OpenBazaar, a decentralized network for trading, announced December 13 that they have received funding amounting to $3 million from BlueYard Capital, a Venture Capital fund with a preference to “entrepreneurs looking to upgrade the internet.” Investors Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, who have invested $10 million into crypto hedge fund PolyChain Capital, were also involved.
Compared to centralized services that most consumers use such as eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba to name a few, OpenBazaar does away with the high fees required to list and sell goods on their platforms. Personal information is not mandatory as well, ensuring users identities are not stolen nor sold for advertisement purposes.
Brad Burnham, managing partner at Union Square Ventures, said, “The reach and diversity of OpenBazaar usage shows the potential for decentralized applications: within a week of its release buyers and sellers from 129 countries joined the network and began transacting with each other for free.”
“We believe OpenBazaar has an opportunity to fundamentally transform the market structure of commerce, and we’re excited to welcome BlueYard as a new partner and co-investor in OB1.”
With no intermediary, there are no fees, no requirement to reveal personally identifying information, as well as absolute freedom in buying or selling what you want, at what prices. OpenBazaar is open source as well, allowing anyone to review and audit the source code, as well as contribute improvements to it.
Since its launch in April of 2015, the project has already made leaps and bounds regarding development. The project received $1 million of funding in June, revealed a new UI, and even rebuilt the networking/DHT stack.
With the new funding, OpenBazaar looks to launch 2.0 of the project, and with it IPFS, meaning that OpenBazaar store data no longer needs to be hosted purely locally by one server. Also, new measures will enhance user privacy, such as the implementation of TOR as well as private stores and listings, accessible only by users that have the OpenBazaar address.
Another major feature looking to be introduced in version 2.0 is the ability to request goods and services, instead of only being able to offer them. This allows the market to see better what there is demand for, and respond to that demand.
While there is no timeline on when OpenBazaar 2.0 is to be released, the company have requested feedback from both buyers and sellers, where people can voice their opinion about changes or join their Slack channel to learn more and contribute.