If not tracking the Silk Road case or what the Bitcoin actually is here are a few term explanations. A Bitcoin is nothing more than electronic currency that can be used through the computer to purchase items. In other words, just like you would use PayPal to obtain something you can use Bitcoin for an online purchase. The difference Bitcoins are untraceable by the federal government in such a way the money being used cannot be traced where it is coming from.
Merchants have mixed feelings on using the Bitcoin because of what these items actually are. In one way they are beneficial but in another the Bitcoin can be difficult to manage. An example, the Bitcoin transactions are quite secure and there is also a benefit with merchants using this type currency in areas that do not have credit card capability or high cases of fraud taking place. Again, since the Bitcoin cannot be traced in the United States, many business owners have not been willing to get involved.
Lastly, as for the legal side of using the Bitcoin it can be used at stores and merchants that will accept. On that note, there have already been changes taking place to deny this type currency. In the locations of Argentina and Russia there are now full restrictions on what currency can be taken and used. There has been discussion within the country of Thailand to do the same thing.
Silk Road Story
Now that we are aware of what Bitcoins can be used for let me explain what took place with Silk Road. This actually was a website which users could purchase or buy illegal items including drugs. Because of this illegal activity by the CEO, Charlie Shrem, there now has been the hand down by the judge of 5-years in prison. Another person involved with Silk Road, Robert Faiella, has also pled out guilty for illegal trading and being involved with building of a crime venture. Because Faiella pled out he has been given 5-years in prison at this time. There will be more updates on this as the saga continues.