While Silk Road is no longer the only well known tor accessible, Bitcoin funded, online drugs marketplace in the world, it's still the most recognised and the base line for which others are judged. Atlantis was an up and coming contended, taking swats at the champ and offering new features, lower fees and it certainly got some attention and with that, some users. However, those same early adopters are feeling the pinch now, as the admins have pulled the site and every Bitcoin in its users' accounts, scarpering off into the sunset.
At least this is the story being touted by Atlantis forum moderator Cicero, who said that “Many users have claimed the administrators have run off with their money. I cannot deny it.”
Last week the admins of Atlantis announced a closure of the site due to security reasons, suggesting that users would have a week to withdraw their funds or have them donated to a “drug related charity.” During that time Cicero defended the admins, even when most users had trouble withdrawing any Bitcoins from the site. Now though, it's hard to stand in the admins corner, when they seem to have disappeared altogether.
Despite what Cicero describes as a “honorarium” payment of arounnd $200k, he insists he never had much swing with the site, instead handling only general moderation on Atlantis' forums. There was a plan along the way for him to have more of an important role, but that never came about.
While a less well known logo, Atlantis' was a little less sly than the Silk Road camel.
While he was eventually as surprised as the community at the site's sudden end, there was a hint something was in the works before then. “Something [was]going wrong these past 8 weeks,” he said. “Support times went from prompt to atrocious.”
While Admins suggested it was security issues that caused the site's closure, Cicero now believes this isn't the whole story. It may have been a factor, but he believes it was more likely, “a business decision was made to shut the site down because it did not bring in profits commensurate to the costs of running the site.”
All the while Silk Road continues to run relatively smoothly. While it was hit with DDOS attacks earlier this year, authorities around the world seem unable to do anything to shut it down. The admin of the site, Dread Pirate Roberts (a moniker likely controlled by several individuals, one of whom may be the current site owner) even conducted an interview with Forbes recently which saw Bitcoin prices spike in response. In the talk he set out his feelings on drug dealing and the current system of prohibition, where he described the war on drugs as already lost, since anyone on his site could get drugs anywhere in the world, without law enforcement being able to do anything about it.
Which makes you wonder about whether a “war” on drugs is a smart plan at all. Especially when it's costing tens of thousands of lives a year, especially in Mexico, a country that is now considering legalisation of certain drugs as an alternative approach – much the same way that alcohol and tobacco is controlled.
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