Inside One Man's Attempt to Crowdfund Assassination

'Kuwabatake Sanjuro' thinks bitcoin site can wipe out all governments

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 24, 2013 5:40 AM CST

(Newser) – Ben Bernanke has an almost $75,000 price on his head, placed there by anonymous malcontents online. He's the biggest—but far from the only—target on Assassination Market, a "dark web" site that lets users nominate targets and contribute money to the cause using theoretically untraceable bitcoins. Kill a target and prove it—by naming the time of death beforehand via encoded message—and you can claim the reward. The site is the work of a self-proclaimed "crypto-anarchist" who goes by the alias Kuwabatake Sanjuro, and he gave an email interview to Andy Greenberg at Forbes.

Sanjuro's goal is to "destroy all governments, everywhere," by making public office too dangerous to hold. He says he was pushed into action by the Edward Snowden leaks. "After about a week of muttering ‘they must all die’ under my breath every time I opened a newspaper or turned on the television, I decided something had to be done," he says. He sees the market as a way to bring the democratizing effect of capitalism to politics. "One bitcoin paid is one vote closer to a veto of whatever legislation you dislike." (In the site's FAQ, Sanjuro notes that targets can only be added for "good reason," meaning that no, you cannot put out a hit on "Justin Bieber for making annoying music.") Asked whether they were investigating Sanjuro and his site, the Secret Service and FBI declined to comment. The site can only be viewed on the encrypted Tor network, the Daily Dot pointed out last month. (In lighter news, click to read about a university where you can pay your tuition in bitcoins.)

Ben Bernanke, seen on TV in this file photo, has the highest bounty on the site.
Ben Bernanke, seen on TV in this file photo, has the highest bounty on the site.   (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, File)
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