The thing with Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon is the extortionate fees to sell within the boundaries of its marketplace. All three have proved highly successful but imagine you could set up shop for free, without hassle and be up and running in literally a minute.
As some of you know the Mears household has a classic 1979 VW Campervan and a VW Campervan Facebook page with thousands of followers on Facebook. As well as renting out the van I wanted to set up a small shop on Amazon selling memorabilia to our Facebook followers. Due to the low margins of mugs and salt a pepper grinders etc the Amazon/Shopify fees would have knocked out what small gains there would have been so we decided to shelve the idea.
Open Bazaar is like a cross between Amazon/eBay and bit torrent. As it stands you must download the peer to peer software to connect with potentials buyers. Remember Napster/bittorent and how that took off as despite the clutter of dodgy downloads from randomers the benefits seriously outweighed the negatives of actually going to HMV and buying a CD for an extortionate amount of money. Now imagine the concept applied to eCommerce.
Admittedly there are some drawbacks. Amazon through internet 2.0 has access to all your information in a way internet 3.0 (Blockchain) prohibits. This allows them to tailor the buying experience to the needs of the consumer. It also gives them tonnes of information to track what is selling in a far more graphic detail than can be seen on a peer-to-peer open platform.
So why is OpenBazaar exciting.
It is the first DAPP open-market that can’t be shutdown by the US government. As the system is entirely on the Blockchain nobody has it on a server to close (like the silk road). All the code is on GitHub meaning if it where to be shutdown, someone will rebuild it. The tech cannot be un-invented.
Besides the legal situation it is a purely capitalist, libertarian, non monopoly. Nobody owns it, there is no CEO or reason for it to take money away from the buyers or the sellers. It is a program for harboring commerce. Imagine you have to give 10% in commission fees to the people running the market. Take out those people and there is nobody to pay. If you sell $1000000 worth of goods $100000 would be sent to the system. For large scale merchants this is a ridiculous amount of money just to be in the market. For power sellers this is an opportunity to earn a lot more.
But back to monopoly, whats to stop these power sellers taking over and dominating in the system. The way to connect (and I’m still working on this) is to get people to follow you. Everyone has an equal chance to acquire followers, particularly now. As new to this as I am, I believe followers is the way to go as with any platform, it conveys trust. In a similar way it brings eCommerce more in line with social media, and we know the power of that.
Did I mention you can only buy in cryptocurrency. Currently Bitcoin but they have plans to expand into other coins. This broadens the value of crypto by applying a specific area where it has a complete advantage over fiat. With fiat currency (dollars, pounds, yen etc.) unable to interact in what could be a major player in the online economy, this only bolsters the advantages of crypocurrency, appealing to early investors and raising its strength. The only issue is those damn Bitcoin fees.. but they’ll come down with coin competition and tech.
For now I shall continue to play around and raise a following. I’ll do my best to report back as and when it expands.