For most of its brief existence, Bitcoin has been widely associated with Silk Road—the anonymous cybercurrency, naturally enough, wound up backing transactions on the shadowy online market for drugs, hacking services, and other illegal activities. So it makes sense that the value of Bitcoin would fall off a cliff as news broke that the FBI had arrested a man suspected of running the most famous online black market. The value of Bitcoin dropped to about $110 by early Wednesday afternoon, down from $140 earlier this morning.
But people in the more legitimate corners of the Bitcoin world believe the apparent demise of Silk Road is the best thing that could happen to the currency. “I think it’s a huge positive,” says Fred Ehrsam, the co-founder of Bitcoin startup Coinbase. “This kind of takes the biggest target that people might speak negatively about when it comes to Bitcoin, and takes it off the map.”