The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has shut down an underground economic website and arrested its founder – in the process dealing a major blow to an alternative online currency.
Oh, and it’s done all this during a so-called “government shutdown.”
The FBI raid targeted Silk Road – a black market website which offered a wide range of illicit offerings (drugs, sex, guns, etc.). The website also pioneered the use of BitCoin, a digital currency based on peer-to-peer transactions as opposed to a centralized bank.
The owner of Silk Road – Ross Ulbricht (a.k.a. the “Dread Pirate Roberts) – was arrested and charged with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. The 29-year-old San Francisco resident has also been accused by the government of attempting to murder one of his users “who was threatening to release the identities of thousands of users of the site.”
Hmmmm … wonder how they gathered that information? Oh right … never mind.
In addition to arresting Ulbricht, agents confiscated 26,000 BitCoins with a value of $3.7 million.
The moral of this story? Even during a shutdown the feds will never stop coming after free enterprise … especially when it involves increasingly credibly alternatives to its fiat currency.
This isn’t about illegal purchases of drugs, sex or guns – all of which should be permissible in a free market. It’s about the federal government protecting its ability to keep the money presses rolling with no interference.