4 mins ago |
By Kevin Helms – |
Openbazaar 2.0 Beta Launches with Tor, Offline Stores, Shapeshift and Segwit
Openbazaar 2.0, a major upgrade from the previous version, has been released. The fully-functional public beta expands the peer-to-peer app with several new features including Tor integration, improved search, a bitcoin wallet, new vendor tools, and stores that stay online.
Openbazaar 2.0 Beta Launches
Openbazaar announced on Saturday its 2.0 beta release, after a month of alpha testing. The free, peer-to-peer, eBay-like marketplace already allows anyone to buy and sell all kinds of goods and services for bitcoin without censorship or fees. For the first time, however, Openbazaar 2.0’s many new features can be used with real products instead of test data. The announcement states:
The beta uses real bitcoin and real listings.
IPFS & Offline Stores
One of the biggest complaints users had with Openbazaar before now has been stores going offline when vendors are not running their store apps. With version 2.0, even when the computer running the store is offline, other network nodes can display the store and still let customers place orders.
This is due to a major networking addition known as the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) protocol, which distributes store information between other Openbazaar users to help with store uptime and product availability. The team detailed:
Because this new version is built on IPFS, Openbazaar stores can now be accessible to buyers even when they are offline. Stores and listings can now be re-seeded by other Openbazaar users, meaning that if a store is seeded then buyers can purchase their listings even if they are offline.
Bitcoin Wallet and Shapeshift
Version 1 did not have a bitcoin wallet built in, making it harder for new users that were not already bitcoin owners to start using the platform. New for version 2.0 is a full-featured bitcoin wallet, which recently integrated Segwit. This “does allow us some transaction fee relief,” commented Openbazaar developer and founder Washington Sanchez.
In addition to bitcoin, version 2.0 supports bitcoin cash as well as many altcoins through Shapeshift’s “shifty button.” Any coins available through Shapeshift can be used at Openbazaar stores.
One of the most anticipated features requested for Openbazaar since its origins as a project called “Darkmarket” is the inclusion of Tor routing to preserve user’s privacy. Openbazaar version 2.0 includes the option to both shop and run a store using Tor. However, the option is not turned on by default and can be tricky for new users to set up properly. This video shows how to run Openbazaar with Tor on Windows.
Although the platform does not cater to those selling and buying illicit goods, Tor will allow many darknet market participants to set up their own storefronts using Openbazaar instead of the dark web. This would provide them with feature-rich e-commerce shops, often not offered by darknet marketplaces. The stores are also decentralized, offering a new level of protection to marketplaces like the Silk Road from being tracked and shut down by law enforcement, according to the creators of the software.
New Search Engine & Vendor Tools
Openbazaar version 1’s search functionality was inadequate due to the intermittent nature of the stores’ availability. Finding goods to buy in the app was easier done offsite using 3rd-party services like Duosear.ch, which aggregates Openbazaar’s product listings and displays them on its website.
A new OB1 search engine has been built into Openbazaar version 2.0. The app lets users choose between the new search engine and Duosear.ch from inside the program. The team detailed:
Third party search providers are now accessible from within the client. Search results are much faster and more accurate than they were before.
In addition, the new version includes many back-end tools for vendors that did not exist in version 1. They include inventory management, more shipping options, and product variants.
The following video shows the new features in version 2.0.