20 August 2019

After the Haven app release we’ve had a few people familiar with OpenBazaar ask us why this new app is branded differently.

If it’s just OpenBazaar in a mobile app, why not call it that?

The short answer is that Haven isn’t just OpenBazaar on your phone. It connects users to the same network, yes, but it has some features (and limitations) that aren’t present in OpenBazaar. It’s also not fully open source; Haven runs the open source OpenBazaar server on your phone, but the user interface is proprietary at the moment.

To fully understand the differences, it’s important to recognize that when we talk about “OpenBazaar” we’re actually referring to multiple things.

1) The OpenBazaar Protocol

A protocol is a way for computers to communicate about something specific. SMTP, HTTP, TCP/IP, SMS and innumerable other acronyms describe protocols which are fundamental to our devices being able to understand each other.

OpenBazaar is a protocol for decentralized trade. Any computer which follows this protocol can communicate with other computers in order to participate in a transaction.

We didn’t create a nifty acronym for the OpenBazaar protocol when it was first built, which means that it’s just referred to as “using OpenBazaar,” which can be confusing because of the other uses of the term.

Haven uses the OpenBazaar protocol for transactions.

2) The OpenBazaar Software

There are multiple pieces of desktop software which have been built that are referred to as OpenBazaar.

The first is the OpenBazaar server. This has been built as the main implementation of the OpenBazaar protocol. This software is what manages stored data, encryption, and transactions. The OpenBazaar server is open source and it isn’t controlled by any organization.

The second is the OpenBazaar client. This is the user interface that communicates with and controls the server. The client can only function when it is talking to a server. The OpenBazaar client is open source and it isn’t controlled by any organization.

Haven uses only one of these pieces of software: the OpenBazaar server.

It doesn’t use the OpenBazaar client. Haven is a custom client built for mobile devices. There are other custom clients as well, such as Zokos.

Because Haven isn’t using the OpenBazaar client, it can do things the desktop client currently doesn’t do. One example is the Haven social feed, which doesn’t exist in the OpenBazaar client. It also is curated by OB1 in order to prevent abuse.

3) The OpenBazaar Network

Lastly, when people are talking about OpenBazaar they’re referring to the network of users and computers which are all running the software and using the protocol. Specifically, these users and computers are running the OpenBazaar server, since they can be accessing their server from any compatible client.

Haven is a part of the OpenBazaar network. It connects to the OpenBazaar server it runs on the mobile device and communicates directly with other people running the server, who could be using Haven or any other OpenBazaar client.


As you can see, Haven is closely tied to OpenBazaar. It uses the OpenBazaar protocol, the OpenBazaar network, and the OpenBazaar server. But Haven has its own client, giving it flexibility to do different things, and it’s managed by a company, unlike the open source and censorship-resistant OpenBazaar.

Because of these differences we choose to go with the Haven branding.

Why Haven?

Haven is built with user privacy as our top priority and we spent some time thinking through what privacy is and what privacy feels like.

Privacy feels like separation. It feels like control. It also feels safe and relaxing when we are able to do what we want without fear of others looking in.

We chose the name Haven because of the sense of separation and refuge it gives. It’s a place built to prevent your private information from being harvested or stolen. It’s a place where you can connect to and transact directly with other people, without middlemen watching your every move. It’s a safe haven from prying eyes for your commerce.

If this is something that feels as good to you as it does to us, we invite you to check it out!

Ready to get your hands on Haven?

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