Nicolas Christin on anonymous online market Silk Road

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August 28, 2012

Nicolas Christin, Associate Director of the Information Networking Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, discuses the Silk Road anonymous online marketplace. Silk Road is a site where buyers and sellers can exchange goods much like eBay and Craigslist. The difference is that the identity of both the buyers and sellers is anonymous and goods are exchanged for bitcoins rather than traditional currencies. The site has developed a reputation of being a popular online portal for buying and selling drugs because of this anonymity, which has caused some politicians to call for the site to be investigated and closed by law enforcement. Despite all of this, the Silk Road remains a very stable marketplace with a very good track record of consumer satisfaction. Christin conducted an extensive empirical study of the site, which he discusses.

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