OpenBazaar Went Live
OpenBazaar, a decentralized e-commerce protocol, recently went live with the developers releasing the first version of the software.
This software package is a peer-to-peer marketplace that uses bitcoins for making payments.
OpenBazaar is the net result that stemmed out from an earlier development project called DarkMarket that was created to make decentralized online e-commerce easy.
OpenBazaar – A Decentralized Marketplace
Brian Hoffman, one of the main developers said that he couldn’t wait to see how people would make use of this new offering.
This new peer-to-peer model, he believes, will be free of the economic and privacy concerns that plague the more centralized marketplace models.
However, within a few hours of the launch, drugs and related products started making their appearances in the listings, it was reported.
A couple of vendors advertised marijuana, but one of them went inactive after some time.
Another vendor of cannabis seeds also went off the listings after some time.
Bazaarbay.org, a listing tracking tool that lists products of OpenBazaar, however, still lists these products that are now offline on the digital marketplace.
Hoffman stated that his team is aware of these listings.
Heopined that the listings are either from genuine vendors who are trying to sell their ware through the OpenBazaar model or others who are just trying to test and disrupt the model.
He also added that the development team’s intention (of OpenBazaar) was to create a specific experience for the user.
There would also be others who are keen on disrupting this experience and it will be the job of the team to mitigate such disruptions.
Though the team sees no reasons why this model should be compared to Silk Road, the drug listings that have appeared in OpenBazaar will only serve as points that will fuel comparisons.
The OpenBazaar market is somewhat similar to eBay, but uses the bitcoin digital currency.
Much like the online marketplaces such as eBay, there is a central entity that acts like a clearing house (for all money transactions) as well as a behavior arbiter.
With this open source model, any individual with an Internet connection can use OpenBazaar and exchange services and goods freely using bitcoins.
Moreover, users act as judges for disputes and can hire their own mediators.
The software uses the distributed bitcoin blockchain to effect payments and peer-to-peer mediation.
The model went live after a period of testing that focused on the creation of different kinds of storefronts that were used for carrying out bitcoin transactions.
The extensive testing period saw more than 25,000 downloads across many countries (126 in number).
More than 3,000 vendors were created for the purpose of testing the digital peer-to-peer online marketplace.
The OpenBazaar team of developers raised a capital fund of $1 million last year from venture firms Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, and William Mougayar, an angel investor.
A startup was thereafter formed called OB1 which looked after the development by appointing full-time developers and also creating services that users could opt for.
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