The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes connecting the East to West for centuries.

Named after the lucrative silk trade, the route was forged in 200 BCE by the Han dynasty.

Its usefulness extended into the Roman Empire and Medieval times until its final demise in the 1300's under the Mongol hoards lead by Genghis Khan.

The Silk Road was made famous in the book, Travels of Marco Polo [which your author read many times as a bright eyed boy]. Some of the customs of the Far East were revealed for the first time to Westerners such as soaking a person in a vat of virgin olive oil to limber up before dismembering (yuck!).

In a twist of bravado and irony the Silk Road was resurrected in February 2011 with ONE major twist.

The Road itself was no longer a road!

It had no physical geography per se.

And you needed an Onion to travel down it.

Huh?

It was in fact an underground website.

Users could buy drugs, guns and fake documents, as well as the services of hackers and hit-men!

To conceal such activities, payment was in Bitcoin. Users had to access it through a web browser called Tor which concealed the user through layers of encryption resembling an Onion.

The story of this $1.2 Billion Silk Road burst into the public conscience in October 2013. Its founder Ross Ulbricht aka. Dread Pirate Roberts was arrested by the FBI.

It’s a fascinating sinister story, detailed immaculately well in this Australian 60 minutes Episode

As it happened, October 2nd, 2013 was a disastrous day for Bitcoin. The currency PLUNGED 20% from $125 to $90! The anonymous currency was underwriting coffee shops and major criminal activity.

A year earlier, had you decided to ‘try’ out Bitcoin to buy your daily coffee and deposited $50 into your account you would have 5 Bitcoins @ $10 each.

Then forgetfully, after buying 1 or 2 coffees, you left the ‘change’ in your Bitcoin wallet.

That would now be worth around $8,400 … clumsy you!