Silk Road was an infamous darknet market best known for its sales of illegal drugs. The mastermind behind the website was a man who anonymously referred to himself as "Dread Pirate Roberts", whose real identity was later revealed to be that of Ross William Ulbricht. The FBI seized and shut down the website in 2013, and Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison for running a criminal enterprise.
Silk Road was founded in 2011 by Ulbricht, and accounts capable of selling on the website were sold at auction. The website had sold many items such as, but not limited to illicit drugs (primarily), jewelry, weapons, collectibles, and electronics. Silk Road, like almost all criminal businesses on the internet, was only accessible on the dark web with a browser like Tor Browser.
Silk Road's downfall was ultimately caused by human error; one of Ulbricht's closest associates was actually an undercover agent and was at one point instructed by Ulbricht to assault someone he had trouble with.
- Several fruitless attempts to bring back the Silk Road as Silk Road 2.0, Silk Road 3.0, Silk Road Reloaded, etc. have occurred but were quickly shut down.
- The most used Silk Road successor, Wall Street Market, was seized in 2019.
- Silk Road alone, along with crackers, scams, and child pornography are arguably the most infamous aspects of the dark web.
- Drugs however, are one of the few illicit activities on the dark web that is not widely stigmatized and hated within.