An individual alleging to be the lead programmer for the now-defunct Silk Road 2.0 has announced that he wants to anonymously auction off all the user account details and the source code from the website to the highest bidder.
Silk Road 2.0 was an illegal underground online drugs marketplace that formed after the demise of the original Silk Road. It was only accessible through the Tor anonymity network (also known as the dark web.
Dark web explained
The dark web is a section of the internet that is not indexed by search engines such as Google, and not easily navigated to using a standard web browser.
Accessing the dark web requires specialised knowledge and software tools. An example of this is content only accessible by using the Tor software and anonymity network, which while protecting privacy, is often associated with illicit activities.
It was shut down in November 2014, aided by an FBI agent who had been working undercover as an admin since the inception of Silk Road 2.0 in October 2013.
"From November 2013 up until the FBI seizure in late 2014, I oversaw the website from behind the curtains and managed the bulk of its servers. I was paid over 1,200 BTC for my service," the user SRDouglas wrote on online forum Bitcoin Talk.
"I have been sitting on a large database backup containing the usernames and hashed passwords of 476,122 users, 51,490 deposit addresses, 7,756 plaintext passwords, 13,280 product listings, 52,481 private messages, 145,493 transaction records and the entire Silk Road source code."
On 28 January, 2014, a user named Zozan Cudi wrote a blog on Medium about a new blackmarket known as "Darkleaks".
The idea is to build a distributed black market on top of the Bitcoin block chain that allows users to anonymously trade and auction off information such as confidential secrets and software exploits.
"The authentication is fair, provably fair. Before paying for the file, a random selection of segments are released chosen by the block chain demonstrating the file's contents match the leaker's claim," Cudi wrote.
"The software uses Bitcoin's block chain to encrypt files which are released when payment is claimed by the leaker. Files are split into segments and encrypted. These segments are unlocked only when the leaker reveals the key by claiming his Bitcoins.
"There is no identity, no central operator and no interaction between leaker and buyers. We encourage everyone to download Darkleaks now and start building."
Apart from auctions, Darkleaks also allows users to crowdfund campaigns using bitcoins to get the information they want, such as explicit photographs of celebrities or confidential government information.
To prove the authenticity of his auction, SRDouglas has leaked a text file containing 476,122 user account details, but no passwords are provided, only hashes. He is also releasing 10 of 100 chunks at a specific section of the blockchain.
SRDouglas, who is available for comments or deals on Reddit, is offering to split up the data from Silk Road 2.0.
Initially he wishes to sell off the database of the usernames, and if that is successfully auctioned off, he will then sell off the other tables, as well as the source code for the website.