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21 hours ago · 2 min read 4
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Is OpenBazaar Vaporware?

on Apr 05, 2016

OpenBazaar has officially launched and to me it seems like a huge let down, just a bunch of hype, vaporware. The project started as DarkMarket made by Amir Taaki in 2014 at a Toronto Bitcoin Hackathon but was forked into OpenBazaar by Brian Hoffman, which has ironically chosen to try to distance and insulate itself from darknet markets. Also ironically, within a day of launching there were postings for weed and child porn for sale, so it appears some people were fooled into thinking they could run a shop anonymously using it. Some people even think they can use it with tor, but the Tor Project itself warns about trying to use programs that use the UDP protocol with tor as not being a good idea.

For years people hoped the project would result in a truly decentralized anonymous online free market. But as long as it runs only over the clearnet, even with the use of VPNs, OpenBazaar will not truly be free. There does seem to be interest in getting OpenBazaar to run over i2p, and if that works out, that would be great.

OB1 CEO Brian Hoffman said in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine that, "What is the best way to bootstrap a decentralized, private marketplace without basically inviting all of the darknet marketplaces to just shift their stock onto this and scare the crap out of any potential normal user from joining OpenBazaar?" Hoffman went on to say that they are putting off implementing a way to operate OpenBazaar over an anonymizing network like i2p or tor, saying, "We’ve basically deferred it to a little bit later in the development process. This, we hope, will give us time to establish a baseline of nodes on the network and liquidity of items without overwhelming it with just darknet items."

There is a great poster of the UFO over a treeline with the words "I WANT TO BELIEVE" that is seen on the wall of Mulder and Scully's office on the TV series The X-Files, but instead of the UFO it is a picture of the OpenBazaar tent logo. I'm like Mulder on OpenBazaar, I WANT TO BELIEVE that OpenBazaar will turn into what we all hoped it would. But will the team developing OpenBazaar encourage it to happen soon enough? And if it doesn't end up living up to our hopes, then isn't it nothing more than vaporware? If so, hopefully someone will make a fork for use on the darknet.

I WANT TO BELIEVE Poster: https://postimg.org/image/cgc9zfbpv

Sources:
Bittorrent over Tor isn't a good idea - The Tor Project
https://blog.torproject.org/blog/bittorrent-over-tor-isnt-good-idea

OB1 CEO Brian Hoffman Explains Levels of Anonymity in OpenBazaar - Bitcoin Magazine
https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/ob-ceo-brian-hoffman-explains-levels-of-anonymity-in-openbazaar-1458059826

By the way, sorry the IPFS article isn't done yet.

4 Comments:

user_name1 day ago
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heliumon Oct 22, 2017
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The fundamental problem with the OpenBazaar is the same that "ordinary shops" have: buyers want to see only the products that they are interested in. Offering toys to people, who want to buy cheese is going to frustrate the cheese buyers a lot. Now, suppose the toys are not even the ones meant for small children, but are sex toys, and the pope, who is looking for table silver is going to get pretty frustrated and not from the lack of sex.

Second issue, which, in my view, is even greater issue, is that security can never be an afterthought. The right way to design secure software is to built it secure from the start and then add features to a product that has a proper security architecture. If it's the other way around with the OpenBazaar, then indeed, the OpenBazaar is a technical failure, unlike the ZeroNet, which is not even designed to be anonymous (at least not to the level that the Tor is), but is just a BitTorrent like infrastructure for moving data around. That P2P aspect of the ZeroNet allows actual, secure, anonymous "applications networks" to be built on top of the ZeroNet. For example, just like with Tor, the ZeroNet nodes can implement mixnets and do the non-real-time things that Tor network static web page serving servers do. Basically, the ZeroNet is a truly nice upgrade to the centralized server-client model, replaces centralized system with a P2P system, but the P2P is only a way to distribute data, not to anonymize anything. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) level centralization still remains, but that's there also with the Tor and GNUnet.

Generally speaking, the moment a software project gets "venture capital" or is crowdfunded, the software project has the obligation to deliver and then the developers tend to ship even, when they self realize that they should scrap the project and use the lessons learned for creating a brand new product from scratch. But, how are You going to tell Your investors or crowdfunding backers that You came to a conclusion that the initial product was crap and that You need to start all over and can't promise any timeline and not even that the new version won't be crap or fundamentally flawed. It's interesting to see the technical quality of products change: at first, when the project is a hobby project, without money, the quality is so good that it might get some monetary backing from somewhere. After getting the money, the quality goes down, because developers feel the urge to ship and show something to their investors. If the developers are lucky, the start-up will not get acquired by some huge corporation and the investors declare the project a "business failure". After the declaration of the "business failure" the project development quality goes back up, because there is no urge to publish halve-baked solutions and people can actually do what they feel is technically the right thing, without worrying about the various promises and public impressions.

Thank You for reading my comment.

P.S. Please increase my allowed character count on this forum. I have used 9.7K characters out of 10K. Otherwise I won't be able to add any more comments here.

jayofthezeroon May 30, 2016
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grez: Please, add Follow button to your blog.

Yeah, please add the follow button.

grezon May 04, 2016
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Please, add Follow button to your blog.

waleron Apr 05, 2016
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Thanks, interesting read.

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