Study Suggests Link Between Dread Pirate Roberts and Satoshi Nakamoto: Two Israeli computer scientists say they may have uncovered a puzzling financial link between Ross William Ulbricht, the recently arrested operator of the Internet black market known as the Silk Road, and the secretive inventor of bitcoin, the anonymous online currency, used to make Silk Road purchases.
Dorit Ron, a computer scientist at the Weizmann Institute, and Adi Shamir, a pioneering cryptographer who is a member of the applied mathematics faculty at the Institute, will publish a paper Sunday exploring how the 29-year-old Mr. Ulbricht, who was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in October and has been charged with a murder-for-hire scheme and narcotics-trafficking, acquired and protected the estimated millions he made in commissions operating Silk Road. The researchers say Silk Road, at the time of Mr. Ulbricht’s arrest, had sales of $1.2 billion, generating $80 million in commissions. A huge run-up in the value of bitcoin in the last month has exponentially increased those amounts.
However, the researchers added, they believe the F.B.I. has seized only about 22 percent of the commissions they have identified, and that they themselves have only been able to trace about a third of the total.