The Block has no centralized authority - it's built on the Ethereum blockchain using smart contracts. Transactions are completed in a trustless manner, with no third party involvement, which means no one has to rely on trust for the system to work. Transactions cannot be censored. Listed items are available at all times, to everyone, with no need for sellers to stay online 24/7, since The Block runs on thousands of computers worldwide. This makes it resistant to the kinds of attacks that force conventional websites offline. Decentralization equals greater privacy, freedom, and stability.
Trading over an anonymous, decentralized system poses a challenge - how do you know you can trust other users? The Block provides an escrow system, guaranteed by BitBoost. Buyers send payments to this escrow system. Payments are released to sellers only when goods have arrived as expected. Any disagreements will be handled through arbitration, further reducing risk. BitBoost's escrow system allows sellers to designate any provider they wish to serve as their escrow agent.
Although transactions will be on the blockchain, The Block is fully encrypted. Messages between buyer and seller are encrypted, and personal information (such as shipping address) is also encrypted by default. Your information is protected from any kind of leak or attack.
Due to its unique architecture, The Block is able to reduce our fees to 1 USD (in BitBoost tokens) per listing. The Block doesn’t charge a fee to purchase items. Even image hosting is free, and The Block takes no percentage from your final sale price.
Features like searching are instant, as you type. BitBoost has enhanced The Block with caching servers around the world to speed up interactions with the Ethereum blockchain.
The Block has a built-in wallet that stores ether, the native currency of Ethereum. Purchases are made directly from this wallet, and sales revenue goes directly into it. Users can buy ether from within The Block using BTC.
The Block is available as a native app on all major desktop platforms: Windows, macOS, and Linux. The app includes support for themes and even comes with two themes built in. Users can bookmark searches, sellers, and items, for later use. And, more options are planned.
At launch, our app will support 20 languages, with more to come. The BitBoost team wants to lower barriers to trade. We feel that access to a global marketplace is an option every human being should have.
In the case of a dispute between buyer and seller, an arbitration service is available. We encourage sellers to choose an arbiter, as it increases the trust level for buyers and also the probability that purchases will be made. If both parties dispute a transaction, the seller will pay the arbiter out of the escrowed funds. For buyers, arbitration is always free of charge.
To make The Block as inviting as possible to all users, BitBoost will maintain an optional filter that will be turned on by default. It will filter out items that are illegal everywhere, as well as sellers with extremely poor reputations. Ultimately, the choice of what you see should be made by you, so we have left plenty of room for customization.
BitBoost has included 2 themes already, light and dark, to help users see in different environments. We are also building support for customization, which means you will be able to use our source code to create themes of your own to use with The Block. Time to get creative!
Users will always have access to a remote copy of The Block, maintained by BitBoost, which provides a level of privacy that will meet the needs of almost all users. But, by the time The Block moves to the Ethereum live blockchain, you will have the option of using your own copy of the Ethereum blockchain for even greater privacy. Choose the arrangement that works best for you.
When you first log into The Block, you are asked to create an account and a wallet. This process generates an Ethereum address for you, which is also your identity on The Block. If you do not wish to be known to other users by your Ethereum address, you will have the ability to choose a Sig, short for "signature" or "designation". You can also assign Nametags to other users, to help you remember them, but only you will see your Nametags.
During our beta testing period, we already have 20 languages available for The Block. We plan to add as many as we can over the lifetime of our app, so that our marketplace is as globally friendly as possible. If you'd like to contribute translation services for a language we don't yet have, get in touch with us. We'd love to hear from you!
We're very excited to be building mobile versions of The Block for iOS and Android. This is a feature that is at the top of our planned features list, because mobile devices are so important to our users. You should have the freedom to choose when and where you use The Block. (We're looking forward to it too!)
Every seller and buyer will have a reputation rating derived from their conduct during every transaction. Users with a low or negative reputation score may be filtered out, in order to protect other users from fraud and wasted time. This reputation system will encourage legitimate merchants and customers to act honestly and to build up a solid reputation. Arbiters will also be rated.
The Tor Project has been a boon to millions of people, and for some of our users, Tor is the only way they can use the internet in safety and privacy. We will support the Tor protocol within The Block, so that everyone can peacefully trade in private.
Ether, like all cryptocurrencies, is volatile, changing in value on a daily basis, relative to national currencies like the dollar and the euro. To improve your experience with The Block, BitBoost is developing an integrated payment system that works like ether, but converts to currencies (like the dollar and euro) at a ratio of 1:1. Finally, items can be priced in a national currency, and you will know exactly how much you're spending or being paid.
You may wish to maintain different wallets and aliases for different family members, or for yourself. Multiple wallet support will let you do this, so you can keep some of your money and transactions segregated from others.
We understand that our users have different needs and desires, based on where they live, their personality, their religion, and many other factors. We invite the community to create a wide array of filters that will satisfy the needs of everyone. You will have the chance to get creative; build filters that will benefit the global community, or maybe just build one for yourself!