In public, the pseudonymous Internet drug czar known as the Dread Pirate Roberts doesn’t say much. Roberts’ website, the illegal, anonymous drug-selling black market known as the Silk Road, has survived only because of its creator’s discretion. On the rare occasions when DPR speaks to the press, he or she does so in short messages, and–at least in my case–only through the anonymizing service Tor, the same cryptographic tool used to prevent the Feds from tracking down the Silk Road’s servers or its users. Thanks to that discretion, the Silk Road’s Bitcoin-driven narcotics trade has thrived for more than two years without being shut down by law enforcement, and its founder hasn’t been identified.
But within the community that the Dread Pirate Roberts has created, Silk Road’s founder is hardly so shy. On the Tor-hidden online forums associated with Silk Road, Roberts posts long manifestos, philosophical and political musings, love letters to Silk Road’s users, and even hosts the Dread Pirate Roberts Book Club, a reading and discussion group devoted to “agorism, counter-economics, anarcho-capitalism, Austrian economics, political philosophy, freedom issues and related topics.