Henry Farrell, writing for Aeon Magazine, on the trouble with buying black market goods on the internet:
Would-be criminals on the hidden internet repeatedly complain that they have been ripped off. In the description of one commenter on the Hidden Wiki:
“I have been scammed more than twice now by assholes who say they’re legit when I say I want to purchase stolen credit cards. I want to do tons of business but I DO NOT want to be scammed. I wish there were people who were honest crooks. If anyone could help me out that would be awesome! I just want to buy one at first so I know the seller is legit and honest.”
This might be a good example of Poe’s Law – if it’s trollsmanship, it’s good. If it’s not, it’s amazing. Here’s another great quote about Ross Ulbricht, the man who was just convicted of various federal crimes related to running the Silk Road:
Ulbricht built the Silk Road marketplace from nothing, pursuing both a political dream and his own self-interest. However, in making a market he found himself building a micro-state, with increasing levels of bureaucracy and rule‑enforcement and, eventually, the threat of violence against the most dangerous rule‑breakers. Trying to build Galt’s Gulch, he ended up reconstructing Hobbes’s Leviathan; he became the very thing he was trying to escape.
Farrell’s article is called The Reluctant King of the Hidden Internet, and it’s fantastic.