There are four things that everyone needs to know about the Deep Web.
First, it’s the part of Internet that’s not indexed the same way search engines organize Web content. That means that traditional search engines cannot see or grab content from it – thus the name.
Second, it’s growing like a weed. In fact, its growth is estimated to be at a much quicker rate than the normal Web that’s seen by the general public.
Third, that growth is driven by commerce – commerce that’s made possible thanks to the emergence of cryptocurrencies, notably bitcoin.
Fourth, it could need a rebranding. Thanks to “Deep Web” — a new documentary premiering on EPIX — everyone will not only know about the Deep Web, but also how to access it.
And just in time for one of its most infamous innovators, Ross Ulbricht’s sentencing for the crimes related to running the bitcoin-funded illegal drug bazaar, Silk Road, which is scheduled for two days before the documentary’s debut on May 31. Written and produced by Alex Winter, the documentary is currently being shown at various film festivals around the world. “Deep Web” shares the story of Ulbricht’s arrest, covers his conviction and shows how Ulbricht got caught, despite a conviction that — as part of the coveted hidden part of the Internet — he was impossible to trace.
“The film explores how the brightest minds and thought leaders behind the Deep Web are now caught in the crosshairs of the battle for control of a future inextricably linked to technology, with our digital rights hanging in the balance,” reads the description on the documentary’s homepage.
The film provides access to interviews with Ulbricht’s family, and shows how the Deep Web has evolved into what it is today. The film also dives into details about the connection between the Deep Web and Silk Road and the “anonymity of cryptocurrency.” The film also examines the difficulty for lawmakers and law enforcement officials to keep up with trends in the digital age, while at the same time raising questions about government intrusion into privacy and whether the government got the proper search and seizure warrants when gathering the data that was used to nab Ulbricht.
The “Deep Web” story has a decided point of view, incase you were wondering, suggesting that The Silk Road was used to “make a political statement” about just one of the many illegal sites on the Deep Web that’s running drug rings. And, that Ulbricht wasn’t the only Dread Pirate Roberts.
“The Silk Road reflects ‘where we are as a culture,'” said Winter, who also shared his views on the investigation. “It is one of the most shocking enigmas I’ve ever encountered. So much conflict, so many paradoxes.”
Bitcoin Tracker | Week 73
While Ross Ulrbricht’s story unfolds on the big screen, bitcoin got a little positive PR this week. NASDAQ said it was looking into the blockchain technology to evolve its security measures. And more retail and tech leaders joined Republic Presidential Candidate Rand Paul’s side. But on the dark side, bitcoin has been tangled up in a couple international ransom cases.
Bitcoin was trading at $236.74, which was down slightly from last week’s $237.78.
As always, if you have any news you’d like to share, please send it our way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Plus Side …
The blockchain is getting more attention from NASDAQ, which is looking into how it can use the technology that powers bitcoin to create a quicker, more secure way to trade stocks. NASDAQ said it plans to leverage blockchain technology as part of an enterprise-wide initiative. NASDAQ isn’t necessarily after bitcoin, but it is looking to use the tech behind the digital currency.
“Utilizing the blockchain is a natural digital evolution for managing physical securities,” said Bob Greifeld, CEO of NASDAQ. “Once you cut the apron strings of need for the physical, the opportunities we can envision blockchain providing stand to benefit not only our clients, but the broader global capital markets. …Our initial application of NASDAQ’s blockchain technology-enabled offering will modernize, streamline and secure typically cumbersome administrative functions, and will simplify the overwhelming challenges private companies face with manual ledger record-keeping.”
- May 11, 2015: Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul picked Overstock’s CEO and Google’s CTO, among others to lead his technology council.
- May 12, 2015: Bitcoin Startup 21 Inc. raised $75 million, which is has set aside for testing to see how its technology could be used to make machine-to-machine bitcoin transactions, which the company said could help bitcoin go mainstream.
- May 13, 2015: Tip with…bitcoin? Social payments platform ChangeTip launched a feature using SoundCloud’s open API that allows artists to be tipped with bitcoin on SoundCloud.
- May 13, 2015: A new platform for the bitcoin community called BTC.com has launched as a forum to break bitcoin news, show bitcoin statistics and help consumers learn more about bitcoin as a digital currency.
- May 13, 2015: Cash first, then bitcoin? An article suggests that Uber in India is poised to eventually accept bitcoin for transport payment.
- May 13, 2015: Bitcoin is making headway in Europe, says a new report, that suggests that bitcoin is getting more viable attention from the European Banking Association.
- May 14, 2015: Could bitcoin be a life raft for a poor economy? Stephen King, a chief economist at HSBC, suggested it’s time to buy into bitcoin because the global economy is “like an ocean liner without lifeboats.” Bitcoin, he said, would help provide some relief if another recession hit.
- May 14, 2015: Starbucks in Japan might soon take a liking to bitcoin, too. A new app called Fold is offering 20 percent discounts to customers who pay with bitcoin for their Starbucks purchases.
- May 14, 2015: Bitcoin is making a fashion statement with a 3D printer that turns a bitcoin wallet into a necklace, with the help of Polychemy.
On the Dark Side …
Uh oh, another bitcoin bug has been discovered. New research suggests that a security flaw called the “Venom VM bug” could be a software vulnerability that would allow for bitcoins to be swiped up. While the security vulnerability for the bug that was discovered on virtualization software has been caught, the researcher who discovered the flaw indicated it could be the “ideal exploitation target for state-sponsored spies and criminals alike fishing for passwords, cryptography keys, or bitcoins.”
- May 13, 2015: While bitcoin regulation has been gaining traction, an op-ed this week suggested that regulating bitcoin “legitimizes a treacherous business.” With all the negative bitcoin news, can you blame the author for thinking so?
- May 13, 2015: MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative Director Brian Forde wrote in a post that the program has found “critical flaws” in New York’s BitLicense that needs to be addressed in order for more companies to become regulated.
- May 13, 2015: When in Russia, don’t bother mentioning bitcoin. Most won’t know what that is, as a new study shows that 80 percent of Russians don’t know what bitcoin or cryptocurrency is.
- May 13, 2015: The Bank of China and the Bank of East Asia have reportedly been targeted for bitcoin blackmail.
- May 13, 2015: If the volatility of bitcoin isn’t always evident, the 3 percent drop in 10 minutes this day certainly showed the risk behind the digital currency.
- May 14, 2015: Bitcoin is being used again for a ransom demand. An international spamming group has threatened Australian and New Zealand businesses that they will attack networks if not paid a ransom in bitcoin.
- May 14, 2015: BTCXIndia is trying to bring a bitcoin exchange to India, but the lack of regulation on bitcoin has made it not so popular in the country, where the government has been weary of bitcoin, in general.