You’d be surprised what goes through the mail.  Thousands of contraband packages a day. There’s really no way to monitor it—maybe internationally with customs—but within the states (with vacuum sealing MBB and various imaginative methods of stealth) mailing a package of illegal drugs is quite easy—for the vendor and the buyer.  Plausible deniability.  Anybody can mail you anything in the mail.  You can simply say you didn’t know what it was.  (He did that.  Her writer husband. He’d write about anything and call it research fiction whatever and then play dumb and if confronted would say Do you really think I’d do that and write about it? and then he was either stupid or it was an alibi with the excuse of Art and even as a teenager I wondered why he’d get mad when provoked when people gave him shit about his writing because I knew I gave him shit just because I liked how it made him mad and flustered and yes you are what you respond to but then you got to respond to something or what are you and he may have been delusional thinking people should pay to listen to what he had to say and by God they didn’t own him for it either but I’d hear him self-soothe I’d hear him say Fuck you your great-grandchildren will be reading me…)  Anyway unless you confess that you know what’s in a package it’s very hard to prove guilt.  Even with the evidence of the contraband itself.  They have to prove you purchased it. 

On the darknet they use a digital currency a crypto currency called bitcoin. There are various ways to acquire bitcoin.  Some legitimate and some not.  It takes the money out of the banks and outside of regulations and fees putting it back in the hands of the people.  Or at least your bitcoin wallet.  In many ways it’s the currency of the future.  Even some of your bills can be paid for in bitcoin now.  Typically one bitcoin is worth about five hundred bucks.  But the price fluctuates.  Once you know how to get bitcoin (and make it as anonymous as you want) the how to to get on the darknet and Silk Road is easy enough.  Besides George’s YouTube guide there are countless articles that will take you through it step by step.  Funny how you use the clearnet to get on the darknet.  But then which one is really clear and which one is dark?  No censorship no search engines cached with all your likes.  The news not the spoon fed media of corporate sponsors but more of an Orwellian underbelly of paranoia conspiracy and god knows what else you want to get on the net and say while staying anonymous. And sure there are sites sickening and fearful like child porn and snuff films and contract killers for hire (you can hire a hit in the U.S. for $10000) but Silk Road wasn’t about that.  At least according to George and others.  It was about freedom.

Installing the TOR browser is relatively simple.  Then you need an encryption app—also easy to find and use.  With that and the Silk Road URL you’re ready to become a member.  Much like an Amazon marketplace you shop add items to your cart and browse vendor feedback.  To fund your purchases you simply transfer your bitcoins to one of several bitcoin addresses they provide (using a bitcoin mixer if you want).  Then to place an order you send the vendor an encrypted message with your name and address which they immediately delete after they ship.  Then when your package arrives you provide feedback just like in any other marketplace.  Most problems can be worked out between vendor and buyer with refunds and reshipments but if a problem can’t be resolved the Silk Road staff can block vendors known to scam.  And so business runs smoothly all of it anonymous and very hard to track.  The time money and effort it would take to hack a bitcoin address to trace it back to the bank and identity of the buyer using blockchain analysis ain’t worth the small buys of guys like George.  When Silk Road went down it took the government over three weeks to brute force break into the Dread Pirate Roberts wallet address and seize his coins.  

And I don’t know why we do it.  Why we don’t submit to authority.  Even a bad government an evil government provides order. And without it there’s anarchy.  But I guess all of us thinks it.  All of us thinks we can do it better than the other guy…