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OpenBazaar logo
OpenBazaar logo
Original author(s) Amir Taaki (DarkMarket), Brian Hoffman
Developer(s) OpenBazaar Team
Initial release 4 April 2016; 2 years ago (2016-04-04)
Stable release
2.1.0 / 2018-01-30
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written in Go, JavaScript
Operating system Microsoft Windows, OS X, GNU/Linux
Size 130 MB
Available in English
Type Online marketplace
License MIT License

OpenBazaar is an open source project developing a protocol for e-commerce transactions in a fully decentralized marketplace.[1] It uses cryptocurrencies as medium of exchange and was inspired by a hackathon project called DarkMarket.[2]


Programmer and bitcoin enthusiast Amir Taaki, and a team of other developers, created the prototype of a decentralized marketplace, called "DarkMarket", in April 2014 at Bitcoin Hackathon in Toronto.[3] DarkMarket was developed as a proof of concept in response to the seizure of the darknet market Silk Road in October 2013. Taaki compared DarkMarket's improvements on Silk Road to BitTorrent's improvements on Napster.[3]

After DarkMarket was revealed at the hackathon, developer Brian Hoffman inquired into assisting with the project, but learned Taaki had no plans to continue development.[4] He then forked the project and renamed it "OpenBazaar".[5] OpenBazaar, like DarkMarket, was initially licensed under the GNU AGPLv3, but after a discussion by the developers, it was relicensed under the MIT license on September 8, 2014.[6][not in citation given] In mid-2015, the OpenBazaar development team began rebuilding the code base entirely; no original DarkMarket code remains,[7] with the first release of the software published on April 4, 2016.[8] Version 2.0 of the software was released November 1, 2017 and included a major rearchitecting of the system as well as improved user experiences.[9]

In June 2015, the most active OpenBazaar developers received funding to form a company called OB1 to work on improving the OpenBazaar protocol.[10] On December 2016, the project received $3 million in funding from venture capitalist firms and investors[11], adding up to a $4 million investment in the project.[12]

In an interview with, OB1's COO Sam Patterson explained the goals behind OpenBazaar's feature launch: "Existing centralized marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have had decades to build up an impressive suite of features for their users. Our first release has the advantage of 0% fees and using Bitcoin, but it will be a long time before we are as feature-rich as the big platforms."[13]


OpenBazaar is built on several existing technologies. Transactions between all parties are built as Ricardian contracts, and each step of a trade is cryptographically signed. This ensures authenticity of the data, prevents tampering with contracts, and allows for arbitration if a dispute arises. Escrow is achieved using multisignatures. These 'moderated transactions' are 2-of-3 multisignature, with the buyer, seller, and a trusted third-party each having a key.[14] Payments are performed using cryptocurrencies. Initially only bitcoin was supported to send and receive payments. At the end of 2016 ShapeShift was integrated into the platform to allow sending payments in various other cryptocurrencies.[15] In January 2018, full support of Bitcoin Cash and Zcash was added which allows sellers and buyers to directly transact in those coins and avoid the relatively high transaction fees of the bitcoin network.[16]

The networking of OpenBazaar relies heavily on the InterPlanetary File System to ensure distribution of data, and since February 2017, it also supports Tor integration.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Greenberg, Andy (2014-04-24). "Inside the 'DarkMarket' Prototype, a Silk Road the FBI Can Never Seize". Wired. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  4. ^ "OpenBazaar: The Decentralized Offspring of Ebay & Amazon - Interview with Project Lead, Brian Hoffman". Cointelegraph. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  5. ^ Hern, Alex (2014-04-30). "Silk Road successor DarkMarket rebrands as OpenBazaar". The Guardian. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  6. ^ O'Ham, Tyson (2016-01-28). "OpenBazaar Sam Patterson Interview". Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  7. ^ "OpenBazaar Blog Post". 2015-08-18. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "OpenBazaar is Open for Business". Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  9. ^ "OpenBazaar 2.0 Is Live". OpenBazaar. 2017-11-01. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  10. ^ "OB1 Raises $4.2M to Build a Decentralized Marketplace Using Digital Currencies". OpenBazaar. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  11. ^ Stan Higgins (13 December 2016). "Bitcoin-Powered Marketplace OpenBazaar Raises $3 Million". Coin Desk.
  12. ^ "OpenBazaar". CrunchBase. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  13. ^ "OpenBazaar in Depth: Interview with COO Sam Patterson". Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  14. ^ "What is a Moderator / What are moderated payments?". Retrieved 2016-12-07.
  15. ^ "OpenBazaar 1.1.10 Released - Purchase with Ether, Monero and More Via Integration - OpenBazaar". OpenBazaar. 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  16. ^ "OpenBazaar 2.1 Released - Bitcoin Cash and Zcash Integrated - OpenBazaar". OpenBazaar. 2018-01-30. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  17. ^ "Development Update". February 3, 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-15.

External links[edit]