Although bitcoin was initially touted as an anonymous system, law enforcement is generally able to track breadcrumbs left behind by the currency. You'd normally expect criminals to adapt once law enforcement figured this out, and they likely did. But you don't expect professors of computer science at Johns Hopkins University to be doing them a favor.
The end came quickly for Silk Road, when federal agents crept in to nab the alleged kingpin of the secret $1.2 billion online drug marketplace as he sat at his laptop in the sci-fi section of a San Francisco public library.
The Silk Road case shined a light on the deep underbelly of the web -- exposing many casual Internet users to unfamiliar terms like Deep Web, Tor and Bitcoin. So we asked Johns Hopkins cryptography professor Matthew Green to help break down this shadowy virtual world for our readers.
An undercover federal agent in Maryland played a key role in the shutdown Wednesday of what authorities describe as a massive online drug marketplace, owned by a 29-year-old engineer who authorities say had begun scheming to kill perceived rivals.
An undercover federal agent in Maryland played a key role in the shutdown Wednesday of what authorities describe as a massive online drug marketplace called the Silk Road, whose owner allegedly began scheming to kill perceived rivals.