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The crazy tale behind Silk Road’s missing bitcoin

News today is reporting that bitcoin worth just shy of $1 billion, believed belonging to Silk Road and dormant since Ross Ulbricht’s arrest in 2013, has just moved address.

(As an aside, the transaction cost $12 in fees)

Several years ago, while researching The Darkest Web, I had reason to visit Roger Thomas Clark, aka “Variety Jones”, mentor and adviser to Silk Road’s founder Ross Ulbricht, in a Bangkok prison. Variety Jones, also known as “Mongoose”, had spun an incredible tale about Silk Road’s missing Bitcoin.

The pic the prison guard took with my phone













Below is an extract from The Darkest Web about his story.

Closing in on the puppet-master

Among the identification documents of Silk Road staff found on Ross Ulbricht’s computer was a passport supplied by Variety Jones. Nevertheless, he had somehow avoided arrest during the December 2013 swoop that nabbed Inigo, Libertas and SSBD. Strangely, VJ’s ID had been added only a few weeks before Ulbricht’s arrest, even though he had been mentoring Silk Road’s owner from the beginning. It seemed out of character and particularly incongruous for somebody whose main contribution to Silk Road was identifying security flaws and advising on opsec.

Media speculation about the mysterious Machiavellian puppet- master was keen, but there appeared little action on the part of law enforcement. They had an ID, according to the court transcripts, although the name had not been made public, and a reference from Variety Jones in one of the chat logs that tied him to the moniker Plural of Mongoose. In a 28 June 2012 chat between Ulbricht and VJ, he said, ‘I was, and am, Plural of Mongoose. Folks who know and love me, it’s Mongoose.’

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