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Silk Road Trial Begins in New York

January.14.2015 0 Comments

As the infrastructure for widespread use of in-store mobile payments locks into place across the U.S., the industries involved can accelerate adoption by better educating consumers on the performance and ease of use of mobile pay services, a recent survey by Verifone suggests. Conducted online by Wakefield Research to focus on consumer attitudes among 1,000 US adults aged 18+, the survey took place during the busy holiday shopping season, between December 16 and December 23, 2014, timed to coincide with maximum consumer interest in retail payment options.

More than half of the respondents – 53 percent – said it was important for more stores to install devices that enable consumers to pay with their smartphones, indicating wide receptivity to mobile payment options once they’re provided. The response was significantly higher among younger consumers; 64 percent of respondents aged 40 and below agreed that more stores should install devices that allow customers to use smartphones to pay. Additionally, 84 percent of respondents said they would use their smartphones to pay for small and medium purchases, such as a cup of coffee or a pair of jeans.

At the same time, the survey showed that half of the consumers polled were unfamiliar with mobile technologies such as near field communication (NFC) and mobile wallets. Similarly, half of respondents said they were unlikely to shop in a store because it used in-store tracking technology to provide offers on mobile devices.

Other key survey data include:

Credit/debit cards remain the primary method of payment for 63 percent of all survey respondents, with six percent favoring alternative payment options such as PayPal, and four percent preferring mobile wallet services.
A total of 54 percent of survey respondents are familiar with EMV technology. Of this group, 39 percent use credit or debit cards that have EMV chips as their primary or secondary payment method; among respondents under 40 years of age, 49 percent use credit or debit cards that have EMV chips as their primary or secondary payment method.
More than half of the respondents – 56 percent – are willing to continue shopping at a store whose credit card information was stolen; the number of consumers who are less likely to continue shopping at such a store was 44 percent.
Among the advantages cited to using smartphones instead of traditional payment methods, speed of use ranked first (34 percent), followed by freedom from carrying a wallet (29 percent), access to mobile deals (24 percent), ease in tracking spending (23 percent) and safety of personal data (18 percent).

Opening statements

A final jury was selected in the afternoon and opening statements were then made both by the prosecution and the defense.

Dratel’s opening statement revealed a new narrative to the defense team’s strategy of proving that Ulbricht is not guilty on all seven counts. The defense attorney admitted that Ulbricht is the creator of the Silk Road, but that he ultimately passed along the responsibility of running the site to the “real” Dread Pirate Roberts, only to be left framed once that person realized law enforcement was closing in.

On the prosecuting end, attorney Timothy Howard’s opening statement reiterated that the government planned to prove that Ulbricht was actively involved as the mastermind behind all of Silk Road’s operations. Howard also referenced one of Ulbricht’s college friends that will be called to the witness stand to testify about Ulbricht allegedly bragging to him about running the website.

A long road ahead

Forrest explained to the room that the entire trial will likely last four to six weeks and cautioned jurors not to do any outside research or pay attention to media reports in that time. Outside of the courtroom, though, the ripple effects of the original Silk Road are still being felt.

Earlier this week, a spawn of the original online black market, Silk Road Reloaded, made news by migrating from operating on the Tor network to the anonymous, decentralized I2P network.

With Ulbricht’s arrest and multiple shutdowns of online dark markets including the Silk Road and Silk Road 2.0, the US government has made clear that cybercrime of this nature is high on its priority list.

As Ulbricht’s trial progresses and black markets continue to proliferate on the Internet, the implications of the first Silk Road will become even more clear for all to see.