OpenBazaar, an open source project, garners the features of an ordinary marketplace, mixes it with the decentralization concept and brings the users the best shopping experience. The OpenBazaar marketplace deals the e-commerce transactions in cryptocurrencies as a user can opt out anything for sale and pay in either bitcoins or altcoins. The marketplace has been launched on 14th of April of 2016 by the OpenBazaar Team. Though initially the project was launched way before the team came up with the fully functional, stable version of the project, by 30th of January, 2018 OpenBazaar had announced the final working digital region, solely intended for purchasing goods.
OpenBazaar was inspired by a hackathon project titled as the DarkMarket. The DarkMarket was led by Amir Taaki who was tasked with managing a developers team. The prototype project was based upon the proof of concept (PoC) heavily featuring the concept of decentralization operating as the peer-to-peer pathway for the users. The DarkMarket according to Amir Taaki was not supposed to see the light of the day and was merely a project for hackathon. Brian Hoffman took the amazing idea of ‘permissionless’ and decentralized marketplace and came up with the OpenBazaar which he ‘forked’, away from the darknet markets considering such darknet markets unpleasant.
Amir Taaki has been the author for the original OpenBazaar version, the DarkMarket which Brian Hoffman took out of the darknet premises. Amir Taaki, a ‘hacktivist’ and a programmer primarily known for his immense role in the bitcoin project, was a follower of the free software movement. A former professional poker player, his profession led him to pursue the bitcoin project. Taaki, along with Donald Norman started a bitcoin consultancy that had its attentions converged over the bitcoin project advancement.
Brain is the chief operating officer and the co-founder of the OB1, the company responsible for OpenBazaar project. Hoffman had previously worked with the likes of US Department of Defence and several number of Fortune 500 juggernauts like Neiman Marcus, FedEx, Boeing and Hilton Hotels serving their cybersecurity needs. Hoffman boasts having studying from the James Madison University (Computer Science, 2003) and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University.
The Testing Phases
OpenBazaar came out of the DarkMarket and through a series of improved versions, to a fully functional model. The very first version was brought to the public eye in September of 2015 while continuing to work over the released version of the marketplace. The OpenBazaar team visited Brussels to attend the Free Open Source Software Developers European Meeting (FOSSDEM) in early 2015, explaining their latest venture to the audience. That was the times when the project was not hailed as a serious globally efficient. Brian and his fellow peers, came up to a decision to finally package the product from a part-time venture to a full fledged venue for global trade.
The April of 2016 saw the fully packaged product released by the developers as a global marketplace while the people started delving into the introduction of decentralization into the e-commerce avenue.
OB1 – A Follow Up to OpenBazaar
Founded in 2015, OB1 was a follow up for the OpenBazaar as the development team put their spare efforts into the project after the the devs were done with OpenBazaar. The OpenBazaar devs were persuaded to design such a thing as the ‘decentralized trade gained enthusiastic support’ to spread throughout the crypto community. They made a decision to allow the ‘venture capital funding’ to manage a company along with hiring the team that previously managed to bring out the digital marketplace.
The OB1 was founded with an investment of worth $1 million from Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. The future of the company had developers coming into the company to work over the software for the greater good. OB1 did not just merely resorted to the $1 million, it gathered a capital of $3 million which was poured into the continuous improvement of the already established project as the developers assessed the software and improvised so as to come up with the improved version of the OB1 software.
OB1 had other personalities who aided in coining the company as a whole, acting as the co-founders. The co-founders other than Brain Hoffman include the likes of Sam Patterson and Washington Sanchez while the investors for bringing about the production of the OB1 software, included Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, BlueYard Capital, Digital Currency Group and William Mougayar. Mougayar, except from being an investor, is a blockchain enthusiast himself, a researcher and a blogger. He is the author of popular books about the blockchain technology like the ‘Business Blockchain (Wiley, 2016)’.
OpenBazaar – Salient Features
Though the OpenBazaar is similar to its other non-decentralized counterparts, Ebay and Amazon but the key factor that is dissimilar to Amazon and Ebay is the decentralization. OpenBazaar offers the peer-to-peer communication for the buyer and the seller with no third party overseeing the entire process. The major feature of OpenBazaar is that there is no extra fee as we buy a product from a seller as the peer-to-peer connection keeps the dealing a two way communication where there is no other party to cater for, or more colloquially the middle-man who requires his share of the deal as it progresses on.
OpenBazaar offers a less-complex version of the traditional e-commerce platforms where one can easily buy and sell goods and list the items one is interested in. OpenBazaar is not only the platform that employs the concept of decentralization in, but also allows the genesis product of the decentralization, bitcoin. The buyer can pay in bitcoins as it leaves the buyer from the hassle of providing the identity information and the risks for thefts. OpenBazaar incorporates the incredible feature of bitcoin, the multisignature escrow. The process involves moderators, who are the trusted third parties able to approve a deal. This settles the disputes and the scammers who can shrink the buyer out of their money.
OpenBazaar has an additional platform for both parties of the deal to interact and come up with an agreement over the purchase of a product and the delivery protocols. The chat is set to be end-to-end encrypted and secludes the buyer and the seller some space to settle the purchase.
What’s the take?
The cryptocurrencies are now being considered as the future supplant for the fiat currency which is imminent, given the popularity of the cryptocurrencies. The cryptocurrencies might dangle in between prices but the future is sure to contain a share for these digital assets. Introducing the dealing over the e-commerce in these digital assets is a step ahead in the crypto future for sure, not mentioning the security that the decentralization throws at us.