J. R. Swab

Decentralizing The Marketplace

Categories: [Technology]
Tags: [open-source], [decentralization], [p2p]

As we progress in our immersion of technology, we move more and more of our daily transactions to the Internet. Sites like Amazon and eBay paved the way in their particular niche. Now we have Walmart, Target, and many other brick-and-mortar stores increasing their online presence.

These are all centralized services including eBay. Even though we as individuals are able to sell goods on the site, eBay still owns and controls the platform. If the company decides they don't like what you sell, they are able to kick you out. This could mean the livelihood of a person going from sustainable to zero overnight.

We talk about decentralization a lot on this blog because it so very near and dear to my heart. We joined the Internet community to meet new people from around the world, to read alternative news, and to earn an income. With centralization, we are all at risk of getting kicked out of any platform.

The worst would be getting banned by ISPs giving us no access to the Internet at all. This is why decentralization through mesh networking is significant. Couple that with SSL, a proxy, or VPN and we have the making of an Internet that will be much harder to control by any one entity.


OpenBazaar is an application we can download to buy and sell goods or services. It is very much like eBay, but without a central entity calling the shots. The application is free to download and use on Windows, Mac, and Linux without restrictions. There are zero platform fees for selling, unlike the ten percent eBay takes at the end of every month you make a sale.

OpenBazaar costs nothing to download and use. Unlike sites like eBay or Amazon there are no fees to list items, and no fees when an item is sold. Because the trade is p2p (peer to peer), it’s happening directly between buyers and sellers with no middleman to take a cut from each sale. It’s completely free e-commerce. - OpenBazaar.org


Easy Setup

All we need to do is download the program from the website that matches our operating system and run the install. Very easy to do, there is no compiling or building unless your Linux distribution is unable to unpack and install .deb or .rpm packages.


There is a built-in search function that makes it very easy to see if something you need or want is listed. The number of items may be bare for what you are looking for since this platform is still gaining adoption. That is expected, even eBay and Amazon had little to offer at the beginning of their existence.

Built-in Bitcoin Wallet

OpenBazaar uses Bitcoin as its main currency for now, and that is one thing I would love to see changed in the future. How cool would it be to buy and sell goods or services on an open exchange with STEEM?! STEEM has three-second transaction times and zero fees.

Seems like a perfect fit to me!

Escrow and Dispute Resolution

This is where cryptocurrency is helping to keep the scammers out of the ecosystem. Unlike Amazon or eBay, on a decentralized marketplace, there is no one to run to if we get scammed. This works both ways for the buyer and the seller.

Since OpenBazaar uses Bitcoin, it can use the multi-signature feature and allows the buyer and seller to agree on an unbiased third party to release the funds. This third party will only allow the resale of the funds from the escrow if both parties are satisfied with the transaction.

This works because on a multi-signature transaction, two of the three parties have to agree to release the funds. If the buyer receives the goods or services they can "check their box," so to speak, as can the unbiased third party can or the seller themselves. However, if the buyer is not pleased or never got the goods, they can let the third party know, and both together can reverse the transaction.

Other Apps On The Network

OpenBazaar is not only an application but also a network. This allows for anyone to make their own app and run it on top of OpenBazaar. Much like how Steemit, Busy, and ChainBB all run on top of the Steem network. This allows all applications on the OpenBazaar to show all products or filter out others by default.

Say someone has a family and does not want to come across adult content while shopping for shampoo, an app could be made to be a family-friendly shopping view of the entire OpenBazaar network. Other apps may allow access to all content but fix a pain point of all the other apps. The options are endless when the system is open to all players.

OBT & Smart Contracts

OpenBazaar is set to release its own token in 2018 along with smart contracts. These OBTs will be a part of the Ethereum network, but maybe we can ask them to use Steems Smart Media Tokens or EOS instead. That being said, OBT will have a fixed supply and will be transferable between accounts within OpenBazaar.

Decentralization Is Needed

Through efforts like OpenBazaar and many others we have covered in the past, we get closer to having a truly free Internet and Internet applications. We need to take back control and use our newly found connections to make the world a better place.

As a nerd, that is with decentralizing the Internet and all the tasks we can now perform on this platform. It will be a long road to complete decentralization, but as peer-to-peer services continue to be made and improved on, we will be much better off.

BitChute and Dtube are better alternatives to YouTube, self-hosted blogs are a better alternative to Medium, and mesh networking the planet is a better alternative to relying on ISPs. It is our job to support these efforts by using them so that the masses will see the value decentralization has over the legacy centralized models.

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