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Silk Road Confessions: "We Were Not Harming Anyone. They Just Made Things Very Very Bad For A Lot Of People."

Panic in the land of Bitcoin.

Posted on October 2, 2013, at 5:10 p.m. ET

Users of online black market Silk Road are reeling. In the aftermath of the site's sudden shutdown, and its owner's arrest, they're scrambling for information: Will they be targeted? Will they get their seized coins back? Will the site's built-in kill switch automatically return their money? More pressingly, some users say they're wondering how they're going to repay people who fronted them money for drugs.

One Reddit user posted these astonishing claims:

loaded my account with thousands in bitcoins 5 mins before the shutdown. not my money...

i have nothing. and im a dead man if i cant get them. very dangerous people counted on me. and i just loaded them all 5 mins before... im a dead man if the backup system doesnt send me those coins.
The user, who goes by jayman62, was distraught.

Reached via private message, he offered more context. He casts Silk Road as a safe haven for harmless drug users, a layer of insulation between recreational drug use and the world of outlaws, and even as a way for the uninsured to get access to prescription drugs. The shutdown, in his view, is an injustice.

We can't do much to verify his identity or his claims — he wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons — but his words do echo sentiments posted elsewhere by Silk Road users.

I've been on the Silk Road since they started. It was a wonderful community. There are too many fake stories about pedophiles and guns and hitmen for hire etc... wrong. There was none of that at least not in public view. Who knows what happened in private, but that can happen anywhere.

I wont get into what I was personally buying, but I was doing it for a long time. So, you get comfortable. We also all believed in the thought of a DPR [the site's owner] being more a symbol then an actual person.

Everything was legit. They had a back up system we can only hope goes into play soon. It was supposed to send out everyone's coins to backup wallets in case of this, but who knows.

This site kept people like me from having to go into dangerous sketchy places and risk possible robbery or death, which happened to my best friend/brother who was shot and killed in an alley like a dog. Silk road was a safe haven. It took away all the "bad" and sketchy from deals.

The feds shutting down the site did not help anything. They just made things very very bad for a lot of people. They are the cause for all the violence (a lot more about to explode after this). A lot more people are gonna being looking for drugs and fiending on the streets. A lot that now have no drugs and are starting to withdraw and no longer have any Bitcoins to go to another site (SR is not the only one) are gonna start bugging out and robbing and stealing to get their fixes.

But not everyone that uses drugs is a burnt-out fiend. A lot of people would go there to get prescription drugs we can no longer afford cause of insurance we cant pay for. Just like in real life where the LE bust all the low people and make their lives hell for a bag of weed, they just sent out a wave of destruction. I personally wasn't buying anything to get high; even on the streets so called "thugs" don't have access to everything, like prescriptions, especially in the poor neighborhoods.

It doesn't matter what the money [I risk losing] was for, the fact is the money came from people that don't accept excuses for where their money or product is. But the government will just pat themselves on the back saying "we got DPR" and never mentioning all the people they screwed. And this was a world wide site — this wasn't just America.

Still cant believe DPR was in America... that just crushed my image of how smart he was supposed to be. I really dont know what to say about it. We were not harming anyone. The SR site had zero drug-related violence. The anonymity gave safety. The feds just added to drug-related violence.

When we find solutions, if they didn't think of it, it's not ok. I'm sorry, I'm just rambling.. I'm just really in a hard spot and my mind is everywhere right now.
Whether claims about Silk Road's nonviolence hold up to scrutiny — the founder was accused of, among other things, attempting to hire a hit man and pay him in Bitcoin — it's useful to think of the site not just as a black market, but as a large, diverse and nuanced community. And to understand that, for many inside it, today's news came as a surprise.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.