“A very large portion of ‘gig economy’ startups are at the core, basically just a dispute resolution system, a reputation system, and a search engine. If you’re looking to build a decentralized version of one, maybe consider focusing on one component,” – Vitalik Buterin
After running the Listia P2P marketplace for over 9 years, the Ink Protocol team realized that the problems they were trying to solve could be generalized across all types of marketplaces. Building on those years of experience and learning from over 100M items traded on Listia, they launched a decentralized transaction system that can be used on any marketplace. The system includes self-sovereign reputation, decentralized escrow, and dispute resolution.
Ink Protocol’s decentralized transaction system is a great way to focus, as Vitalik recommended. Taking this tip a level higher, the team projected that a self-owned reputation that can move from one marketplace or app to another will change the way people buy and sell online. Ink Protocol took these two critical points into account as well as a third, 2M items listed using XNK ensures mass adoption, making XNK one of the largest real-world consumer applications on a blockchain.
Seller reputation is an important asset because buyers often choose sellers on the basis of their reputation. This is particularly true when the quality of the goods or services are hard to measure and the parties cannot perfectly predict the outcome of the transaction. As a consequence, the seller will be mindful of building and maintaining a good reputation through the information that buyers have about the seller, including previous transactions and the reports of other buyers.
Buyers will often pay higher prices from a seller with a better reputation and prefer marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy, rather than taking a risk with lower prices from a seller with a lower reputation. As a result, sellers work extremely hard to maintain a pristine seller reputation through great customer service, fast shipping, and quality products. Craigslist, OLX, and Facebook Marketplace have an extremely wide reach and are free to use. There are no transaction or listing fees in most cases but the same problem exists here, you have no idea from whom you are buying.
The Universal, Decentralized Transaction System For Any Marketplace
Ink Protocol endeavors to take away the monopolistic power from marketplaces which have the ability to modify your reputation, censor, or otherwise filter out your feedback, and most importantly, they are able to charge extremely high fees (20–30% in some cases) because they own your reputation data and you are now locked into their platform. The only way for sellers to use and benefit from this hard-earned reputation is to continue selling in that marketplace.
Self-sovereign reputation frees sellers from the confines of any specific centralized or decentralized marketplace and allows them to sell on any platform they want, such as managed online marketplaces, classifieds-style online marketplaces, social media, decentralized marketplaces, offline marketplaces (such as farmers markets and flea markets), and service marketplaces.
As designed, the Ink Protocol enables buyers to have full control over the content of each individual feedback rating, and feedback will only be tied to a verified transaction. This way the system continues to incentivize sellers to work hard on customer service, fulfillment, and quality while it allows the seller to be the main beneficiary of all this hard work. The data is completely free from any centralized party or marketplace. Buyers get peace of mind, and sellers get a transferable reputation that frees them from the confines of centralized marketplaces.
Ink Protocol is a decentralized reputation and payment protocol looking to bring transferable reputation to P2P marketplaces. It is currently live on the Listia platform and plans to expand to other P2P marketplaces where the lack of reputation is a major driver for centralization and monopolistic practices. No wonder excitement is brewing after hearing about the largest deployment and best use case for the blockchain so far.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of BitcoinLinux.
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