An open source project aimed at creation of a decentralised network of buyers and sellers received a backing from Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and William Mougayar, an angel investor.

The OpenBazaar team has secured $1 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and an angel investor William Mougayar. These funds will be used to develop the OpenBazaar protocol and client, and to build the first business on top of the OpenBazaar network, the project’s blog states.

The project was launched in April 2014 when the proof-of-concept decentralised market model called DarkMarket won the hackathon at the Bitcoin Expo Toronto. OpenBazaar was a later spin-off from the parent project. It aims to create a free and decentralised e-commerce platform using bitcoin to connect buyers and sellers. OpenBazaar claims to combine peer-to-peer networking, Ricardian contracts, decentralised reputation, and multisignature escrow for bitcoin payments. 

Brian Hoffman, the OpenBazaar project lead says:

“The Internet has decentralized communications, and Bitcoin has decentralized money, but online commerce still relies on numerous intermediaries. OpenBazaar removes the intermediaries and gives everyone – individuals to large companies – the ability to directly engage in trade with anyone in the world, for free.”

The project’s page on GitHub has drawn a lot of attention from developers around the globe, with about 100 of them contributing to the code. Now the funding will allow several core developers to work full-time to finish the first full release of the core protocol and application. 

The OpenBazaar team also plans to create the first company on top of the network. The business named OB1 will offer several services to network users such as dispute resolution, store hosting, and more but will not act as a central authority. 

“Because the network isn’t centrally controlled, there are no listing or transaction fees, ability to monitor and capture user data, or restrict trade in any way. Unlike many ecommerce platforms and their corresponding payment processors, OpenBazaar can be used anywhere in the world with Bitcoin”, the project website claims.


Nadya Krasnushkina