The old trope of independent and small businesses needing to adapt in order to compete is true.
However, when these businesses seek out new opportunities online and trade in online marketplaces, they face natural limits regarding their independence. While most of them do provide a gateway these companies need in order to find new business, there are limits involved. In a Guardian article published last year by an online-shop owner, she described her peers as “powerless against its often arbitrary decisions,” as she stated.
Online shopping is sometimes perceived as one of the most centralized spaces that currently exists, as the online marketplaces are considered consolidated, with limited autonomy given to the merchant. Additionally, with any centralized format, risks are involved. With online shopping, these risks include susceptibility to fraudulent activity and risks for hidden charges. Furthermore, centralized marketplaces and e-commerce platforms have been slow to adopt cryptocurrencies as payment, as few are equipped to deal with crypto transactions.
GAMB, which stands for Global Alliance of Merchants on the Blockchain, is being built by the German software giant Gambio. GAMB is trying to give power to the merchants, allowing sellers located on the marketplace platform to contribute to the rules that govern them and their businesses – unlike a more centralized marketplace.
According to them, the advantage of blockchain technology for the online marketplace is the transparency. The decision regarding features and services, as well as cost and fee structures, will not be written in stone. Instead, merchants will be able to decide amongst themselves in a decentral autonomous organization. They hope merchants will become members of this alliance, thus granting them access to participate in the decision-making process.