@bullox: Fair critique, and certainly SR's maiden trip through the media certainly left the impression with lots of people that bitcoin was simply synonymous with drugs. And perhaps SR, as it was known, may need to quietly wind down or transition into something else.
But I have to ask the following two questions:
1. Isn't there an inherent value to an electronic currency to have a large population of users who don't have an incentive to manipulate the currency or otherwise introduce fraud into the system? Miners have an incentive to promote the currency, in the hope of running up the exchange value of the coins they mine at an arbitrage to the actual cost (50 BTC - electricity - user time - computer expenses...) Large holders of the e-currency have an incentive to hype the currency, also to boost the value of their holdings. Both groups potentially have an incentive to defraud the system to gain a larger exchange value for their holdings. But large groups of people only using the currency for "normal" transactions serve to introduce stability to the economy as a whole. How is this different from tourists flying to Amsterdam, exchanging cash into euros, spending 3 straight days higher than a kite in every coffeeshop in town, and then exchanging those euros back into their home currency before the flight home?
2. Wouldn't generating, and informally peer-reviewing, ideas to improve SR also serve to improve the concept of any anonymous marketplace to follow after SR? Demand for illegal drugs just happens to be one of the most commonly pursued "anonymous" transactions, and it's hard enough to do in the non-virtual world that a critical mass of people are eager to try an online experiment to see if it works. Rather than discourage improving upon this first effort, wouldn't it be better for the community to rapidly evolve the concept of a truly anonymous online marketplace so that it doesn't just have to encompass drugs?
Don't get me wrong, I agree with you that as an anonymous currency, this is the ideal method of payment for such goods. They probably should (and will) stick around. My issue is that every highly publicized "illegal" (and I use this term only in the definition of the law, not the merit) merchant out there sets us back 100 steps for every step the legitimate merchants take forward. Public Relations is the name of the game right now to continue bitcoins extended future.
As long as there is forward momentum, all is well, but if we are taking more steps back then forward....