OpenBazaar has raised US$1 million in seed funding with the help of Andreesen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, and angel investor William Mougayar.
OpenBazaar, which just launched its fifth beta release, is the much-anticipated decentralized market to bitcoin's decentralized money. Online commerce relies on many intermediaries, such as PayPal, but OpenBazaar allows users to conduct trade one-on-one with the help of notaries, multisignature transactions, and a reputation system.
The seed funding will be used to pay the developers so that they can work full time on the project and speed up development. The developers previously relied on bitcoin donations.
OpenBazaar founder, Brian Hoffman said:
“Our plans remain as they are which is to continue pushing towards a fully functional and completed release.”
This is OpenBazaar's latest attempt to facilitate free trade. The marketplace is uncensorable, for better or worse, and there are no extra fees to conduct trade. Anyone in the world can conduct trade over the marketplace with bitcoin, the currency of choice for a decentralized market.
Buying and selling on the marketplace is not an easy feat yet as tech-savvy users are testing the beta product. Below is a screenshot of a marketplace’s “shop front.”
OpenBazaar kicked off development in April 2014 and always encourages contributions from the public. Hoffman noted that development has been a community effort. After all, the open source project boasts 88 contributors on Github.
Hoffman said that they're also working on OpenBazaar's first company, called OB1, which will offer services, including notaries and “anonymous shipping integration.”
“As for OB1 we will spend our time fully dedicated to making OpenBazaar a success and will in parallel explore ways to build a sustainable business on top of the network by building value added services to merchants and customers,” explained Hoffman. “We will have more to share on this in the next few months.”