Size Estimates of SR’s size have been done several ways: most purchases entail a review at the end, and reviews are displayed on the front page, so one can monitor the front page and extrapolate to estimate average number of transactions per day or week, and from there estimate turnover and what SR’s commissions total to: eg. Cypherpunks Neither Bitcoin nor the Silk Road should be understood outside their ideological and historical context: the bitcoin mining botnet hack forums paypal-obscure cypherpunk movement.
The cypherpunk group was a loose affiliation of cryptographic researchers and enthusiasts centered on the eponymous email list in the 1980s and 1990s who developed many novel ideas and approaches to communication, economics, and politics. The ideal cypherpunk system is self-enforcing, self-regulating, and cannot be attacked directly by outsiders because they do not know where it is or how to affect it. The new world of the internet, abstracted from the old world of brute atoms, longed for independence. The state, like an army around an oil well, or a customs agent extracting bribes at the border, would soon learn to leverage its control of physical space to gain control over our platonic realm. Our one hope against total domination. A hope that with courage, insight and solidarity we could use to resist.
A strange property of the physical universe that we live in. It is easier to encrypt information than it is to decrypt it. We saw we could use this strange property to create the laws of a new world. This fear of centralization is not idle. One solution is to centralize transactions: if you overdraw your bank account with 2 checks, the bank will choose one to bounce and one to honor.
2 conflicting transactions is the real transaction? The underappreciated genius of Bitcoin is that it says that the valid transaction is simply the one which had the most computing power invested in producing it. Hence, Bitcoin is an acceptable cypherpunk currency: it is decentralized, parties participate out of self-interest, and it is economically infeasible to attack Bitcoin directly. Each point corresponds to an average over the prior thirty days. This makes SR a relatively trustworthy agent because too much abuse will cause buyers or sellers to leave and cease paying the percentage, especially if there are any competing marketplaces. And as far as people outside the marketplace are concerned, there is a network effect at play: the better incentives align, the more buyer and sellers there will be, and they will lead to better selections and lower prices. All familiar economic results about normal thick commodity markets, but perhaps unexpected to see in such an exotic marketplace.
Escrow One aspect of the incentives deserves coverage as most presciently discussed by the cypherpunks and underappreciated by users: the use of escrow. Bob will fail to complete his end of the bargain. If the transaction is truly anonymous, over computer lines, then of course Bob just hangs up his modem and the connection is broken. She is also untraceable, but has established a digitally-signed presence and a good reputation for fairness.