OpenBazaar is a decentralized marketplace that seeks to become a privacy-centric and censorship-resistant alternative to online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon. The open-source project–which is currently in beta and has been working on improving its GUI–could become the go-to option for the privacy-conscious if it succeeds at building a core user-base.
However, one of eBay’s strongest selling points is convenience. Users can access their eBay account from any internet-enabled device. Of course, there are many negative aspects to eBay and Amazon. They are centralized, so website data is vulnerable to both hacking and spying. Moreover, these sites censor products either they or governments deem immoral. And while the mainstream public is beginning to seek privacy-centric alternatives, most people are reluctant to use applications that are more difficult–even if they are safer.
Despite OpenBazaar’s many benefits, the service is less accessible than eBay. Unlike eBay, users can only access the OpenBazaar markets by downloading and running the program on their computers. Consequently, they cannot browse for products on restricted computers–such as a work computer or a shared device.
Third-party websites such as BazaarBay and Bizarre Co. can mitigate some of this inconvenience. These websites function similarly to cryptocurrency block explorers. Just as block explorers enable users to view cryptocurrency transaction data, BazaarBay and BizaareCo. offer browser-based search engines that pull store and product data from OpenBazaar and display it online. While users cannot buy the products without using OpenBazaar, they can save the store addresses and then complete the purchase when they have access to the program. Obviously, these sites will not make OpenBazaar quite as convenient as eBay, but they could make the decentralized marketplace convenient enough for the average person to try.
Nevertheless, as BazaarBay’s website notes, users of these third-party sites will trade some privacy and security in return for the convenience those sites offer.
BazaarBay only protects contract publishers, not readers using this site. As a reader installing OpenBazaar and using it with Tor will give you much greater anonymity, confidentiality, and authentication than using BazaarBay. Using BazaarBay trades off security for convenience and usability.
What impact do you think third-party sites like BizaarBay and BizaareCo. will have on OpenBazaar? Comment below!
Images from OpenBazaar and Shutterstock