Ross Ulbricht, now on trial for masterminding the online drug exchange The Silk Road,
Ross Ulbricht’s LinkedIn Photo
may not have been the first administrator of that site or even the first to use the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts”, according to a text file posted to Pastebin on October 2, 2013, which describes the history and evolution of online drug markets including Silk Road. In the film The Princess Bride, Dread Pirate Roberts is a pseudonym used by multiple people who take on the same mantle of a masked crusader as the others before him retire or die and replace their predecessor in the role.
Journalist Mike Power (
@mrmichaelpower) brought the Pastebin file to public attention on Twitter last week. The file was posted to Pastebin at 11:53 AM CDT on October 3, 2013, two days after Ross Ulbricht was arrested. A lengthy history of the evolution of online drug exchanges, the article makes no mention of Silk Road’s seizure by the FBI or Ulbricht’s arrest and appears to have been written at an earlier date. It concludes its history of the movement with the statement, “…we are in the era of SR [Silk Road], and I think we are already close to unstoppable.”
The author refers to “the original DPR [Dread Pirate Roberts]“, suggesting he was writing at a time when he knew or believed that Silk Road was being operated by a subsequent administrator under the same Dread Pirate Roberts alias.
If this is true, Ross Ulbricht may not be the “mastermind” behind The Silk Road at all.
The anonymous author of the document writes:
“I remember actually reading about the idea for SR from the original SR admin on the bitcoin forum prior to him making the site, but the council on BBS essentially came to the idea of a public drug site at the same time as and independently of the original DPR. We also had a massive history and honestly were kind of miffed that some noob was trying to steal the glory (sorry DPR!).
…it used to be about the community and about fighting for our rights and protecting our people, and that is why I have a ton of respect for DPR now because he is on the same page as I am even if he is making a grip of cash at the same time). …
Anyway the rest is history, I ran OVDB for a good bit, but the media blew SR the fuck up, Ene got busted by homeland security, tarpaulin got strung out on heroin and scammed a bunch of people, it just wasn’t worth it for me anymore. DPR had a business model and a reason to keep running his site, SR went from a thousand members to tens of thousands to a hundred thousand from all the media attention and OVDB only had a few thousand at its peak. I decided it is better for us to just get behind Silk Road…
So I think right now we are in the era of SR, and I think we are already close to unstoppable, but I think there will be one more era in the future.”