The OpenBazaar project is a fork of the dark-networks focused DarkMarket project created by a development team led by Amir Taaki in 2014. Brian Hoffman forked the project and pivoted the concept away from a dark networks focus to a more general merchant platform.

Amir Taaki is notable in Bitcoin for creating the Bitcoin Improvement Process, which he adapted from BitTorrent's improvement system and has been used for most major improvements to Bitcoin.

The DarkMarket project originally conceived of a decentralized market for censorship resistant commerce, in the spirit of the SilkRoad Market, and published a prototype at the Toronto Bitcoin Hackathon in April of 2014.

Although the original project was AGPL licensed and focused on serving underserved merchants who faced censorship issues, the change to OpenBazaar also changed the project to an MIT license and a deferment of addressing any censorship issues by anyone other than a centralized market operator.