Weekly Development Update: September 23, 2016

Front End

Many new features and changes were made for upcoming 1.1.8 release.

Significant changes:

  1. Added the ability for sellers to pin listings, so that they appear first in their store.
  2. Added the ability for sellers to set a Maximum Quantity to listings. Buyers can’t buy more than that number in a single order.
  3. If the Maximum Quantity is set to zero, the listing will still be visible, but cannot be purchased. This allows sellers to have listings that are “out of stock” or “coming soon”.
  4. Added the ability for sellers to set listings to “hidden”. Hidden listings will not appear in the store tab of their page when other users look at the page (the owner can still see the hidden listings).
  5. If a user enters the address of the hidden listing in the address bar, they can still see and purchase it. This allows for private listings [note that the client will not display listings with a “hidden” flag to people using the client, but third parties crawling nodes can still see the listings].
  6. Addresses are now more flexible. The street, state/territory/region and postal code fields are all optional, and a contact field has been added, where buyers can add information like an email address or phone number.
  7.  Changed stores to list the most recently saved listings first, after pinned listings [frequently requested by vendors].
New listing features shown in red
New listing features shown in red

Minor changes:

  1. Uploaded photos for listings will now auto-rotate based on their EXIF data. Photos that are sideways due to being taken on a mobile device will not have the correct orientation.
  2. A bug was fixed with the review stars that caused fraction in the reviews to add an extra star.
  3. Timezones were removed, they were intended for features that turned out not to be needed.
  4. The list of shippable countries was removed from the purchase modal. That information is shown in the main listing page under the shipping tab.
  5. If a buyer looks at a listing page and has no saved addresses, the section of the page that shows shippable countries will instead show a message that the user does not yet have any saved addresses.
  6. When changing servers, the client will load the last page that specific server was on. That removes the issue where when changing servers the new server would try to load the page the previous server “remembered”.

Back End

Current version

Added multiple new features for upcoming 1.1.8 release.

  1. Added “pinned” flag to listing contracts, allowing vendors to pin favored listings and have them displayed at the top of their store.
  2. Added max quantity to listing contracts, allowing vendors to set a maximum quantity a buyer can purchase during a sale.
  3. Added a “hidden” flag to listing contracts, allowing vendors to make certain listings visible or invisible to buyers [note that the client will not display listings with a “hidden” flag, but third parties crawling nodes will still see the listings].
  4. Added an optional alternative contact field to give buyers and sellers the ability to give each other more relevant contact information easily.

2.0

Developer Chris Pacia got a 2.0 OpenBazaar node running over Tor earlier this week, having made the necessary adjustments to IPFS to allow Tor traffic. This is still early and needs more work, but it appears likely that OpenBazaar 2.0 will be able to use Tor.

An option has been added for users to choose their preferred bitcoind node over the built-in SPV wallet.

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Can Bitcoin and Multisig Reduce Identity Theft and Fraud?

Credit CardsIdentity theft and ecommerce fraud are costing billions of dollars each year, and have been increasing in recent years. Fortunately, due to the technical design of Bitcoin – along with one of its most powerful features, multisig – both buyers and sellers online have alternatives that can reduce the likelihood of being involved in identity theft or fraud.

In the United States, an estimated 17.6 million people were victims of identity theft in 2014 (the most recent year numbers are available).  The most common types of misused information were bank accounts (38% of cases) and credit cards (42% of cases).

It isn’t surprising that millions of cases of identity theft occur each year based on bank accounts and credit cards. The numbers that allow access to those accounts are unchanging, they are tied directly to your identity, and they are being stored in databases by any number of retailers who you’ve done business with. Those databases are a treasure trove for cybercriminals, and they are constantly under attack. The list of high-profile breaches in recent years is impressive: 56 million credit cards in 2014 by Home Depot, 70 million in 2013 by Target, 76 million households in the summer of 2014 by JP Morgan Chase, and the list goes on and on.

Bitcoin works differently. The numbers that give you access to your bitcoins aren’t shared publicly, and they don’t make their way into any databases. You don’t need to trust a business to store your Bitcoin information properly like you would a credit card – the business doesn’t have any information to store. There are no treasure troves of data for cybercriminals to steal.

Your bitcoin also aren’t tied directly to your identity. You can choose to give the merchant as much or as little information about yourself as you want. This gives buyers some assurances that their purchases won’t increase the likelihood of identity theft, and it gives merchants one less piece of data they need to protect. Identity theft based on bitcoin transactions is practically impossible.

People are starting to notice Bitcoin’s potential for reducing identity theft. In April, Business Wire reported that a recent survey showed victims of identity theft were taking action to prevent it from happening again, and 10% of them were using alternative currencies like Bitcoin.

Multisig

There is another aspect to Bitcoin that helps prevent online fraud. A feature called multisignature – often shortened to multisig – allows for bitcoins within a certain address to be controlled by more than one person.

The majority of bitcoins are owned by individuals, just like cash and other forms of money. With multisig you can now have multiple people, or even organizations, control the same coins. The multiple parties must then come to agreement before the bitcoins can be moved out of the account. There are many applications for multisig including increased security of funds, more equitable control of funds in non-profits and other organizations, and the ability to create complex contracting systems.

Perhaps the most useful application of multisig is escrow. A common use is the two-of-three multisig. This means there are three parties involved, and any two of them must agree before the bitcoins can be moved from escrow. The buyer and seller both choose a third party they trust, and then the buyer sends the funds into multisig. If the seller delivers as promised, then the buyer and seller both agree to release the funds, and since only two out of three parties are needed, the funds are then released from escrow. If there’s a dispute and buyer and seller can’t come to an agreement, then the third party is brought in to determine the winning party and join with them to release funds.

Consider how this is different from the existing system. In the current system with a stolen credit card, a buyer can order something and the seller will ship it as normal. When the real owner of the credit card realizes this and the credit card company reverses the transaction, the vendor typically is forced to eat the cost of their product.

Stolen credit cards aren’t the only way fraud is accomplished. Buyers can claim no delivery even when they’ve received a product. Ecommerce platforms and credit card companies are notorious for siding with buyers over vendors, and often don’t do their due diligence to determine who is really at fault. Vendors can also defraud buyers too, taking money but not delivering or delivering inferior products.

Bitcoin, along with multisig, prevents much of this fraud from occurring. There is no credit card company controlling Bitcoin that can reverse transactions, giving vendors the assurance that they control their own money. There’s also the ability for buyers and sellers to come to agreement about who will provide their dispute resolution via multisig, instead of being forced to use the ecommerce platform itself. As long as both parties choose a reputable third party, there’s little chance that fraud will be successful.

Bitcoin and multisig are useful tools to prevent fraud, but they’re not perfect. Bitcoins can be stolen, and once taken they’re unlikely to ever be returned. Protecting them takes some technical knowledge and the learning curve can be steeper than other payment systems. Although Bitcoin isn’t perfect and won’t eliminate all fraud online, it’s a powerful alternative for those willing to use them.

OpenBazaar

Giving buyers and sellers the ability to prevent fraud is one of many reasons OpenBazaar relies completely on Bitcoin. OpenBazaar also has two-of-three multisig built in, with an open marketplace of moderators who offer dispute resolution. If you want more privacy in online trade, with no fees, no censorship, and better protection from fraud, try OpenBazaar now.

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OpenBazaar Ecosystem: Space for eCommerce

In these posts we take a look at some unique members of the OpenBazaar ecosystem. Today we interview a vendor selling store hosting, Space for eCommerce, who has been connected to the OpenBazaar community since the beginning! You can find Space for eCommerce on OpenBazaar at @storefore/store, on Duosearch here and on their own website at spacefore.com

Space for eCommerce on OpenBazaar

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Brian Dunbar – husband, father of five, Catholic, IT professional since 1990. The majority of my career I’ve been a systems administrator: making sure servers are up and pumping out bits. Systems administration is a speciality that rewards attention to detail and obsessive nitpicking, and I do pretty good with it.

I no longer recall how I heard about OpenBazaar. I had a few days of downtime over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2015. I installed the prototype, played around with testnet. That software, the constant and excellent progress, the folks working for OB1, and the investment they’d attracted, convinced me that OpenBazaar has real potential. Like this;

  • The last thirty years have demonstrated that cheap, de-centralized and open will beat closed, centralized and expensive.
    • There used to be a plethora of network protocols – ways of connecting computers. Token Ring, ARCNet, and many others. Ethernet came along and was (then) inferior to everything else on the market. It was cheap. It was not owned by IBM: anyone could build an ethernet network card. Now, ‘ethernet’ is synonymous with ‘network’. Nobody uses anything else.
    • CompuServe, BIX, AOL, DELPHI, Prodigy used to be ‘the’ way to go online – you paid up each month, logged into a walled garden and did your thing with the community. The world wide web came along and … they are no more.

Examples are legion, I need not belabor the point. They have one thing in common. They were closed and expensive and are now in the museum next to the apatosaurus skeleton.

OpenBazaar is cheap, decentralized and open.

The lesson is clear.

What do you make?

I provide managed hosting for open bazaar stores. I’ll keep the stores running, backup on a regular basis, update when required, and whatever fiddly bits are needed to keep the store online and visible. My market are shop owners, business guys, regular folks who want to sell their goods, and leave the ‘IT stuff’ to the professionals.

Why are you selling your product on OpenBazaar?

It is, basically, a space that is under-serviced by guys like me. Market opportunity! I hope to become one of the go-to guys for hosting, and leverage that into other services in the OB space.

How has your experience been with OpenBazaar so far?

Pretty good, thanks for asking.

There are issues – but there are always issues with software, and the OB1 team is kicking ass on bugs. And they’re busy in active development for OpenBazaar 2. I’ve taken it for a spin and it’s going to be a tremendous improvement on the current Open Bazaar.

How familiar are you with Bitcoin?

I’d heard of Bitcoin but prior to last year I’d never done anything with Bitcoin.

Which is odd, I suppose, because politically I’m Anarcho-Capitalist. I should be thinking about it night, and day.

What can I say – I’m a busy guy. It simply hadn’t come up.

Now .. I’ve got a side project for getting involved with bitcoin mining, and I’m plotting how to get a zcash mining farm up and going … it’s a good life, if you don’t falter.

What changes would you like to see to OpenBazaar to make it more useful for you?

I have a few suggestions. All of them will have to be addressed in order for OpenBazaar to be useful in the long run.

  • Multiple Users and roles
    • Eventually, an actual business with multiple users is going to use OpenBazaar. Those guys operate with multiple people, who have different roles. They’ll demand accountability, and role separation. This isn’t just those guys being anal, but in many cases required by law or auditors.
  • Credentials
    • The credentials are in plain-text configuration file, which value is stored in a database. This works, and it’s reasonably secure. I understand why it’s that way. But we can do better!
  • Failover
    • I want to put a load balancer in front of an OpenBazaar store, running on multiple servers. Downtime for one server does not mean downtime for the store.

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Weekly Development Update: September 16, 2016

This week we’re giving away three copies of Andreas Antonopoulos’s new book “The Internet of Money.”

Front End

Current version update: made address fields flexible, added a contact field to the address, removed time zones, improved the purchasing flow interface and fixed various bugs.

2.0 version update: improvements to the user page to allow dynamic lists of social information and live updates when data changes.

Designs

Designed the listing detail screen to open in an overlay instead of a new page. This will provide a better experience for the user and ensure they do not lose their spot within a store or channel grid view of listings. Also worked in listing variant options and touched up the checkout modal to work well with these new changes.

Listing modal design

 

 

Back End

API documentation and authentication work.

Build process being revamped on current version.

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Giveaway: Win 1 of 3 Copies of “The Internet of Money” by Andreas Antonopoulos

 

AndreasBookLast week we were excited to hear Andreas Antonopoulos – security expert, author and Bitcoin evangelist – announce his new book for sale on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast!

(ICYMI here it is: Andreas Antonopoulos Introduces Joe Rogan to OpenBazaar)

Now can find The Internet of Money on his OpenBazaar store–AND for the next week you can also enter to win one of 3 copies that we are giving away! Just check out your options for entering below. You can comment on Twitter & Reddit once per day for the next week to gain even more entries! Winners will be announced next Thursday, September 22nd.

(This giveaway is US only. Sorry international friends; we are working up policies to be able to include you in future giveaways!)

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have a book – or anything else – that you’d like to sell for Bitcoin, try out OpenBazaar. If you need help, join our Slack community and let us know.

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OpenBazaar Ecosystem: Print It!

In these posts we take a look at some unique members of the OpenBazaar ecosystem. Today we interview a vendor – Print It! – selling items that he 3d prints himself, as well as a 3d printing service. You can find his store on OpenBazaar at @print_it, and on Duosearch here.

I’ve personally bought a few items from the Print It! shop, the most recent being an OpenBazaar tent, of which 50% of his profit he donates back to the project.

OpenBazaar Tent from Print It! store
OpenBazaar Tent from Print It! store

Tell us a bit about yourself?

As many in our community I’m an inquisitive person and very excited about our culture and with it our technical evolution. I’m happy of being a part and a contemporary witness of this development where people get the chance to express their true nature and explore their full potential in a growing free society.

What do you make / sell?

In my eyes my main product is the 3D printing service. Everyone who invests some hours on tutorials about CAD software, will be surprised how easy it is to bring an abstract idea into a digital shape. The next logical step would be to convert that digital shape into an analog one. The digital step is free to go thanks to people who are developing amazingly complex, but easy to use CAD tools like Blender for example.

The second step unfortunately isn’t free at all. If you’re not a designer who’s testing several prototypes, you’ll think more than twice about buying a 3D printer. Especially if you’re keen on highest quality and accuracy, and don’t want to be limited by a cheap printer, which only produces frustration.

The other products in my shop have two main goals: To provide useful tools or gadgets and to help people getting in touch with 3D printing. They can also be seen as a demonstration of whats possible with such a diverse usable technique.

Why are you selling your product on OpenBazaar?

The steady and fast growing community of makers have shown that there is so much more potential in our society. More and more people are realizing that they can accomplish more than just following the mainstream by consuming products which are dictated by fancy advertisements. Everything can be improved forever, by everyone. It just needs someone who is curious enough to think around the corner.

Openbazaar itself is a great example. When I first started modeling prototypes and finally got the chance to buy a high quality 3D printer, I asked myself, why not sharing this opportunity with everyone else who is interested in converting their ideas into real models or gadgets?

Print It! OpenBazaar storefront
Print It! OpenBazaar storefront

How has your experience been with OpenBazaar so far?

When I used OpenBazaar the first time, I was amazed how professional everything looked and how easy it was to set up a simple but nicely designed shop. It’s more than obvious that the OB1 team did a really great job on it. And the best thing is that implementing and supporting a very social and equal structure is one of their main goals. It’s a great community in every way and just nice to help other people or receive help from others.

How familiar are you with Bitcoin?

I’m using Bitcoin since 2013 and realized very soon, that the best thing that can happen to a cryptocurrency is just being used as a currency. This whole speculation thing is not creating a real value. OpenBazaar hopefully will be a huge help for bitcoin to achieve its real purpose.

What changes would you like to see to OpenBazaar to make it more usefulfor you?

The main steps to improve this already awesome app would be the implementation of IPFS and Tor. But as far as I know you’re already working on this.

Although I sell legal stuff, I’d like to see the option to delete fulfilled orders or at least the addresses of buyers. When tor hopefully gets implemented this would be a very important thing to protect the privacy of buyers.

Another thing would be a solution to the problem, that a lot of bitcoins get lost in escrow when the buyer forgets to finalize the order and the chosen mod isn’t reachable either. Maybe a deadline would be nice to release the funds, when there is no response from the buyer and the mod anymore. Another wish would be, that the step from OB 1.0 to OB 2.0 wont result in a “reset” of every shop in the aspect of followers and reviews. I think I speak for every vendor on OpenBazaar that good reviews and many followers are a result of hard work, in which case it would be a pity to loose them all.

Anything else you’d like to say?

I’d like to thank everyone in the community and OB-Team making all this possible whats just happening right now. Special thanks to @sampatt for being this careful and interested in everyone’s opinion!

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Weekly Development Update, September 9, 2016

Jenn Cloud has joined the OB1 team to help with marketing and community management, so feel free to jump in our Slack (@jenncloud) and say hello!

Front End

Basic listing creation and editing are now added. Continued work on the following / unfollowing functionality.

Design

Continued work on the transaction dashboard and checkout process.

Checkout design

Back End

Automating installer process for 1.x, and are building a client only app (current version)

Made improvements to the 2.0 installer packages.

Continued work on order processing.

Building a stress testing framework which gives us the ability to spin up lots of nodes pre-populated with data in order to do automated testing under various scenarios.

Chris Pacia created a video showing progress on the server side.

 

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Andreas Antonopoulos Introduces Joe Rogan to OpenBazaar

Andreas Antonopoulos – security expert, author and Bitcoin evangelist – went on the Joe Rogan Experience to discuss Bitcoin and other technologies. He announced his new book, The Internet of Money, and also announced that he is selling his book on OpenBazaar. Listen to Andreas explain OpenBazaar to Rogan in the video.

You can find the new book for sale on his OpenBazaar store.

If you have a book – or anything else – that you’d like to sell for Bitcoin, try out OpenBazaar. If you need help, join our Slack community and let us know.

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Weekly Development Update: September 2, 2016

Work on OpenBazaar 2.0 is fully underway, so we’re now resuming our weekly development updates with an emphasis on the 2.0 repositories. You can follow along with development in our Github repositories, both server and client.

Front End

Following other users is now working, you can view another user’s page and follow or unfollow them, and see them on your own page’s list of who you are following, and who is following you.

All “user cards” (mini views of a user) have a follow/unfollow button, this means you can see if you are following another user and follow or unfollow them anywhere a user card is displayed. For instance, if you’re looking at the list of who another user follows, and you want to follow the same people, you can see which of the people they follow you’re already following, and easily follow the ones you don’t yet without leaving that screen.

Design

Made many design & experience improvements in the transaction section & transaction modal, including order status progress bar.

Updated the design and experience for providing feedback on an order. In 2.0, the buyer will have the ability to optionally include their identity in the review and also include photos.

OBreviews

Greatly simplified the 2.0 checkout experience (2 clicks to buy for returning users), worked in shipping options and an input to optional provide a backup contact method.

Back End

Completing documentation of best practices for production mode. Began work on making a public AWS image (current version).

2.0 work focused on order placement and processing.

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OpenBazaar Ecosystem: Virus Media

In these posts we take a look at some unique members of the OpenBazaar ecosystem. Today we interview a vendor – Virus Media – selling various items, among them handmade crocheted items. You can find Virus Media on OpenBazaar at @virusmedia, and on Duosearch here.

 
OBstoreVirusMedia
 

Tell us a bit about yourself?

 

First and foremost, virus media is a family operation. My brother and I, along with our families (11 of us altogether), feel that even though alternative media has been exploding these past few years, which has benefited everyone, alt media shouldn’t strive to just replace the corporate media. Instead it should seek to innovate and educate to the point that the very idea people get in their heads when they hear the word “media” is something completely different than today. If I could sum up our vision for the future in a word, it’s “decentralize.” As cliche as that might sound right now, we think that there is so much more work that can be done in this area, and OpenBazaar is at the tip of the spear. We’re slowly working toward this ideal ourselves, while we’re in this creation and brainstorming phase, we decided to get a headstart on one of the major problems all media faces, no matter the size of the group, funding. We, like so many others recently, believe that “ads” are not the way of the future. We believe a multi-faceted approach that brings even more value to the reader is the way to go. OpenBazaar is a perfect example of what one of those facets could (should) be for the decentralized media of the future.

 

What do you make?

 

Our goal is to tap each family member’s natural skills and passions that could bring value to other people’s lives. Currently moderation services and textiles have taken the front seat and we are looking to expand our offering of all natural beeswax and essential oil based products. Fun fact, we now source our beeswax from another OpenBazaar vendor, PexPeppers. In the near future we plan on adding leather products and a number of privacy protecting tech products and services.

 

virusmedia

 

Why are you selling your product on OpenBazaar?

 

We want to encourage transacting in bitcoin, we see it as a matter of conscience. We want to be an example others can follow. Second, we can easily see our media operation ruffling feathers in the future and we want to do what we can to protect our supply lines from bad actors. We all know what happened to wikileaks, but countless other alt media outlets with less of a voice have suffered the same. Third, it’s FUN! Rediscovering the bazaars of old with a modern twist has brought a whole new level of enjoyment from making and spending money.

 

How has your experience been with OpenBazaar so far?

 

We’re proud to be part of this pioneering effort! The community has been great, the developers have been gracious and we’ve been having a blast using the chat feature. The way the chat feature has been implemented really makes you feel as if you’re walking into someone’s shop. We’ve met some old friends and made a good many new ones! ProTip: Talk up vendors with the chat feature, you’ll often find hidden products or discounts!

 

How familiar are you with Bitcoin?

 

One of the things that has slowed our progress is that we all still have our day jobs, for now. Nevertheless, we have been receiving 100% of our wages in bitcoin for a good year and a half. So the entire family has become intimately acquainted with bitcoin during this time. It’s been our most liberating move as of yet. Keep an eye out, one of our first articles, or series of articles, will be an in depth look at how to live 100% on bitcoin. When we become fully operational, you’ll be able to find us on steem, yours network, watchmybit and popchest (when they get out of their startup accelerator) and search for us with goodgopher or duckduckgo. Our website will be hosted on IPFS and will mirror a lot of the content. Until then, I suggest you look into each of those cryptocurrency based technologies and services and start using them, so you’ll be ready for our first articles!

 

What changes would you like to see to OpenBazaar to make it more useful for you?

 

First, the amount of features available already completely blew me away, what OpenBazaar has already accomplished is impressive. As a developer myself, I think I have a little more insight into what it takes to pull something like this off. I also know that the feature request list for e-commerce sites is literally never ending. My day job is customizing e-commerce solutions to the visions of the creatives. It is a tough job! That being said, yes, I do have a list. 😉
1. Inventory Management
2. Promo Codes (discount, free shipping, buy x get y, etc)
3. Custom CSS
4. xpub key import for refund and vendor receive addresses
5. Product ordering for All and Category Pages
6. Free shipping icon displays for customer based on customer country.
7. IPFS

 

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