Silk Road was an infamous online drug market that used clandestine browsers armed with most sophisticated incognito features to reach out to buyers. It was first shut down in 2013 but was re-launched the same year before getting shut down again on November 6, 2014.
It has now ‘returned’ under the name of Silk Road Reloaded offering the same products, but with a strategic and commercial difference.
Unlike previous Silk Road versions, which operated via Tor browser and dealt only in bitcoins, Silk Road Reloaded can only be accessed via an anonymous network called I2P and deals with altcoins, too.
The ‘reborn’ dark web trader actually deals in eight different forms of cryptocurrency, including Darkcoin, Dogecoin, and Anoncoin.
Silk Road Reloaded will make money the same way as others, but it will also take a 1 percent conversion fee whenever an altcoin is converted into Bitcoin on the site, reports Motherboard.
This significant change in access is perhaps either due to the lingering fear of a compromised Tor or reports of its alleged hand-in-glove ties with the US government, which enabled the shutdown in the previous two instances.
I2P, on the other hand, provides Silk Road Reloaded and its users with enhanced incognito features than Tor.
After downloading I2P software or reconfiguring their computer, users then access .I2P sites, known as “eepSites”.
What makes I2P more secure than Tor is the former’s distributed network approach, which means creating a peer-to-peer network. Technically, it is functions like BitTorrent.
I2P itself points out a key difference: While Tor’s developers are open about their involvement in the project, and use their real names, I2P developers are known only by pseudonyms.
However, Silk Road Reloaded may have no relation to its predecessors, and might just be trying to cash in on the name especially because of the fact that the trial of Ross Ulbricht – the alleged owner of the original Silk Road – has just started in New York.