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http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2 ... arketplace
Silk Road successor DarkMarket rebrands as OpenBazaar
The online drugs marketplace has changed its name to improve its image but says its aim is to challenge the status quo
DarkMarket, a system aiming to create a decentralised alternative to online drugs marketplace Silk Road, has rebranded as "OpenBazaar" to improve its image online.
OpenBazaar exists as little more than a proof of concept: the plan was sketched out by a group of hackers in Toronto in mid April, where they won the $20,000 first prize for their idea.
At its core, OpenBazaar â€“ and DarkMarket before it â€“ allows any user of the software to connect with any other user, and initiate a transaction. A third OpenBazaar user, trusted by both buyer and seller, is brought in to act as an arbiter: they have the power to release the buyer's funds (paid in bitcoin, naturally) to the seller once the transaction is completed.
Feedback is left as a cryptographically signed comment distributed throughout the network, while users' identities are tied to their bitcoin keys, preventing anyone from impersonating another user.
The idea has obvious potential for creating a replacement to the Silk Road, the online marketplace used primarily to buy and sell drugs that was shut down by the FBI in October 2013. Without a centralised headquarters, the authorities would have no choice but to track down every single OpenBazaar user individually; and it would be all but impossible to shut down the network entirely.
Developed by Amir Taaki, a veteran of the bitcoin community who is currently hard at work on a wallet app that will let users spend the cryptocurrency completely anonymously, and Damian Cutillo and William Swanson, who are building a bitcoin startup called Airbitz, DarkMarket was released as open-source software once the hackathon was finished.
None of its original creators want to work on it any more, with their own projects taking up the majority of their time, and so it is left to the community to continue the coding. But the first change the community made was to give the code a new name: from DarkMarket to OpenBazaar.
Redditors had previously started a petition calling on the team to change the name from Dark Market to "Free Market". "We know that this project will get press coverage, and eventually reach major media outlets,â€ reads the petioner omgitsmiley's explanation.
â€œBy calling this important invention the Dark Market I'm afraid Amir et al are playing into the system's hands. If the name of the exchange is changed to Free Market, imagine the implications. News anchors will have to say on TV, 'Officials are looking into banning the free market.'â€
Taaki's initial response was to refuse. "People need to stop being afraid and reclaim these words of power used to control us. The Dark name evokes great imagery and sounds cool. It's like when they used to call us pirates to shame us and the pirate party stood up and said, â€˜Yeah! we are pirates!â€™ There were many internet freedom parties before and they got nowhere.
"Our team is not here to fit in nicely with the status quo. We are here to challenge it.â€
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.