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  1. 1. What is Tor?
  2.  
  3. According to The Tor Project's website:
  4.  
  5. Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis. Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.
  6.  
  7. 2. Why should I use Tor?
  8.  
  9. Because right now, in most parts of the world, buying and/or possessing marijuana is illegal, and Tor is a valuable and effective tool in preserving your anonymity and safety while conducting less-than-legal business transactions.
  10.  
  11. As a secondary reason, Tor has something called "hidden services". These are websites the urls of which cannot be resolved by standard DNS systems. This renders them completely inaccessible unless the browser is running through Tor.
  12.  
  13. 3. Is Tor safe?
  14.  
  15. I think so. Lots of evidence says that with proper precautions and a liberal amount of street-smarts, a person can conduct business on Tor and never be caught. It does not do magic, however, and if you're stupid about it, you can be caught.
  16.  
  17. 4. What kind of precautions?
  18.  
  19. First and foremost, keep your identity on Tor completely separate from your identity on the "regular" internet, and certainly keep it separate from your identity in the real world. Choose a different, insignificant username, user different passwords, never give out information about yourself, ever. These are the most important precautions. Tor is secure and strong to most types of information leakage, but if you start telling people all about yourself, there's nothing Tor can do to save you.
  20.  
  21. Secondly, Javascript. Keep that shit turned off. You do not need it on Tor, and if a site says you do, run the fuck away. Every single safe website out there is going to have https enabled and everything but basic HTML disabled. Keep a careful eye out for these warning signs if you decide to venture outside of the confines of this guide. Shit, keep a careful eye out for these signs WHILE USING my guide. People can be evil and shit happens, so it's best to be vigilant.
  22.  
  23. I recommend that everyone read this page.
  24.  
  25. 5. How do I get and use Tor?
  26.  
  27. Download the [Tor Browser Bundle](https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en) from the official site. There's no installer on Windows and Linux, and it's just a standalone App for OSX. Just extract the zip and run the exe or app. This will cause the Vidalia connection window to open up, and, after it finishes setting up a secure connection, it will then open up a modified Firefox for you.
  28.  
  29. 6. What are Bitcoins?
  30.  
  31. According to Bitcoin's official website:
  32.  
  33. Bitcoin is an experimental new digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: managing transactions and issuing money are carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is also the name of the open source software which enables the use of this currency.
  34.  
  35. Basically, bitcoin is how you make the payment portion of your business interaction untraceable and safe in comparison to other forms of payment. If you pay in cash, then you have the insecurity of dollars being stolen out of the mail, or the seller or buyer claiming they never received anything. Checks, credit, and debit cards are all traceable to a banking institution and the account holder. Bitcoin is totally anonymous, and management of transaction data is handled Peer to Peer, much like torrenting. Without getting into the technobabble, computers running the bitcoin software crunch numbers representing the transaction data, and then compare the transaction itself against the calculated result to ensure the soundness of the transaction. I think. Don't quote me on it.
  36.  
  37. 7. How do I get bitcoins?
  38.  
  39. There are numerous sites that let you trade various world currencies for bitcoins. Many, if not most, of them require you to deposit funds using prepaid gift cards or some other frustrating system. Few allow you to use paypal, and none that I've found allow use of a credit or debit card. The best site I've found for purchasing bitcoins is VirWoX, the Virtual World Exchange. Someone-Who-Isn't-Me usually buys Second Life Lindens and then converts them to Bitcoins. VirWoX DOES take a cut of every transaction, so you get a LITTLE bit screwed on these transactions, but over it's not awful. On a $100 purchase, I might lose $5 on the transaction fees.
  40.  
  41. Don't buy any yet, though; you don't know where to send the money, yet.
  42.  
  43. 8. So, about those trees...?
  44.  
  45. Right, right. Go to http://silkroadvb5piz3r.onion/ in your Tor Browser. You'll be presented with a grey log in page, with a registration link clearly visible. Sign up using information that you've not used before. If your reddit username is "DrDonkeyDicks324" you'd better not have anything in your Silk Road username about doctors, donkeys, dicks, or the number 324. It is, however, safe to put your country down. This is only a convenience to you to help you find sellers that ship in your area. If you feel unsafe doing this, you can choose "undeclared".
  46.  
  47. 9. Welcome to the Silk Road
  48.  
  49. Yes, yes, welcome to the Trees Mecca and all that. Before we can buy anything, however, we need to get some bitcoins in your Silk Road wallet. Start by clicking on "account" at the top of the page. You'll come to a page with text saying:
  50.  
  51. to deposit bitcoins, send them to this address:
  52. 1LWxKocix1onLsT7EhtX6khRBw2ePCJvFh
  53.  
  54. You'll need to copy that address and use it when purchasing bitcoins on VirWoX. Don't use this address (it's mine) unless you want to send me free trees or something; make sure you get your own address out of your settings page.
  55.  
  56. After buying on VirWoX the first few times, you will likely have to wait 2 days while they sit on your money and make sure your paypal transaction isn't going to rip them off. This is a VirWoX policy, and if you buy with them a half dozen times or so, then they'll cut that shit out. VirWoX waiting period aside, it can take a couple hours for Silk Road to receive your bitcoins. It's usually not long, though.
  57.  
  58. 10. I have bitcoins in my wallet and your guide is frustratingly long.
  59.  
  60. This is it, fellow Ent. On the left you'll see categories for all sorts of things, the most varietous being the cannabis section (yay us). You can shop around for a while until you find something that strikes your fancy and meets your budget. Once you add something to your cart, you'll want to go to your shopping cart page to enter in your shipping information and PIN. See the Appendix, Protip 2 for more information.
  61.  
  62. Appendix: Protips
  63.  
  64. Protip 1:
  65.  
  66. It's worth mentioning that currency is displayed at the top of Silk Road in Bitcoins. If this is not to your liking, there's a setting that can be changed by clicking on "account" near the top and then "settings" in the bottom right which will display currencies in dollars, instead. As of this posting, a single bitcoin is worth USD $10.80 or so. This price fluctuates; last time I bought bitcoins it was around $5 a piece, and two years ago it was around $40 each, if memory serves.
  67.  
  68. Protip 2:
  69.  
  70. Make sure you use a name and address that is actually yours. We're trying to fly under the radar here. Don't try to abbreviate your first or last name, or use a fake address, or a neighbors address, or a fake name, or a screen name. This is the USPS; their job is filtering through bullshit like that. You want it to arrive at your front door without ever catching anyone's eye. If you put down your real address and real name, this will almost definitely be the case. Silk Road vendor packaging typically involves double or triple vacuum seal and often a USPS flatrate box with a printed label. Very by-the-books, and very stealthy.
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