The name "Silk Road" comes from a historical network of trade routes started during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) between Europe, India, China, and many other countries on the Afro-Eurasian landmass.Silk Road was operated by the pseudonymous "Dread Pirate Roberts" (named after the fictional character from The Princess Bride), who was known for espousing libertarian ideals and criticizing regulation.
Ulbricht was convicted of eight charges related to Silk Road in U. Federal Court in Manhattan and was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.In a letter to Judge Forrest before his sentencing, Ulbricht stated that his actions through Silk Road were committed through libertarian idealism and that "Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices" and admitted that he made a "terrible mistake" that "ruined his life".On May 31, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Ulbricht's appeal, and affirmed the judgment of conviction and life sentence, in a written opinion authored by the Honorable Gerard E. Dealer Steven Sadler was sentenced to five years in prison.it was operated as a Tor hidden service, such that online users were able to browse it anonymously and securely without potential traffic monitoring.
The website was launched in February 2011; development had begun six months prior.
It has been considered a 'proto-Silk Road' but the use of payment services such as Pay Pal and Western Union allowed law enforcement to trace payments and it was subsequently shut down by the FBI in 2012.