This new paper is interesting. It suggests that the Silk Road servers could be de-anonymized for a cost of around $11,000 and they measure its popularity as being around 15,000 users per day. What's more, the attacks they discuss are difficult to block.

Onion networks are a fundamentally hard problem. If I were the operator of the Silk Road, this paper would be keeping me awake at night. Without a doubt most police forces are not capable of doing this kind of research themselves. However they are quite capable of hiring some contractors to carry out these attacks now how to do it was described in detail.
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