OpenBazaar, a decentralised bitcoin peer-to-peer marketplace, is planning to attract up to 21% of people unsatisfied with eBay services. Brian Hoffman, the lead developer of the open source project, talked to This Week In Startups about their potential target group and immediate goals.

In the interview posted on YouTube, Hoffman stated that the project was targeting consumers who were unhappy with eBay buying and selling process. He said:

“I think the last time I saw there was a satisfaction survey for eBay 79% of people were happy. So that’s a huge number of people that are unhappy selling on eBay. This is a perfect opportunity for them to go and do something for no fees.”

The OpenBazaar developers aimed to create a decentralised and free peer-to-peer marketplace, where customers would be able to contact other users directly and trade with them without any mandatory fees required. Hoffman talked about how the marketplace fees are formed nowadays:

“I think average take is about 6 to 10 percent of every sale. A lot of these depend on the category and stuff like that, but that’s a pretty good chunk. You’ll notice that the prices are more expensive because of that; because they bake it into the cost.”

Unlike the centralised platforms, like eBay, OpenBazaaar eliminated middleman, that’s why this open source project doesn’t charge any fees.

The OB1 co-founder, Hoffman also said that merchants could acquire a good reputation over time, so there would be no need in placing customer funds in escrow.

Meanwhile, Reddit users discussed the OpenBazaar project potential of becoming a new Silk Road. A user named “Raw Berry” asked whether the company would accept regulating measures. An OB1 employee, Sam replied that OpenBazaar wasn’t operating as a dark marketplace, but their network was censorship-resistant:

“Regulation implies control. We don't have control over the network; OpenBazaar is a protocol that allows people to directly trade with each other.” However, the team was implementing features to prevent illicit trade operations, including a rating system, IP transparency and a reputation building system.

Sam also said that OpenBazaar didn’t aim to replace the centralised alternatives. The free open marketplace is designed for people who care about decentralisation, privacy, and free trade. But also “there are many people who will be perfectly happy with the centralized platforms, and that's fine. They can have them”.

Recently CoinFox reported that OpenBazaar team has secured $1 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and an angel investor William Mougayar.


Daria Petushkova