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My Interview with Ars Technica :
On the first day of the trial, 26-year old Max Dickstein had come dressed in a black ninja costume while holding a poster reading “The Chosen One,” featuring a picture of Ross Ulbricht and the Bitcoin logo. Midway through the trial, I bumped into Dickstein again as he smoked a cigarette on the court’s eighth floor balcony with two friends.
Beneath a mop of black hair, Dickstein smiles often, in a way that suggests he has secrets to share.
“Rolex!” said Dickstein, thrusting his wrist toward me. “Let’s just say I got it on a certain Tor-only marketplace.”
“Got it,” I said, looking at the gold watch. “Is it real?”
“No!” he said. The trio erupted with laughter.
I had dinner with Dickstein in Chinatown, where he lives. He’s an “out-there” libertarian, he explained. His father is a currency trader, and Dickstein, who describes himself as an “unrepentant one-percenter,” dropped out of college to trade currency as well. He got his father interested in Bitcoin, which he saw “as an alternative to gold,” he told me.
Dickstein wouldn’t say on the record whether he’d made buys on Silk Road or other “darknet” markets, but his knowledge of them was extensive. Silk Road had far more traffic than its competitors and had features other markets didn’t have, including the ability to “hedge” Bitcoin, which essentially froze the value of the trade at the moment the buyer and seller agreed on it. That protected either side from losing money due to Bitcoin volatility.
Other markets included Black Market Reloaded, which had everything, including guns, which Silk Road didn’t traffic in, but it became clear talking to Dickstein that one of the reasons for Silk Road’s success was because people trusted it. Much of the credit for that went to DPR himself, who was communicative and helpful. With millions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin in the site’s “escrow” system at any given time, nothing could stop a market owner from running with all the escrowed cash. But DPR wasn’t like that—he had truly wanted to build the site, and his users believed in him.
I asked him what Dickstein thought about the Ulbricht case; his answer had a kind of duality to it that I would hear from other supporters. If Ross was innocent, then he was a victim and a hero, Dickstein believed. If Ross was guilty—then he was an even bigger hero.
“He created a marketplace where I could buy anything,” said Dickstein.
He was even more enthusiastic about the idea of Karpeles getting in trouble. Dickstein was certain that the collapse of Mt. Gox had been straight-up theft by Karpeles, to the tune of $400 million worth of bitcoins—including $16,000 of Dickstein’s own.
I asked him how he knew the two other men who’d been smoking on the balcony with him. They met at a 9/11 Truth rally, he explained.
“Building Seven, at least, was brought down by explosives,” he said. He had been living near the site at the time with his parents, when just barely a teenager.
I said nothing, but Dickstein could read my skepticism. “Like I said, I’m out there,” he told me, smiling broadly.
This was the first viral article for the original Grand Inquirer, and to celebrate our reopening, I am putting it back where it belongs—home
TheDreadPirateDickstein (My old identity)
Special thanks to Tatiana Moroz
~We pray for justice and we want to be free~ Tatiana Moroz : “The Silk Road”
On June 18, 1971, President Richard Nixon introduced the infamous War on Drugs. The question of its efficacy several experts consider debatable; for instance, American opiate use is at an all time high, and America currently has the largest incarceration rate per capita of any “civilized” country in the world, largely due to marijuana prohibition. Dear liberty lovers, I will to you demonstrate not only the overt failure of the War on Drugs and its inability to curtail drug use, but more importantly, to demonstrate how a certain “economic experiment” named Silk Road completely undermined it…and also made the world overall a better place.
In February of 2011, a young man with a vision created an online marketplace called Silk Road that allowed for anybody to sell whatever product their heart desired. That visionary’s name is Ross Ulbricht; he himself was the site’s first vendor, selling his home grown magic mushrooms, much to the dissatisfaction of Mr. Nixon’s ghost. As its popularity took off, others realized they could circumvent the Federal Government’s unconstitutional War on Drugs as well. That site eventually grew to an extent so that any substance could be obtained directly through the mail, paid for with an anonymous currency called bitcoin (a subject for another time). This innovative marketplace had several consequences for drug users and sellers alike.
With the onset of Silk Road, no longer did “certain” individuals have to bring either guns of knives to purchase chemicals that our founding father Thomas Jefferson himself grew. Instead, all one needed to do was make a retrievable payment and await their product in the mail. None of these users and vendors EVER had to worry about fear of death, robbery, or even fraudulent transactions.
Silk Road did not only offer drugs, contrary to government propaganda, nor guns, nor child pornography. It offered merchandise like anti-biotics, anaesthesia, ebooks on how to make money etc. It was essentially a free and unregulated and BETTER ebay. It allowed users a safe way to access their product; it allowed those who can not afford Obamacare a way to access necessary medications to treat sickness and ailment; it allowed individuals who struggled with social skills to improve their ability to connect with others via its educational merchandise. That is to say, until it was shutdown by the Empire of the United States of America.
Silk Road was shut down in 2013 by the US government. They arrested Ross, and he currently awaits a sham-trial. Meanwhile, the US government ran off with millions of dollars of peoples assets, mine included. While the theft is unpardonable, now several users have no choice but to return to the streets and risk getting ripped off and jumped, as they feared before. However, Ross and his visions accomplishments will always be remembered.
Despite the shutdown of the Silk Road, it showed the US government the futility of its fascist and unconstitutional War on Drugs. Silk Road showed statist prosecutors like US district attorney Preet Bharara that in spite of his decrees, we will engage in free commerce whether he likes it or not. And with the creation of the new Silk Road and several spin offs like Agora marketplace, we showed him and his minions that they cannot stop freedom, they cannot stop the free exchange of goods, and most importantly…..they cannot stop us.