Future Friday: OpenBazaar and OB1

Yesterday our portfolio company OB1 announced a seed round led by USV, Andreessen Horowitz and William Mougayar.

From the OB1 blog post:

OpenBazaar will always be open source and MIT licensed. As a global software community, we’ve intentionally created OpenBazaar so that there are no fees required to use the network, and there is no central authority controlling trade, taking a cut, or monitoring data.

So OpenBazaar is a decentralized open source marketplace protocol that allows trade to happen between parties without a central marketplace operator and without a take rate.

There is a real question about how one can make money doing something like this. And there is a real question about how you avoid bad people doing bad things in a marketplace like this.

My partner Brad, who led this investment for USV, addressed both in this blog post on usv.com yesterday. I can’t recall an investment we wrestled with more in recent years. We love the team, we love marketplaces, we believe in emergent decentralized innovation, and we are big fans of bitcoin and the blockchain. So in the end we went with all of that and are accepting the obvious risks of supporting something like this. We are very excited to see how this all plays out.