OpenBazaar’s OB1 Gets a $5 Million Series A Boost for Decentralized Market
OB1, the company behind OpenBazaar, has received a $5 million USD funding injection in a Series A round led by Canada’s OMERS Ventures and with a contribution from Bitmain. The project now claims over 40,000 nodes have joined its decentralized marketplace network since it released its 2.0 version late in 2017, and it plans to add cryptocurrency trading to its platform along with other goods.
Decentralized Cryptocurrency Exchange Too?
OB1 plans to use the money to develop new web and mobile apps to access its network. Notably, its official announcement said future versions would include “making requests and buying and selling cryptocurrencies”.
OpenBazaar’s aim is to build a decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace that’s available to buyers and sellers worldwide. Its competitors include centralized markets on both the open Internet and darknet. Unlike any of those markets, trades are commission-free, and unlike open-internet e-commerce platforms there’s a degree of censorship resistance.
That doesn’t mean OpenBazaar is a complete free-for-all, though — it has a “verified moderators” program whereby trusted members keep the service free from scams and illegal offerings.
OB1 CEO Brian Hoffman said:
“We are pleased to be partnering with both OMERS Ventures and Bitmain, adding them to a powerhouse international team of investors that are helping our team continue to build the future of free trade on the Internet worldwide. Our goal is to see the OpenBazaar protocol and software empower business owners and consumers alike to shift away from the corporate-controlled legacy systems and engage in ecommerce in a free, fair and independent way.”
OpenBazaar’s 2.0 client software is available now for Windows, MacOS and Linux systems.
OpenBazaar’s Hoffman Responds to Critics
Hoffman is an outspoken (and thus controversial) figure in the cryptocurrency industry. He made waves last November when he said Bitcoin was “in serious trouble“, due to its transaction delays and developers’ unwillingness to scale the network with transaction block size increases.
In February 2018, OpenBazaar announced it would support bitcoin cash (BCH) and zcash (ZEC) alongside bitcoin (BTC) as payment methods on its platform.
Hoffman engages and often responds to social media criticism that OpenBazaar development is too slow, that its decentralization doesn’t offer adequate user protection from unjust laws, and of course its support for “big block scaling” and bitcoin cash.
Having Bitmain as a financial backer also drew some ire from the anti-BCH crowd, and Hoffman dutifully returned each serve:
OB1 and OpenBazaar have previously received funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, BlueYard Capital, Digital Currency Group, and angel investor William Mougayar.
Would you use a commerce platform like OpenBazaar? Let’s hear your thoughts.
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