There is one thing that we never manage to get it right. Any guesses? Yes, it is the grocery list! No matter how careful you are, you usually forget to buy one thing or another (I wonder why people always forget to buy milk). Imagine how easy life will be if you could automate your shopping with a bot. However, that’s what got these guys into trouble.
As a part of an exhibition, !Mediengruppe Bitnik – An art group created a shopping bot called Random Darknet Shopper. True to its name, Random Darknet Shopper randomly bought stuff off the deep web by paying in Bitcoins. The bot was programmed to make one random purchase worth less than $100 each week from the deep web. The items once purchased, were shipped to Kunst Halle St Gallen, a contemporary art gallery in Switzerland where their art installation was displayed. The items purchased by Random Darknet Shopper was part of the exhibition “THE DARKNET- FROM MEMES TO ONIONLAND. AN EXPLORATION” at the gallery.
The trouble began when Random Darknet Shopper picked up ecstasy from one of the deep web stores. These yellow pills with the twitter logo on it, called the ‘Yellow Twitter’ was purportedly made of pure MDMA. It was displayed alongside other items as part of the installation. The installation made news, thanks to the illegal nature of ecstasy pills. As the news caught on, the authorities were forced to act. As a result, St Gallen public prosecutor’s office confiscated the Random Darknet Shopper bot earlier this year and !Mediengruppe Bitnik responsible for the bot was threatened with prosecution.
Three months after the incident, the public prosecutor’s office in St Gullen seemingly has taken a lenient view and released the bot along with all but one item it purchased. The authorities destroyed those pills after it tested positive for MDMA.
Even though the whole incident was resolved without any long term repercussions for the group, but has opened yet another debate about Bitcoin’s connection to the deep web. Unless this issue is addressed, Bitcoin will always have a negative connotation associated with it.