Technically OpenBazaar has been around much longer than only one year. However, its second iteration, OpenBazaar 2.0, saw unprecedented growth and change for the underground crypto marketplace, incorporating trading cryptos along with a decentralized platform where buyers and sellers of all sorts of products can come together.
OpenBazaar 2.0 Celebrates First Anniversary
CEO Brian Hoffman writes in near exhaustion, noting the “years leading up to OpenBazaar 2.0 went by in a flash, it seems, culminating in our best and most capable software release ever this month last year. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of development milestones, bug fixes, crypto political drama, and flying all over the world to promote the benefits of private, free trade for everyone.”
Since the software upgrade, more than 100,000 users have participated in the platform. The online marketplace has a very interesting history. Its intellectual genealogy extends from DarkMarket, itself a hackathon project attached to early Bitcoiners such as Amir Taaki. It remains an open source and decentralized online marketplace, beginning an answer to the US government taking down The Silk Road.
Version 2.0 was released a year ago this month, and showed OpenBazaar was going in a decidedly user-friendly way. With about $4 million in funding from venture firms like OB1, the online market platform has fully incorporated crypto for payments, including Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Zcash.
The Road to 2.0
Taking a minute to wax nostalgic, Hoffman writes, “We knew we were onto something great with version 1.0 of OpenBazaar. We used exciting, emerging technologies to build it but we discovered limits we wanted to push past to get the experience right for our users.”
The second version meant “scrapping our fully decentralized search feature in favor of using third party search engines (much like how Bittorrent operates),” Hoffman continues, “and replacing our shoddy p2p protocol with Protocol Labs’ IPFS and libp2p. This made our network connectivity improve greatly (though we still have a lot of work to do) and laid the groundwork for getting us to mobile and web applications.”
Savvy readers will remember just after November 1 of last year, Bitcoin Core (BTC) network transaction fees and wait times skyrocketed, ruining a lot of first user experiences. “This sent the team into disarray as we struggled to find users who wanted to pay $30 in fees just to buy something like a $20 t-shirt in the marketplace,” he remembers. They would eventually find refuge in coins such as BCH.
“In 2018 the breadth of crypto projects has increased exponentially through ERC-20 token issuances, completely new blockchains, layer two networks and more. We understand that there is a growing number of people interested in using all kinds of cryptocurrencies — not just Bitcoin — for e-commerce, coin trading, rewarding others for content creation and other use cases. OpenBazaar was always designed as a project for the world, not just for Bitcoin, and we’re hard at work re-engineering it to support new coins and communities,” Hoffman clarified.
This means their next version will have a multiwallet, allowing “users to send and receive payments from one wallet instance that can hold these five coins: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zcash, Ethereum and Litecoin. We hope to introduce this new capability soon, followed by even more coins.”
Plans also include expanding to mobile application systems such as iOS and Android. “We’re pioneering the technology to make a truly decentralized web version of OpenBazaar so that anyone can run it in their own standard browser,” he wrote. “It’s an extremely bright future and every day thousands of new people are learning about the power of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other crypto projects.”
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