The third OpenBazaar beta, “Tabriz,” has been released. With this release, the OpenBazaar team starts naming releases after great bazaars from all around the world, with the first being Tabriz, a market in Iran which is one of the oldest bazaars in the Middle East.
Tabriz is the first OpenBazaar release that runs on Windows. It is also available for OSX and Linux.
The urgent importance of OpenBazaar, a distributed and decentralized marketplace without central servers that can be shut down by the authorities, has been emphasized as a way forward after the Silk Road 2.0 crackdown saga. Regardless of the fate of other centralized drug markets on the dark net (which may well be honeypots at this time), it seems likely that sellers and buyers will stop trusting centralized services.
OpenBazaar, formerly known as DarkMarket, is an open source decentralized online marketplace designed for e-commerce, using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Amir Taaki and a team of other developers created the first prototype in April 2014 at a Toronto Bitcoin Hackathon. DarkMarket was developed as a proof of concept in response to the seizure of the online marketplace Silk Road in October 2013. Taaki compared DarkMarket’s improvements on Silk Road to BitTorrent’s improvements on Napster. Indeed BitTorrent, the father of modern approaches to a decentralized Internet, proved to be a fast and fully operational replacement for Napster without the critical weakness of depending on a central server.
Soon after DarkMarket was revealed at the Hackathon, developer Brian Hoffman forked the project and renamed it “OpenBazaar.” The project is not specifically meant as a platform for illegal markets – rather, it’s intended for distributed general-purpose marketplaces like eBay – but when it’s operational it seems likely that it will be used for illegal operations as well, which the decentralized nature of the platform will make very hard to shut down.
What do you think of the beta 3 release of the software platform OpenBazaar for decentralized online marketplaces? Comment below!
Images from OpenBazaar, Luciano Mortula and Shutterstock.