Way back in June, before Sen. Chuck Schumer wanted to break the internet, he wanted to break Bitcoin. After an incendiary story about Silk Road on Gawker, the site NPR called “the Amazon.com of illegal drugs,” senators including Sen. Schumer were up in arms. But Silk Road lives on, according to reports from techies savvy enough to traverse Tor to get there.
“The only method of payment for these illegal purchases is an untraceable peer-to-peer currency known as Bitcoins. After purchasing Bitcoins through an exchange, a user can create an account on Silk Road and start purchasing illegal drugs from individuals around the world and have them delivered to their homes within days,” the senator said in a letter co-written by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
But now it’s January, and Sen. Schumer seems to have forgotten about the cryptocurrency and the virtual drug bazaar that is the Silk Road. In fact, the senator’s less-than-serious effort to get Bitcoin shut down actually boosted Bitcoin, argues one Bitcoin developer, by elevating its profile.
For those of us who had been with bitcoin since early on, we would become excited at the smallest appearance of bitcoin in the press. We all knew the amazing ramifications of this cryptocurrency (or commodity), and were awaiting that inevitable breakthrough that came a few years early with Schumer’s announcement. It was not the right kind of press we were hoping for, but press is press. And while dealing with the moral panic, it gave you a platform for expounding on the social benefits of bitcoin.
The publicity for Silk Road didn’t hurt either. The site is still the largest single marketplace for Bitcoins outside of the Bitcoin exchanges. You can buy Adderall there!