And who have had the talent to succeed in the long run, with the entire arsenal of the United States government lined up against them? Ulbricht is now behind bars, where he’s likely to remain for the rest of his life.
Despite Bilton’s best efforts, Ulbricht remains almost as mysterious at the end of as he is at the beginning.
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One chapter ends with this bit of symbolism: “A violent storm was on the horizon, ominously moving closer to land.” Still, it’s a page-turner: Bilton’s account of Ulbricht’s efforts to evade capture is never less than suspenseful.
The kingpin and his top lieutenant, who goes by the irresistible name of Variety Jones, talk constantly about the seemingly inevitable moment that FBI agents will arrive on their doorsteps.
Ulbricht’s dual life is made literal when he creates separate logins on his laptop for Ross and for the Dread Pirate Roberts; he also builds a series of boobytraps into his laptop that will render them useless at the touch of a button.
But Ulbricht, who is appealing his conviction while serving a life sentence, declined to speak with the author.
That forced Bilton to rely on extensive chat logs between Ulbricht and his employees, as well as interviews with Ulbricht’s friends and family, to paint a portrait of the man he calls kingpin.