Interview with Charly Clinton of BitXBay, a Bitcoin Marketplace

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Earlier this year, a user on a popular online web-forum, known as Bitcointalk, announced a peer-to-peer, decentralized online trading marketplace. Unlike other marketplaces, this one was not in development or conceptual. It was launched almost immediately with a system of moderators, and a system running through the Bitmessage network for maximum privacy.

The creators of this new marketplace, known as BitXBay, reached out recently to discuss a new update. They encourage users to use the system immediately, due to issues with other Bitcoin-based platforms, such as the Silk Road. They cite the greed of site owners, and the fickle nature of legislature, as negative elements of already existing marketplaces. The program intends to be used worldwide and to gain notoriety as a sort of new eBay, with far fewer restrictions.

BitXBay Upgrades to Include Electrum, and Thus Removes The Need for the Bitcoin Blockchain

A lighter version of the pre-existing software is to be released, taking only three-hundred megabytes of space, considerably smaller than the original version. It is also adapted to work with Electrum. Electrum is a Bitcoin wallet that protects the loss coins due to failures in backing up wallet information, as a secret phrase can uncover the wallet. The client does not need to download the block-chain, the private keys are stored on a hard-drive exclusively, clients are not tied to particular servers, wallets may be used on different computers, private keys can be exported to other Bitcoin clients, amongst other benefits. Of course, the project is commercial, as the financial aspect of developing BitXBay is one of the biggest hurdles for the developers at the time being. Here’s what the head of BitXBay had to say,

 I am eager to enter the world market and listen to criticism. I believe that free trade can significantly change the world for the better.

Charly Clinton, Creator of BitXBay

Question to Charly :  How did you initially conceive of the idea?

Answer by Charly : The idea visited me when I heard about Bitcoin for the first time. But the rate was too unstable at that moment. There were many other reasons not to start the development earlier. One of them was the hypothesis that somebody certainly had to develop such a system before me. During the 4 years however nothing working appeared. So I decided to try.

Q : Can you explain your philosophy on free-trade more extensively?

A : I’d like people using bitcoin and other crypto currencies to have an opportunity to buy the goods and services as easy as they usually do in any nearby shop. There must be no need to teach them how to do this. No trading rules, no registration, no need to enter into a contract or show their documents. Economics has nothing to do with politics or the thoughts of officials that may not concur with my own. I accept no restrictions. I am eager to make my choices myself! BitXBay frees people of all the prohibitions and destroys the chance of influencing free people’s decisions!

Q : Why the decision to work with Electrum?

A : It is compact and fast. It also gives opportunity to create and check the multisig addresses.

Q : What do you think about projects like OpenBazaar?

A : It’s a good project, but unlike BitXBay it is not entirely decentralized because it’s connected with servers in many respects. Such decision has its advantages and disadvantages. BitXBay is also more tolerant as it has no blocking methods for any suggestions. There is only a filter which any user can change by adding a missing commodity position.

Q : Why do you need funds to develop BitXBay?

A : Since I fund the whole project from my own account, I have a tight budget, and I have to work in office apart from the project itself. That is the reason why BitXBay is developing slowly and not in full. An investment of 1000$, for example could help me to add other crypto currencies. For 2000$ I could order a module, which would add a spare message transfer channel and accelerate this transfer. There are lots of such needs. I need also many beta-testers, whom I cannot pay by my own. If I had funding I would devote all my time to BitXBay right now.

Q : How do you expect BitXBay to compete with eBay in the long-term? Do you think it will even reach that stage?

A : Honestly I haven’t thought about it yet. My main aim is to create an interesting project that is able to be very useful for people all over the world. I wouldn’t compare a decentralized trading platform to websites and e-shops that are not software. EBay is a wonderful, convenient and respected trading platform at a worldwide level. I aim at making BitXBay as convenient as eBay is now. By the way BitXBay has important advantages, such as safety and security, as nobody will ever be able to close or restrict the program; absolute anonymity of sellers and buyers; no registration and payment data collected; no commissions; no moderation; an opportunity to place any goods there. I think it is not reasonable to predict now how high BitXBay will fly in the future. That remains to be seen and depends of the consumers’ interest.

Q : Plans for integrating Oracle or BitThereum like technologies?

A : It may happen that I’ll change my mind in the future, but now I think that any deal with the participation of a third party can be compromised. You can endlessly complicate this scheme with complicated and approved guarantors. But nevertheless here remains a choice between anonymity and confidence.

Escrow with just two parties requires minimum confidence. As soon as any third party appears, everything becomes much more complicated. This third party is either not anonymous or somewhat of a potential Mt. Gox. It is not easy to predict the future mechanisms of the protection evasion, but why not stop on two parties in a deal if it is possible? The second party can disappear or lose its access but this type of risk is low and predictable. Mass fraud that could become possible because of the vulnerability in Oracle-based systems may however be the cause of considerable damage.

Q :  What are the biggest challenges from a technical point of view?

A : The main problems are: the Bitmessage network instability; possibility of DDOS attack with the help of ASICs. Also, messages are “living” just for 2 days. But I plan to use the additional channels such as I2P messenger or something like that. 

Q :  How have you dealt with the coomunity response thus far to BitXBay? Do you feel it has been positive? Have you made any changes to the software due to it?

A : I understood that people using crypto currencies are looking forward to trying such software, but the first interest to BitXBay appeared to be even stronger than I expected! It inspires me a lot! The community has taken my project very positively on the whole. But the necessity to download about 30 gigabyte at once and the new Bitcoin blocks additionally makes the software work slowly. That was the main problem, so the community asked me to develop the Lite version of the software for widespread use. There were also many requests to make the whole Escrow deal to be performed with the help of just one transaction. Such a decision minimizes risks of the seller as well as the buyer. There are however huge difficulties with safety that I’m trying to cope with now. Many people are afraid of  viruses integrated into software. It is absolutely impossible, as you can check this only after several verifications. I can’t afford an audit at the moment but I would be really grateful to people that would verify the software just because of their interest to the matter.

Q : Are you working on translations or intending to down the line? Or can users decide to simply post in any language?

A : At BitXBay anybody can place any offer written at any language at the moment. There is a Unicode support. But, the software interface has only English language available now. I do intend to translate the software to as many languages as possible in order to make it the most convenient for users.

Q : Are there plans to go into mobile or other platforms?

A : I will do my best to make BitXBay software convenient for mobile usage. Bitmessage is not adopted for mobile platforms at the moment, but that situation may change after the release of the next Bitmessage version. I will be able to start working on the mobile application then.

Q : Will you be continuously updating BitXBay?

A : Sure. I am going to devote all my time to constant upgrading and support of the software. It would be ideal to make the updates flow through the Bitmessage network. I can’t test it now because it takes my PC too long to send such a huge message.

Q :  Do you intend to work on it as a main project or as a side project?

A : I am going to spend my life on this project.

The passion of the team is evident and their goals are commendable. With such a small team, and lack of funding, BitXBay’s success will largely be dependent on community adoption at an early stage. The potential for such a free online market can only be realized if it is utilized on a wide scale, and only time can tell if BitXBay will reach a wide enough audience.

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