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Is Silk Road’s owner jumping ship?

Is Silk Road’s owner – The Dread Pirate Roberts – sailing off into the sunset with wads of cash? Has he sold Silk Road as a going concern and included the goodwill of his name and reputation in the price?

Dread Pirate Roberts is a character from The Princess Bride.  The Wikipedia entry says:

“A pirate of near-mythical reputation, The Dread Pirate Roberts is feared across the seven seas for his ruthlessness and swordfighting prowess, and is well known for taking no prisoners.

“It is revealed during the course of the story that Roberts is not one man, but a series of individuals who periodically pass the name and reputation to a chosen successor. Everyone except the successor and the former Roberts is then released at a convenient port, and a new crew is hired. The former Roberts stays aboard as first mate, referring to his successor as “Captain Roberts”, and thereby establishing the new Roberts’ persona. After the crew is convinced, the former Roberts leaves the ship and retires on his earnings.”

Silk Road recently had a complete overhaul in look and underlying software – could this be because the incumbent is handing over the reins? The Bitcoin is also going nuts – any correlation?

Let’s have a look.

Near-mythical reputation – check. Users of the site worship him.  Some credit him with ‘literally’ saving their lives. His next job should be Cult Leader.

‘Feared across the seven seas for his ruthlessness and swordfighting prowess, and is well known for taking no prisoners. DPR has created a monopoly of sorts.  He gets to demand payment for Seller accounts and sets the commission structure.  He has the power to expel site users, which in a Vendor’s case would severely curtail their earning capacity.  He presumably also has the power to clear a member’s account with little fear of repercussion, at least in the physical world.  (n.b., there’s no evidence whatsoever any of this ever happened).

Roberts is not one man, but a series of individuals who periodically pass the name and reputation to a chosen successor‘.  If Dread wanted to get out of the business, he would make the most money by selling it as a going concern, providing his successor with the goodwill of his reputation.

Everyone except the successor and the former Roberts is then released at a convenient port, and a new crew is hired.’  The administrators and moderators who form DPR’s crew don’t actually know him.  However, if Dread has real-life people who assist him, his excuse would be the need to change the crew to run the new look ship (website).  The new crew would be introduced to the “New DPR” as if he were the original.

The former Roberts stays aboard as first mate, referring to his successor as “Captain Roberts”, and thereby establishing the new Roberts’ persona.The convincing of the crew (and his devotees) that there has been no change would be difficult, a situation Dread has created for himself.  You see, he is a very articulate chap, prone to writing lengthy missives espousing his philosophy and discussing his site.  People (other than the disciples who will only ever see what he wants them to see) will notice a change in style or grammar.  He may have to provide freelance editing skills to the new owner for a while.

After the crew is convinced, the former Roberts leaves the ship and retires on his earnings.’ Carnegie Mellon University recently released a pretty convincing paper putting DPR’s income from commissions at $US143,000 per month. Add this to the sale price, and if he’s investing sensibly, he should be able to retire soon.

So could it be true?  Has the owner decided to move on?  Have the Gawker articles taken their toll?  Has he just made enough money?  Or do I just have an awesome imagination?

The above is complete supposition and guesswork on the part of the author.  As usual, please feel free to link to or share this blog, but please don’t reproduce it without the author’s permission.

14 Responses

  1. “Users of the site worship him.”..this is blatantly false. There are a couple of n00bs that express this type of admiration, but people like myself, who have been on the road for over a year, well…we do not “worship” him. He is just another mod, and he used to be a vendor on the site before it got to big. Now he realises that it would be dangerous for himself to vend, as all LE would have to do is order from him. Also, you say there is no one who knows who he is. no one knows him. *ahem* again, this is not true. There are many who know him on the forums. I will not say who, but if you have been there long enough, you would know. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your reply and sorry it went to spam (I’m guessing tormail addy). As the disclaimer said at the bottom: “Or do I just have an awesome imagination? The above is complete supposition and guesswork on the part of the author. ”

      You have to admit though, a *lot* of the users act like he/she’s the Next Messiah. 😉

  2. Thank you for posting my comment. I am sorry if I sounded snarky, I get a little bothered at the way the media has presented things that are misleading at best, and false at worse. I mean, I realise what is happening on SR, I realise that it is “bad”, but at the same time, some good does come from the site. Just look at the harm reduction thread in the forum, and also the thread that specifically deals with support for those trying to quit their drug of choice. I also placed a comment on the conversations with a hitman. Good job all around on your blog though. People need to realise that drugs, and drug use are not going to go away. Harsher jail terms are not the answer. Not only should treatment be increased, but maybe it is time to address WHY people feel the need to medicate.

  3. I don’t think it’s farfetched. People choose their pseudonyms for a reason. It’s rarely random, especially when used as a brand.

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