OpenBazaar Ecosystem: Space for eCommerce

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

Space for eCommerce on OpenBazaar

Tell us a bit about yourself?

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

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

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

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

OpenBazaar is cheap, decentralized and open.

The lesson is clear.

What do you make?

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

Why are you selling your product on OpenBazaar?

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

How has your experience been with OpenBazaar so far?

Pretty good, thanks for asking.

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

How familiar are you with Bitcoin?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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