OpenBazaar, one of the first fully functional decentralized p2p online Bitcoin marketplaces, plans to release their first beta sometime Sunday night, kicking off what is expected to be the beginning of the end of centralized exchanges like eBay who impose both strict regulations and heavy fees on their users.
The software will be released for Mac OSX, Linux and Windows, but as it is the first beta, it will be limited in functionality.
“Please be patient with us, we’re working like mad right now to get it out today, but it will be closer to the end of the day than the beginning. It’s a platform for testing and doesn’t have many of the features that will eventually be implemented. I will release a beta testers tutorial later today that should help people get started,” one OpenBazaar developer commented on Reddit.
“We’re just really passionate about allowing peer-to-peer trade to happen online. We want that to exist,” Sam Patterson, the operations lead for the non-profit project, told Wired in a recent interview. “The internet allowed you to communicate directly. Bitcoin allowed you to send money directly. Now you can trade directly.”
The open-source project headed by Brian Hoffman is certain to serve as a commerce hub for the sale of anything imaginable – from fireworks and raw milk to drugs and guns. Its decentralized nature means that it relies on no central server and it cannot be shut down by the Feds as was the case with the Silk Road marketplace. This also means that it cannot be censored by anyone – not even its creators – as it operates solely on its users’ computers.
Hoffman told CoinDesk that they are trying to make sure that their software has a very positive impact and goal, encouraging people to use it in a legal and positive way.
“I’m trying to help sellers save money on transaction and payment processing costs, and open up new customer bases. There’s a lot more here than drug or gun sales,” Hoffman told CoinDesk.
No more regulations and no more middle men to facilitate transactions and charge hefty fees – ultimate freedom to sell and trade anything your heart desires.
Because the software can be used anonymously, if one wants to build trust among members of the network, the software uses what is referred to as proof-of-burn, and more specifically, Reputation Pledges.
Proof-of-burn is the “intentional and provable destruction of bitcoin for a particular purpose.”
Intentionally destroying bitcoins in a proof-of-burn serves to prove commitment to the OpenBazaar network by showing the network that a user is committed to their identity because “they have now expended resources on it, and if they incur a negative reputation then those resources will have gone to waste.”
“If there’s no cost to creating a new identity, or if there is no brick-and-mortar store to keep you in one place, you can simply abandon an identity once it has received negative feedback. Obviously online, you don’t have a physical store, but a Reputation Pledge is a similar concept: you’ve invested resources that create an incentive to keep a good reputation and impose a significant cost for abandoning that reputation,” explains the Open Bazaar site.
The most recent OpenBazaar blog post finished with concluding, “Overall, the project is heading in a great direction. With the Bitcoin community’s help (and patience), we can deliver a product that will change how we use our Bitcoin for the better. Our goal remains simple: provide an easy to use application that anyone in the world can use to spend Bitcoin (or other crypto-currencies) on goods and services without an intermediary. There is no one way to accomplish this goal. We hope to innovate and inspire others to follow our lead in creating more decentralized services so that we can one day live and interact with each other with true freedom.”