Why Do I Have to Download OpenBazaar?
To use OpenBazaar right now you need to download and install a program on your computer. This is quite different from other marketplaces, which you access by visiting a website. Why the difference?
OpenBazaar is a fundamentally different way to do ecommerce. It’s built to let you take control of your own store & profile and connect with other users without any middlemen involved.
What middlemen are involved in traditional ecommerce?
When shopping or selling online, users encounters layers of middlemen that provide some convenience, but also force fees on users and tightly control all transactions.
- The first layer is the money itself, government currencies such as the Dollar, Pound or Euro. They are produced by individual governments around the world and require exchanges to be translated into another global currency.
- The second is banks and credit card companies. These institutions are designed to hold and move these currencies and are also regulated by governments.
- The third is payment processors. These are companies like Stripe or PayPal that link your bank account or credit card to others so that you can make payments and send money more easily.
- Then finally are marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay or Alibaba. These companies own websites and apps where users can shop. This means they own not only the servers on which all buyer and seller profile information and content lives but also the experience that you are having and all of the data any user generates.
To break free of all of these middlemen you have to break free of a lot of infrastructure.
And that simply wasn’t possible 10 years ago.
The real breakthrough came with development of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. These cryptographic coins open up the first two layers of money itself to allow people to exchange value in a currency that isn’t generated by any government and can easily be used internationally.
With OpenBazaar, we wanted to harness this power of Bitcoin and take it a step further, removing layers 3 and 4. Instead of asking people to connect to each other through a website or network that we owned, we wanted to just let users connect directly to each other, exactly how they do with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but with a nice interface that felt like the payment processors and marketplaces they were used to.
Getting rid of servers in general isn’t an option as the internet still requires machines that can store and serve information to users all around the world–but they don’t necessarily need to be collected in specific locations, or, more importantly, centrally owned.
Servers can be broken down and divided up between the users that participate in a certain network.
The OpenBazaar download bundle
OpenBazaar is two programs in one:
- OpenBazaar server — The server is the back end application which allows OpenBazaar to function. Each user runs a server to connect them to the network and allow them to participate. It can both store and share their own public and private data, and help store and share the public data of others. This is the primary reason you have to download OpenBazaar right now.
- OpenBazaar client — The client is the front end application and allows the user to communicate and control the server, similar to a remote control. The client is the visual interface; it’s what you’re looking at when you run OpenBazaar.
By default, the OpenBazaar packages and installers will install both server and client locally on your machine. However, you can choose to run just the server elsewhere, such as on a Raspberry Pi or use a virtual private server (VPS).
This creates a distributed peer-to-peer network with the power of big, centralized servers but that isn’t controlled by any one company or organization — just a community of people who want to engage in trade directly with each other.
Web 3.0 in action
The next evolution of the web is underway now and this sort of restructuring is what that’s all about. The coming years are about building the technology that eliminates the necessity of existing infrastructures to give a high level of control back to users.
People who are doing this work believe in a world where people are able to run their own internet experience for themselves, with a level of privacy and control that was not possible, before.
Downloading OpenBazaar is a choice to discover a new way to buy and sell online. It represents a willingness to explore and understand more about how the internet will be structured in the coming years.
This download represents choice and ownership and a step out from under the heavy hand of centralized power structures.
Do you want to help build this future where individuals are in control?
Check out OpenBazaar today.
Originally published at www.openbazaar.org on April 23, 2018.