For quite a while now, I have been saying that decentralized marketplace apps will eventually provide an excellent alternative to sites like eBay and Amazon. By using peer-to-peer networks rather than centralized corporate website they are capable of offering many advantages over these popular shopping platforms, such as a dramatic reduction in fees, enhanced data protection, and the ability for merchants to retain full control of their online brand.
In many ways the decentralized market is a natural evolution of from services like eBay, which made its name by being among the first to offer a peer-to-peer market and auction system on the internet.
Syscoin is one of these decentralized marketplaces, and although (like competitors such as Open Bazaar) it probably still has a little way to go before it is ready for the masses, the recent release of version 2.1 takes it a step in the right direction. Already some great features are available for both buyers and sellers, and with the introduction of a ratings system now is the perfect time for intrepid entrepreneurs to start building a reputation and establish themselves as a top seller.
So to help get you started, I’ve compiled this basic guide to selling your stuff on the Syscoin market.
What you need to get started:
The Syscoin software: you can download the latest verion here.
A small amount of Syscoin to pay fees: a few pennies worth should be enough to get you started with a single listing, or a few dollars worth if you have hundreds of different products (read on for more info on fees). Currently you can buy Syscoin using Bitcoin from exchanges like Poloniex or Bittrex.
Something to sell and preferably a camera to take a picture of it!
Once you have downloaded and installed the software and waited for it to synchronize with the network (you will get a little tick in the bottom right corner when its up to date) you are ready to start.
The first thing you need to do is to transfer your Syscoin to your wallet. Click ‘Receive’ and then ‘Request Payment’ to get an address to send them to.
Creating an Alias
Your alias will be your username / store name that people will get to know you by.
To create one click ‘Aliases’ from the menu bar at the top of the app. If you want to you can search aliases which have already been registered from this tab. When you are ready to register your own, click the ‘+ New Alias’ button from the bottom of the screen. occasionally when using Windows the bottom of the window gets hidden by the taskbar, so if you don’t see the buttons along the bottom just click the little square icon at the top right to ‘maximize’ the window.
Type in the alias you want to use and add some biographical information about yourself or your store in the space marked ‘public profile’. Below this you can select whether your profile is family friendly and suitable to display in safe search and choose how long you would like to register your alias for. There are a couple of other tabs with different options to configure, but if you are just a beginner starting out you probably don’t need to bother about anything else just yet. You can always update any of the information about your alias later on.
You can now click the ‘OK’ button and your registration will be broadcast to the network and the fee taken from your wallet. The cost for this is variable to account for the changing value of Syscoin, but I paid less than 0.02 Sys for each alias that I registered for a period of 1 year. To put that in perspective, Syscoins were valued at just under one US cent each at the time. You will need to wait a short while for it to confirm before you can use your alias.
Over time your Alias will build up a reputation. You can view your current reputation as a score out of 5 alongside the total number of votes you’ve received, on the Aliases page. Of course, you can also view this information for anyone you do business with through Syscoin.
Listing physical items to sell
You’re now ready to list your first item for sale!
Head over to the ‘marketplace’ and click the ‘New Offer’ button.
Most of the stuff you need to fill in here should be familiar to anybody who has sites like eBay. You need to write an informative title for your listing, set the price, select a category, write a description and so on. If you can multiple items to sell you can set the quantity too, so that you don’t need to create a new listing for each one.
You can choose to set the price in fiat currencies like the US dollar, Euros or GBP. If you do this you will still receive digital currency, but the amount will be calculated to equal your price in fiat at the time of the sale. Alternatively, you can set the price directly in digital currency. You can also choose whether you want to receive Syscoin, Bitcoin, Zcash, or any combination of the same.
If you choose to accept Bitcoin or Zcash you will be able to receive payment with your Syscoin wallet and address, but in order to spend your coins you will need to export the private key for the Alias which received the payment and import it into a Bitcoin / Zcash wallet. To export the private key go to Help>Debug Window>Console from the Menu then type ‘alias info “your alias”‘ (with none of the quotation marks) then look for the address amongst all the other stuff it spits out and type ‘dumpprivkey “your address”’ (again without quotation). You can then import this private key into your other wallet.
If you don’t know what the optional certificate field is, its safe to ignore it.
Currently there is no separate calculation of shipping costs, so the best way to handle this is probably to set your price to include free delivery, but I guess you could probably also request buyers contact you for information about shipping costs before purchasing. Don’t forget that its a global marketplace, so if you don’t want to make international deliveries you need to make that clear in your description!
Pictures are always important for making a sale so don’t forget to add one to your listing. To do this you need to upload your image onto the web, for example to a free file hosting service like https://www.supload.com/ and then just add a link to the image in your description; make sure you link directly to the actual image rather than the web page it can be viewed on. Also make sure you use a http link and not a https link – if the link your image hosting provider gives you uses https you should be fine to just remove the ‘s’.
If you have more than one Alias you can choose which one to sell your item with under the ‘miscellaneous’ tab, where you can also change the defaults for safe search or set your listing as private so it can’t be viewed by the general public.
When you are ready click ‘OK’ to broadcast the listing and pay the fee from your wallet. Just as it was with creating an alias, the fee is very small (under a cent).
Making sales and dealing with buyers
You can view the sales you’ve made under ‘Marketplace’ by clicking the ‘Sold’ tab. From here you can view details of the order, check that you’ve received payment, communicate with the buyer, and acknowledge receipt of payment prior to shipping using the buttons along the bottom.
When somebody buys your item they can choose whether to send the payment directly to you or use an ‘escrow’ who can arbitrate over any disagreement that may arise between you for a 0.05% fee (refunded if arbitration is not required). Until you have built up a solid reputation many buyers may prefer to use an escrow to protect themselves against scammers who may take their money and never deliver the item – you are under no obligation to accept a purchase if you don’t trust the arbitrator. Merchants can get scammed too, but fortunately arbitrators do have a reputation score just like merchants so you can hopefully get a good idea whether or not you can trust them.
If the buyer has used escrow you will be able to view the details, check and acknowledge payment and communicate with both parties from the escrow tab.
Some buyers may also want to communicate with you before making a purchase, so do make sure you keep up to date with any new communications in the ‘messages’ tab as well.
You don’t need to keep the wallet running for your listing to stay live, but make sure you check in regularly and don’t leave your customers waiting!
Listing digital items for sale
If you have a digital product you can set up your listing to automatically deliver it to your customer. To do this you need to create a ‘Certificate’.
Under the ‘Certificates’ tab click ‘New Certificate’ then fill in the name of what you are selling and the appropriate category, as well as the alias you want to use if you have more than one.
In the ‘public data’ field you can add a description; anybody can view this information. Anything you put in the ‘private data’ field will be visible only to somebody who has purchase your certificate. You can use this to provide an access code, password, or download link for your buyer to access the product.
Once you have created a certificate you can sell it by simply clicking selecting your certificate and clicking ‘resell’, or by adding a new listing as described above and then selecting your certificate from the drop down menu on the ‘New Offer’ window.
As much as I’ve tried to provide a clear and easy to follow guide for you, there will inevitably be issues that crop up and things you may need to know that I’ve neglected to mention. Fortunately there is a very helpful community of Syscoin users and team members (who I relied on heavily when writing this article) that you can join here: http://join.syscoin.org/.