There have been many attempts to create a working decentralized marketplace using cryptocurrency for transactions. Projects like Bitbay, Syscoin, the NXT marketplace, and Openbazaar have gained attention over the past few years building this vision. However, another concept announced back in the spring of 2015 called Drop Zone remains in the background. The proof-of-concept may offer yet another method of operating a censorship resistant marketplaces in the future.
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Drop Zone Gives a New Idea Towards the Decentralized Marketplace Concept
There are a few concepts within the bitcoin community which seem to be coveted killer applications. This very much includes ideas like the decentralized exchange and marketplace. After the takedown of the Silk Road back in October 2013, the decentralized marketplace concept became more of a focus. A few notable projects have taken on the task of bringing this idea to fruition.
One concept that has been introduced called Drop Zone is a project that hasn’t seen much adoption but could still prove useful in the future. Back in March 2015, an anonymous person operating under the pseudonym Miracle Max introduced a new idea to the Cryptography mailing list. Drop Zone is a decentralized marketplace platform written on top of the bitcoin protocol. The project remains unfinished for the time being, but a released version of the code written in Ruby is available via Github and Rubygem. Miracle Max details that Drop Zone offers a functioning command line for “the selling, buying, and facilitation of secure messaging between buyers and sellers using nothing but the Blockchain and testnet.”
How Drop Zone Works
Drop Zone claims to be a solution to censorship. When a seller wants to sell a good, a brief description is uploaded to the blockchain. Buyers searching for goods search items located close to their location. Drop Zone’s creator says, “goods are announced next to an expiration, a hashtag, and if space permits, a description. Once a buyer finds a good in a defined relative proximity, a secure communication channel is opened between the parties on the Bitcoin test network (‘testnet’).”
Communication between the two parties on the testnet allows negotiations to be finalized, and the seller pays the buyer via the bitcoin mainnet. When payment is complete, GPS coordinates are revealed, and the buyer can proceed to pick up the good at the pre-agreed upon location. The concept removes the third party risks associated with contraband sales, or any sale for that matter, and the entire operation is piggybacked on top of the bitcoin network. But Drop Zone also has several vulnerabilities that need to be addressed as well.
Drop Zone’s weaknesses are pretty significant with issues like reputation selling and Sybil attacks. This means reputations could possibly be manipulated or spoofed within the marketplace framework. Another issue, unresolved sales and dispute resolution, could prove pretty difficult. Furthermore, the white paper explains Drop Zone is vulnerable to non-fungible transactions, URL identifiers being centralized, and asymmetric risks to buyers.
Decentralized Markets Are Being Curated and Soon May Be the Way the World Trades
The concept, very much in its earliest phase, has yet to be fully released to the public. It is a unique localized idea with regards to decentralized markets. There isn’t much of a user interface, but the code could be tested if two parties wished to experiment with this protocol. Back in August, Miracle Max said he hopes people look into developing this environment stating:
As adoption increases, Drop Zone will provide instantaneous, convenient hyper-local market services.
I spoke with software developer and Bitcoin Uncensored host Chris DeRose who spoke with Miracle Max before he disappeared from the Drop Zone project. Max has gone quiet explains DeRose who plans to start hacking away at the code which may possibly bring him out of the woodwork again.
“After TNABC I should have most of my distractions removed, and I intend to travel to Asia where I’ll be working through a Drop Zone GUI that’s both usable, and hosted as a static resource hosted on Github pages,” DeRose details. “Drop Zone has a lot of promise, not only in terms of solving problems, but also demonstrating the efficiency of blockchain: censorship resistant storage. I’d like to see the notion of what a blockchain application is changing from ‘decentralized penny stocks,’ to open software that uses bitcoin at a data layer for solving real-world problems.”
The decentralized marketplace idea will come to life in the future, and it’s safe to assume many types of different trade arrangements will be made. Projects like Openbazaar have been gaining popularity and progressing. There are also many Silk Road offshoots within the darknet realm, but most all of these markets are centralized. Drop Zone may prove to be yet another way people can obtain censorship free trade and sell whatever they want. Bitcoin’s technology once again could help push forward the attempt to free the markets worldwide.
What do you think about the Drop Zone concept? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Bitcoin.com, and Pixabay.
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