Photo via Ralph Thompson / CC.
They go by names like Righteous Tabs, The Bud Father, Canadian Sunshine, CaliGirl, and Fred the Baker. They're reliable, affordable, and always have the good shit. Or so lament their loyal, far-flung customers.
Fiending in the cold wake of the recent shuttering of the Silk Road, the dark web's infamous illegal drug bazaar, these ex-Silk Road buyers just want to get back in with their go-to hookup. That's all. Thing is, their guys seem to have gone MIA. Maybe it's just temporary—he's laying low for a minute, waiting for this whole mess to blow over. Or maybe it's something far more permanent—the risks associated with slinging illegal drugs on the Internet are perhaps too high now that he was left with no choice but to get out of the game altogether.
Either way, a growing chorus of scrambling drug afficianados is putting out the call: I'm trying to find my guy—do you know where he's at? And they're doing this on public forums, no less—on the clear web, in other words, not through something like Tor, the anonymous browsing program that kept something like the Silk Road booming below the surface and seemingly out of the grasp of authorities for almost two years.
Do a cursory search on r/silkroad and you'll see what I'm talking about:
- Does anyone know what happened to Righteous? He was a 25i vendor on the Silk Road. Does anyone know if he's relocated to another maketplace? Thanks. (via)
- Anyone heard from Canadian Sunshine? Or any of the other liquid Xanax vendors. (via)
- Where is DR MDA? Dude had the sweetest MDMA, amazing shit and a great price. Is he on another marketplace now? (via)
It's a curious case of recovery in a fractured marketplace. The collapse of the monopoly that was enjoyed by the Silk Road, a site whose sheer breadth of wares and services saw an estimated $2 billion in sales over its lifetime, has scatter-shot all the dark web's highs and lows into a sort of Wild West. Righteous Tabs? Canadian Sunshine? If they're still looking to make a go of it, they're taking up shop elsewhere. And that's if they're not already back online.
Displaced vendors have about as many new dark web markets to choose from as there are hours in the heaviest throes of a LSD vision quest. There are already at least a half dozen alternatives (and that's probably lowballing it) to the former Silk Road, the bust of which might very well prove to be the greatest thing to ever happen to buying and selling shady shit in the web's underbelly.
These Silk Road 2.0's are in varying states of operation, and likewise employ different transaction models. For example, Sheep Marketplace (escrow) went live recently, and is experiencing moderate to low levels of scamming. BlackMarketReloaded (also escrow) has been operation for the past two years, but is notoriously crawling with scammers, and as such can't throw around a lot of weight in the rush to become the next Silk Road. Speaking of, the Silk Road 2.0—did you really think that name wouldn't be scooped up?—is still coming together, and hopes to launch sometime in the next month.
You get the idea. All of these new markets, to which some of the Silk Road's old dealers are fleeing, are poised to take up the mantle of the Dread Pirate Roberts, or Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road's 29-year-old alleged founder who's got nothing to do now, as he awaits extradition to New York City, but draw doodles and read Master and Commander in solitary confinement. (Ross, I know you can't read this, but here's how to stay sane in the hole, anyway.) As Heisenberg 2.0 wrote over at AtlantisBlog, it won't be long before Silk Road's "legacy of 12,000 drug listings are divided out among its suitors." So it's not if, but when. Remember: E-commerce started with drugs, and will likely end with drugs, too.
Which is to all to say, if you're just trying to find your guy in the ashes of the Silk Road, you might have your work cut out for you. But even if he's gone forever, your chance of scoring a new hookup, someone you can set a clock to, who won't jack you over, and who will always be holding the best shit, will soon be higher than ever.