And yet, Silk Road 2.0 almost immediately began an aggressive repayment program. The site began charging a 5% fee on transactions, and employee payments were suspended until the customer money was refunded. In April, Silk Road 2.0 announced that it had returned roughly 50% of stolen funds to customers. Today, the anonymous black market hidden down the Tor rabbit hole claims that number is just over 80%.
The fast pace of repayment speaks as much to Silk Road 2.0’s sale volume as it does their ethics. At a 5% fee, it would take roughly $50 million in revenue to repay the original debt. Should their repayment timeline stay on schedule for mid-June, it could be estimated that Silk Road 2.0 has a quarterly revenue of around $25 million. That’s $100 million per year, on par with what above-board bitcoin businesses Coinbase and BitPay claimed to process in 2013.
Then again, the results aren’t terribly surprising to anyone who has followed the growth of online darknet market sites. A report published by Time magazine in late April claimed that the closure of the original Silk Road by federal authorities last October had the opposite of the intended effect. Instead of shutting down darknet trade, the increased attention actually created a boom, resulting in the Silk Road 2.0 actually becoming larger than its namesake in a matter of months.