OpenBazaar logo

OpenBazaar, formerly known as DarkMarket, is an open-source decentralized online marketplace designed for e-commerce, using the cryptocurrency bitcoin.


Main information

  • Country: Unknown
  • Headquarter: Unknown
  • Type: Financial Services
  • Round: Seed
  • Cost: $1 million
  • Date: 11-Jun-2015
  • Investors: Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, William Mougayar, angel investor


OpenBazaar: Teaser

The concept of the project – “pseudonymous uncensored trade”. OpenBazaar stores data is stored on users ‘ computers, in the hash table distributed over the network, all calculations are made in bitcoins using the guarantor. OpenBazaar does not charge a fee, the service is completely free.

Users of the service can sell each other products presented on display. Trust between users is based on reputation, which is calculated based on the results of user evaluations of transactions carried out on several parameters: the quality of the goods, the quality of service, the accuracy of the description and the speed of delivery.

There are three payment schemes of goods and services:

  • direct payment – the buyer makes an order, then the seller sends or delivers the goods and confirms it, the funds are immediately received by the seller (used for small purchases or when working with trusted sellers);
  • moderated payment without dispute – the buyer places an order, and the funds arrive in escrow, the seller sends the goods and confirms the transaction as soon as the buyer receives the order and releases the money, after which the seller receives the money for his goods;
  • moderated payment with arbitration (dispute resolution) – the same as in the second variant, only the stage of dispute resolution is added, while the time spent on communication with the parties and decision-making is compensated by the seller.

In the variant with arbitration, the parties select the arbitrator in advance, and in case of disagreement of one of the parties, a dispute is initiated, as a result of which the arbitrator decides where to send the frozen funds — back to the buyer or still the seller. According to the results of the dispute, each participant gives an assessment to the arbitrator.


Programmer and bitcoin enthusiast Amir Taaki and a team of other developers created the prototype of a decentralized marketplace, entitled “DarkMarket”, in April 2014 at a Toronto Bitcoin Hackathon.[1] DarkMarket was developed as a proof-of concept in response to the seizure of the online marketplace Silk Road in October 2013. Taaki compared DarkMarket’s improvements on Silk Road to BitTorrent’s improvements on Napster.[1]

Soon after DarkMarket was revealed at the hackathon, developer Brian Hoffman forked the project and renamed it “OpenBazaar”, which continues to receive active development as of June 2015. OpenBazaar, like DarkMarket before it, 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.[2]


The decentralized nature of the service implies the installation of special software on the user’s side. It consists of two parts-the server and the client. The server part is responsible for interaction with other nodes of the network, transactions and storage of bitcoin keys. The client stores descriptions and photos of products and settings of the visual part of the store. Both parts can be installed on the same computer or on different computers. You can install multiple client applications on the same machine, for example, to manage multiple storefronts at the same time.

External links

See Also on BitcoinWiki


  1. 1.01.1 Inside the ‘DarkMarket’ Prototype, a Silk Road the FBI Can Never Seize
  2. OpenBazaar is now MIT licensed