Looking to build on bitcoin’s merchant and auction shopping economy, BitWasp is a new software platform that allows entrepreneurs to get bitcoin merchant businesses off the ground.

“BitWasp is a totally free and open-source bitcoin marketplace that uses strong encryption – allowing administrators, vendors, and buyers to trade services and products anonymously or otherwise,” BitWasp’s founders, Cameron Ruggles and Thomas Kerin, told CoinDesk.

“It is really all about giving privacy and power back to the individual who wishes to buy or sell online,” they added.

The platform offers a number of security features, many of which will be familiar to those who embrace encryption. The pair commented:

“Users can upload a GPG public key so that other users can securely communicate with them. Client-side JS encryption is built in if users have javascript enabled, and we use RSA on top of this.

We also use two-factor GPG authentication to secure user accounts.”

BitWasp also has its own wallet software, which means that someone could use it without a third-party bitcoin payment processor such as Coinbase or BitPay. There are a number of features within the platform’s wallet configuration that are designed to mitigate a live wallet theft.

The founders commented: “Live wallets are a huge target for attackers, so we have settings which allow administrators to send funds to an offline wallet if the live wallet ever exceeds a specific balance.”

Online bitcoin marketplaces, particularly those that use escrow systems to hold payments, have been under scrutiny lately. One such service, Bitmit, recently put itself up for sale after experiencing a theft. BitWasp does offer an escrow feature on its platform, although it is up to merchants to be licensed for escrow or not. Ruggles and Kerin said:

“At present, we include an escrow feature, whereby the admin effectively has access to the funds. Most of these funds are kept in an offline wallet, which the admin tops up from time to time.”

The project also comes with built-in support for CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index, which aggregates pricing across a number of exchanges to formulate value.

BitWasp is still in the early stages of development. That being said, it is open-source and the code can be obtained on GitHub. There is also a BitWasp developers forum where enthusiasts can congregate. Those interested in using BitWasp, or any other bitcoin company, are advised to do their own research before committing funds.

BitWasp’s founders believe bitcoin is a way to avoid the hassle of payment processors, allowing merchants to accept electronic money with no fees whatsoever. “It is cheaper, more secure [and] easier to use than any other payment processor,” they said.

Keyboard image via Shutterstock.

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