OTB website and OTB search through the OpenBazaar app are in alpha. Web sign-ups currently disabled. To add OnTheBlockchain as a search provider on the OpenBazaar app: https://openbazaar.ontheblockchain.com/ob2search/listings

OnTheBlockchain FAQ
This FAQ is currently a work in progress

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How to use this site

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Can I buy or sell products directly through OnTheBlockchain.com?

No. To buy or sell products, you need to download the OpenBazaar app to your computer [working] or smartphone [soon to be available]. This website is used only for search and reputation.

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How do I get started with OpenBazaar?

Go to OpenBazaar.org and download the app to your computer [or smartphone when available]. Create a profile and you will be ready to buy or sell products!

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How do I rate someone?

Navigate to that user's page. Navigate to the relevant sub-page: main OpenBazaar user profile, vendor page, moderator page, or OpenBazaar user profile. Click on one of four icons to open a ratings window:
  • red flag
  • green flag
  • 5-star rating icon
  • slider-rating icon
  • The resulting window will display one or more ratings templates.

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    How do I edit ratings?

    Answer

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    How do I view a user's ratings?

    Navigate to that user's page, then to that user's ratings page.

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    How do I connect my OpenBazaar account to my OnTheBlockchain account?

    Answer

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    How do I customize my Grapevine?

    Control Panel

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    How do use OnTheBlockchain search with the OpenBazaar app?

    Answer



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    Trust Scores, the Grapevine and the Web of Trust

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    What is a web of trust based reputation system and what is it used for?

    Answer

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    What's the big deal about Trust Scores?

    Answer

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    What is a Trust Score and what is it used for?

    The basic function of a trust score is to determine the weight of a user's rating.

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    How did the design for Trust Scores come about?

    Answer

    Changes will come about through trial and error.

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    What other types of trust scores have been discussed in the literature?

    Several have been described. Too many to review here. One of the most well-known is Eigentrust. A version has been implemented into Cardano, for example. EigenTrust (and its variants, including EigenTrust++) suffer from a number of shortcomings:
  • with EigenTrust, trust is considered an absolute. We at OnTheBlockchain consider trust to be in the eye of the beholder. EigenTrust asks the question: how well is Bob trusted? Our algorithms ask: how well is Bob trusted by Alice?
  • The definition of trust is unclear.
  • It is unclear where the data inputs are supposed to come from. With Cardano, the data that is used to calculate trust is at best a proxy for trust.


  • Several problems with existing trust systems:
  • no clear definition of trust
  • data sources often scraped from unwilling sources
  • Trust is treated as an absolute, when it is more meaningful to treat it as a relative quantity

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    How are Trust Scores calculated?

    Answer

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    How many kinds of Trust Scores are there?

    In the long run: unlimited. For now, there are three trust score systems: User Trust, Vendor Trust, and Moderator Trust. These three systems will be tested before more are made. Eventually, you will be able to design and use your own trust score systems, and adopt systems that others have designed.

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    How is the User Trust Score calculated?

    Answer

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    How is the Vendor Trust Score calculated?

    Answer

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    How is the Moderator Trust Score calculated?

    Answer

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    How many ways are there for me to rate somebody?

    For now, there are X red flags, X green flags, X 5-star ratings, and X slider-type ratings.

    Why so many? Because life is complicated. In the long run, there will be an unlimited number of ways to rate someone.

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    Can I modify how Trust Scores are calculated?

    For now, no. But eventually, yes. You will even be able to construct your own ratings templates and composite trust scoring systems de novo.



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    Decentralization and future development

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    A centralized website like this one ain't exactly cypherpunk. Is OnTheBlockchain ever going to be decentralized?

    Yes. See below for the various steps towards decentralization that will be taken, one at a time.

    In addition: see the question on user-friendliness for a discussion on why a centralized website is a good idea to drive adoption.

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    Why start out with a centralized website?

    The first task is to design and implement the web of trust and the algorithms for calculation of Trust Scores. These are complex algorithms which may require major revisions before they are ready for prime time. It is easier to experiment with these on a centralized website than it is to build an entire decentralized network. This process of experimentation may provide insight into desired features of the decentralized network.

    In addition, many of the tools of decentralization (DIDs, decentralized storage, etc) are also in the very early stages of development.

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    Will decentralized identities be incorporated into OnTheBlockchain?

    Yes.

    Candidates for integration include Keybase ID and Blockstack ID. Integration of DIDs will include the ability to sign and encrypt ratings.

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    Will data storage be decentralized?

    Yes.

    The tentative long term plan is to store all data in the IPFS.

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    Will an open source peer-to-peer OnTheBlockchain app ever be developed?

    Yes, once the basic structure of the web of trust, including calculation of trust scores, is hammered out.

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    What about privacy?

    One of the most important features. But very complicated to implement. Need to take one step at a time. The basics of the web of trust and algorithms behind the calculation of trust scores need to be established first, before the following strategies can be implemented.

    Several steps are envisioned:

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    What about portability?

    Reputation will be portable once the several steps towards decentralization discussed in this FAQ (decentralized storage, incorporation of DIDs, etc) are implemented.

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    Will I ever be able to monetize my data?

    Yes.

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    Will OnTheBlockchain ever have an IPO or its own token?

    No current plans.

    One of the required features of a PRS will be that its fate should not rise or fall with any particular token, network, system of data storage, system of decentralized identity, etc. It is true that the plans for future development include incorporation of keybase ID, integration with the IPFS, integration with a system of micropayments, etc. However, it will always be envisioned that these integrations are modular. For instance: it data storage can be moved from IPFS to some other system (or data can be stored in multiple locations) without having to make any major revisions to the rest of the reputation system.

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    Will more OnTheBlockchain networks ever be developed in addition to the OpenBazaar network?

    Yes. The tentative plan is to build a reddit-like bulletin board once OpenBazaar network is up and running.

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    This sounds like it's gonna be WAY too complicated to ever actually be useful. How can this possibly be made user-friendly?

    Yes it is going to be very complicated. However: there is no reason that it cannot be made VERY easy to use. Several considerations:

    First off: decentralized reputation HAS to be complicated. There's just no way around it.

    Second: these two words will make it super easy for a new user to get started: DEFAULT SETTINGS.

    Third: New users can be onroaded via centralized websites like this one. So many of the projects in this space (e.g. Steemit, Yours, etc.) are built by cypherpunks, for cypherpunks. The problem with that approach is that internet users who do not necessarily identify as cypherpunks -- ie the vast majority of them -- have little incentive to use the product. Once the OpenBazaar reputation system is working, the next OnTheBlockchain community (the reddit-like bulletin board) will be designed so that the user experience of the first time user will be as close as possible to that of online communities that exist already. That means: no need to download an app, no need to set up a decentralized ID. Those steps are possible, but can be taken LATER. The first time user will reap all of the benefits of the default reputation system without having to know ANYTHING about how it works, and without doing ANYTHING that most internet-savvy people don't already know how to do.



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    About OnTheBlockchain

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    What is the purpose of OnTheBlockchain?

    The long-term purpose of OnTheBlockchain is to contribute to the development of a fully decentralized, web of trust based pseudonymous reputation system (PRS).

    There are many elements and moving parts that are desired for a PRS, and they cannot be implemented all at once. Many of the tools, such as decentralized identities (DIDs) and decentralized storage, are actively being developed. Many of these tools will eventually be incorporated into OnTheBlockchain, but that is not our initial focus. The initial focus of OnTheBlockchain is to experiment with a particular model of algorithms for the calculation of user trust. These algorithms are described elsewhere in this FAQ.

    If these algorithms prove to have merit, additional elements of a PRS will be gradually and sequentially incorporated.

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    What is a pseudonymous reputation system?

    Answer

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    What types of online social networks will benefit from a pseudonymous reputation system?

    Just about all of them!

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    Why start with a reputation system for OpenBazaar, as opposed to some other type of social network?

    First: OpenBazaar is awesome. And it's important. The biggest hole in its design is a reputation system.

    Second: OpenBazaar is a good testbed for our purposes. Its userbase is large, growing, and thirsty for a reputation system. On the other hand, its user base is sufficiently limited for the time being (thousands, not millions of users) that we should not have to worry about our servers being unexpectedly overwhelmed during our alpha and beta periods with too many users.



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    Next category

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    Q1?

    Answer

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    Q2?

    Answer