Out of the Shadows and into the OpenBazaar
May 2, 2016
If you believe the Dark Web was destroyed when Silk Road went offline, think again! The Dark Web has roots like a surface weed, when one root remains there are dozens (or in this case millions) more to keep the weed growing. Tech Insider reports that OpenBazaar now occupies the space Silk Road vacated, “A Lawless And Shadowy New Corner Of The Internet Is About TO Go Online.”
OpenBazaar is described as a decentralized and uncensored online marketplace where people can sell anything without the fuzz breathing down their necks. Brian Hoffman and his crew had worked on it since 2014 when Amir Taaki thought it up. It works similar to eBay and Etsy as a peer-to-peer market, but instead of hard currency it uses bitcoin. Since it is decentralized, it will be near impossible to take offline, unlike Silk Road. Hoffman took over the project from Taaki and after $1 million from tech venture capital firms the testnet is live.
“There’s now a functioning version of OpenBazaar running on the “testnet.” This is a kind of open beta that anyone can download and run, but it uses “testnet bitcoin” — a “fake” version of the digital currency for running tests that doesn’t have any real value. It means the developer team can test out the software with a larger audience and iron out the bugs without any real risk.” If people lose their money it’s just a horrible idea,” Hoffman told Business Insider.”
A new user signs up for the OpenBazaar testnet every two minutes and Hoffman hopes to find all the bugs before the public launch. Hoffman once wanted to run the next generation digital black market, but now he is advertising it as a new Etsy. The lack of central authority means lower take rates or the fees sellers incur for selling on the site. Hoffman says it will be good competition for online marketplaces because it will force peer-to-peer services like eBay and Etsy find new ways to add value-added services instead of raising fees on customers.