Just what was the most popular product sold on the Silk Road, the anonymous online marketplace whose founder has been sentenced to life in prison without parole? A study by a Carnegie Mellon researcher offers an answer.
Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, who went by the online moniker "Dread Pirate Roberts" after a character from "The Princess Bride," was sentenced Friday. He had faced a minimum of 20 years in prison after being found guilty on a range of charges, from drug trafficking to money laundering.
According to prosecutors, the site generated about $214 million in sales between early 2011 and late 2013, when FBI agents shut down the website, seized about $4 million in bitcoin, and arrested Ulbricht in San Francisco. In late 2011 and 2012, while the site was still active, Carnegie Mellon's Nicolas Christin gathered eight months of data that shows the 20 most popular categories on Silk Road.