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OpenBazaar related random thoughts

posted Jun 6, 2015, 9:42 PM by Sami Lehtinen   [ updated Jun 6, 2015, 9:43 PM ]
Checked out some implementation proposals for OpenBazaar (OB @ GitHub) which some are still secret. About identity reputations, ratings and reviews, web-of-trust, long term storage (LTS) issues. Blockstore DHT, OpenBazaar DHT. How to store long term data, who's going to host it, how to republish it, how to prevent abuse? HTTP hosting? Alternative protocols? Alternative payment methods other than Bitcoin. Who cares about negative ratings at all, if new identities are free? Then there are only positive reviews which can give you any practical gain. Blockchain is bad for data being often refreshed? On the other hand DHT is optimal for data regularly being refreshed. DHT is bad for long term static data (due to refresh requirements). Sybil attacks, Reliable global DHT is great, but what's the incentive to run one? Blockstore, IPFS, Coral CDN, Namecoin. For ratings I think the seller with good ratings has the most incentive to keep the ratings alive, and is responsible for storing the data for those. Decentralized reputation system. I personally believe there's a good change that there will be a few businesses running professional notary services and charing for it. content cryptographically signed financial ways. BitRated, double-depostit escrow, mutually assured destruction (MAD), transaction, disincentives, cheating, risk, redundancy, capital investment. Low barrier, easy entry, competitive market for services. Self regulation. Certification standards for independent groups with auditing. disruptive effect for on-line trading. role reputation, global reputation and network reputation. Signed valid interaction with context rating and scoring system including mine reputation and OpenBazaar reputation. Role reputations might include Merchant reputation, Notary Reputation and Lender reputation. Context rating might be item description, shipping time, customer service. This could be implemented using Blockchain Name System (BNS). Actual rating values could be positive +1, neutral 0 and negative -1 stored with merchant, notary and buyer Global unique identifier GUID or Item unique identifier IUID information and contract SHA256. I didn't like the potential concept of paying for right to write a review. I think it causes kind of negative incentive. If I'm happy, I don't have any interest to write a review. If I get scammed, I might write a negative review, but the market just aquires new identity and my review (which I paid extra for) is practically worthless anyway. Since practically only positive reviews do matter, I don't see a need to pay for review storage separately. Merchant should keep it's own review history, let's just chain those together so that you can't remove negative reviews. Thoughts about using notaries by taoeffect are interesting. This needs deeper thoughts. Notaries can solve disputes (possibly), but who's winning for that? Let's play some game theory. Yet, notaries are in control of escrows with current implementation. Talks about drug bazaar or platform for illicit goods. All technology can be used for good or evil. I do support concept where Notaries are also being rated. Otherwise being malicious notary would be just benefit. Project FreeKarma mentioned, it's decentralized open source reputation system for the web. Electronic cryptographic contract signing process and protocol. Semantic data, trading, trade. Selling physical goods at a fixed price. Signing contracts is agnostic. Smart Contracts. Market developer category for software developers. This will allow auctions, services, lending, crowdfunding, crowdlending, prediction markets, financial securities, P2P lending, bonds, options, swaps, stock, insurances, currency exchange, barte,r prediction markets and all kind of other deals. Reputation is easy way to estimate trading partners trustworthiness and counterparty risk. Sybil sockpuppet identities. Proof of trade, privacy questions, notary validation, anonymous ratings, discourage fraud. Currently there has been discussion about using bitcoin blockchain, blockstore, ChainDB, Namecoin or other similar solutions and of course the Subspace or OpenBazaars own DHT storage. Legitimate transaction and rating validation process. Then checking the OpenBazaar trading Platform and vision what it could be. One of the project goals is to disintermediate middlemen from the trading process. If you're wondering that you haven't yet heard about all this stuff, it's because this is still WIP. Main components of the project are the Kademlia based DHT, Trade Protocol and the Client Application. System is planned to use minimal resources as well as to be scalable to large number of users. No need for distributed consensus. OpenBazaar uses Bitcoin for transactions and payments. Multisignature is important for many of the escrow concepts. aka multiparty escrow. I personally would like to see "pluggable" payment module interface, which would allow using any payment method. One option is Altcoins and plety of other payment methods which can be verified using API. Of course there could be also payment methods which do not have direct integration, there has been tons of successful on-line trading sites without any payment integration. OpenBazaar uses Ricardian Contracts and cryptography to make the contracts tamper-proof as JSON schema to make contracts machine readable. Contract parties are pseudonymous / anonymous when required, new identities are free. Meatspace (IRL) identity can be also provided as well as Onename ID. Of course some disputes may end up being resolved in court. Contract images might be stored remotely, but the image hash will be stored inside contract to make it impossible to change the image later without breaking the linking to hash. Invitation to tender is one way to request goods for sale and advertise what kind of services / goods you're willing to buy. Of course in these cases it's very important to format the tender so, it's clear what is being bought. Technically it's reverse auction where sellers are competing for lowest bid to offer the service to the potential buyer. Technically OB will allow fully automated P2P exchange which could become the backbone of the future of on-line trade. Optional surety bonds can be written.

When there's discussion what should be stored in DHT and what shouldn't. It's a good question, actually a really good question. Because there's also a question what data should remain in network for nodes that doesn't exist or aren't online anymore? Currently DHT is mostly used as address database, and data is fetched directly from 'responsible' peer? Is this the optimum way to deal with it? Can't merchant self host positive (and negative) reviews? Those are just validated by the clients using cryptographic methods and chaining?

Issue: 1309 - Ratings and Reviews Proposal - My take on it: Who's got more incentive to maintain reviews and reputation than the merchant, notary or buyer. Because new identities are totally free, there's nobody else whom would have any interest on maintaining reputation data. Reputation data should be just chained up so, that if you got 10 positive reviews and one negative you can't drop the negative one from the chain. Storing reputation externally in this case doesn't make sense to me? Maybe I'm missing something? Distributed storage is one of the things I really love thinking and talking about. DHT is ditstrubted key value datastore. Yet using JSON data would also allow protocol to allow partial key value fetch possible. Let's say value is large, but there are individual pieces of information which needs to be fetched, then it's not necessary to fetch the whole value of that key from DHT. I personally don't see OB DHT as Long Term Storage (LTS), but it should be in interest of someone to republish the data, which solves the problem. Who benefits from the availability of the data? Other solutions require yet another independent network to run in parallel, which I generally dislike. As well as BitCoin BlockChain based solutions provide really small storage space. Same problem applies to SubSpace, why to pay for additional subspace storage, when you could use OB DHT for free, and the party who benefits from the data availability is responsible for republishing it? If BlockChain is used, what's the overhead for that, and who's going to provide light API which allows just to fetch the required data instead of fetching / storing tons of data just to find the data being looked for?

Issue 1317 - Smart Ricardian contracts My take on it: If you're unemployed right now. My personal tip would be starting to establish a reputable notary service on OpenBazaar. You don't ever know if that's going to make you millions later. This is the trick with seed investments on new technology. Cost is really low, but nobody's doing it, because it doesn't matter. But it really might matter a lot bit later. Just like nobody wanted to have any BitCoins. I personally discarded 50 BitCoins, because those aren't worth of anything. Just leave your computer on for one night, and you'll get 50 more. Well, everything is just so obvious in hindsight. Technically storing the wallet would have been trivial. I maintain all the time long term records. But I didn't do it, because it was only a test and didn't matter at all. So I didn't see those even worth of the storage they're consuming, which isn't of course a lot.