OpenBazaar is an open source project to create an online peer to peer decentralised marketplace using Bitcoins

Country: USAopenbazaar2
Year: 2016


  • OpenBazaar is an open-source, decentralised marketplace where users can buy and sell products using Bitcoin
  • As OpenBazaar is decentralised, the platform does not operate like most typical e-commerce sites. Instead, users download a copy of OpenBazaar onto their computers (decentralised) where they can browse, buy and sell products
  • The platform removes the middleman with their restrictions and fees, allowing users to directly carry out transactions with the other party
  • In order to avoid transactions fees incurred by PayPal or card transactions, OpenBazaar uses Bitcoin – the only payment method currently accepted on the site
  • Like any other peer-to-peer marketplace, trust between buyer and seller is crucial. Buyers can opt to use a peer-voted trusted moderator, who witnesses the transaction and creates a multi-signature account between the three parties. Two of the three parties are required to agree before any money can be moved
  • Users are welcome to suggest and contribute to new code and ideas through the developer resource page
  • OpenBazaar also operates a Slack room for users to ask questions or get a node up and running

Consumer Benefits

  • Private: users can reveal as much or as little personal information as they choose
  • Free: no membership or transaction fees. However in the case of a dispute, users who use moderators are warned that they may pay third parties; although these are not forced to charge fees, nor are users forced to use moderators
  • Secure: escrow system for Bitcoin payments (multi-signature)
  • Evolving: marketplace based on user contributions and cod

How To Use

Creating an account:

  • Users download a copy of OpenBazaar (available on Windows, OS X and Linux)
  • When running the programme, users are asked a couple of onboarding questions such as language, country and preferred currency
  • Users then create their own profile page with a theme and avatar before reading a disclaimer agreement
  • Each Openbazaar page has a long string of characters. These can be customised (handles) to create a shorter and memorisable page name
  • Users are free to browse OpenBazaar. By default, the NSFW filter is turned on, removing any NSFW items listed by vendors. If needed, users may switch this off
  • Favourite vendors can be starred and stored for later

Buying an item: 

  • After choosing an item to buy, the user enters an address and checks if the vendor ships to their country
  • Users are asked if they already have a Bitcoin wallet and can easily set one up in a matter of minutes if they don’t
  • Two payment methods are offered:
    • Direct payment – where the buyer pays the vendor directly
    • Moderated payment – where the buyer sends the money into an escrow account, witnessed by a moderator, which is released once the transaction is finished
  • Users can find information about trustworthy moderators on the OpenBazaar moderator forum (Reddit)
  • A QR code is shown which can be scanned (mobile Bitcoin wallet) or opened on another page for a local wallet (examples shown below)


An example of how OpenBazaar trade cycle differs to that of Amazon or eBay:
Browsing on OpenBazaar (middle) and an example of transaction (bottom)

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