3 Ways to Learn What New Technology Really Means for You

3 Ways to learn what new technology really means for you

The connection between people and technology across the world intensified in 2016. We saw the mass adoption of home assistants and AI beating a human at the complex game Go, as well as Pokemon G0 where AR went mainstream for the first time. We saw the launch of OpenBazaar that allowed sales to happen between anyone, anywhere in the world using Bitcoin. Each one of these projects–and thousands of others–represent great strides integrating technology into our daily lives in unprecedented ways.

Are all these changes beneficial? These technologies clearly have benefits, but what about their risks? How should we assess emerging technologies in 2017?

The questions are only getting tougher as we continue. Even within the Bitcoin community the debate about the future of the blockchain is intense and can be difficult to understand, much less take a stance on, but we have a collective responsibility to take an active part in defining our ongoing relationship with technology.

If we unquestioningly accept or reject new technologies we may face unexpected risks or forgo substantial benefits.

Here are some questions to ask about emerging technology in the new year:

  1. What does this technology do?
  2. Who controls this technology?
  3. Who benefits from – and who bears the costs of – this technology?

These questions create a simple framework to analyze emerging technologies. Every person has different opinions on what makes technology beneficial. This post is meant to give the user a framework, not meant to convey any sort of objective analysis (though the opinions of the author will be displayed).

1. What does this technology do?

In order to determine if an emerging technology is beneficial, you must know what it does. While this sounds obvious, it’s all too common for people to dismiss emerging technology as not beneficial (or even harmful) without even taking the time to understand how it works. Adam Thierer, technology policy expert, explains so-called “techno-panics” where people act unreasonably towards the threats of emerging technology.

If you look at the details of most emerging technologies you’ll find the specific action they enable is typically somewhat tame and nothing to be afraid of, but some take the worst case scenario and play on people’s fears and ignorance of the new technology.

2. Who controls this technology?

A core aspect of technology is its dynamic nature. A technology doesn’t spring into existence and remain static, but grows and changes over time. It’s important to understand who controls this technology in order to properly assess how beneficial it is, and over what time scale the costs or benefits will remain, or be lost.

If a technology is purely digital, then it’s important to determine if it is open or closed source. Open source technology means the code is available for everyone to look at and use, whereas closed source technology is controlled only by those building it. Technology built on closed source code may not be malicious and may be beneficial to its users; many of the most popular applications are closed source.

Unfortunately, there are dangers in used closed source technology. First, you don’t know exactly what it is doing. Since no one but the builders have access to the code, you are forced to trust that they aren’t doing anything harmful. Second, even if you currently trust them, with closed source you need to trust them forever. This makes assessing the benefit of technologies built on closed source code difficult. What was beneficial yesterday might be malicious tomorrow, and you wouldn’t know.

With open source project, developers are able to see what the code is doing and see when it changes. They can relay this information to everyone so that no one needs to place so much trust in the builders.

If control of a technology is closely held by a single organization or small group of people, then you are forced to trust their motivations currently as well as in the future. If the control of the technology is distributed to all its users and not held by a small group, trust isn’t needed.

3. Who benefits from – and who bears the costs of – this technology?

At first glance it seems obvious that the people who benefit from emerging technologies are whoever is using them. At some level this is true; in most cases people aren’t using a certain technology unless they believe it is helping them. However, not everyone is aware of the costs involved with using some technologies.

There are trade-offs associated with nearly all technologies. Some trade-offs are obvious. Buying the newest technology typically costs more money than existing technologies. Purchasing the vehicle with the most recent safety improvements will likely be more expensive than older (but less safe) models. The newest smartphones cost the most. These are easy to see. Other times the trade-offs are more difficult to calculate.

Examples

1. What does this technology do?

There are many examples of emerging technologies that people don’t take time to understand. Drones are machines that make flying substantially cheaper and more accessible to the general population, and the vast majority of drone owners are responsible and pose no threats to others. However, due to conflating drones with large military drones used overseas in combat zones, and a few infrequent cases of irresponsible drone owners, some fear the worst from a society where drone use is common. Understanding how drones work – including their limitations – should help allay those fears.

2. Who controls this technology?

There are numerous examples of a technology initially having noble intentions and eventually straying from them due to them being controlled by a small group.

Paypal is an example. Peter Thiel co-founded Paypal, and described a vision for Paypal that would compete with government issued currency and protect users from inflation. Years later, Paypal has been unable to deliver on Thiel’s vision, while another emerging technology – Bitcoin – has begun to do just that. This is because of who controls the two technologies. Paypal is controlled by a company and must respond to company leadership, shareholders, and governments. Bitcoin is controlled by no central organization and no one is forced to trust that any company, group of shareholders, or government won’t change it for the worse – because they can’t.

No matter how noble the intentions of the creators are, nor how beneficial the technology is today, if it’s controlled by a small group then you cannot be certain those benefits will remain over time.

3. Who benefits from – and who bears the costs of – this technology?

The traditional model for online shopping is an example of unseen costs. A buyer may chose Amazon or Alibaba because of convenience and selection. The process of buying is simple and quick, and the prices are usually pretty good. What a buyer doesn’t see are the costs associated, both to himself and to the seller.

The most obvious cost is the cut taken from the transaction itself, typically around 10 or 15%. The seller typically passes on some of the costs to the buyer, meaning they are effectively paying higher prices due to those fees.

Another cost is the loss of data from both parties. The platform now knows more information about both parties involved. They can take that information and build detailed profiles about the users, and use that information themselves or sell that information to others. There is a cost associated with the risk that the platform will be hacked and your private information stolen, especially credit card information. Identity theft and online fraud are rampant, largely due to online retailers having their security breached.

Other costs are less obvious. Buyers and sellers are shown a curated and censored marketplace of goods and services. The platforms tightly control their own marketplaces with terms and conditions and are willing to censor trade for their own benefit or on behalf of governments. You may not have access to the best products because of behind the scenes deals, or the platform may remove products you love in favor of cheaper products you don’t want.

Perhaps the least obvious cost is the exclusion of users from this system who don’t have access to credit. Users who are unable to obtain a credit card, either due to their geographical location or socioeconomic status, aren’t able to participate in the system at all. Users in the system aren’t even aware of their exclusion and will never know what goods or services they could have offered or purchased.

Using Bitcoin and OpenBazaar for online commerce have their own trade-offs, but avoid some of the costs mentioned above. With both Bitcoin and OpenBazaar…

  • No organization controls the technology; it is completely distributed.
  • No company, group of developers, or government controls the open source code.
  • Users need not fear about a small group exerting control and straying from the original intentions of the project.

Everyone who uses the technology benefits from not relying on middlemen. Users don’t pay fees, don’t have their data collected, and don’t have their trade censored. The costs are also borne by the same users, needing to run the software on their computers and connecting to the internet.

OpenBazaar doesn’t exclude any users from the system.

What emerging technologies most interest you in 2017? How does it stack up to these three steps?


Want to try some disruptive ecommerce technology to see if it’s right for you?
Download OpenBazaar now and find out!

 

 

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OpenBazaar Ecosystem: Rob Smith

In these posts we take a look at some unique members of the OpenBazaar ecosystem. Today we are featuring Rob Smith who has a unique approach to selling on OpenBazaar and reasons for joining that are short and sweet.

Creativity is key in this marketplace. OpenBazaar is a place to explore.

You can view Rob’s store and check out his deals on OpenBazaar here.

 

Robbie17 on OpenBazaar

 

How did you find out about OpenBazaar?

I found out about open bazaar through Reddit. I watched them grow to a serious venture and am thoroughly impressed.

What do you make/sell?

What I started doing on OpenBazaar is offering discount on products at Amazon.com, similar to purse.io. I am offering more of a tailored experience and better customer service and of course better rates.

Why are you selling your product on OpenBazaar?

I want to facilitate the usage of Bitcoin for those who use it as currency. Some people want to use BTC for every purchase they can.

I feel like I can help Bitcoin be perceived as the currency of the internet through OpenBazaar’s platform.

How has your experience been with OpenBazaar so far?

Setup on OpenBazaar was an absolute breeze. I find the UI to be great. Plenty of options for a vendor to customize a store.

How familiar are you with Bitcoin?

I am a long-term Bitcoin supporter. I’ve been involved in Bitcoin since 2010.

 


 

Would you like to have a store on OpenBazaar?
Becoming a vendor is easy and completely free! Check out our Vendor’s Guide to OpenBazaar

Would you like your store to be featured on our blog?
Awesome, we’d love to know your story! Please email jenn@ob1.io

 

 

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Weekly Development Update: January 6, 2017

Summary:

Happy new year! We’re back in the grind and have new things we are working hard on in the OpenBazaar environment. Milestone 1 is imminent and will be released soon.

Milestone 1 means the application is ready for basic testing of some core features like the following:

  • Users can download and install the client and server from Github, and use it to fill in their profile, store info, and post listings
  • The network can host listings, stores, and user profiles
  • Users can follow and unfollow

 

OpenBazaar version 2.0 Chat Design

2.0

Front End:

  • Final bug fixes and style updates on Milestone 1
  • Improvements were made to the image zooming in the listing modal
  • Connection Management UI work is mostly complete

Back End:

  • Chat code is complete

Current Version

 

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Webinar Recording – Marketing Your OpenBazaar Shop

Here is a recording of our first vendor-focused webinar called “Marketing Your OpenBazaar Shop.” We plan to host more events like these in 2017 for our vendors, partners and interested community members so please stay connected & let us know what you think! Anything YOU would like to hear more about, WE want to hear about.

 

 

Oh, and speaking of feedback…

We would love it if you could spare just a few extra minutes to take our survey(s) below and let us know how you use OpenBazaar. Your input is necessary to help us build this marketplace to be unbelievably usable for everyone in the world who wants to trade free.

It’s a big deal, and it means a lot.

 

Are you a vendor with your own store?
Tell us what you think @ openbazaar.org/survey_merchants.html

Have you purchased something from an OpenBazaar store?
Please tell us about it @ openbazaar.org/survey_buyers.html

 

 

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OpenBazaar Ecosystem: Tyler Nieman

In these posts we take a look at some unique members of the OpenBazaar ecosystem. Today we are featuring the evolving store tsnieman by Tyler Nieman who has several items listed now including his original art prints, tech gear and web development services while he defines his focus.

That’s part of the beauty of OpenBazaar, you don’t have to have it all figured out to get started!

You can view Tyler Nieman’s store in your browser or on OpenBazaar here.

 

Tyler Nieman Store on OpenBazaar

 

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Tyler Nieman and I’m a full-stack web developer/designer, artist, gamer, and general all-around nerd currently living in Tacoma, WA. I run @tsnieman on OpenBazaar.

How did you find out about OpenBazaar?

Probably by means of some Bitcoin-related subreddit. I’ve been learning a lot more about decentralization and cryptocurrencies in general lately, and OpenBazaar is a big name in that space.

What do you make/sell?

A lot of different stuff with no real specialty carved out yet. Right now I’ve got: some 12×18 locally screen-printed posters of my original Fox-themed artwork, rare vinyl (The Weeknd’s “Trilogy”, hand-numbered), some computer parts, a mechanical keyboard (with some fun free keycaps!), and my own by-the-hour full-stack development and design services.

Why are you selling your product on OpenBazaar?

I think decentralization is a very powerful concept and I’m excited to learn more about it. OpenBazaar seems like a great way to do that. It’s proving a great way to learn about how decentralized markets can work, cryptocurrencies, open source development, and even just general server maintenance practice. It’s a great way to network with other people in the space too.

How has your experience been with OpenBazaar so far?

Fantastic for such an early version of the concept! I’ve only been up and running for a week or two, so I haven’t had any real sales. I’ve made a purchase (shoutout to Cryptobooks!) and I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of “The Internet of Money”, a book by Andreas Antonopoulos. I’m finding so many great shops online by so many talented people. I’m hoping to open up another shop or two with more focused themes, as I really believe in what OpenBazaar could be.

How familiar are you with Bitcoin?

I learned about it years ago, when it was first coming out, though I didn’t get into playing with it until 2013 or so (what a shame, right?). It wasn’t until the last year or two that it really started to become a serious hobby/interest. Since then, I’ve consumed a lot of Satoshi’s writings, bought a few hardware wallets (shoutout to LedgerHQ — check out their OpenBazaar shop!), got a few friends interested, dabbled in other cryptoassets, started connecting people with Bitcoin in the area, and recently started a local Tacoma Bitcoin interest group. I’m hoping to compile some educational material and educate more local folk soon.

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

Aside from all the awesome work coming in OpenBazaar 2.0, more folks on the platform and shopping would be the biggest improvement. I would also really love if there was a way to see some analytics like number of vendors online (and over time), number of sales per day, etc, though I imagine that getting people on OpenBazaar and making sales is first priority. I’m excited to see how OB1 helps grow OpenBazaar’s community and tech with their most recent round of fundraising.

Tyler cited this video OB1 CEO Brian Hoffman made recently that demonstrates some of the development work to date toward Milestone 1 of version 2.0:

 

 


Would you like to have a store on OpenBazaar?
Becoming a vendor is easy and completely free! Check out our Vendor’s Guide to OpenBazaar

Would you like your store to be featured on our blog?
Awesome, we’d love to know your story! Please email jenn@ob1.io

 

 

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Weekly Development Update: December 23, 2016

Summary:

Released 1.1.10 update featuring ShapesShift’s Shifty Button allowing buyers to use Ethereum, Zcash or any of a variety of other cryptocurrencies in OpenBazaar stores and continued refinement of Milestone 1 work in version 2.0. Read more about the release here.

Milestone 1 means the application is ready for basic testing of some core features like the following:

  • Users can download and install the client and server from github, and use it to fill in their profile, store info, and post listings
  • The network can host listings, stores, and user profiles
  • Users can follow and unfollow

 

OpenBazaar 1.1.10 Released - Purchase with Ether, Monero and More Via ShapeShift.io Integration

 

Current Version

  • Version 1.1.10 released

2.0

Front End:

  • Continuing to refine the design & functionality for Milestone 1

 

 

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OpenBazaar 1.1.10 Released – Purchase with Ether, Monero and More Via ShapeShift.io Integration

OpenBazaar 1.1.10 Released - Purchase with Ether, Monero and More Via ShapeShift.io Integration

 

Today we’ve released version 1.1.10 with a special integration that we are excited to share. Since our launch we have received many requests for the ability to use other cryptocurrencies within OpenBazaar and ShapeShift’s Shifty Button provides a simple solution. A workable demonstration of this functionality was produced at the hackathon OB1 co-hosted with Duosearch in London by Justin of Duosearch and community member Barry.

 

 

We have an incredible community full of people with excellent ideas and skills and this build wouldn’t be possible without them.

Here is a summary of the new update from the press release issued by our friends at ShapeShift:

“Today ShapeShift.io, a blockchain asset exchange platform, has partnered with online bitcoin-enabled marketplace OpenBazaar via their integration of the ShapeShift Shifty Button. This integration allows OpenBazaar shoppers to purchase items from the decentralized, peer-to-peer site with Ethereum, Zcash, Ripple and dozens of other leading digital currencies beyond Bitcoin.”

OpenBazaar shoppers are now able to purchase from OpenBazaar shops using Ethereum, Zcash or any of a variety of other cryptocurrencies. The integration is a great match for our decentralized marketplace as the Button’s code is free and open source and has been integrated by dozens of bitcoin-friendly merchants to broaden customer payment needs quickly and easily. Read more in the full press release and check out this great tutorial video they’ve recorded below:

 

 

About ShapeShift

ShapeShift is a crucial piece of infrastructure in the world of Bitcoin. From start to finish, users can exchange blockchain tokens in seconds, with no account required. No emails or passwords. No lengthy sign­up process. No accounts. No bid and ask orders. No friction. ShapeShift’s goal is the fastest, safest, and most convenient way to swap digital assets. See more at: https://shapeshift.io

Ready to ShapeShift?
Download version 1.1.10 now on openbazaar.org!

 

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OpenBazaar Ecosystem: Honey France (Best Honey on Earth)

The OpenBazaar ecosystem features hundreds of vendors from around the world who want to list their goods and services for free, set their prices, and get paid in bitcoin. Buyers can purchase items ranging from clothing, food, electronics and home decor to applied services and digital products in this marketplace and often for lower prices than those available elsewhere on the web.

In these posts we take a look at some unique members of the OpenBazaar ecosystem. Today we are featuring Honey France (Best Honey on Earth), a quaint little store selling delicious French honey from their own family-kept bees and trying to make the world a better place. They are no strangers to using Bitcoin and have a pioneering story that will make your stomach drop a little! You can find Honey France on OpenBazaar here and browse their listings on the web here.

 

Honey France Best Honey on Earth on OpenBazaar

 

How did you find out about OpenBazaar?

Since we work with computers and are admirers of open source initiatives, we have been following the development of OpenBazaar with interest, after reading about it on the bitcointalk forum.

What do you make/sell?

We mainly sell our honey production of the year, but shipping costs remain our main concern. Recently, we added two donation initiatives to help save the bees: a small donation, since the bitcoin simplifies micro-payments, or to adopt a queen from one of our hives for a season and to be more involved in the preservation of pollinators, who are essential to our survival. In the same principle, we will propose the adoption of a whole hive for the season: the “Bee part of the solution” project 😉 Soon, we will add honey & spice mixes for your gourmet recipes. For our honey, we had fun writing an offbeat description addressed to “geeks”, most likely the early-adopters of OpenBazaar. Have a look at the presentation page of one of our jars of honey on Duosear.ch.

Why are you selling your product on OpenBazaar?

We like all decentralization initiatives. This is probably a habit of those of us who live in the French countryside, since our politicians and leaders think that only Paris exists in France 😉 We also like the idea of introducing the bitcoin to others: reduction of fraud, no borders, Escrow system, micro-payments… So finally, it’s not only because there is no fee that we prefer OpenBazaar to eBay.

How has your experience been with OpenBazaar so far?

We started the adventure by installing OpenBazaar on our family iMac and then to avoid leaving it on permanently, we transferred our store to a RaspberryPi II. But the server was unstable and difficult to monitor, so we decided to install it on a dedicated server. This was not the initial idea, since we didn’t want subscription fees for our store. After an unsuccessful installation on an existing hosted server (mostly difficulties installing the libsodium library), we had the pleasure of using the Deploy solution from OB1 where everything was installed in 1 click. We are hoping that version 2 of OpenBazaar will be released before the end of our 2 free months with DigitalOcean :-)

We didn’t expect a miracle when we opened our honey store. We have been faced with expensive international shipping fees for heavy jars, and current visitors are not really interested in this kind of product, since they generally prefer to buy locally. Our two other offers may be more successful: the protection & survival of bees is an international challenge. But using OpenBazaar is not limited to opening a store, we also made some purchases and enjoy this great marketplace. For a first version, all the processes were very well thought out.

How familiar are you with Bitcoin?

We were among the first to mine bitcoins, when it was only experimental (as admin of an Xserve farm). We are virtual millionaires, like many who started mining bitcoins at the beginning, never imaging how valuable it would become. We lost our key by the replacement hard drives or other breakdowns, and it was only in 2013 that we cried when we discovered the fortune and number of hives we could have had, with the several thousand bitcoins we had mined at the very beginning. That’s learning about the crypto world the hard way. 😉

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

With the arrival of Duosearch, the link between the web and OpenBazaar has become easier, but it’s not enough. In addition to a currency still too confidential, the need to install a special software to purchase on the platform doesn’t help. Fortunately, the great diversity of products available has aroused the curiosity of some adventurers.

For mainstream use, the acquisition of bitcoins by OpenBazaar shoppers needs to be facilitated, even if they only acquire them for their purchases, and without having to install a client software. It is our understanding that these 2 improvements are planned, including the evolutions related to shipping fees, which is essential, and the addition of visitor statistics, which will motivate us from time to time.

Finally, we would like to add a very specific request: to be able to present our store in different languages. Currently, the UI adapts to French, but the product descriptions remain in one language. We would like to present our products in the native language of our potential and probably our main customers, given the cost of shipping. And also in English so that the whole world can discover our products (and why not in German/Italian/Spanish, our close neighbors). But please not an automatic translator, that would be catastrophic.

As you can see, we are impatiently awaiting version 2 because it looks very promising. Good luck to the developers!


Would you like to have a store on OpenBazaar?
Becoming a vendor is easy and completely free! Check out our Vendor’s Guide to OpenBazaar

Would you like your store to be featured on our blog?
Awesome, we’d love to know your story! Please email jenn@ob1.io

 

 

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Weekly Development Update: December 16, 2016

Summary:

Continued work finalizing the 1.1.10 update for version 1 and Milestone 1 in version 2.0.

Milestone 1 means the application is ready for basic testing of some core features like the following:

  • Users can download and install the client and server from github, and use it to fill in their profile, store info, and post listings
  • The network can host listings, stores, and user profiles
  • Users can follow and unfollow

Current Version

  • Release 1.1.10 is in testing

 

Customize Page Design OpenBazaar 2.0

2.0

Front End:

  • Continuing to refine the functionality for milestone 1
  • Designed the Customize Page experience
  • Worked on the server connection feature – An initial PR is in which doesn’t yet have GUI support, but does have the underlying functionality to connect to different types of servers (bundled, local, remote) based on server configurations stored in Local Storage
  • Fixing of various bugs
  • Created Postman API file for testing
  • Testing

 
 

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OpenBazaar Holiday Gift Guide – 10 Gifts Under 0.10 BTC

OpenBazaar Holiday Gift Guide

 

Still looking for a few gifts to round out your holiday shopping?

Fear not, we have compiled this short gift guide to help you that features unique items found on OpenBazaar for less than 0.10 BTC! (Pro tip though, before you make a purchase make sure you choose a good moderator and read the shipping details to see if you can get your items shipped in time from the seller’s location.)

 

Skulls Cushion Pillow on OpenBazaarFor the edgy homebody
Skulls Cushion: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.038 BTC

 

 

 

Champagne Cork Cooler on OpenBazaarFor the home entertainer
Champagne Cork Cooler: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.082 BTC

 

 

 

Coffee Tea ToGo Cup Black on OpenBazaarFor the busy consumer
To Go Cup: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.048 BTC

 

 

 

Fun doge backpack exclusive edtion on OpenBazaarFor the intrepid internet citizen
Doge backpack: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.080 BTC

 

 

 

Chemex Coffee Maker 6 Cup on OpenBazaarFor the caffeine fiend
Chemex coffee maker: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.055 BTC

 

 

 

Stainless Steel Reusable Tea Bag on OpenBazaar Yummitea Loose Tea on OpenBazaarFor the master relaxer
Reusable tea bag: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.034 BTC
+ Loose tea (variety available): View // Buy on OpenBazaar

 

 

 

EG890 Blue:Red | Soccer Shirt on OpenBazaarFor the Football/Soccer player
Soccer shirt: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.034 BTC

 

 

 

Orange Bitcoin Tee on OpenBazaarFor the Bitcoin enthusiast
Orange Bitcoin tee: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.024 BTC

 

 

 

Bitcoin themed natural oil bar soap 70g on OpenBazaarThe outdoor shower bath bag 20L portable solar hot water bag shower water bag on OpenBazaar

For the particularly dirty Bitcoin/outdoor enthusiast
Bitcoin soap: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.005 BTC

Outdoor/camping shower: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
BTC 0.042

 

 

Ledger Nano Bitcoin hardware wallet on OpenBazaarFor the cautious Bitcoin owner
Ledger Nano wallet: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.048 BTC

 

 

 


 

Ready to shop?
Download OpenBazaar and check it out!

Would you like to have a store on OpenBazaar?
Becoming a vendor is easy and completely free! Check out our Vendor’s Guide to OpenBazaar

 

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