The online marketplace ecosystem is currently run by companies like Amazon and Ebay that each acquire respective fees for their service and process most of their payments with credit cards and PayPal, which also take additional fees. But what happens when you decentralize these markets, and allow for peer-to-peer business transactions utilizing bitcoin? OpenBazaar.
OpenBazaar is an open source project to create a decentralized network that allows people to trade with each other directly online, using bitcoin, without paying sellers fees and without censorship.
It was formed when Brian Hoffman, the project lead, forked the Dark Market code back in April.
If you wish to sell something, you post a product listing on the site with the product’s specs. After publishing, it is sent to the distributed peer-to-peer OpenBazaar network. When someone searches for the product and finds your listing, you both must agree on a price that is then sent to a third party called a notary, which is actually also part of the OpenBazaar network. All three parties must agree to the stipulations of the business transactions. The buyer sends the funds, and the seller ships the product. When they buyer gets his stuff he marks it as received, which automatically releases the funds to the seller.
I met Project Lead Sam Patterson last week at the Cryptolina Bitcoin Conference where he informed me that the team is currently looking for beta testers.
I had a few questions for Sam and here’s what he had to say.
What is the vision for OpenBazaar?
We want to empower people to interact directly with each other online
for their trade, not have to rely on centralized services that charge
fees and monitor your commerce. Once people have the ability to engage
in commerce with individuals around the world directly, using Bitcoin as
payment, the potential for a new era of trade emerges. This is trade
without borders. Trade without censorship. Trade without the middleman
taking a cut. This will be the first truly free market online, and when
people act freely amazing things happen.
What are you currently busy with?
We are launching the beta at the end of August, and it’s a rush to get
everything in order to meet the deadline. We believe in the idea of
getting the simplest product out as early as possible so we can get
feedback from the community, and so we’ve set some ambitious goals for
When does it go online?
It’s online now, if you go to the Github and set it up yourself. But
it’s not usable for transactions quite yet. The beta launches end of
August, when it will be easier to install and use.
“We need beta testers,” concludes Sam, “and we need them to submit bugs and be patient
waiting for fixes.”
If you want to help report bugs just contact [email protected]or proceed to install a node yourself using these instructions. Submit bug reports and any other ideas for improvement to OpenBazaar’sGithub.
“Feel free to drop into our IRC room on Freenode at #openbazaar,” reads the website. “We’re happy to help you get a node running or answer your questions. Obviously any code submitted to the project is much appreciated! You can also donate Bitcoin to this address to help us pay for seed servers, the website, and other projects costs like conferences.”