Thoughts on: “American Kingpin” by Nick Bilton

A failed physicist libertarian created the “Amazon of drugs” on the dark web, banking on the anonymity of Bitcoin and Thor (a web anonymous browser). His name was Ross Ulbricht and the site name was “the Silk Road”.

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He wanted to challenge the government led “war on drugs”, which he saw as a huge failure, and create a safe way to purchase drugs and while doing so, save tens of thousandths of people from prison sentences for minor drug abuse. The goals was to become such a powerful force that governments would understand that legalizing rather than fighting drugs was the solution.

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📝 The first items sold on the page was Ross’s homegrown magic mushrooms.

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📝 It did not take long before vendors started to sell fake passports and money. Lab supplies, forged documents, guns, spyware.

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📝 Then came the next level stuff:

Poisons – cyanide, which kills you in 7 sec was sold with a copy of “The final exit”; An e-book guide to suicide. Soon body parts, like marrow and kidneys, came online.

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📝 Ross and his partner, Variety Jones agreed that selling these things where all good as long as there where where consent between buyer and seller. Except on one point: Heroin.

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📝 Variety Jones had a problem with the Silk Road selling heroin. In prison he had seen what heroin did to people. Prisoners where drug tested randomly – but only Monday – Friday. Pot stayed in your system if you did it during the weekend but Heroin did not… so many took to heroin and nobody smoked pot. Making prisoners take a weeks worth of heroin In a couple of hours just to ride out the withdrawal symptoms for until it was Friday again. Hell!!

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💭 Thought!💭: For me It’s always fun to google the faces of the characters in books like these when you reach the end of the book. They usually look very different from what you expect!

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🔁 Follow up: I need to read about Heroin.

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Anyhow, this is excellent narrative non-fiction of a real world “Breaking Bad”-story. You get to follow the tale of the Silk Road from its inception to its shut down and its one hellauva ride!

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4/5

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