Online marketplaces (a type of e-commerce site where product or service information is provided by multiple third parties, whereas transactions are processed by the marketplace operator) are moving towards crypto currencies (bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies) in Dubai too. In a significant endorsement of blockchain technology, the underlying innovation of bitcoin, the Dubai government will see of its documents on a blockchain.
We asked Paul Mahone, CEO of BitBoost (an Ethereum-based marketplace) some information. Could it be a scenario wherein a government began a fundamental shift to move all its official records to the technology powering bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
In line with the Blockchain Strategy unveiled by Dubai in October 2016 – a vision to become the first blockchain-powered city by 2020 – Smart Dubai Office (SDO) and global entrepreneurship network 1776 are looking for startups that can transform conventional industries using their blockchain technology.
Blockchains are “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. A blockchain is a distributed database – managed autonomously – that maintains a continuously growing list of ordered records called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data — once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered retroactively.
Blockchains are the future; and we invested on this technology to setup BitBoost, choosing a crypto currency at the base. Ethereum allows us outsource the global infrastructure that eBay has to maintain, with the result that we can charge way, way less. We have a very simple fee structure. We only charge to list an item, and never take a percentage of the sale price. A basic listing will cost about 1 USD in BitBoost tokens.
Following this approach, Mahone announced The Block, a new decentralised e-commerce platform, and will shortly launch its public beta ahead of a crowdfund later this year. The marketplace, which is based on smart contracts protocol Ethereum, will allow buyers and sellers to trade online, in a similar manner to eBay but with the efficiencies and advantages of a decentralised architecture.
As a decentralised platform with listings held on the blockchain, The Block never goes offline and there is no single point of failure. It is a censorship-resistant system: any merchant can list anything for sale, and users can buy and sell without the risk of intervention by third-parties for political or other reasons. Information is stored on thousands of computers around the world, so The Block cannot be shut down.
In line with other cryptocurrencies, using Ethereum as a payment method brings the possibility of a high degree of privacy. In contrast to other e-commerce platforms, no personal information is ever required from users, either for registration or for payment. Users can connect via the developers’ Ethereum nodes, or via their own node for additional safety if necessary. Listings cannot be removed, even by The Block’s team – although optional blacklists can be provided, to allow users to filter out particular items and sellers if desired.
The Block is currently in private beta. The pool of testers will be expanded as the application becomes market-ready, and a public beta will follow before full launch.