Forbes author Andy Greenberg wrote today about an encrypted email he received from a person who called themselves Kuwabatake Sanjuro. Sanjuro claimed to have designed a Deepweb site called the Assassination Market, which apparently has the capability to "crowdfund" political assassinations in a similar manner as Kickstarter.
For the technically unfamiliar, "the Deepweb" or "DarkNet" (depending on who you're talking to) is the part of the internet that remains inaccessible and uncatalogued by most websites due to anonymizing protocols like Tor. Sites that exist in this unexplored frontier operate on a scale from legal 'gray markets' that appear as an eBay for criminals to terrorist groups attempting to solicit donations for their violent agenda.
In an email to Greenberg, Sanjuro said the site went up four months ago, and six targets have been submitted. Those six targets (and their bounties) include: 10 bitcoins for the death of Gen. Keith Alexander; 40 bitcoins for the assassination of President Obama; and the site's largest bounty, 124.14 bitcoin, for the head of Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve and one of the biggest opponents of bitcoin banking.
The aspirations that Sanjuro has for his site are terrifying. As Greenberg put it, Sanjuro hopes to greenlight enough political murder to scare politicians into returning their power to the masses. "[The Assassination Market will] destroy all governments, everywhere," he said.
"Thanks to this system, a world without wars, dragnet panopticon-style surveillance, nuclear weapons, armies, repression, money manipulation, and limits to trade is firmly within our grasp for but a few bitcoins per person," he added. "I also believe that as soon as a few politicians gets offed and they realize they’ve lost the war on privacy, the killings can stop and we can transition to a phase of peace, privacy and laissez-faire."
Greenberg went as far to contact the FBI and the Secret Service, who declined to comment on the Assassination Market.
One thing is for certain, though: the idea of cryptographically-concealed currencies being used to fund assassinations has been discussed by numerous computer science experts since the 1990's. Sanjuro's efforts were spurred by the PRISM leak from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The idea for an online "assassin's market" originated in 1992 from a former Intel engineer who wrote that uncrackable cypher messages combined with encrypted, anonymous donations would give rise to online assassination markets. A second former Intel engineer named Jim Bell described how such a system might be implemented in an essay called "Assassination Politics."
Like the earlier generation of "cypherpunk" enthusiasts, Sajuro places his faith in cryptography. He claims that "with cryptography, the state, or any protection firm, is largely obsolete…all activity that can be reduced to information transfer will be completely out of the government’s, or anyone’s, hands, other than the parties involved."
But even the world-famous Deepweb drug hub SilkRoad (and its engineer) were busted by the feds in spite of all the anonymity. Unlike Dread Pirate Roberts, Sanjuro claims he has put "measures in place to prevent the effectiveness of such an arrest. Naturally these will have to be kept secret."
In conclusion, Sanjuro said simply, "I am a crypto-anarchist... [and] We have a bright future ahead of us."
If you want to read more on the burgeoning world of crowdfunded assassins, do yourself a favor and check out Greenberg's piece in Forbes.
If you want to learn about how Bitcoins came about and how they're used, this Lionel commentary represents an eloquent explanation.[Image via Thinkstock]