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Closing Decentralized Marketplace OpenBazaar Gets Lifeline

In brief

  • On September 25, OpenBazaar said it would start closing down by October 1.
  • It asked for community donations to keep it afloat.
  • It now has enough to continue operating until December 31.

OpenBazaar is staying open.

The struggling decentralized marketplace, founded in 2014, received an anonymous donation over the weekend that will allow it to keep running through the end of 2020.

Last week, OpenBazaar went public with its financial situation, telling users it would have to shut down the infrastructure for the project by the end of September unless it received enough donations. A representative told Decrypt at the time that it was estimating an infusion of $100,000 to keep it going for one more year.

Decentralized marketplaces are like Amazon without the Amazon, places where users can go to buy and sell products and services directly to other people without the fees. But that doesn’t mean OpenBazaar didn’t incur infrastructure costs. It specifically noted seed nodes, its API wallet, and exchange rate API as major costs; there are also human resources needed to maintain the code.

“Over the past several months, we have been relying on OpenBazaar’s donation funds to support these infrastructure costs, but those funds will be depleted shortly,” it said. At fault? Just not enough users to create a viable business.

There are, however, apparently enough hardcore users that want to see the marketplace succeed, at least through the holidays. After receiving an assortment of smaller donations, OpenBazaar logged one large anonymous one, though it has not yet said the exact amount.

OpenBazaar promised to use the funds wisely and further decentralize the infrastructure to extend the life of the donations.

Brian Hoffman, CEO of OB1, the company behind OpenBazaar hinted that structural changes may be coming as well. He tweeted today: “The future of @openbazaar will be more independence from @OB1Company. More news on that soon.”

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