Ross Ulbricht, the suspected creator of Silk Road, has been convicted for narcotics and other charges over his alleged role in the development and operation of the underground website.
The 30-year-old Ulbricht was found guilty by a federal jury in Manhattan for all the seven charges placed upon him for orchestrating the Silk Road website, which allowed about $200 million worth of anonymous drug sales to be made online using the bitcoin virtual currency.
The trial, which lasted for four weeks, saw the United States crack down on the usage of bitcoins for criminal activities such as drug trafficking.
Ulbricht, who had the online alias of Dread Pirate Roberts, faces a possible life sentence with the mandatory minimum jail time of 20 years. Ulbricht's sentencing has been scheduled for May 15.
According to Joshua Dratel, Ulbricht's lawyer, said that an appeal would be made. Dratel added that he was severely limited in the evidence that he was allowed to present, while also stating that the conviction of Ulbricht was based on statements that were not attributed to Ulbricht.
According to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the conviction of Ulbricht should serve as a message to people who are thinking of trying to establish a criminal enterprise on the Internet.
"The supposed anonymity of the dark web is not a protective shield from arrest and prosecution," Bharara said.
Silk Road was in operation from at least January 2011 until October 2013, when authorities arrested Ulbricht in San Francisco.
Silk Road operated on the Tor network, which allows users to communicate and carry out activities anonymously. The website also used bitcoins as payments because the virtual currency allowed users to hide their true identities and their locations.
According to prosecutors, before Silk Road was taken down, the website had already generated sales of about $213.9 million and commission of about $13.2 million.
Prosecutors add that Ulbricht carried out extreme measures to protect the underground website, claiming that he solicited murders for people that threatened Silk Road. However, no evidence has been presented to prove that the murders actually occurred.
During the trial, Ulbricht admitted that he was the creator of Silk Road. However, the website was initially supposed to be a "freewheeling, free market site."
Ulbricht handed over control of Silk Road to others after finding that operating the website was too stressful. However, Ulbricht was reeled back in at the latter part of the life of Silk Road to become supposedly the "fall guy" for the people that perpetrated the illegal activities on the website.