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Ross Ulbricht, or ‘Dread Pirate Roberts,’ is the real-life Walter White

No, he didn’t get cancer and start cooking meth. But in the grand scheme of what it means to ‘break bad’ — and Jesse Pinkman’s eternal question, which is ‘Can that really be done?’ — Ross Ulbricht did it all.  We still don’t know a ton about him, and even interviews with his former Bay Area housemates aren’t yielding much. (He did use a fake name while living there, purportedly Joshua Terry.) At this point, it’s unclear if he’s even been transported cross-country to New York to face charges (he should be in a few weeks), but a few things are clear: the story is absolutely nuts, his parents are claiming they have ‘legally-admissable’ evidence of his innocence, and now, two days ago, new dominoes are beginning to fall: a man was arrested in Maryland for ties to the SilkRoad marketplace.

This is a surreal StoryCorps interview because he’s literally discussing middle school and ice cream sandwiches, despite theoretically running a major illegal online empire:

One of the comments sums it up pretty nicely: he went full Heisenberg. He was a high-achieving student from Texas with a LinkedIn profile about how much he “likes to learn,” and now … this? The Walter White comparisons aren’t lost on very many people.

The FBI recently seized $28.5 million in Bitcoin from Silk Road; the ‘School of Internet Marketing’ just addressed the whole saga in podcast form as well. Ultimately, as detailed in most of these links, SilkRoad fell because of a slew of errors by Ulbricht, including using his own GMail to ask questions about Tor, which is the system by which users are hidden online. Therein lies the difference — Walter White was fairly careful. It took until the end of Season 5A for Hank to even figure it out:

The World Bitcoin Network (yep, that exists) has an entire rundown of every major mistake that Ulbricht/DPR made:

This will be an interesting story to monitor as it goes forward — an additional thing to consider regarding it would be whether anyone famous buys the movie rights, because if more stuff seeps out, this could become a screenplay of some regard — especially regarding who else falls (i.e. man in Maryland). Plus — as of 1 hour ago, there appears to a new DPR on the scene. SilkRoad itself is shut down, but … the Internet is always looking for a new high.

Ted Bauer

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