‘Finalize Early’ is a common term which you will find when shopping on the dark markets of the deep web.

When making purchases on a peer-t0-peer marketplace it is common to use escrow to arbitrate between the buyer and the seller in case of a disagreement. When a buyer makes a purchase, the money is initially paid to the escrow agent – usually the owner or administrator of the market – rather than the seller. When the purchased item is delivered the buyer will mark the purchase as ‘finalized’ and the escrow agent will then release the money, paying it to the seller. This stops vendors from taking money from customers without delivering the product.

On some peer-to-peer marketplaces vendors who have a long-established history and good reputation from customer feedback may require customers to ‘finalize early’. This means that the buyer must mark a purchase as finalized and release the coins before the order is dispatched. Vendors with a well established reputation are unlikely to sacrifice this to cheat a customer, so although the risk to the buyer is higher than if the full escrow process was used, it is considered relatively low risk. Meanwhile the vendor is protected from buyers, who do not have a reputation to protect, from wrongly claiming that a product has not been received, and are able to improve their cash flow by receiving payment earlier.

Listings which require buyers to finalize early should be clearly marked, possibly using the abbreviation ‘FE’ or ‘Fe’.

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