Who is Dread Pirate Roberts?
On Wednesday, US Federal agents arrested 29 year-old Ross William Ulbricht, also allegedly known as Dread Pirate Roberts, and charged him with orchestrating 'Silk Road.'
Ulbricht is accused of creating a billion-dollar online black market for everything from drugs to hitmen tools, using Bitcoins to conceal customers' identities.
But who is Dread Pirate Roberts?
According to a report by Business Insider, before turning to Bitcoins and 'Silk Road' – which earned him about $20,000 per day – Ulbricht was an academic. As a grad student at Pennsylvania State University, he studied solar cells and authored academic papers.
Ulbricht also ran a non-profit. The company 'Good Wagon Books' took old books from people's cluttered homes and redistributed them.
He's also a strong supporter of libertarianism. According to his Link
edIn profile, he envisions using "economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and aggression amongst mankind."
His YouTube account shows several Ron Paul videos, including one titled "The one who can beat Obama."
Without mentioning his alleged 'Silk Road' work, Ulbricht concludes his LinkedIn summary with these words:
"I am creating an economic simulation to give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force."
Whether he's referring here to his alleged criminal activities or not, Dead Pirate Roberts has landed himself in a heap of trouble.
Ulbricht is charged with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
By the summer of 2013, he was under total FBI surveillance. On Wednesday this week, the agents arrested Ulbricht at a San Francisco public library and shut down Silk Road.