To anyone following the cat-and-mouse chase between the feds and operators of the darknet drug marketplace, it comes as almost no surprise that hours after law enforcement busted Silk Road 2, Silk Road 3 Reloaded popped up. Business Insider was the first major outlet to report the news. But since then, the Daily Dot has observed that the site’s actually been around for about a month. How is that possible?
Its enterprising owner seemingly capitalized on Silk Road’s infamy and rebranded the Diabolus Market. Unlike Silk Road 1 and 2, which were used to trade all sorts of contraband, the Diabolus Market has been primarily a cannabis trade site. However, a source told the Daily Dot that the name change wasn’t an hollow PR move:
The individual promoting Diabolus market on Reddit told the Daily Dot that the name change wasn’t an act of opportunism, but that the marketplace is actively working with a member of the team from Silk Road 2.0. “A senior figure who I have verified reached out to me about hosting the next SR iteration,” they claim. “He/she is using my code and servers but is operating SR3.0 themselves. I don’t have anything more to say.”
Looking forward, there may be a Silk Road 4 or 5, Gizmodo predicts, reasonably, but the days of individual-operated darknet marketplaces are waning. The future, Gizmodo argues, is decentralized. A “prominent darknet vendor” tells the site: “For any site nowadays longevity is vital, and for me as a vendor thinking long-term, and for me to take it seriously, it would need to be decentralized.”
In the meantime, we sincerely hope that Silk Road 3 isn’t linked its owner’s name.