Why OpenBazaar Token Doesn’t Exist

Why OpenBazaar Token Doesn't Exist

 

If you’re even remotely interested in the world of cryptocurrencies, then you’re aware of a relatively recent phenomenon called ICOs (also called token sales). These ICOs happen when developers of a project announce their intention to create a new coin / token and then allow the public to purchase it. Recent ICOs have been making headlines for raising tens of millions of dollars in only hours or even minutes.

Many projects that focus on building the infrastructure for a decentralized internet have launched, or are launching, their own tokens. IPFS will use Filecoin. Blockstack announced they will use a token. Storj recently had an ICO. All these projects claim to need a new token in order for their products to function properly.

OpenBazaar is also focused on building a decentralized application, so why is there no OpenBazaar Token?

There are multiple reasons why we haven’t issued a token and this post is meant to explain them. These reasons aren’t necessarily set in stone; we are continually re-evaluating whether or not a token makes sense given the rapidly changing cryptocurrency landscape.

1. OpenBazaar Doesn’t Need a Token to Work

The first reason is the most compelling: We don’t need a token in order for OpenBazaar to work as intended in its current design.

OpenBazaar is a protocol and network for decentralized trade. People download software to their own computer or mobile phone and directly connect with other people running the same software, and they then engage in trade without any middleman involved. The OpenBazaar network has existed since April 2016 with hundreds of thousands of downloads and users in countries all over the world engaging in trade with each other using Bitcoin.

It’s not immediately clear how an OpenBazaar Token improves on this process.

It’s true that Bitcoin fees are very high right now, which causes problems for a marketplace built on Bitcoin. We hope that fees will return to a reasonable level in the near future, but if not then the solution is to allow users to pay in other widely-used cryptocurrencies, not create a new one.

It’s possible that there might be a unique way a token could provide utility to OpenBazaar users even though it’s not necessary for the core functionality of the application. We welcome such ideas, but haven’t yet heard any compelling ones.

2. Tokens are a New and Unproven Model

With ICOs and token sales quickly garnering huge attention – and investment – it’s easy to forget that they are a relatively new phenomenon. This is particularly true for token sales on Ethereum.

It’s clear that they are able to gain interest from investors, but that’s where the clarity ends. There are many areas of uncertainty about how these projects will manage and utilize these tokens moving forward, and how the token holders will behave as well.

I’m sure that some – perhaps many – investors in these tokens are true believers in the underlying projects themselves. However, it’s obvious that a substantial proportion of investors are speculating on the tokens. During a period of “good times” the speculation on the tokens benefits the token creators, and right now it seems hard to argue against the massive raises these projects have accumulated.

Anyone who has been involved in the cryptocurrency market – or any financial market – knows that the “good times” don’t last forever.

When speculators choose to take their gains from a token and cash out, there needs to be a buyer available. If there is genuine demand for the underlying project and people want the token in order to use the network, then there’s no problem. However, if most of the demand has come from speculators instead, then at some point there will be no further speculators available, and there is the risk of token holders attempting to exit en masse, rapidly driving the price of the token down.

The ever-present threat of people selling their tokens could be considered a positive pressure on the project developers to deliver on their promises. Unfortunately it’s not always clear that the incentives of the project leaders and those of the token speculators are always aligned. Speculators may act similarly to public shareholders in companies, pressuring the executives in the company to make decisions based on short-term profits instead of what is best for the company long-term.

Since OpenBazaar started in 2014, we’ve had an engaged community of people all over the world who believe in decentralization and free trade. We’re certain that issuing an OpenBazaar Token would increase the size of those interested in the project, but we fear that it would also change the composition of the community from people who agree with our core ideals to a group of people who want to see a return on their investment. We don’t want to make decisions based on what would be best for the price of our token, but instead focus on how we can make trade free for the world.

3. A Token could Increase the Barriers to Entry

OpenBazaar is all about lowering the barriers to trade for everyone. All you need is an internet connection, a computer, and Bitcoin to engage in trade with anyone else in the world, at no cost.

Introducing a token could increase the barriers to entry into the OpenBazaar ecosystem.

We want permissionless, frictionless trade to always be possible on our network. OpenBazaar currently relies on the most widely used cryptocurrency in existence – Bitcoin – and we are building the 2.0 version of the software so users can choose to use other popular cryptocurrencies as well.

The on-ramps into Bitcoin are well-established, as are the wallets to store and spend them. This isn’t true for new coins and tokens. Only knowledgeable cryptocurrency users are able to purchase these tokens and use them. Forcing users into a new token ecosystem reduces the possible number of people the platform can reach.

As mentioned in #1, it’s possible to issue a token that isn’t necessary to use the network, but thus far we haven’t heard any compelling ideas.

4. Tokens Sales are a Regulatory Unknown

There is still significant uncertainty how governments will regulate ICOs / token sales.

If they choose to take a lax approach, the token creators may have little to fear. But if they choose to apply strict regulations instead, the regulatory compliance costs could soon become unbearable, especially if the technology itself needed to change in order to fully comply.

Also, scrutiny from agencies doesn’t only apply to token sales moving forward, but can apply to sales that have already occurred. This creates a situation where there is a “Sword of Damocles” hanging over these projects until regulatory guidance is issued.

Not all token creators are just crossing their fingers and hoping for the best. The Protocol Labs team joined with AngelList to launch CoinList, a platform to launch tokens which attempts to comply with know-your-customer (KYC) regulations and generally assure the tokens are issued in a manner compliant with relevant rules. This may work well for some tokens, but compliance comes at the cost of exclusivity. Only accredited investors have access to the initial sale, creating huge barriers to entry. Accredited investors are more likely to be interested in speculation than using the tokens, emphasizing the potential problems raised in #2 above.

Conditions for Token Issuance

It’s possible that an OpenBazaar Token may be issued at some point, but it would only happen if the following conditions were met:

  1. A new token is needed to provide utility to OpenBazaar users that cannot be provided by Bitcoin or any existing token.
  2. The token sale would be an opportunity to distribute tokens to users of OpenBazaar who believe in decentralization and free trade and are not solely focused on speculation.
  3. The token would not increase the barriers to entry into the OpenBazaar network.
  4. If government agencies issued strict regulatory guidelines it wouldn’t significantly disrupt the OpenBazaar ecosystem due to a reliance on the token.

These conditions may or may not be able to ever be satisfied but OpenBazaar is open-source and we love to hear feedback on our ideas. If you believe an OpenBazaar Token is good idea (or not), please let us know why. Join our Slack or message us on Twitter.

 


Ready to shop?
Download OpenBazaar and check it out!

 

 

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10 Great Father’s Day Gifts on OpenBazaar

10 Great Father's Day Gifts You Can Buy with Bitcoin on OpenBazaar

 

OpenBazaar has what you need for the crypto-loving dad in your life–AND/OR to put your favorite coin into action as the crypto-evangelist that you are!

Check out these items & note a quick pro tip: before you make a purchase make sure you choose a good moderator and if shipping is needed, read the shipping details to see if you can get your items shipped in time from the seller’s location.

10 Great Father’s Day Gifts on OpenBazaar

 

Wooden Fidget Spinner on OpenBazaarFor the fidgeter
Wooden fidget spinner: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.002 BTC

 

 

 

Swiss Army Knife on OpenBazaarFor the multitasker
Swiss army knife: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.017 BTC

 

 

 

Apartment for Rent BnB in Barcelona Spain on OpenBazaarFor the world traveler
Apartment for rent in Barcelona, Spain: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.040 BTC

 

 

 

All natural handmade beard oil on OpenBazaarFor the beardly man
All-natural, handmade beard oil: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.010 BTC

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Deadpool Merc with a Mouth 12 Marvel Comics on OpenBazaarFor the comic collector
Pretty much anything from CryptoCollectibles: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
BTC varies

 

 

 

The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on OpenBazaarFor the crypto-newbie
The Internet of Money book: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.006 BTC

 

 

 

Hand Crafted Wooden Ring - with Lepidolite Inlay on OpenBazaarFor the artful accessorizer
Hand Crafted Wooden Ring:  View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.041 BTC

 

 

 

Handcrafted leather money clip with two pockets for cards on OpenBazaarFor the tasteful organizer
Handmade leather wallet: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.034 BTC

 

 

 

5.5mm 6 LED Endoscope Waterproof Borescope Inspection Camera For Android Phone and Tablets on OpenBazaarFor the guy who has it all:
LED Endoscope Waterproof Borescope Inspection Camera: View // Buy on OpenBazaar
0.005 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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An Established Brand Meets New eCommerce Technology

BMW M Power Store on OpenBazaar

In these posts we take a look at some unique members of the OpenBazaar ecosystem and share their stores. In this post we are exploring a store that boasts a brand you may already know called BMW. Yes, like the cars! But no, while cars could be sold through OpenBazaar, they aren’t here at the moment, but you can get some great promotional items available in BMW M Power Store. You can check it out in your browser or on OpenBazaar here.

The owner of this store is choosing to remain anonymous but still took the time to share about their experience and what’s motivated them to sell on OpenBazaar!

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you make/sell?

I live in Munich, Germany but originally I was born in Bulgaria. I own a BMW sports car and I am a big fan of the brand. I work in a branch of BMW Group in Munich and use OpenBazaar to promote the brand as well.

How familiar are you with Bitcoin?

I believe Bitcoin is the invention of our generation and is the next big thing after the Internet.I am not a tech guy so I don’t have much to say about development but I do support this technology as much as I can. I use it as payment when possible, just some small transactions in order to show my support, and I use to trade it against some alts in an exchange. I am not very familiar with trading so I don’t do this much, though.

Most of all, I am person who doesn’t support the power of governments and banks over people so any chance I have in life to disrupt the System I embrace with love :) Peer 2 Peer trading and for sure Bitcoin are two things that allow me to do this in a practical way.

How did you find out about OpenBazaar?

I first read about it on Twitter and thought I’d give a shot!

Why are you selling your product on OpenBazaar?

I use Bitcoin in my daily life, I am a fan of BMW, and I support the anti-bank and agorism movements. Those 3 things combine perfectly in OpenBazaar!

How has your experience been with OpenBazaar so far?

I don’t earn anything for myself by selling the BMW items that I do in OpenBazaar, I just do it for the pleasure of promoting the brand and promoting the use of Bitcoin. The OB community is very wise and so far any small issues that I have had are resolved quickly and easy by the members in Slack! OB1 Co-Founder Dr. Washington Sanchez has also helped me a lot running my nodes and I really appreciate the personal care.

 


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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Could This Kind of Marketplace Drive a “Digital Media Revolution?”

Do you feel like the stock photo/art/video space could use some disruption? If you’ve created or bought digital media before you may have encountered some frustration along the way. Up-and-coming vendor Open Source Photos has joined OpenBazaar with a lot of ideas about how our marketplace can be paired with another innovative blockchain tool to meet a need and change the world.

Open Source Photos on OpenBazaar

 

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you make/sell?

My name is Tim and I want to share my photography and inspire the world. That is the idea behind Open Source Photos. It brings joy knowing my work inspires others to create/share/distribute/profit/feel emotion in some way. I also want to distribute my photography cheaper than any stock photo website & without the hassle. I’d love for people to be able to purchase a photo once and do what they want with it, no questions asked.

Why do you use OpenBazaar and how long have you had an OpenBazaar store?

I love the idea of decentralized services not controlled by single entities. Decentralization is foundation of the internet after all.

I have made a few purchases on OB and I just love the fact I can order something from someone across the globe, the money goes DIRECTLY to them, and I can experience things that I normally wouldn’t be able to.

For example, I ordered some Riceberry from Thailand. If I were to order this on Amazon it would cost me $35-50 depending on the source and I would likely still pay for shipping since most of them are not prime. On OpenBazaar I was able to get a brick of it, along with some extra swag the buyer threw in, for only $30–and that INCLUDED the shipping. Cutting out the middleman apparently saves money, who knew! Now I am able to experience a strain of rice and some culture from across the globe, from the comfort of my own home, all while helping someone who has the foresight to try to be an entrepreneur in this global marketplace.

So far the community has been very welcoming. I even had 1 purchase on one of my earlier stores before my history got erased because I didn’t yet know how to backup the GUID/STORE from my VPS (Virtual Private Server). I had one purchase later and was hoping/waiting on some feedback but it never came through. Thankfully I was able to use a moderator to get the funds moved from escrow to my wallet.

I’m grateful for the testing and experience I’ve gained using the platform at an early stage.

This will allow me to appreciate the more streamlined clients to come. I still am a relative OpenBazaar newb as I have only been in the community for about a month now.

Even if it doesn’t work out to where I can use this as a source of income, I’ve learned some networking/computing skills I didn’t have before. I hopefully can inspire a few people to go down the same route as me with their artwork and this can have a pay it forward mentality. I look forward to watching OpenBazaar and its community grow as bitcoin becomes more globally adopted and hopefully we can start a Digital Media Revolution!

Why did you start in this business?

For a stock image/video/art buyer, trying to use the current system of using the big name sites like Shutterstock can be a pain. There are various licensing options depending how the buyer wants to use the photo. Is it a one time use? Is it in a magazine? If so how big is their distribution? Do they want exclusive rights?

There are difficulties for creators as well. You have to apply to sell by submitting some work and having them judge the photo before selling. This is to create more quality images to sell the marketplace’s brand at a higher price than competitors. These websites also take a cut of the money from the photographer for offering this service and it just creates extra paperwork/red-tape.

Then there’s the internet itself. It is a great engine for sharing and reposting content and great communities try to give the original video/author credit, but does it work all the time or endure for the whole lifespan of the image? Can people take my creations and profit somewhere that I may never see a penny of it? Most definitely, but by applying the wisdom of crowds and hoping that by eliminating red-tape and licensing options with a buy-it-once approach I can spend more time doing what I want–which is taking photos/making images–and sell more images for less rather than just a few images for more than what they are worth.

The idea I have is to be able to sell your digital goods with an open source mindset, thus calling my store “Open Source Photos.” This means that creators can sell their work through their their own store by using a service like ascribe.io to claim ownership of the image and if it becomes frequently used or remixed that good fortune will trickle its way back to you.

What is ascribe.io? I’m quoting from their website:

  • “Attribution for your creative work will stay with you forever.”
  • “Create a permanent and unbreakable link between you and your creative work. That link – the record of ownership – can be forever verified and tracked.”
  • “Each registered piece comes with a COA, a built in unique cryptographic ID and the complete ownership history. The COA can be verified anytime and printed out.”
  • “Transfer, consign or loan your digital creations without losing attribution. Our easy-to-use platform comes equipped with clear legal framework and supports custom contracts.”

Basically think free, blockchain-based copyright service for artists. This sort of tracking creates a proof that each image a creator uploads is actually their image. Even if someone then buys an image and tries to re-upload it, the original artist’s date stamp will still be prior to theirs so the community can still see the original author. They can let their images go with the “Open Source License” – basically the MIT license but replace code/programs with digital files/images.

Copyright is dead – or rather should be drastically changed.

The idea behind copyright makes sense in terms of protecting an artists work and trying to get them the money they deserve for their work , however it has gone overboard in my opinion. If you think about it, many creations are created of the backs of another idea. It is hard to come up with an original song without subconsciously using a riff you may have heard. Using code from one program to implement it in another creating a new service that didn’t exist before. Sure there are the truly innovating who can come up with a unique concept, but most things are a remix already.

By applying copyright to everything it stifles innovation and creation. Just look at YouTube’s copyright policy which is now banning users and de-monetizing their videos all because of a 3 second sound clip that matched one in their database. Algorithms are now becoming judge, jury and executioner (of profits). What helped the growth of YouTube (the crazy remix videos) is now becoming banned, and I feel in the long term, YouTube is going to be the next MySpace if enough users jump ship to a platform that isn’t so riddled with legal paperwork.

What is your target market?

By offering my images at a low price it allows that kid who’s 16 who maybe wants some pictures to practice with in Photoshop or web design but he doesn’t have a credit card to purchase images offline and he doesn’t want to steal someone’s work. He can now using just a small amount of bitcoin to purchase a photo and do what he wants with it. I’m not going to track anyone down and demand royalties. Want an easy image for a blog post/forum/website/business header? Buy it once and re-use it remix it as much as you want!

If someone living in a real market city in, let’s say India, wants to buy a few of my images to make and sell physical prints on the other side of the world, why
should I get a percentage of every sale? They did all of the legwork to print this image and bring it to their local market that way. They aren’t saturating my local area with my own work and it won’t affect my profits here. It would be nice to get recondition for my work like with a CC license (this means they can re-mix re-use your work but they legally have to give you credit which again is more red tape) but I do not require it because if it works out and they want more images, they will come back. Also each image using ascribe.io will be date stamped to me being the author of the image.

If someone wants to purchase images and create OpenBazaar themes to then sell on OpenBazaar – please do it! I feel if you change the photo or are using it in a unique way that you thought of, I shouldn’t get any part of that. I simply gave you the blue paint and you used it to paint the ocean.

I am hoping others will go with this idea, letting their art go for cheap and allowing it to be remixed and resold, as this could create a feedback loop where the artists are not only making money off consumers and fans of their work, but the majority of their money will be coming from within the community because the money will flow from one artist to the other as they bounce images/ideas/themes/photo skills off each other.

How will you determine your prices?

I will do my best at keeping the costs as low as possible while still covering transaction cost/listing time. I ideally would like to sell images for around $1-2 a piece. Rather than try to take 1 amazing work and sell it for $1,000, I’d rather have so many images that people want to use because of the convenience that I’m selling 1,000 photos for $1. And because of the integration with cryptocurrency it makes selling for smaller amounts economically feasible.

 

Meet Tim & check out these examples of the kinds of photos you can expect from Open Source Photos, coming soon!

 


 

Want to learn more about vendors and thinkers in the OpenBazaar community?
Check out these posts!

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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OpenBazaar Ecosystem: Video Interview with Yummitea

Interview with OpenBazaar Vendor Yummitea

In these posts we take a look at some unique members of the OpenBazaar ecosystem and share their stores. Today we trying something different to feature the delicious loose leaf tea company, Yummitea, via a video interview by our Community Manager, Jenn!

Check out the video or read the transcript below to learn about what it’s like selling on OpenBazaar, living in Belgium and the MOST important thing an ecommerce store needs.

And of course you can view Yummitea in your browser or shop on OpenBazaar here!

 

Jenn (Community Manager, OB1): So, thanks again for joining me today, Ben. I have a few questions for you, just to talk about your story and your involvement in OpenBazaar. First, could you just tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do and how you ended up with an OpenBazaar store? And then we’ll segue into the next question.

Ben (Owner, Yummitea): Right, so one of the things that my wife and I set up in Belgium was a couple of years ago we created our own tea label. We are selling loose leaf tea, biological [organic] tea most of the time, different flavors, and we have a web shop for that which has been running for a couple of years already. People are buying from the web shop, and since I got in touch with OpenBazaar, well I thought why not give it a try? It’s a new channel. The web shop that we have is right now limited to Belgium, but with OpenBazaar we’re actually reaching the whole world. It’s a different kind of selling, it’s a different kind of people buying the products, but it gives a lot of opportunity I think for creating your brands and for reaching new people.

Jenn: That’s awesome. And you noted too when we were talking before that it’s a cool idea to have this software that connects you to the whole world, but you realized pretty quickly that maybe normal users that weren’t super technological might have problems with it, and so you came up with your own solution. Could you tell us a bit about that, how you help people that are less technical get involved with OpenBazaar?

Ben: Yes, well, that’s a second story. While I was setting up the OpenBazaar store for our Yummitea brand, I noticed that it is still quite complex if you’re not into all these technical things. And because I believe that many people should benefit from the OpenBazaar software, I tried to create a cloud host platform, per say, where people can open a store just by clicking on a button and paying for their store. I did limit the payment to Bitcoin because…

Jenn: Naturally.

Ben: That is also what you would use on OpenBazaar, so it is really integrated with Bitcoin, and it’s a setup which takes literally only a few minutes, and you have your own store online.

Jenn: Excellent, very nice. So how has your experience been using OpenBazaar so far?

Ben: Well, I have two views, I have two inputs if you want. I have the one from the shop, from the store that we run, and I have an input from the hosting that we offer or the store that we offer for people. So first from the buyer side, let’s say, it’s still limited. Not too many people are buying on OpenBazaar yet, but I think that’s normal. There are some steps you need to take. You need to install the software, first of all. So it’s not accessible through a browser yet, at least not for the buying process, so it means that not everyone has access to OpenBazaar yet.

Second, payments go with Bitcoin and recently with all the cryptocurrencies, which means that you also have to be into these cryptocurrencies, know how to deal with them, know how to store them, and that’s also a limited world right now. So, the number of users is still limited, it’s still very technical people, I think, but in my opinion, if the software gets, well, more accessible for people, we will see a lot, a lot more people using this platform I think.

Jenn: And have you seen the plans and features that we’re talking about releasing with the 2.0 build?

Ben: Absolutely, so that will be a big step forward, and that’s the other thing. From the hosting that we offer on BazaarCity, I also notice that many people are still experimenting with the shops. They are opening a shop, and then a few months later they close it again, maybe because they still feel it’s not the right moment, maybe because they still don’t have time to run the shop, but I think that will improve over time. People will notice that the shops get visitors, that the shops sell products, and that it will be easier to access those shops. So I’m pretty convinced that more and more people will start using it, certainly with the new 2.0 version, which is coming up.

Jenn: Excellent, glad to hear it. So, what is your background and your interest in cryptocurrencies as a whole? Did you start with Bitcoins specifically?

Ben: Yes, well, in fact, I learned about Bitcoin in 2013 and that’s when my interest also started. I started investigating a little bit and then once you get in, you learn to know the other cryptocurrencies. I also had some interest in investing companies, FinTech companies, small companies, so yes I follow the whole scene a little bit. I invest in it, it’s my interest.

Jenn: So, this whole space is kinda how you occupy your free time. You just hang out in the forums, and Reddit, and keep learning about new technologies. Do you actually go to conferences, or do any travel?

Ben: Not too much at the moment, but in Belgium I do some things. I also give some, well I give advice, I speak about it. So yes, I’m quite involved in it on a local scale.

Jenn: So what’s the temperature like in Belgium? Is there a very active base of users that are interested in Bitcoin and what it can do, or is it kinda small and scattered? Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Ben: Yeah, it’s still small. Bitcoin, while people thought it would go mainstream in 2016, it didn’t happen yet. It will probably happen maybe in 2017, 2018, let’s hope. So it’s still a small community, of course, the whole cryptocurrency world, but people are moving in. Everyone noticed that when Bitcoin touched one thousand dollars, interests went up. Of course, when Bitcoin went down, people pulled back again, but we will see who’s coming up again. And yeah, I think Europe as a whole, not only Belgium but Europe as a whole, is quite positive in its regulations against Bitcoin. So, I see a good evolution in the future. And I think more people will start to learn it. It’s an easy way of payment.

Of course there are some aspects going on, there are some discussions about how Bitcoin must grow, whether Bitcoin is really cash or gold, you have those things going on, and nobody can really answer those questions yet. We will find these out in the next years, but I’m a strong believer in the system. I think we need it, and the integration with OpenBazaar of course is a great thing.

Jenn: Do you think it’s important to have applications and utilities like OpenBazaar right now? Like you said, even though it’s rough, is it important that we have a community that is experimenting and trying a store, and maybe taking it down, and putting it up again, and really kinda pushing the limits of the technologies we do have in order to figure out exactly what the future looks like?

Ben: Absolutely, we need it. And I can tell you that on BazaarCity, for instance, we already have more than 100 stores that have been created.

Jenn: Wow!

Ben: Yeah, it’s really, it’s a lot, yes. They’re not all running. We only have like 25 shops running now, but it means that many people are experimenting with it, they want to know how it works, and that’s a good thing. You need that, you need it for development. So I can only say, try it. Find out what it is. It doesn’t cost you money, well a few dollars per month. Sometimes people don’t realize this, I think. It’s a whole new world. It’s not eBay, it’s not where you pay commission on what you sell, it all goes in your pocket, and that’s how the new world will work. Go straight to the customer, and that’s what OpenBazaar is offering.

Jenn: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. People want to immediately compare OpenBazaar to something like eBay, or Etsy, and it’s fundamentally different. It’s a completely different kind of technology and a thing that we’ve been really excited about is encouraging people just to experiment, get in there and figure out what you can do with it right now because only that sort of activity is how we’re gonna, together decide what this is ultimately gonna be and how it can help everybody. I think most people in this space are very passionate about the opportunities this can bring for people all over the world.

Another thing we encounter in the United States too, is that a lot of people have a hard time thinking about Bitcoin in a way that matters really urgently to them right now. There’s not a lot of things that you need Bitcoin for when you’re just doing things in the U.S. as normal, and we keep saying it’s not about exactly the application right now, it’s about being able to experiment and define and drive that through our own actions. Do you have many opportunities to use Bitcoin or any cryptocurrencies in Belgium? I’m just wondering, can you buy train tickets, or is there anything practical going on there for you?

Ben: Not that much yet. Well you can buy tea on our website in Bitcoin, so we do a couple things.

Jenn: Yeah, there you go.

Ben: But I must say, I think we have it for two years on the website now and it was only used once. So, yeah it just shows that not many people are buying with Bitcoin. I also think that most Bitcoiners, if you want, are holding their coins at the moment. That’s another story. But no, in Belgium there’s not too many things where you can use Bitcoin straight away. No, not yet.

Jenn: So with your website, you just have your own personal website, right, for Yummitea? You don’t use a platform like Shopify, or Etsy, it’s just custom built for you?

Ben: In the beginning, we were on the Shopify, but for the same reason that I was looking at OpenBazaar, on Shopify you pay quite a commission on everything you sell.

Jenn: And a monthly fee, right? You have to pay each month to have the site?

Ben: Right. And since I have the experience, I have put up our own website based on WordPress. It runs on Amazon, so I have all under my own control, and I pay, well of course I pay a commission on the payments that we receive through Visa or other payment systems.

Jenn: Right.

Ben: But I do not pay “commissions,” if you want, on the products that we sell.

Jenn: Is there a reason you’re only selling in Belgium there? Is there like any kind of political boundaries around that? Or is it just because you do local delivery? How come that website only sells to people that are in Belgium?

Ben: Right now there’s two reasons. First of all, our website is in Dutch, so yeah, we could also go to Holland if we want, it’s the same language. But we are planning on putting the website in three languages, and that would allow us to open up the website to France, and Germany, and other countries around. And the second reason is that the products we sell are not really expensive and the shipping cost is a big part of it. Of course I have the same problem on OpenBazaar right now because if someone from, let’s say, where you are in California, or there’s tea and it’s only a fifteen dollar package, then it is almost the same amount in shipping, maybe even more. The shipping in Belgium is quite expensive, if you want, but I’m kind of subsidizing it right now on OpenBazaar just to make it possible to ship to people. So yeah, we are doing a little effort there, but I can’t do it for all customers in Europe, so gradually, we will expand to other countries, but we need the languages and better shipping conditions.

Jenn: Interesting that you say that because we use just simple Google Translate, which works pretty well for our partners that speak Spanish, Portuguese, and French, but there is a drop off when you get into languages that are a little less similar such as Dutch. Chinese is a really big one we’ve got a big barrier on, and so we are looking at human translators to help us help us with OpenBazaar 2.0 and get really solid translations in there that are accessible to people in those languages. So, is that the same thing you find as well, that just using Google Translate on your Dutch website is not enough for people to be able to access it and move around? It has to have that human translation that’s a higher quality as well?

Ben: I think you need it, because Google Translate is great just for understanding some sentences, but if you want to explain your product and you want to do that with the right words, it’s not gonna happen through Google Translate, I think. So you need to have it done quite well, better than Google Translate. And, I don’t know how it is with you, but here in Europe, we have a lot of languages. In Belgium only, we have three official languages, if you want. We have Dutch, French, and German. So in effect, we would need three languages to reach all people in a country as small as Belgium. But English is also a necessity, yeah I think we must do it. It’s quite some work, so if you can automate this, on OpenBazaar, that would be a great thing because I think most customers like buying in their own language.

Jenn: Yes, absolutely. I don’t know, there’s got to be a solution for that, and maybe it’s a matter of someone puts their translation services for sale on OpenBazaar and you can have any store translated into their native language and the languages they represent for a certain amount of Bitcoin. Maybe that’s the solution that we need, for now.

Ben: Maybe, why not? Yep.

Jenn: Awesome, so anything else you can think of, exploring OpenBazaar in a cryptocurrency space? What are you looking forward to in the future? What do you think … What are you wanting to see happen in 2017?

Ben: Well, I haven’t looked in all the details of the 2.0 version, but what I saw in the beginning is that OpenBazaar, I think, I’m not sure but I think in the beginning, OpenBazaar was really targeted to selling products, individual products I mean, like on eBay. And I can see that, for instance, if you are in the version one, now, if you create a product, you have to for every product, you have to tell the shipping cost and which countries, and so on, but I have the impression that the people that are using OpenBazaar already today, are looking for more than just selling a product. They are looking, I think, for setting up a store, a real store. And that’s something I hope we can improve in the 2.0 version, is that we get more of the feeling and the possibilities of setting up general options going for the whole store instead of just individually per product and so on, because I have the feeling that OpenBazaar can be much more than just an eBay. It can really be a platform, yeah as I said, for full-blown stores.

Jenn: Agreed. We have a lot of requests for more flexible shipping, the concept of a shopping cart where people can add multiple items into a cart.

Ben: Absolutely, that’s one of the important things. If you go to a shop and you want to buy two or three items, it’s not possible today on OpenBazaar.

Jenn: Right.

Ben: It’s also one for one. And it’s not how you want to shop.

Jenn: And I’ve noticed, you’ve taken a clever approach to trying to make the current OpenBazaar environment work for you. I know you have the different quantities available. When we first started talking, I reached out to you on Twitter, and I was trying to make sense of how you’re doing the quantities. You were trying to offer a 20%, it wasn’t a discount, it was 20% more than what you would normally get, and I was trying to get some clarity around that. But I really appreciate seeing your creativity, and trying to adapt that in a way that works for you right now.

Ben: Yeah, for us it was really an issue. Every canister of tea sells for around seven dollars, or so, but most customers buy two or three cans of tea, canisters.

Jenn: Right.

Ben: And since that was not possible, it’s not possible today on OpenBazaar, we tried to find a solution for it, so we are actually offering a kind of, let’s say, a coupon, just a value. You buy a value of let’s say, twenty dollars, and then you send us an email and you tell us, “Well, I want these three tastes of tea”. And this way you can in one go, you can make one payment, but you can buy more products. If you need four teas, just do the calculation four times seven, and then buy a package, just a value pack I call it, a value pack of that same order and send us an email or a message on OpenBazaar saying which teas you want. If there is just one or two dollars too much in the pack, we will pay it back so you will only pay what you will get. But it allows you to make one order, to make one payment and then to select more products out of our shop. That’s how I tried to do it.

Jenn: Now, what is your preferred method of communication with people in OpenBazaar? Do you prefer to start just an email thread, Twitter even, the chat feature? Do you like the chat actually in the app?

Ben: Yes, I do use the chat. Of course you’re not always online so people sometimes have to wait a little bit longer. Sometimes I do not open the shop, most of the time I open it once a day. But if it doesn’t happen and there’s a message, people will have to wait maybe longer than a day to get the answer. You do not always have the email because it’s a little bit anonymous on OpenBazaar.

Jenn: Right.

Ben: So you have to ask for it from the customer, but we are also available on Twitter.

Jenn: I vouch for that personally, I reached out to you on Twitter and you were very prompt responding.

Ben: Right, yep. So we use whatever possible and whatever the customer wants or prefers to use. That’s not an issue.

Jenn: What is your most active form of communication with your regular web shop? Do people, do they fill out forms on your website or what does communication look like for your web store, typically?

Ben: It’s a mix, but the most communication I think today is through Facebook.

Jenn: Really?

Ben: Yes, that’s where we also have a page and that’s where most questions come up. But we also have a form on the website so people can fill that out. And our email is on the website, so it’s a combination of all those things.

Jenn: Awesome. I love learning about people who are doing traditional eCommerce because the insights you have having a grounding in that environment and being able to note the similarities and the differences between being there and being on OpenBazaar. Quick note too, how important do you feel merchandising is on your website? How important is it to have beautiful photos and great descriptions?

Ben: It’s the most important, I think. My wife is a photographer so yeah, we have the advantage of doing that in-house too. But even we sometimes make remarks and say, well we need to improve on that or that. It’s really important to have great images on the web shop. The pictures need to be good, clear, the description needs to be good. I think it’s one of the fundamentals of having a good store.

Jenn: I lost my train of thought, I just had it, where did it go? What other forms of online marketing do you use for your web store? Do you use Instagram, or have anything that is telling stories a lot through visuals? Do you do that on Facebook? Is Facebook your primary outlet?

Ben: Facebook is important, yes. It’s probably the most important today, but we also use Google AdWords so when people in Belgium search on loose leaf tea, they can find our website. Next to that, we also have an Instagram account, we have a Twitter account, that’s about it I think, yeah.

Jenn: Train of thought again, what is with my brain today? I was talking about your website, marketing, I don’t know. If it comes back, it comes back. If it doesn’t, we’ll just dismiss it. So thank you very much for taking time to do this today and for coordinating with me over the last weeks as we figured this out. Anything else you’d like to say in closing? You want to tell people where to find you on OpenBazaar as well as just on the web?

Ben: Yeah, Yummitea can be found on OpenBazaar by enter just @Yummitea, and the website also is the same, its Yummitea.com or Yummitea.be.

Jenn: Wonderful.

Ben: On Facebook and Instagram, it’s all the same. It’s all Yummitea. Everywhere.

 


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 and/or in a video?
Awesome, we’d love to know your story! Please email jenn@ob1.io

 

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OpenBazaar Ecosystem: Nuichan

In these posts we take a look at some unique members of the OpenBazaar ecosystem and share their stores. Today we are featuring the beautiful handmade women’s clothing store Nuichan! You can view Nuichan in your browser or on OpenBazaar here.

 

Nuichan Women's Clothing Store on OpenBazaar

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you make/sell?

My name is Yaowalak Nuichan, I was born in a big family (8 sisters and 1 brother) in the South of Thailand in a place called Phatthalung. After finishing high school and university in Bangkok, I worked a few years in 5 star hotels as their Spa Manager. But my true passion was never far away–fashion. My entire family makes clothing, traditional Thai dresses for ceremonial occasions and more modern designs, so it was only a small step for me to change my career and started doing what I’ve seen for the most part of my life. Designing dresses, making patterns and putting it all together. With help from my sisters of course! :)

How did you get started selling online?

I started selling online as I noticed a growing demand from overseas ( Europe, USA, Middle East, etc.) and it is/was easier for me to supply for my niche market.

How did you find out about OpenBazaar?

Stumbled upon OpenBazaar via Twitter if I recall correctly.

Why are you selling your product on OpenBazaar?

I’m always looking for new markets and for once I want to be part of the start of something which I feel could become really big. I really like the direct link between buyer and seller without an intermediary person/company but the main reason is Bitcoin of course.

You also have a very active Etsy shop which is great! How has the approach of dual listing your items there and on OpenBazaar helped you?

At the moment I do not have sufficient time to properly monitor this setup as I’m in the process of setting up a new website. I did have some requests in the past from Etsy buyers to pay with Bitcoin, but that has come because I do mention the possibility of paying in bitcoin it in my Etsy listings. So far I haven’t noticed any significant traffic coming from my Etsy shop towards OpenBazaar or the other way around.

How has your experience been with OpenBazaar so far?

Actually it has been really good besides some setup issues, but that was mainly due to me not having the technical skills. I had great help from [OB1 Co-Founder] Dr. Washington Sanchez setting up the nodes for both of my shops and guiding me through the set up and also afterward whenever I had any technical issues. Also the guys from Duosear.ch are top notch, they even bought an image from my husband and they use it on their homepage. :)

From a seller’s point of view, I have only had easy, swift transactions so nothing but thumbs up there!

How familiar are you with Bitcoin?

I’ve been following Bitcoin for a couple of years now and am pretty familiar with it, although I would like to be better at the technical side of things. But everything changes so fast that it is really hard to keep up!

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

I would love to see some improvements on the back end, making it more user-friendly to make listings, bulk edit, grid overview of products in stock, ability to share listings on social media from within the client.

What’s it like behind the scenes of Nuichan? What can you tell us about your design & manufacturing process & doing business day-to-day?

My inspiration for our designs comes from my home country, Thailand, with all its wonderful cultures, colors, landscapes, intoxicating smells and the friendly people. But I also allow Western influences to inspire me which helps me to visualize designs and create some more classic looks. Recently I took a trip to Japan to study the amazing shibori technique. This is a traditional manual resist dyeing technique which produces the most stunning patterns. These techniques include cloth wrapping on a diagonal around a pole or pleating sections of the cloth very finely and evenly or sandwiching cloth between two pieces of wood which are held in place with string, just to name a few. The possibilities with this traditional technique are endless and combine perfect with modern dress patterns. Together with my sisters and their 30 years of experience making the patterns and carefully creating each dress I try to keep the business going and growing.

 

 

 

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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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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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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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