From online drug bazaars to virtual currency tax shelters, the growing anonymous web has many corners of Washington concerned
Washington has no idea what to make of the Dread Pirate Roberts.
As Lev Grossman and I write in this week’s cover story, the Dread Pirate Roberts allegedly ran the Silk Road, the world’s most successful online drug bazaar, until the feds caught him earlier this month. His real name, according to a 39-page federal complaint against him, is Ross Ulbricht, 29. He supposedly took the pseudonym from a character in the movie and book, The Princess Bride. In the Silk Road, DPR, as his followers called him, created a business model for anyone wanting to sell illicit items online using free encryption software called Tor and the virtually anonymous crypto-currency Bitcoin. Though the feds have taken Silk Road offline, there are plenty of folks lining up to be the next Dread Pirate Roberts.