First, software bugs. Now weapons and drugs.
Nick Bilton, the New York Times journalist who penned the bestseller “Hatching Twitter,” has inked a deal to write a book on the Silk Road, the Internet’s underground black market, he announced today. The Internet bazaar brought in more than $1 billion in illicit proceeds over its two-plus years in business, the authorities claim, buoyed by the digital currency bitcoin as a payment method.
Bilton has been working on the book for the past year in partnership with the online publication Epic Magazine, which plans to publish a feature article on Silk Road. The film rights to the story told in Bilton’s book and Epic’s article have been acquired by 20th Century Fox.
The announcement comes as Silk Road’s founder, Ross Ulbricht, stands trial in New York. Ulbricht’s defense quickly acknowledged that Ulbricht is the Silk Road creator. But his lawyers claim that the former CEO of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, Mark Karpeles, actually ran and built the site after Ulbricht became overwhelmed with its growth. Karpeles has denied these allegations.
The Silk Road black market stayed largely out of the public eye its first few months until journalist Adrian Chen published an expose on the illicit marketplace for Gawker in 2011. The feds shut it down in the fall of 2013.
The book will be published by Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, which also worked with Bilton on his last tome. In a release, Portfolio said, “There are many fine non-fiction writers in the technology space but few who possess the narrative skills to render it brilliantly. This is what makes Nick stand apart.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.