Free Minds & Free Markets


Mostly law professors, blogging on whatever we please since 2002 · Hosted by The Washington Post, 2014-2017 · Hosted by Reason 2017 · Sometimes contrarian · Often libertarian · Always independent

Rise and Fall of the Silk Road

Episode 219 of the Cyberlaw Podcast

This episode features a conversation with Nick Bilton, author of American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road. His book, out today in paperback, tells the story of Ross Ulbricht, the libertarian who created the hidden Tor site known as the Silk Road, and rode it to massive wealth, great temptation, and, finally, a life sentence.

It's a fine read in its own right, but for those who know the federal government, the most entertaining parts concern the investigators who bring Ulbricht down. They all have ambitions and flaws that mirror the stereotypes of their agencies, even -- or perhaps especially -- when the agents go bad. It's got everything – sales of body parts, murder (maybe!), rogue cops, turf fights, and justice in the end.

Sadly, I predict this episode will generate more hate mail than any other. Why? You'll have to listen to find out. Feel free to question my judgment with emails to

Download the 219th Episode (mp3).

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Pocket Casts, Google Play, or our RSS feed!

As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Send your questions and suggestions for topics or interview candidates to or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785. Remember: If your suggested interviewee appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Thomas L. Knapp||

    This episode was INCONCEIVABLE!

    BTW, that word does not mean what I seem to think it means above.

    Sorry, best I could do by way of hate mail.

  • Ted S.||

    justice in the end.

    So woodchippers for the right people?

  • croaker||

    What happened can be called many things. Justice isn't one of them.

  • ||

    Oh this again.

    /turns woodchipper on.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online