Particl.io decentralised cryptocurrency-powered marketplace launches
Meet the world's newest fully-automated decentralised online marketplace.
Particl.io has cut the ribbon on its new marketplace. That is to say it has launched into the open alpha version of its marketplace UI on mainnet, meaning it's now open for business.
The marketplace is an effort to bring decentralised and fully anonymous markets to life, for people to do business on a decentralised, censorship-resistant cryptocurrency-powered feature-filled online market.
As the world has learned from the efforts of and subsequent legal actions against decentralised exchange founders such as EtherDelta's Zachary Coburn, creating a truly decentralised market is easier said than done, which is a shame because the model of decentralisation is a perfect fit for online marketplaces.
In this case, Particl is centrally decentralised around the Particl Foundation, a non-profit organisation located in Switzerland, whose "status provides legal protection and resources to the Particl project ensuring its sustainability and compliance to current and new regulations." The actual governance of the marketplace lies with Particl (PART) token holders though, and the profits generated from the marketplace will go to them.
The decentralised elements of the Particl market largely take the form of a heavy degree of automation, resulting in zero commission fees on purchases, an automated escrow service and a minimum of expensive human intervention.
The only fees involved are a small anti-spam listing fee.
Payments from buyers to sellers are done through cryptocurrency, although the market is currency-agnostic thanks to atomic swaps that convert everything into the exchange's native PART token. The token itself has three selective privacy modes ranging from transparent to anonymous.
In the interests of full automation, the escrow service is also done without any kind of intermediary entity or authority. It uses a double deposit escrow system where buyers and sellers both put an agreed amount into escrow, and the funds are only released when both parties agree that the goods have arrived in a satisfactory fashion. If the buyer and seller can't agree, the money stays in escrow and everyone loses.
The point of this system is to create a situation where there's no profit to be made from dishonesty.
That's the theory at least. Enterprising scammers will probably find some new ways.
For example, a demo video on the Particl website shows a Trezor and Cryptosteel listing. But in a fully private marketplace, it might be tough to confirm that someone selling a hardware wallet is really an authorised reseller.
The only information a buyer will have to give a seller is their shipping address, and all communication is kept secure.
Transactions are private by default, messaging is private, data is encrypted, sellers can put up private listings and it offers additional privacy features such as IP address anonymisation, metadata stripping and more.
There are no set commission or escrow fees, but the anti-spam listing fees are redistributed to the stakers who are securing the Particl network.
This process is facilitated by elements such as Particl cold staking, which lets users stake from offline wallets and separate their staking funds from their spending funds.
"Using a combination of P2P and blockchain technologies, Particl Open Marketplace is able to provide a verifiably private shopping experience that ensures no user data can be created or collected by any party other than the one you are transacting with. The Particl protocol also brings the cost of buying and selling online to the bare minimum as no central entity has the ability to charge fees."
It remains to be seen what regulators will make of the PART token in the event that the Particl marketplace attracts illicit business. If stakers are getting a cut of the profits from illicit trades, and have governance powers over the marketplace, does that mean PART owners are part owners?
Time will tell.
Particl might be able to show just what blockchain automation can achieve and maybe also some of what it can't.
Disclosure: The author holds BNB and BTC at the time of writing.