Blockstack is an open-source effort to design, develop, and grow a decentralized computing network that provides a full-stack alternative to traditional cloud computing. Blockstack is re-imagining the application layer of the traditional internet and provides a new network for decentralized applications; applications built on Blockstack enable users to own and control their data directly. Blockstack uses the existing internet transport layer and underlying communication protocols while removing points of centralization in the application layer. The team follows the end-to-end design principle to keep the core of the network simple while pushing complexity to the clients.
Problems & Solutions
- For Users
Applications developed with Blockstack’s technology run like the traditional, web applications you know. Unlike traditional, web applications, DApps avoid abusing users by adhering to the following principles:
Users control their data, not the application developer. If you stop using an application, the application cannot access your data. When you leave the application, you take your data with you.
Users determine where to store their data. You can store your data on your computer. Alternatively, you can choose highly-available commercial storage providers you trust. The providers can only host your data; it is encrypted so they cannot unlock it to view.
Users control which applications and which third parties can access their data. Applications ask your permission to read your data, and you can withdraw those same permissions at any time. Applications cannot sell or mine your data on behalf of a third party you are unaware of.
- For Developers
Application data is stored off the blockchain for performance and scalability.
Blockstack ensures that all user data is signed and verified and (optionally) encrypted end-to-end, so users and developers can treat storage providers like dumb hard drives.
Developers do not host user data. Since users supply their storage and use public-key cryptography for authentication, applications don’t have to store anything–there’s nothing to steal when applications are hacked.
Moreover, many Web applications today can be refactored so that everything happens client-side, obviating the need for running dedicated application servers.
Features & Highlights
App Mining: Traditionally the term mining in cryptocurrency refers to the process of contributing compute resources to the network and earning a reward. In the Blockstack Ecosystem, instead of just mining through computation, developers mine by building apps and the Blockstack community funds them simply for being pioneers in the emerging Blockchain software market.
Block Explorer - It is a service for looking up info on Blockstack domain names and their associated addresses and transaction histories. With Blockstack Explorer, you get a global view of all activity happening on the Blockstack network. It makes ownership of domains transparent and makes it easy for anyone to see the history of all domain name operations. Meanwhile, under the hood, Blockstack Explorer is a Bitcoin blockchain explorer and a Blockstack name resolver in one, and you can use it as a tool to help you better understand how Blockstack DNS and the underlying Bitcoin blockchain interact as you develop Blockstack apps.
Stack Wallet - You use the Stacks Wallet software client alone or with a hardware wallet to send and receive Stacks (STX) tokens.
Token Sale & Economics
Token Utility & Use Cases
Stacks (STX) token is the native utility token of the Blockstack network and the only token currently available as part of an SEC-qualified sale. Stacks tokens are consumed as "fuel" when users register digital assets, like usernames, or when they register/execute smart contracts. Using Stacks, developers can build and distribute apps that let users maintain ownership of their data and protect their digital rights.
Stacks Tokens are or will be used as follows:
Fuel to register digital assets. The Stacks token is used to register different kinds of digital assets like usernames, domain names, software licenses, podcasts, and several others.
Fuel to register/execute smart contracts. Executing smart contracts requires fuel to fund the cost of verifying the correctness of the smart contract and executing them. Stacks tokens are also used to cover the cost of storing the smart contract in the Stacks blockchain.
Transaction fees. Stacks tokens are used to pay transaction fees for including a transaction in the Stacks blockchain.
- Anchored app chains. For apps that become massively popular on Blockstack, our blockchain has a scalability on-ramp where an app can initialize its blockchain on top of the Stacks blockchain. Such an “app chain” burns Stacks for their mining and progress.
Roadmap & Updates
- Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea met at Princeton University’s Computer Science department in 2013 and decided to start a long journey of solving critical problems of today’s internet.
- Went through Y Combinator in summer 2014, and raised a round of seed investment led by Union Square Ventures, with participation from Naval Ravikant, SV Angel, and others.
- Launched a decentralized identity system, one of the first non-financial applications utilizing blockchain technology that allowed users to own an identity without any trusted third party.
- Released initial design of Blockstack and R&D work began on scalable blockchains, peer-to-peer systems, and potential solutions for long-term storage.
- Launched the Blockchain Naming Service (BNS), introduced blockchain virtualization tech, and scaled the team to 4 core contributors.
- Released three peer-reviewed papers being accepted and published by venues like USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association.
- Started meetups for Blockstack’s technology in various cities around the world and the developer community grew to over 1000.
- 2017 Q1
- R&D work on the core infrastructure finished and Blockstack raised a $4 million Series A funding round led by USV, with participation from Lux Capital, Digital Currency Group and others to fuel growth of the developer ecosystem.
- 2017 Q2
- Released the first version of Blockstack Authentication, which allows users to sign in to decentralized applications with one click.
- Publicly published the Blockstack Whitepaper.
- Released the alpha developer platform, including a developer release of the Blockstack Browser and decentralized storage system.
- 2017 Q3
- Held the Blockstack Summit at the Computer Science Museum in Mountain View.
- Announced the Stacks Token and Mining System.
- Launched the Signature Fund for decentralized applications built on Blockstack. Received 150+ submissions in the first week.
- Converted Blockstack Inc to Blockstack Public Beneficiary Corp (PBC) with a mission to enable an open, decentralized internet.
- Launched the Signature Bounty Program with the Encrypted Token Portfolio Bounty.
- 2017 Q4
- Conducted a token sale which resulted in ~$50 million total raised, and over 800 accredited investors, qualified purchasers, and institutions participating.
- Released the Token Whitepaper and token sale details.
- Released the Public Alpha of the Blockstack Browser.
- Announced a $50,000 bounty to Decentralize Communication.
- 2018 Q1
- Held Blockstack Berlin, with Edward Snowden as the keynote speaker.
- Released Multiplayer Storage, a major upgrade to the Gaia storage network.
- Announced the $1M request for social networks program.
- Deployed Signature fund capital to app development teams.
- 2018 Q2
- Released the Stacks blockchain testnet.
- Announced the $50,000 Universal Wallet Bounty in partnership with ShapeShift.
- Launched App.co, the Universal Store for decentralized applications.
- Released the developer Alpha of Blockstack iOS and Android SDKs.
- Released a new mobile-friendly onboarding flow for mobile and desktop apps.
- 2018 Q3
- Released the Stacks wallet and security reviews of the Stacks blockchain.
- Released upgraded authentication & on-boarding for Blockstack apps.
- Held decentralizing the World Tour announced with 31 global meetups.
- Launched of developer documentation portal: docs.blockstack.org.
- 2018 Q4
- Launched the Stacks Blockchain v1, distributed tokens, and sent first Stacks transaction.
- Achieved Milestone 1 and unlocked $25M in capital.
- Released new Stacks Explorer and Wallet.
- Published smart contracting language spec as a Stacks Improvement Proposal (SIP-002) and started Rust implementation.
- Released support for custom Gaia hub configuration during user onboarding.
- Launched App Mining pilot in December with 38 registered apps.
- Prof. JP Singh joins the Board of Blockstack PBC.
- 2019 Q1
- Release of prototype virtual machine (VM) for Stacks smart contracting language.
- Release of new consensus algorithm for Stacks blockchain v2 (SIP-001).
- Release of Radiks which provides data indexing on top of Gaia.
- Feb App Mining results included 57 user-ready apps.
- TryMyUI added as App Reviewer to App Mining.
- 2019 Q2
- Blockstack Token LLC files publicly for Reg A qualification for proposed $50M token sale.
- Announce plan to pay $1,000,000 each month to Blockstack app ecosystem developers.
- 100 Blockstack apps built on Blockstack.
- Release of Clarity smart contract SDK and tutorials.
- Form dedicated QA team, automated testing, pre-release process for core libraries.
- Release of technical whitepaper 2.0 covering latest full-stack architecture of Blockstack.
- Release of in-depth report on the future of Stacks token economics.
- Addition of cross-app data sharing Collections functionality to Gaia.
- 2019 Q3–Q4
- Hardfork to new consensus algorithm: Simple client verification, higher throughput, and smart contracts.
- Release ability to create app-specific economies through app tokens.
- Launch of fully-featured smart contracting support in the Stacks blockchain, allowing for financial services functionality in apps.
- Begin paying STX to Blockstack app ecosystem developers via App Mining
- Launch ability to publish apps via Blockstack Naming System vs. DNS.
- Launch of iOS and Android apps for Blockstack authentication.
- Host Blockstack Summit 2019, the annual flagship event.
- Launch of full-scale Stacks mining.
- Launch of App Mining registration and voting directly on Stacks blockchain.
- Launch of community elections for App Mining App Reviewers.
- Release of Gaia storage upgrade, making Gaia even more decentralized and censorship-resistant.
- Release of anonymous analytics API to report on app usage, growth, and retention.
- Release of core consumer utility apps for Blockstack ID such as profile management, address book, and file explorer.
New Internet Labs - Building a browser for the new internet.
Signature Fund - Venture capital for decentralized apps.
App.co - Real-time funding for decentralized apps.
FBG Capital - FBG Capital is a digital asset management firm in blockchain-based capital market.
ZhenFund - ZhenFund is a seed fund founded by former entrepreneurs to invest in the most promising innovators. New Oriental co-founders Bob Xiaoping Xu and Victor Qiang Wang established ZhenFund in 2011 in collaboration with Sequoia Capital China. ZhenFund now has a network of over 600 portfolio companies, including over 10 unicorns based in China. ZhenFund is honored to have been ranked “#1 Early-Stage Investment Firm” by Zero2IPO five years in a row 2014-2018.
SV Angel - SV Angel is a San Francisco-based angel investment firm run by Topher and Ron Conway. They help portfolio companies with business development, financing, M&A and other strategic advice.
Winklevoss Capital - At Winklevoss Capital, the team believes in determined entrepreneurs. Risk-taking is just in their blood. By providing guidance, relationships and capital, we reinforce their pursuit of a frictionless world and a better human experience. Because those who dare to fail greatly, dare to achieve greatly.
Foundation Capital - Foundation Capital was founded in 1995. As an early-stage venture capital firm, we’ve lived through the emergence of the World Wide Web, the enterprise war of the 90s, the dot-com bubble, Web 2.0, the mobile revolution, the Great Recession, the rise of Big Data, software’s ascension to the cloud, and the birth of blockchain.