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A new version of the distributed e-commerce platform OpenBazaar could be released in a matter of months, according to members of its senior development team.
Speaking at CoinDesk’s Construct 2017 conference in San Francisco yesterday, CEO Brian Hoffman and senior developer Chris Pacia revealed new details about both the project’s user traction and the features that will be built into upcoming version, dubbed OpenBazaar 2.0.
In remarks, the developers said they plan to integrate the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) to boost store uptime, improve dispute resolution and inventory management, and bolster third-party search, while offering online store support, offline purchases and Tor integration.
Ultimately, Hoffman offered an optimistic outline of the usability of the platform, which opened to users in April 2016.
Hoffman told the audience:
“Our goal with OpenBazaar 2.0 is to get it to be, with the exception of using bitcoin, … an identical experience of what you’d see on Etsy. I think the 2.0 [version] is close to that.”
Among the biggest priorities, Hoffman said, remains improving the platform’s search functionalities so that, even despite the distributed nature of the e-commerce site, it offers an experience more akin to centralized services like Google.
“Most of the time, search is highly optimized, but in a decentralized network, you have to try to get the data off all the nodes. It can be slow and challenging,” he said.
In what would emerge as a pattern for the day, Hoffman also faced sometimes pointed questions from an expert audience that sought to discern how the platform was adapting to the relative lack of adoption seen by bitcoin more broadly.
“The idea of using cryptocurrency all the time is still foreign to most people. I would say we’re three to five years away at minimum,” he said.
Overall, Hoffman said the roadmap outlined did not have a hard deadline, but that he believes it will be available in the next few months. The project, first announced in 2014, now claims 400,000 downloads, 300 merchants and 10,000 listings.
The project has to date raised $4m in funding from BlueYard, Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures – $3m of which was announced in a December 2016 round.
The latest details come six months after OpenBazaar’s main development startup, OB1, first announced it had begun work on a 2.0 release.
Image via Pete Rizzo for CoinDesk