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How Online Black Markets Work

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the probably-better-than-most-real-markets-these-days dept.

The Internet 98

CWmike writes "The internet is no stranger to crime, writes corporate investigator Brandon Gregg. From counterfeit and stolen products, to illegal drugs, stolen identities and weapons, nearly anything can be purchased online with a few clicks of the mouse. The online black market not only can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection, but the whole process of ordering illicit goods and services is alarmingly easy and anonymous, with multiple marketplaces to buy or sell anything you want. Gregg started with $1000 and a took journey into the darker side of the Internet using two tools: Bitcoin and the Tor Bundle."

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And how many times would you get ripped off? (5, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849383)

The authors, no doubt to avoid legal troubles, never actually go through with any transactions. But I would be very curious to know how many scammers are on these sites (not like you could report them to the cops if they didn't deliver). I imagine the feedback/rating system helps, but plenty of scammers found a way to game ebay's system.

Online black market not so bad (4, Funny)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849487)

It's where I do my grocery shopping.

But these aren't organic farmed tomatoes! Damn you, shadyPeasant67!!

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39849579)

I was following the whole "Silk Road" site for a while. I even ordered a grey market (not illegal but not really legal to "sell for human consumption") drug off it, just to test the waters, and.... it didn't show up. So I sent the guy a message and... he appologized and sent another one, which did.

I would even call that "good customer service". That said, scams must be a problem and I may have gotten lucky. Last I saw (I lost interest shortly thereafter....I also never tried the "research chemical" so I can't say whether it was real... I want to say it was AMT but, I honestly don't remember) they were talking about makeing "seller accounts" pay to join.

That at least decreases the incentive to scam, if they implemented it. I looked at some other sites, and some of them had a more in depth verification process before you could start selling. Not sure what that amounts to, as I never went through it.

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (1, Flamebait)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849713)

How often do legitimate companies one pay's actual legal fees to rip one off? Especially an entrenched monopoly like a local phone company? I'd say the odds are higher, but not as different as most would expect.

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849973)

local phone company? who uses a landline anymore?

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (2)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850069)

Lots of people, including myself.

Though I can't find much past year 2010 - in 2010, "they" were becoming concerned because the number of residential households relying solely on mobile phone service was up to ... 20%.

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857613)

The number of people who simply "have" landlines is mostly meaningless. If you want both TV and Internet from a single provider, you will get phone service with it. It's just how they sell it. Even if you never plug it in, you will still be counted as a "landline user".

And how many are actually sting operations? (4, Insightful)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849999)

I'd also expect that the cops are using some of these as sting operations.

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850029)

I know a number of people who have successfully ordered LSD (for ornamental purposes only) from a guy on Silk Road. It has a feedback system which works pretty well.

Scammers can only get away with it a few times before changing user names, and few are willing to support a guy with 0 feedback when there are sellers with the same goods with tons of positive feedback.

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850839)

Although it's possible, I think that would require too much cooperation between different law enforcement agencies. Remember you don't need a recipient's consent to send them an illegal substance. What they tell you to do when ordering their merchandise is to have it sent to a friends house. When the package arrives, take a marker and write "return to sender." Act like you don't know what's in it and then take it to a different location for consumption.

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850891)

Oops, parent is a reply to.

I'd also expect that the cops are using some of these as sting operations.

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (3, Interesting)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850301)

If you look around and use your brain, Silk Road is just as good as any public site. eBay is filled with just as many scammers as there are legit sellers. Anyone with good feedback on Silk Road will be just as good as any legit retailer.

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856661)

Pay Pal seems to work quite well for ebay purchases. I must have made 100 purchases at Ebay and have never had much of a problem with anything at all. I did have one trivial misrepresentation of the completeness of an older musical instrument. I love shopping on Ebay.

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858025)

Pay Pal seems to work quite well for ebay purchases. I must have made 100 purchases at Ebay and have never had much of a problem with anything at all. I did have one trivial misrepresentation of the completeness of an older musical instrument. I love shopping on Ebay.

Paypal and eBay are complimentary businesses. eBay lets random Joes hawk stuff online that other random Joes may want. Paypal lets them do it the Internet way - by using credit cards. Because otherwise, the only way to pay for the sale is cash, cheque or money order, and in an age where a buyer just clicks "buy now" enters in a credit card number and has it delivered in a few days, what's the deal with having to break out the chequebook (or going to the damned post office to get a money order), putting it all in an envelope and then sticking it in the mail? Seems anachronistic that one has to use snail mail in order to buy stuff online.

Paypal's also one of the only companies that lets a random person accept a credit card payment without a merchant account and its subsequent restrictions. (The problem is most people don't realize that the issues they have with Paypal stem from these restrictions - if you have a merchant account, you know all the stories and details).

Asking someone who wants to sell their collection of comics online to set up a merchant account isn't likely to happen (and most merchant banks probably won't offer very favorable terms, if they even let you - they want people who will constantly generate card traffic, not one-off sales).

Re:And how many times would you get ripped off? (2)

bentcd (690786) | more than 2 years ago | (#39865921)

But I would be very curious to know how many scammers are on these sites (not like you could report them to the cops if they didn't deliver).

At this point you'd be buying fantasy product and paying for it with fantasy money, so it's an open question who is scamming who exactly in this case.

Ok, so I jest. A little bit. :p

Okay, fine. (1)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849393)

Time to switch. Remember the switch.

Sounds like... (5, Informative)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849611)

Sounds like a reason to blow a grand on stuff you shouldn't,
in the name of writing an article.

Until you read the article and see it's a talk thru.

Then you read the entire article and realize, it's not even a
talk-thru, it's a talk-about. And not even a good one at that.
There is really no info, except, get bitcoins, use Tor, find
stuff.

Wow. In depth reporting at its finest.

-AI

Re:Sounds like... (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849657)

Ya I was curious what these illegal and black market items you could buy online with bit coins sadly he didn't even say. Other than that they were illegal and black market... So ya seems kind of lame.

Re:Sounds like... (4, Informative)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849799)

What's worse, the one notable statement of what he could find:

M9 Tactical handgun with an illegal silencer, unregistered of course.

Is not an illegal weapon. Most states in the US, you can purchase
an unregistered weapon from person to person. Further here in AZ,
that is NOT an illegal silencer (unless you don't purchase the very
cheap $200 license to own a silencer).

So, basically, he told us about a http://www.gunbroker.com/ [gunbroker.com] that
takes bitcoins. Lol.

Btw, $2000, your own Stargate PS90
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=284429588 [gunbroker.com]

for those that shall troll me, yes... Stargate used P90's but unless
you are a LEO... THOSE are illegal for commoners.

Man I wish I had a spare 2 grand.

-AI

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850175)

Except that gunbroker requires transfer through a licensed firearms dealer.

Re:Sounds like... (2)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39851287)

Except that gunbroker requires transfer through a licensed firearms dealer.

Is that a new rule on GunBroker? I've done many in-state purchases
from there, person to person, no FFL holder involved. No govt docs.

Or are you just stating the federal law regarding the shipment of
weapons from one state to another? My mom had to FFL ship
my OWN guns from NC to AZ. $70 of BS, just to get my own guns.

It doesn't matter what site you get a gun from, if you use the mail
system to ship it (OR receive it!) and don't have a FFL, you are
committing a felony. Darknet or not.

So, it's silly to commit an 'easy to get caught at Felony', when you
can do a gun show purchase.

Heck it's even 'easier' to do a straw purchase. Just ask the Mexican
cartels.

-AI

Re:Sounds like... (2)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39853953)

Its right above the product description. [quote]Firearms may only be shipped to a licensed dealer (FFL Holder).[/quote]

Re:Sounds like... (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854777)

Its right above the product description. [quote]Firearms may only be shipped to a licensed dealer (FFL Holder).[/quote]

Right, nothing new there, that's called federal law.

-AI

Re:Sounds like... (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858021)

Which is only relevant if you're shipping it, because that's Federal law. If you're doing an in person transfer in the same state the buyer and seller are residents of, then only your state's laws apply.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850231)

On the contrary, a short barreled rifle is just a tax stamp away (very similar to the silencer scenario). There is no LEO-only restriction, and BATF still issues the tax stamps for newly manufactured SBR's to regular people (unlike the situation with newly manufactured select-fire weapons).

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850731)

That's the rub. In order to make your illegally acquired weapon compliant, you need to get a tax stamp. You can't get one unless you are licensed as a manufacturer and "made it yourself" or through a transfer from a manufacturer or other legal owner. When you apply for your stamp, they will want to know how you obtained it. if the source was non compliant, you are non compliant, the silencer or machine gun or AOW needs to be surrendered to the ATF. And if they decide that you willingly tried to obtain it, prepare for a federal case with a price tag of least a 6 digits to properly defend yourself from.

No wonder criminals don't bother.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855787)

First, you can manufacture NFA firearms for the same $200 tax, and essentially similar paperwork as a transfer, without being a licensed manufacturer -- the only exception is for machine guns. So for an SBR, say, you file the paperwork, then buy a short barrel, swap it out, and you're good; this is quite commonly done with AR-15s, due to their popularity and the ease of swapping upper assemblies. If you illegally bought a SBR, you can take the barrel off and hide it, file the paperwork, then "buy" (i.e. unhide) the barrel, assemble it, and as long as nobody finds out about the original transfer, you've gotten away with it. Suppressors would be a bit trickier -- you can manufactire them, too, but since they're generally not user-assemblable from individually uncontrolled components, and are identifiable as a commercial product, there's no plausible way to claim you built a purchased suppressor.

Re:Sounds like... (3, Informative)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850357)

Looking at that particular auction, that's the carbine version of the P90, semiauto and with an extended barrel to meet the barrel-length requirement, not the select-fire PDW used on the show. That variant was made so that it could be sold to civilians.

And you don't have to have the extended barrel (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39851633)

Short barrel rifles are legal for civilians to own, they just again need a $200 tax stamp upon transfer, like silencers. No issues at all, so long as you jump through the hoops properly.

Only fully automatic weapons are banned, and then only if they weren't already registered prior to the ban in 1986. Now that means all P90s, of course since they weren't made until after that. However you can get the short barrel variety. FNH doesn't seem to want to sell them to civilians, but licensed dealers will modify the longer length ones and then sell them.

Even more amusing (gun laws are very hodge podge and not written with clarity or effectiveness in mind) is so long as the weapon doesn't have a rest to be held against your shoulder, it is a "pistol" and thus requires no special hoops to own. You can get a SIG556 SWAT (http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p556-swat.aspx) just as you would any other weapon. It's lack of stock means it is classified as a pistol and is unrestricted.

Re:And you don't have to have the extended barrel (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856361)

Usually there are barrel length restrictions for handguns as well. In Minnesota a handgun or pistol [state.mn.us] is defined as:

a weapon designed to be fired by the use of a single hand and with an overall length less than 26 inches, or having a barrel or barrels of a length less than 18 inches in the case of a shotgun or having a barrel of a length less than 16 inches in the case of a rifle (1) from which may be fired or ejected one or more solid projectiles by means of a cartridge or shell or by the action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances; or (2) for which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, air or other gas, or vapor.

Re:And you don't have to have the extended barrel (1)

Specter (11099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39859811)

"Short barrel rifles are legal for civilians to own, they just again need a $200 tax stamp upon transfer, like silencers."

With one important caveat: your state may have additional restrictions on SBRs or silencers that make them illegal (in that state) even if you've got a tax stamp.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39851521)

What's worse, the one notable statement of what he could find:

M9 Tactical handgun with an illegal silencer, unregistered of course.

Is not an illegal weapon. Most states in the US, you can purchase
an unregistered weapon from person to person.

But not from a person in another state, so odds are good this would have been an illegal transfer. (Which is pretty much bullshit, but it's Federal law.)

And as others have pointed out, you can own a cosmetically correct "P90" (a PS90 with short barrel; no select-fire, of course), for the same $200 (BFD on a $2k gun) and similar paperwork (which is a major hassle, especially if the local Sheriff decides to be a dick about it) as the silencer. But I don't think anyone sells them commercially, so you'd have to buy the PS90, register it as a SBR, then order in a short barrel and swap it (or get the PS90 barrel cut down). Dunno about AZ, but here in IN, any firearm under 26" OAL, or with a barrel shorter than 16", is deemed a handgun under state law, and so it's perfectly legal for people with a handgun permit to walk around town with such a shortie PS90 under your duster.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39852877)

Your forgetting people that live in nations where it is illegal to purchase such firearms. We really ought to crack down on sites like silk road by implementing changes to the way the internet works. Regulators should have more control over the internet and its contents. Certainly, things like TOR and Bitcoin (primarily crime-enabling technologies) should be stopped. I read recently about a place online where girls post pictures of themselves nude and ask for donations in Bitcoin; disgusting!

It's so sad that, even here on Slashdot, this kind of comment generates a "not sure if serious" feeling for some.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854885)

So your answer is to destroy the internet because dodgy people are using it. That's like blowing up cities because dodgy people trade there too or banning all money because it's 'crime-enabling'.

We are better off living in the current imperfect world than your fascist dream.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

ThurstonMoore (605470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39862293)

Maybe if your post wasn't so fucking ridiculous it wouldn't generate that not sure if serious feeling.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854867)

Further here in AZ, that is NOT an illegal silencer (unless you don't purchase the very
cheap $200 license to own a silencer).

Going off at a tangent here but what possible reason does anyone have to own a silencer?

Genuine question BTW.

Re:Sounds like... (2)

mhpdx5000 (2629503) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855017)

Most "silencers" are actually suppressors; that is, they suppress the noise the gun makes from powder detonation down to lower decibel levels, but they more or less don't make it whisper quiet/silent. Valid reasons to have them would be to prevent hearing damage in general, in addition to noise control for places such as shooting ranges that might be near other developments (say, an indoor range, or an outdoor one that has had residential and commercial development encroach upon it). Even countries with stronger gun control than the US (Finland and England, for example) encourage shooters to own and use suppressors for the above reasons. From a health and public nuisance standpoint, it's actually a better question to ask why they're so restricted in the first place; the noise of an unsuppressed gun doesn't really deter criminals from misusing them.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

ThurstonMoore (605470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39862319)

Same reason for owning a corvette, it makes your dick bigger.

Re:Sounds like... (5, Informative)

jsh1972 (1095519) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849851)

I actually read something early this morning on the subject that named an online marketplace called Silk Road, only accessible through TOR, and all transactions use bit coin, so I went and checked it out... the main thing was drugs (weed, heroin, meth, cocaine, pharmaceuticals, the new designer drugs, hallucinogen, you get the idea)... there were also hacking tools, banned books (think meth manufacture)... I saw categories for art, currency, services, clothing, and many others. It's an anonymous international marketplace with an escrow service and buyer/seller ratings. I was actually quite impressed.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

ninjacheeseburger (1330559) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849979)

The article mentions:
Bulk credit cards 6.5BTC
Credit card reader/writer 76.60350 BTC
M9 Tactical handgun with an illegal silencer for 225.00000 BTC

Re:Sounds like... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850051)

Getting revenge on your neighbor letting his dog crap in your yard PRICELESS

Re:Sounds like... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850311)

Baseball cards.

Not authorized by MLB.

Not even with implied oral.

Re:Sounds like... (4, Insightful)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849677)

Gregg started with $1000 and a took journey into the darker side of the Internet using two tools: Bitcoin and the Tor Bundle."

No..., he didn't.

It makes it seem like he did. But I doubt the veracity after reading the entire article.

Considering the article description, there would be no point to have converted the
money, unless he's never done it before and likes OMG ponies. Because in order
for it to be a black market purchase, you must purchase something, that doesn't
exist on the regular market. ie, He needed to commit a crime.

And then write about it.

Tits or GTFO.

-AI

Re:Sounds like... (5, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849879)

Because in order for it to be a black market purchase, you must purchase something, that doesn't exist on the regular market.

That's not true at all. Black market != market for illegal goods.

Black market means that the trade is being conducted outside the legally operating market, not that the item(s) are illegal.

Cigarettes are legal. Buying cigarettes, cash-only, tax-free off the back of a truck is a black market transaction.

Black markets capture economic activity that is "priced out" of the official market due to constraints on trade (like manufacturing quotas, taxes, legal price floors or caps, etc).

As the market he delved into was not an official market, and operated out of the purview of LE, taxing authorities, etc, it was the black market.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850327)

"something that doesn't exist on the regular market" != illegal goods

You're arguing against something GP didn't say. FWIW, "tax-free cigarettes" are NOT available on the regular market.

Also, in any case, he'd still be committing a crime by purchasing them.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39858607)

"You're arguing against something GP didn't say. "

Um, learn to read? Cause you're wrong here.

What OP said

" in order for it to be a black market purchase, you must purchase something, that doesn't
exist on the regular market. ie, He needed to commit a crime."

You're totally wrong AC.

Grey Market (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850345)

We are splitting hairs, but generally speaking activities which are legal but are done illegally (to dodge taxes, regulations, and the such) is considered to be Grey Market activity.

Cash under the table is considered more of a economic crime, and is generally considered a lesser moral offence.

Black markets deal with illegal actives done illegally or within a criminal organization.

i.e. bootlegging untaxed cigarettes that you picked up at the reservation is one thing. Running a organization (multiple people, bribing officials, selling to retails stores who should know better) is something else.

Re:Grey Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39851025)

Running a organization (multiple people, bribing officials, selling to retails stores who should know better) is something else.

Not really. I thought it was something else, until somebody pointed out how nice things were and what a shame it would be if anything happened to it...

Re:Grey Market (1)

aclarke (307017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39852041)

A grey market, according to Wikipedia, "is the trade of a commodity through distribution channels which, while legal, are unofficial, unauthorized, or unintended by the original manufacturer."

That coincides with the definition I'd understood of a grey market. I checked Wikipedia before responding to make sure I wasn't wrong. For example, I have a grey market vehicle. It was never sold in this country, but was legally imported outside the regular channels. If I'd forged the VINs or done something illegal in order to bring in a vehicle that is not legally allowed here, that would have been a black market import.

Re:Grey Market (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39853115)

You may want to read the article a bit deeper. It's not as narrow as you think.

Yes, it does refer Grey market cars and textbooks.

However, the article also refers to the underground economy in legitimate goods to avoid taxes. The article refers to bootlegging alcohol to avoid taxes - which is very darn close to your example of cigarettes. And to paying workers under the table.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39853717)

"black market" is often another way to say "free market"

Re:Sounds like... (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854795)

In a free market, the government provides protection from force and fraud. Black markets are closer to feudalism than capitalism.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854923)

In a free market, the government provides protection from force and fraud. Black markets are closer to feudalism than capitalism.

Free market's don't involve the government at all. Fraud is always possible.

If taxes and governments are involved it's not really 'free' as in 'free beer' or as in 'freedom'. It's a regulated market.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 2 years ago | (#39865967)

Fraud is possible but charges can be laid and you can sue. With black markets you enforce your own contracts, if you can. I know there was a marijuana dealer in my home town whose wife was paid a visit by bikers who were taking over their business. They didn't offer a superior product or service at a lower price, they convinced their competition that if they didn't shut down their wife would die a horrible death.

Adam Smith did not promote the dissolution of government as far as I know. If you think that's what a free market is then you can keep it. I do think I get too much government interference, but I wouldn't swap that for a "system" where I had to live in fear that my business competition might kill me, or could defraud me with no legal repercussion.

In a free market you are free to do business, not rob and kill people. Any large scale free market is dependent on conditions provided by government. Most people don't consider restrictions on lying and violence for profit to be onerous.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925085)

Your post is woefully underrated and a good example of the civilisation we all buy when we pay our taxes (to paraphrase another user's sig).

Re:Sounds like... (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854953)

So you don't believe people would trade at all without a government? I've been the victim of fraud a few times on Ebay and I don't recall the government reimbursing me for my losses. Nor do I recall a government agent following me around to protect me from being mugged.

So I think you are wrong on all counts. The government doesn't protect me from force or fraud and there would certainly be a free market without a government.

Rather than protecting me at all, the government is what I need protection from. The government is the one using both force and fraud. I've even been a victim of the force part. A victim of government violence.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856531)

I'd rather have a government that prevented 90% of crime than a free market free for all.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 2 years ago | (#39866017)

The government would enforce repayment if you successfully sued. They might even charge and imprison the fraudster. Government protection isn't perfect and certainly has to be limited. Even limited, some abuse of power will occur. Without government, you'd likely be serving your local warlord right now. Yes, I know some trade would occur but it would be very limited and credit would be virtually non-existent. Yes, we need protection from government, but they aren't the only ones we need protection from. It's a balance.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39851601)

Glad it was not just me. Can someone break the link to this article? It's not an article worth reading!

Best I can figure is they are trying to get reader counts somehow and sent the link to /.

Re:Sounds like... (5, Funny)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849747)

Well it would have been a bit more in-depth, but after the first few deliveries of premium 'shrooms and acid drops, he kinda lost focus...

Re:Sounds like... (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849807)

Well it would have been a bit more in-depth, but after the first few deliveries of premium 'shrooms and acid drops, he kinda lost focus...

Lol, well played.

-AI

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39849781)

On pages 2 and 3, he does describe the 'black market windowshopping' slightly, then states that he did not buy anything. This makes the $1000 in bitcoins seem like a fairly random component except to give an exchange rate.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39849823)

Well, it fits with /.'s in-depth editors. When have the current crop *ever* clicked through an article to see if it's just blow?

The don't. It's the other scam. Page-views for here, page-views for the blow posing as a report. No news for nerds served.

No Love for Silk Road? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39849629)

Article seems a little incomplete without mentioning the government's boogey-man-of-the-week.

dissapointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39849705)

what is the point of this article ? nothing new here - move on

These Markets Need a More Modern and PC name (4, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849719)

I propose we call these "Attractive and Successful Markets of Alternative Economy"

Re:These Markets Need a More Modern and PC name (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849969)

I propose we call these "Attractive and Successful Markets of Alternative Economy"

What's wrong with calling it a black market? Or are you a racist?

Re:These Markets Need a More Modern and PC name (3, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850471)

Jesus, how's the air traffic up there?

How ofline Black markets works (5, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849777)

-Go to shady parts of a Big City.
-ask around for [illegal stuff]
-Use anonymous Cash (-- mention this is *BAD*, Um-Kay)
-Conclude "Big Cities" are bad and should be controlled/blocked off. Should have check points. (IOW: Nazis had the right idea: "Papers Please")

When will these fuddy-duddies/ idiots die-off so that this constant fear-mongering can stop?

Re:How ofline Black markets works (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849921)

When will these fuddy-duddies/ idiots die-off so that this constant fear-mongering can stop?

Die off won't help. You need a fundamental societal shift where fear doesn't sell. Damn unlikely to happen anytime soon. I'm sure right about where scarey movies stop selling, roller coasters go away... Or you need something "real" to be scared about instead of fearmongering on TV. Maybe a nice civil war, or ethnic cleansing, or utter economic collapse, or famine, or all 4 at the same time. They're extremely likely in our future; how far in future, who can say.

What MIGHT happen in the short term is the fuddy duddies die off so we no longer have to hear about how Elvis's hips, err, Dungeons and Dragons, err, video games, err, the gangster rap is corrupting the youth and there's this scarey internet thing, but in replacement we'll have to sit thru endless "Gen Y idiots gave away all their privacy on the internet; now they're screwed" and "all big business are always bogey man all the time" and stuff like that.

Re:How ofline Black markets works (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850163)

Or you need something "real" to be scared about instead of fearmongering on TV.

What about the ever expanding authoritarian state we find ourselves in?

Re:How ofline Black markets works (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39851581)

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, you'll give away the Secret Plan.

Get back to watching the Kardashians already, they just inked a $40 mil deal and we need the advertising revenue.

Re:How ofline Black markets works (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850035)

When will these fuddy-duddies/ idiots die-off so that this constant fear-mongering can stop?

As an exterminator might say: you can't eradicate, only control. If you shot every idiot today, more would be born tomorrow, grow up and fill your nostrils with the fragrance of stupid.

Re:How ofline Black markets works (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850205)

Perfect analogy. Because, of course, there are no laws, law enforcement agencies, regulations or rules that attempt to shut down "offline" black markets, so the internet should work exactly the same way. Also, for the love of god, don't actually follow this plan. It is much more like to get you [shot] than to get you [illegal stuff].

Re:How ofline Black markets works (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850223)

If I have a stick, and I call one end of it "geniuses" and the other "idiots", then I cut off the end labeled "idiots" I do not get a stick with no "Idiots" end. Instead my stick still has an "idiots" end and it's even closer to the "geniuses" end. Continuing to apply that "solution" will only ensure I destroy the stick piece by piece.

Re:How ofline Black markets works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39853105)

Parent should be modded insightful.

Re:How ofline Black markets works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39854179)

What if you labelled one end "people who solve more problems than they create" and the other "people who create more problems than they solve" ... would that work better?

Re:How ofline Black markets works (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850417)

When will these fuddy-duddies/ idiots die-off so that this constant fear-mongering can stop?

When they stop getting paid to do it. In other words when the alarmist media can stop selling advertising for it. Which all translates to: when the general public can no longer be fooled by the reactionaries.

Which will around the time that Joe Public finally realizes that "Reality TV" is anything but real, and that when anybody advertises themselves as "Fair and Balanced" the reality is probably something else.

In other words, don't hold your breath, the marching morons are coming... knee-deep in the water around Zanzibar.

Re:How ofline Black markets works (2)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39851929)

Difference being, of course, that on the internet you're in no physical danger and almost certainly won't lose more than what you gave the guy - he won't tell his buddies in the next block to carjack you.

Do they accept bits of string??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39849843)

Sorry, no string! *points to sign

Family Guy....

taxes (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849873)

by the way, there are a number of fairly simple ways of avoiding all taxes by running an online business.

Re:taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39850849)

Not unless you're homeless or squatting (which, admittedly, can be viable plans, but almost all who can afford the choice prefer the tax over the considerable inconvenience). Property tax'll get you every time, whether you mortgage, own, rent, or stay in a hotel. If you don't pay it, it gets passed on in what you do pay.

And if you buy electricity for your computer -- taxes. Buy anything offline -- sales tax. You know the saying, death and taxes are the only inevitable things? Frankly, I'd bet the internet fixes death before it fixes taxes completely, and I'm about as anti-Kurzweil as they come.

Re:taxes (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39851141)

No, obviously you can't avoid ALL taxes, I am talking about income, payroll, corporate. Even if not 100% of them, but a very significant amount can be avoided, in some cases all of them can be avoided, it all depends what exactly the business is, how it's structured (how are the relationships between providing products while getting paid and running the company managed).

Hack Piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39849907)

Article seems to be entirely comprised of libel against BitCoin.

Not a complex subject.... (4, Funny)

trum4n (982031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849909)

Just Ebay with your monitor brightness on 0.

fuCk a taco (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39849917)

the time to 83et

Teh Internets (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39849935)

Its all the fault of this Internet thing. We've got to take steps to stamp it out. Fast.

Re:Teh Internets (1)

seepho (1959226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850641)

Don't be silly; we can't shut down the Internet. Facebook lives there!

Capitalism - It Works, Bitches! (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850095)

No matter how hard you try to stop it!

One would think shit like this would give our legislators a moment's pause to consider the futility of their constant attempts to enact various forms of prohibition... but alas, will likely have the opposite effect.


Apparently one of the key factors in getting elected to representative government is knowing fuck-all about economics.



So it goes...

Re:Capitalism - It Works, Bitches! (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850245)

Apparently one of the key factors in getting elected to representative government is knowing fuck-all about anything except having good hair.

Fixed for the sad truth.

Re:Capitalism - It Works, Bitches! (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39850863)

having good hair.

That one is debatable as well...

Re:Capitalism - It Works, Bitches! (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 2 years ago | (#39851013)

Well, at least having better hair than your opponent.

Re:Capitalism - It Works, Bitches! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39854077)

The govt doesn't have to stop it, just make it hard so they can reduce the scale to the point where it's effect on society is insignificant.
So sorry, but yes capitalism (err economics) does work. Govt controls create a higher "cost" to both the suppliers (limiting supply) and purchasers (limiting demand) of these goods which shrinks the overall market. Suppliers outside the US (or places that don't care) avoid their side of some of these costs, but buyers still have risk getting these items, and have to restrict the volume they receive (i.e. limiting the demand).

I'd be surprised if 1 in 200 people in the US used this.

Took a Journey... (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39851585)

Ran out of breath, returned to his hammock. Nothing to read here.

the silk marketplace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856629)

Silk Road is a truly amazing marketplace that makes buying drugs MUCH SAFER for just about everyone involved. The feedback and review systems virtually eliminate the risk of being ripped off or purchasing low quality products. No herion cut up with fentanyl, no "acid" full of DOM or whatever. The customer service is excellant and the overall success-rate of the site is about 95%. It reduces your personal and your seller's exposure risk. It reduces the toxicity risks of consumption by insuring quality. It reduces strain on society by moving these transactions away from your Wendy's parking lot and into a realm where violence is non-existant. Systems like SR are a betterment of the black market, greatly eliminating the hazards imposed on those who work and play there. I've never bought drugs anywhere else where multiple lab assessments of products are available, usually both Marquis and GMS. This happens on SR regularly and I can't even buy BEEF at the GROCERY STORE with reasonable knowledge of it's contents! It's progress.

Also, while I totally see that child porn and ccn's and whatever can be bought through TOR, the majority of these sites are honeypots and scams. Not to burst anyone's bubble, but I don't think many assassins and bazooka-salesmen are accepting payments in BitCoins from anonymous parties. That's just silly.

Black Market (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857519)

The black market is a living proof that the free market does not exist. After all to be a free market means being free of all laws, regulations and taxations. This can give a rethink to the Ayn Rand dribble as the fact is that no free market has ever existed at any time in any place. So much for the dogma of capitalism.

Re:Black Market (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39859303)

The word is 'drivel'.

You forgot one more terrorist tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857915)

BitTorrent.

SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!11

Obviously all these tools can only be used for vandalism and anti-social behavior...

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