What is Silk Road and How it Works?

What is Silk Road?

Silk Road was an online black market and the first modern Darknet market, best known as a platform for selling illegal drugs. As part of the dark web, it was operated as a Tor hidden service, such that online users were able to browse it anonymously and securely without potential traffic monitoring.

Silk road

What is Silk Road?

If you’ve heard about darknet markets, you have heard about the Silk Road. From the original Silk Road, which was the forefather of the current online black market, to the Silk Road 2, and now Silk Road 3.0 and Silk Road Reloaded, the name has become synonymous with buying drugs on the net.

How did the Silk Road Start?

Silk Road was founded in February 2011. Initially, very few new seller accounts were available on the site, for that the user has to pay some money to buy the seller account. Later a specific amount was set as the joining fee for each new merchant account.

In October 2013 FBI shut down the website and also arrested Ross William Ulbricht the site’s pseudonymous founder “Dread Pirate Roberts”. On 6th November 2013 silk road 2.0 came online which was run by the former administrators of the silk road. It too was shut down by FBI and also arrested the alleged operator of Silk Road 2.0.

Products that are Available on Silk Road

In March 2013, the site had 10,000 products for sale by vendors, 70% of which were drugs. In October 2014, there were 13,756 listings for drugs, grouped under the headings stimulants, psychedelics, prescription, precursors, other, opioids, ecstasy, dissociatives, and steroids/PEDs. The site mainly sold the drugs, and it may also be a primary reason for the site to be shut down.

The site also offered the sale of fake driver’s license. The site had terms of service that prohibited the sale of certain items that lead to harm or defraud. It included child pornography, assassinations, stolen credit cards and weapons of any type.

IT made the other darknet markets to gain the user notoriety because they were not restrictive like the silk road terms of service. It made the “Black market reloaded” site to grow as they sell products which were prohibited by silk road.

Silk road

Products available on Silk Road

There were also some legal goods and services for sale such as apparel, art, books, jewellery, cigarette’s, etc.,

The sister site of silk road named “The Armory” sold weapons, but it was shut down due to lack of demand.

The silk road had another feature; it is that the buyer can review seller’s product and the information provided was used by other customer’s to know whether the seller’s product is best or the worst scam. Most of the products were delivered through the mail, and the site’s seller’s guide instructed the seller’s how to vacuum seal their products to avoid or escape detection.


Based on the data, in February 2012, the silk made $15million transactions annually. The next year silk road made the annual purchase somewhere between $30 to $45million. All the transactions of buyer’s and sellers were made through Bitcoins that provided some level of anonymity.

After the arrest of Ulbricht, FBI collected the system image of the silk road server, and it was stated that over 1,229,465 transactions were made between Feb 6, 2011, to July 23, 2013. The overall revenue generated by silk road was 9,519,664 Bitcoins, and the total commissions collected by Silk Road from the sales amounted to 614,305 Bitcoins. It is equivalent to $1.2 billion revenue and $79.8million in commissions to silk road.

It was also stated that there were 146,946 buyers and 3,877 vendors registered in silk road. In this 30% of them were from U.S, 27% were from the unknown region, and the remaining users were from United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Canada, France, Sweden, Russia, and Netherlands. It was also stated that 1,217,218 messages sent over Silk Road’s private messaging system during 24 May to 23 July.

Similar Sites to Silk Road

The Farmer’s Market” was a Tor site similar to silk road. It was considered as photo silk road. It doesn’t use the bitcoins. Instead, it used PayPal and western union which allowed tracking payments, and it was shut down by FBI in 2012.

Silk Road

Similar Sites to Silk Road

The other sites such as “The Atlantis” and the “Project Black Flag” were closed in 2013, and also this sites store their user’s bitcoins. The site “Black Market Reloaded” was closed temporarily in 2013, after the leak of the site’s source code.

After the closure of silk road 2.0 a black market named Diabolus market renamed its name to silk road reloaded to increase the market. It also has the same restrictions on products and terms of service as same silk road.

Accessing Silk Road

With Tor Browser installed, the Silk Road URL directed new users to a black screen with a prompt for a username and password, as well as the option to sign up. All that was required to sign up for Silk Road was a username, password, and country of origin. “No other information is requested, and the country location information entered by the user is not subject to any verification,” Agent Tarbell wrote.

Silk Road

Silk Road

Navigating the Site

Once inside, Silk Road was like an illegal version of Amazon.com. You could shop by category or peruse photos of current inventory.

A messages system allowed buyers and sellers to privately discuss their transactions, while community forums provided for more public chats. A wiki included FAQs, while a customer service section presumably provided assistance when that batch of cocaine was a bit late.

Product listings, meanwhile, added descriptions, seller information, reviews of previous transactions, and the familiar “add to cart” purchase option.

Silk Road Route

The Silk Road is a historically important international trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Because silk comprised a large proportion of business along this road, in 1877, it was named ‘the Silk Road’ by Ferdinand von Richthofen, an eminent German geographer.

Silk Road 3.0

Silk Road is the forefather of silk road 2.0, silk road 3.0 and silk road reloaded, the name of these sites says that it sells drugs. To use silk road, 3.0 use Tor and VPN. The silk road 3.0 contains hard drugs, weapons and access to porn sites.

Silk road

Silk Road 3.0

The silk road 3.0 came online on 7th may 2016 with a massive security upgrade and design. It shows that silk road 3.0 is one of the safest and secure darknet markets. Before accessing dark net markets or silk road, 3.0 make sure you hide your ISP’s from government and stay anonymous. Make sure you use VPN security to maintain your anonymity. Remember that we do not encourage at any situation to buy or sell products on silk road or any other darknet market, use this information just to know what are the products that are available on silk road and please do it for research purpose only. You can access the silk road 3.0 in your Tor browser. The Onion URL for Silk Road 3.0 is http://silkroad7rn2puhj.onion/. Use VPN networks to hide your ISP’s and stay anonymous on the internet.

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