There are undoubtedly a huge number of weird stories circulating around the internet these days, but this one is by far the strangest I’ve heard all day, so far at least. The story I’m talking about involves a robot, Bitcoin cryptocurrency, drugs, and that scary part of the internet (no, not the dark side of Youtube) that few dare to access known as the Darknet, or the Dark Web. So, what exact is the Darknet? To put it simply, it’s a place where people go to conduct all sorts of illegal activities, which more often than not include buying and selling items that would normally get you into a lot of trouble with the law. And as you already gathered from the title, the law applies to everyone, man or robot.
The whole thing actually started back in October of 2014 when a Swiss team by the name of !Mediengruppe Bitnik decided to conduct an experiment of sorts. The aforementioned robot was given each week $100 worth of Bitcoin and programmed to purchase various items from the Darknet, illegal or otherwise. The point of all these shenanigans seems like it may have something to do with revealing just how easy it is to buy drugs and other illegal items from the internet, however, the real purpose is actually stranger than one would assume. You see, !Mediengruppe Bitnik is an art group and the folks behind this project were aiming to create an art exhibit using the items purchased by the robot.
What makes the whole thing even more interesting is that Bitnik weren’t interested in any particular items. Instead, they programmed the robot to purchase stuff at random from a Darknet marketplace called Agora and then have the items automatically delivered to a Swiss art gallery. Unfortunately, while the highly anticipated exhibition was being prepared the cops got wind of the shady business and arrested the robot, although I guess confiscated would be a better term. Not only that, but all the items purchased with Bitcoin from the Dark Web were also confiscated much to the disappointment of the artists. Among the confiscated loot, the police found mighty interesting (and certainly random) items such as a baseball cap sporting a hidden cam, Chesterfield cigarettes, fake jeans, Nike shoes, some e-books, a Hungarian passport, and the said Ecstasy pills.
Fortunately for Bitnik, this story has a happy ending because the police eventually ended up returning the robot and all the items purchased from the Darknet, save for the Ecstasy which was destroyed. Well, at least most of that Bitcoin cryptocurrency didn’t go to waste and although the police intended to take legal action, the judges decided against it and cleared the artists of all charges. The robot was apparently cleared of all charges as well according to Bitnik’s blog.