American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road

The unbelievable true story of the man who built a billion-dollar online drug empire from his bedroom--and almost got away with it In 2011, a twenty-six-year-old libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht launched the ultimate free market: the Silk Road, a clandestine Web site hosted on the Dark Web where anyone could trade anything--drugs, hacking software, forged passp...

Title:American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1591848148
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:352 pages

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road Reviews

  • Dino-Jess ✮ The Book Eating Dinosaur ✮
    Oct 26, 2016

    There are no words to describe how much I need this.

  • Virginia
    Jan 31, 2017

    A thrilling tale of the modern crime world that is so insane you couldn't make any of it up!

    Following the steps of Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind The Silk Road, and the law enforcement agents out to stop him, you get an incredible insight into the cyber criminal world and how it's evolving. You also get to see how law enforcement departments both help and hinder each other as well as how easy it is to blur the line between what is legal or not. Good guys become bad guys and bad guys beco

    A thrilling tale of the modern crime world that is so insane you couldn't make any of it up!

    Following the steps of Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind The Silk Road, and the law enforcement agents out to stop him, you get an incredible insight into the cyber criminal world and how it's evolving. You also get to see how law enforcement departments both help and hinder each other as well as how easy it is to blur the line between what is legal or not. Good guys become bad guys and bad guys become human. It's a very cool story that I still can't believe is non-fiction.

    I recommend this to anyone who enjoy thriller novels, those interested in modern crime, and anyone who's ever thought about their impact in the world.

  • Jillian Doherty
    Jan 20, 2017

    Holy awesome read batman!!

    If you like literary story telling that just happens to be a roller coaster of legit events~ you'll love this too! It has every element of a good narrative, while being able to google all the characters and timelines = story happiness!

  • Charlene
    May 19, 2017

    I knew from Chapter One that I was going to love this book. Having previously read Bilton's Hatching Twitter created high hopes and Bilton did not dissipoint! Immediately addicted, I was worried that I was going to blow through this book in the first day. The thought of not having it to savor each day was depressing because finding a book this exciting is a rarity. I tried so hard to make this book last, promising myself to only listen to the audio version while on the treadmill. (What a great r

    I knew from Chapter One that I was going to love this book. Having previously read Bilton's Hatching Twitter created high hopes and Bilton did not dissipoint! Immediately addicted, I was worried that I was going to blow through this book in the first day. The thought of not having it to savor each day was depressing because finding a book this exciting is a rarity. I tried so hard to make this book last, promising myself to only listen to the audio version while on the treadmill. (What a great reward book!) I wish it could have lasted longer.

    How does a guy who is not that good at programming or cyber security end up being the biggest online drug dealer of all time? How does someone like that create the Silk Road, a site that not only sold drugs but guns, contracts on human life, and more? Well, it seems he could not have been as successful if not for a little help from law "enforcement." I won't detail how, because that would spoil some of the best parts of the book.

    How does a sweet kid turn into someone who controls an online empire and has no qualms about ordering the murders of people who get in his way? I am not sure if this book is even able to answer that question, but the details it provided about Ulbricht's life was seriously vitamin enriched food for thought.

  • Ryan Shaw
    May 02, 2017

    I don't have the energy or will to write an actual review but I will say this: I started the book and then I finished the book. There may have been a bathroom break in there but this book had me from beginning to end.

  • Olivier Schreiber
    May 04, 2017

    Ross's mother wrote the following:

    A book called American Kingpin by Nick Bilton claims to be the “unbelievable true story” of my son, Ross Ulbricht. After reading an online adaptation, I agree: It’s unbelievable.

    Just the headline and subhead demonstrate the hyperbole, sensationalism and inaccuracy of this coverage:

    It calls the case a “murder mystery,” yet no murders occurred.

    The Silk Road was not a “billion-dollar enterprise.” The government says the site’s total revenue was a fraction of that (

    Ross's mother wrote the following:

    A book called American Kingpin by Nick Bilton claims to be the “unbelievable true story” of my son, Ross Ulbricht. After reading an online adaptation, I agree: It’s unbelievable.

    Just the headline and subhead demonstrate the hyperbole, sensationalism and inaccuracy of this coverage:

    It calls the case a “murder mystery,” yet no murders occurred.

    The Silk Road was not a “billion-dollar enterprise.” The government says the site’s total revenue was a fraction of that ($183,961,921, 82% less).

    Ross is not “dangerous.” All his convictions were non-violent. He has no record of hurting anyone. No victims came forward at trial to claim that Ross had harmed them in any way. Rather, he is widely known as peaceful and compassionate. Read what 100 people who actually know him have to say.

    And that’s just the headline!

    Other points:

    Bilton portrays Ross as having arranged murder-for-hire, yet this was never proven and Ross was not charged with this at trial.

    Note: There is a 3-year-old, unprosecuted indictment in Maryland based on the word of ex-DEA agent Carl Mark Force. Force is now in prison for corruption along with ex-NSA/Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges. As computer experts, these two agents had unfettered access to the site and the ability to act as DPR, change evidence, steal money and more.

    Bilton conflates Dread Pirate Roberts and Ross. Yet, as Ross’ appeal states on page six, the government did not produce a single witness to authenticate a connection between Ross and any of the communications attributable to DPR.

    Note: The question of multiple DPRs was touched on (and blocked) at trial, yet recent evidence shows that someone using the DPR account logged into the Silk Road seven weeks after Ross was arrested. Who was that? In addition, evidence of tampering of the Silk Road forum database has been discovered. None of this is mentioned.

    Ross is not a computer programmer or coder and never was.

    Bilton extensively quotes Ross’ journal. Yet, as technical experts know, digital evidence is vulnerable to planting, deleting, altering. Incriminating content could have easily been planted when Ross was arrested (he was on an open source network), or at other times before or after. There are many issues with the laptop investigation, among them: the laptop crashed during investigation and one agent testified that he didn’t follow the guidelines when investigating it.

    Ross is not violent. He is not a murderer. He is a danger to no one and should not be locked away, especially for life. I think Nick Bilton knows this, as he emailed me the following:

    “I’ve spent a hundred hours talking to people who knew Ross over the years, and what I find truly remarkable is that there hasn’t been a single person who disliked him. People have told me he was kind, thoughtful, compassionate, and how he was helpful and caring to everyone, especially to those in society that most people judge and ignore.” – Nick Bilton

    Yet, presumably for money, Bilton has used unproven allegations to produce a book that smears a man who is fighting for his life.

    Ross cannot defend himself or his reputation against this media onslaught. He is helpless to stop the feeding frenzy, sensationalizing, fictionalizing and profiting from his life. He’s just trying to survive yet another day in a cage, trusting that the appellate court cares more about the truth than the media does.

  • Mark Yellis
    May 20, 2017

    Remember the Silk Road website? Remember Dread Pirate Roberts? Do you? If so, you will find this well researched account of a young libertarian who became the most notorious criminal in the world over a stretch of a few years quite fascinating.

    I memba!

  • Nasser Salah
    Jun 17, 2017

    Ross Ulbricht, great man with a vision. libertarian he was.

    Sure. he wanted to make money. That was the libertairian way. But he wanted to free poeple too. There were millions of souls crammed into jails across the country because of drugs. mostly inconsequential drugs like weed and magic mushrooms. A vile and putrid prison system kept those people locked away; lives destroyed because the government wanted to tell people what they could and could not do with their own bodies.

    This site Silkroad

    Ross Ulbricht, great man with a vision. libertarian he was.

    Sure. he wanted to make money. That was the libertairian way. But he wanted to free poeple too. There were millions of souls crammed into jails across the country because of drugs. mostly inconsequential drugs like weed and magic mushrooms. A vile and putrid prison system kept those people locked away; lives destroyed because the government wanted to tell people what they could and could not do with their own bodies.

    This site Silkroad he believed could change that. a tittle borrowed from the ancient Chinese trade route of the Han dynasty.

    but when julia snitched. that was  the last time he ever trusted someone.

    he's believed "if cuba had Che Guevara and Irland had Micheal Collins, then the war on drugs would have the Dread Pirate Roberts".

    friend from highschool Renè once asked him, do you think you're going to live forever?. "i think it's a possibility i honestly do. i think i might live forever in some form."

    and sure he did. after FBI Shutdown the site. some dude's created another site co-named Silkroad 2.0.

    sure this book was a great experience.

    it gave me a good glance how is like to hold a big secret. that you cant even trust it with your beloved one's.

    and how's like to even to face the government.

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