please brother ASAP thanks peace.

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    The srug teade out of control noooo as we prefer hig oharma hands them out and makes more money than the cartels and normal social users of drugs cause drugs feel good most of them and there is a downside to all rhing that feel good the war on drugs was list as soon as it became ok to take them at raves or before that i dont like crack nor meth but hey its there at least its off the streets and may stop people getting killed or the jails folling ip with people who really shouldnt be there some will say what would u know u have never lost anyone well yup i have many people and the new way is better drigs are bad so is choclatte exceraize smokeing drinking sex and well anything done to excess u want the government to do something about rhe drugs legalize everything excpt tobacco and alcohol as out of everuthing they kill moee people per year than all drugs put together

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