The private, “unhackable” Particl marketplace just opened up several new product categories in a bid to win over more users to its ecosystem.
Announced by the privacy project’s builders on August 27th, the fresh categories include electronics, beauty products, and beyond. Centered around the PART privacy coin, the Particl marketplace just launched on August 12th, its latest expansion coming as part of its fledgling rollout.
Backed by advisors like Bitcoin evangelist Charlie Shrem and renowned Filipino Bitcoin entrepreneur, Particl is best understood as a triad: a cryptocurrency, a peer-to-peer marketplace, and underpinning blockchain platform.
“Having key advisors such as Charlie and Miguel has added real value to the Particl project, lending their vast experience and knowledge of the Bitcoin startup space to understand the target audience and assess the viability of a privacy-focused cryptocurrency shopping application,” Particl marketing and strategy lead Paul Schmitzer said on the news.
Unquestionably, privacy is the name of the game for the project. The PART token itself relies on cryptographic privacy innovations like Bulletproofs and RingCT. This dynamic allows customers to interact with vendors directly and with anonymity.
To maintain integrity in these decentralized interactions, the project’s marketplace relies on a “Mutually Assured Destruction” double deposit escrow system. A seller and a buyer both collateralize a sale with PART tokens using a smart contract. These tokens are released back once a transaction is agreed upon or burned in a dispute to de-incentivize fraud.
As part of the new category offerings, the Particl team is honing in on gaining customers via its low-fee system, which it says allows vendors to cut prices while getting better profit margins than if they were selling their products on mainstream platforms like eBay or Amazon.
No Third Party Privacy Leakage
Using mainstream payment rails like cards leaks out your data to third-party companies that want to capitalize on that data by selling it to advertisers. It’s disastrous for privacy.
For example, Washington Post columnist Geoffrey Fowler recently tried buying bananas with two cards: the new Apple Card and an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa. Fowler found that a range of different kinds of companies received his associated data.
When a columnist swiped his "Apple Card" just once, 6 companies monetized his data:
* Bank (direct marketing)
* Card network ("data insights")
* The store ("profile")
* Swipe terminals ("profile")
* Mobile wallet (location)
* E-mail (purchase database)https://t.co/VwGTCHHIYf
— MG (@MishaGuttentag) August 26, 2019
As Fowler put it:
“The recent headlines about Facebook and Equifax opened a lot more eyes to how privacy affects our lives in unforeseen ways. Other businesses should take that as a warning: Data is the new corporate social responsibility.”
Particl’s not the first decentralized marketplace and won’t be the last, but its model comes in this vein — with a mind to disintermediating transactions to the point that third party companies can’t swipe our data from a distance and sell it off to the highest bidders.
“Using a combination of P2P and blockchain technologies, Particl Open Marketplace can 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 aforementioned Schmitzer noted earlier this month.
The Power of Censorship-Resistant
Since the Particl marketplace is decentralized, the Particl team approaches illicit deals by making merchants accept all legal responsibility for their product postings.
But decentralized marketplaces can be far from just hubs for shady dealings. They can be centers for free and fair commerce in general. Consider how the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange Hodl Hodl just re-extended its services to Chinese users — hitherto trapped behind the “Great Chinese Firewall” — by modifying its Google reCAPTCHA settings.
These users can now continue to trade as they wish even within an authoritarian environment. That’s a powerful option, seeing as how it can be a popular check against any and all modern tyrannical regimes.