OpenBazaar and Haven

OpenBazaar and Haven

As a law-abiding citizen, should you have the right to eat a mushroom that has been used by other cultures for thousands of years? What if your family has a history of alcoholism, should you be allowed to take a substance that can help treat the “disease”? Why are marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms still Schedule 1 drugs when there is overwhelming scientific evidence that they have medical uses? The DEA is a criminal organization. They are a tumor being fed by our tax dollars and they are killing and imprisoning people for exercising their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Prisons are overcrowded with non-violent “criminals”. People have literally been ripped away from their families for simply possessing something that they want to put in their bodies. Thousands of non-violent citizens have their permanent record scarred every day with some form of drug-related charge. This makes finding a job, and ultimately being a productive member of society, even more difficult which often leads to more drug-use.

During the prohibition of alcohol, the government was found to be poisoning barrels of illegal alcohol in an attempt to scare people away from drinking it – thousands died. We know the younger generation is going to experiment with mind-altering substances. We need to begin regulating these substances and testing them for their purity. I’d rather not have my kid experimenting with MDMA, but if he ended up getting it, I’d want him to know the source and purity of the substance. Prohibition doesn’t work, the U.S. has been involved in a lot of futile wars, and the war on drugs is at the top of the list.

If you don’t think our government is going to step up to handle this in a timely and practical manner, you’re probably right. We came pretty close to being able to buy and sell nearly anything on the Silk Road. The Silk Road was far from perfect, but its rating system gave you a good idea of what you were getting and the trustworthiness of the seller.

Remember what P2P technology did to the music industry? Online marketplaces are beginning to go through a similar transformation. Imagine if people could easily host their own stores by downloading a piece of software and then sell items directly to buyers. This effectively cuts out the middleman (think eBay) and puts the seller in direct control of the items they’re selling. OpenBazaar is that software. You can even run your store through Tor if you want to anonymize your traffic. OpenBazaar was created in response to the take down of the Silk Road on Tor.

OpenBazaar uses “notaries” as a safeguard to protect both the buyer and seller. This is their way of ensuring the buyer and seller are protected in case there’s something amiss during the transaction. If taking down the Silk Road was a monumental task for the FBI, imagine if every seller, instead, had their own store. Selling illegal substances is not to be encouraged on OpenBazaar, it is simply a thought-exercise to explore what’s possible, and how these effects will ripple out. Unfortunately, our government is not being proactive with respect to the war on drugs so people are taking matters into their own hands.

The OpenBazaar project is now working on a mobile application called Haven, and they plan on integrating their own token as well. We need to envision a system that manufactures, tests and regulates these substances. A self-regulating model will come into existence if things continue as they are. It is impossible to stomp out this technology, the software can be forked and it’s decentralized so the only way to shut it down is by shutting down the internet. We need to begin exploring alternatives. I’m not saying this is where we should go, but we should carefully monitor the progress (or lack thereof) of those who decide to travel down this road.

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