OpenBazaar is an upcoming open-source, decentralised, and unregulated online marketplace. Similar to other projects such as Open Transactions and DarkMarket (OpenBazaar is actually a fork of DarkMarket), OpenBazaar is often described as the “BitTorrent of eCommerce”, as it allows for an uncensored, peer-to-peer shopping experience with Bitcoin. Users will be able to buy and sell literally anything – raw milk, flash drives, books, anything imaginable. Of course, being an unregulated marketplace, it should go without saying that OpenBazaar will likely be a safe haven for selling illegal drugs, weapons, and other items. That being said, it’s up to users to decide whether or not to use the service for legal purposes, as OpenBazaar does have many interesting features. And today, the OpenBazaar Dev Team has posted a teaser video showing off the service and announcing a release date (You may want to turn the volume down).
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What sets OpenBazaar apart from similar ideas is that it’s not just a concept. OpenBazaar is in full development and beta testing will begin towards the end of August 2014. Furthermore, a public 1.0 release is scheduled for December this year. The video above shows the project’s lead Brian Hoffman using OpenBazaar, and despite being more of a teaser than a full walkthrough video, OpenBazaar appears to be nearly complete with a clean and simple user interface that anyone could use.
If you’re interested in the OpenBazaar project, there are many ways to help speed up development. The simplest and most obvious way to help is by donating bitcoins to the project’s BTC address, which has received almost $3000 in donations so far. Another way to help is by contributing code. OpenBazaar is open-source, meaning anyone can view and edit the code, effectively making sure that no central authority controls the project.
“Anyone can [update the software]. If we put out an update that took control of the network, people wouldn’t update their software, and we’d have a new fork the next day. Open source is powerful.”
OpenBazaar will also have several anti-fraud measures, and users can help in the notary and arbitration market.
“I think there is an important point to be made: some of you may want to help out but lack some coding skills or enough bitcoin (real or testnet) that you’re able to part with. You can still help One of the major features of OpenBazaar is the notary and arbitration market. For notaries, we need folks to maintain nodes nearly 24/7 to help witness contracts and setup multisig address (#3 in a 2-of-3). For arbiters, we need you to start forming what will become a market polycentric merchant law for OpenBazaar, which means establishing precedents for judging disputes between buyers and sellers. We need to discover what will and won’t work, and how to best protect consumers when shopping on OB. You can read more about our planned approach here: https://gist.github.com/drwasho/405d51bd1b1a32e38145“
-Washington Sanchez, Contract and Market Development
And finally, once beta testing begins, users can help by submitting bug reports and suggesting improvements. All in all, OpenBazaar is a pretty revolutionary way to connect buyers and sellers without any middlemen. But just how well this totally unregulated marketplace will work remains to be seen.