The OpenBazaar core team is excited to announce that we’ve received $1 million in seed funding from Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and angel investor William Mougayar to develop the OpenBazaar protocol and client, and build the first business on top of the OpenBazaar network.
The OpenBazaar project was launched in April 2014 and received vocal support from the bitcoin community, who share our vision for a free and decentralized ecommerce platform using bitcoin. OpenBazaar is ambitiously combining several technologies including peer-to-peer networking, Ricardian contracts, decentralized reputation, and multisignature escrow for bitcoin payments. Despite our best efforts as part-time volunteers, progress was slow. The project needed the core contributors to make development a full-time effort in order to release a robust application within a reasonable time-frame.
This funding allows us to commit our full-time resources to develop OpenBazaar. Not only will it allow us to work with the community to finish the first full release of the core protocol and application, but it also gives us the opportunity to create the first business on top of the OpenBazaar network. This business, which we’ve named OB1, will offer services to OpenBazaar users, and aims to bootstrap adoption of decentralized commerce.
OpenBazaar will always be open source and MIT licensed. As a global software community, we’ve intentionally created OpenBazaar so that there are no fees required to use the network, and there is no central authority controlling trade, taking a cut, or monitoring data. As a result, companies such as OB1 cannot act as a central authority on the network. OB1 will aid decentralized commerce by offering services such as dispute resolution, store hosting, and more.
With their history of helping build networks with large user bases and their focus on new decentralized technologies such as bitcoin, Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz are the perfect partners to help OpenBazaar become widely adopted. William Mougayar is a board member as well as angel investor, and brings many years of experience in startups to our team.
OpenBazaar—aided by OB1—can become the platform which makes decentralized commerce online a reality. If the bitcoin community joins us in developing the code further, testing new releases, and adopting it on release, we will succeed.
OpenBazaar has always been community-driven, and the OB1 team will be an important part of the community. But it will only be a part – we’ll follow up this post with another from other OpenBazaar community members. We’ll all work together to make trade free.
The OB1 Team – Brian, Chris, Mike, Nikolas, Sam and Washington
Press Release and Images
OpenBazaar Team Raises $1M from USV and A16Z to Make Trade Free
Invites a Growing Global Community of Developers to Contribute and Get Involved
Washington, DC, — June 11, 2015 – The core developers of the OpenBazaar project announced today they’ve received a $1 million round of seed funding from Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and angel investor William Mougayar that will help fuel their vision of making trade free for everyone, everywhere.
“The Internet has decentralized communications, and Bitcoin has decentralized money, but online commerce still relies on numerous intermediaries,” says Brian Hoffman, the project lead. “OpenBazaar removes the intermediaries and gives everyone – individuals to large companies – the ability to directly engage in trade with anyone in the world, for free.”
OpenBazaar is an open source project, started in April 2014, which uses software to create a decentralized network of buyers and sellers who offer their goods and services directly to each other. The project via GitHub has captured the attention of nearly 1,400 developers worldwide, with about 100 developers having contributed code.
Because the network isn’t centrally controlled, there are no listing or transaction fees, ability to monitor and capture user data, or restrict trade in any way. Unlike many ecommerce platforms and their corresponding payment processors, OpenBazaar can be used anywhere in the world with Bitcoin.
The funding will enable several of the core developers to work full time on further developing the platform, which is currently in its fifth beta release. It will also allow them to create the first company built on the network – named OB1 – which will offer services to OpenBazaar users.
Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz have both invested previously in startups in the Bitcoin space, as well as online marketplaces. William Mougayar, angel investor and board member, is participating in the round and brings decades of ecommerce and startup experience to the team. “USV is excited to support and help OpenBazaar and OB1 realize their vision of delivering a free and open marketplace protocol that ushers in a new era of peer to peer global commerce.”
OpenBazaar is encouraging those interested in this groundbreaking project to find out more and get involved by joining the developer community on GitHub (http://github.com/OpenBazaar) or through their public Slack by requesting an invitation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OpenBazaar is a new way to trade online. By running a program on your computer, you can connect directly to other users in the OpenBazaar network and trade with them. This network isn’t controlled by a company, it’s a decentralized network that isn’t run by any organization at all. This means there are no mandatory fees to pay, and that your trade is censorship-resistant.
OpenBazaar uses Bitcoin, a digital currency that is also cheap to use, decentralized, and censorship-resistant.
This project is open source, which means the code is publicly available, can be reviewed, and anyone can join the project, contribute, and suggest changes. OpenBazaar is venture-backed, and comprised of a global team of founders and developers. Follow OpenBazaar on Twitter, Reddit, GitHub, and on their Blog.