171016 Opening Merchant Account at OpenBazaar

OpenBazaar, an open-source merchandizing website, charges no transaction fees or monthly merchant fees; none at all.  What’s the catch? There are none. All payments are in Bitcoin.  This is huge!  The site is in Beta atm and there is a host of features for both merchants and consumers that should/will be added, but there are already over 5000+ items for sale.  Check it out at openbazaar.org.

The site has infinite possibilities.  In reviewing the store, a shortcoming of the fledgling site, not being able to list more than one item at a time, turned out to be an interesting option instead.  We found an amazing array of old comic books listed at $1.00 ea. However, since each was listed separately, there was $7.00 shipping charge added to each, also.  We texted the merchant who very accommodatingly offered to set up a new shop based on any list of ten $1.00 comics I texted him with just one shipping charge.  Nice.  Any two trading partners could do the same thing.  Need to sell someone something and want an impartial third party to facilitate the sale?  The seller can set up a store and text the details to the buyer. Shipping charges can be added, payment received guaranteed and the whole transaction can be memorialized. Nice.

If you are an Etsy, Shopify or Big Cartel merchant and only need a minimal feature set check out openbazaar.org.

There’s no functionality for advertising or social media getting the word out by OpenBazaar so you’re on your own as far as that is concerned.   The site is lean and mean.  No frills.  All prices can be listed in your local currency.  The up-to-the-minute Bitcoin price is listed as well.  All payments are in Bitcoin.  There is functionality for other cryptocurrencies, too.  Descriptions and graphics are up to you, the merchant.  There are some inventory control features, the ability to list both goods and services, to view by new or used,  and to have adult content visible or hidden.  Well done, openbazaar. Well done.

Of course, with any free website, the usual list of suspects show up, e.g. adult toys, drugs, and porn.  The site should seriously consider some sort of overseeing or blocking these before the entire site is brought down in some jurisdictions.  Sure, this flies in the face of the mission statement “A FREE ONLINE MARKETPLACE. NO FEES. NO RESTRICTIONS. EARN BITCOIN” but the site should not lend its good name to thieves, drug peddlers, and other illicit activities.

171014 OpenBazaar is Bitcoin’s Killer App

When a disruptive technology, like Bitcoin, goes from being a novel idea to Main Street, it is usually a ‘killer app’ that gets it there. Bitcoin’s ‘killer app’ could very well be OpenBazaar.  OpenBazaar is an open source marketplace.  Hence the name.  There are no fees at all, ever.  You can browse the site as a customer.  There are already over 5000+ shops, or, open your own store.  Again, as a shopkeeper, there are no fees.  You post what you want to sell, with pictures, description, and price in the currency of your choice.  I’m from the United States so I put my prices up in dollars USD.  Oh, did I mention I opened a store? More on that in another posting.  When it comes time to pay, the buyer is given the equivalent price in Bitcoin at current rates.  All transactions are in Bitcoin.  The site is fabulous and will become very popular.  It is Beta now but it is very much alive with real products and real Bitcoin.

The site layout and design are sparse, without clutter.  That’s not a bad thing.  Every element is clear, simple and direct.  In the end, I believe if there are any shortcomings with the site they will come down to good, old-fashioned selling.  To compete for attention merchants are going to clamor for something more than a good search algorithm.  They might even be willing to pay for advertising to attract customers.  The mechanism of selling and payments has been solved. OpenBazaar does what it set out to do — create free and open markets, and, it does that very well.