I’m excited to share some of what we’ve been working on for the past few months at Blockstack. I’ve included an overview of some recent developments, an update on our hiring needs, and a look at the landscape of our technology and ecosystem. I hope you find this update valuable. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, I’d love to hear it.
We recently announced our Path to Decentralization. In that announcement we shared how we think about our duty to remove Blockstack PBC as a single governing entity of the Blockstack network, and the concrete steps we’re taking to develop and invest in separate and independent entities that will help govern and contribute to the Blockstack ecosystem.
As part of the Path to Decentralization announcement, we shared that Ryan Shea has left Blockstack PBC to form an independent entity. Though Ryan has left his formal role within PBC, he continues to be part the ecosystem, will continue contributing to Blockstack, and plans to develop and announce his new independent entity in the coming months.
Larry Salibra, an early Blockstack engineer, has formed an independent entity focused on Blockstack in Hong Kong and Blockstack PBC intends to invest in Larry’s new entity. We also have plans to form an independent non-profit in a few months.
Launch of the Stacks Genesis Block
We’re days away from launching the genesis block of the Stacks blockchain; the network launch will take approximately a week to complete. The launch of the Stacks blockchain v1 marks a new era for the Blockstack ecosystem: it is custom designed for the Blockstack network with the goal of enabling developers to easily build decentralized apps that can scale.
On Oct 22nd, we announced the timing of the hard fork that will introduce the genesis block, Stacks blockchain v1, and the initial Stacks tokens to the Blockstack network. As part of this launch, the genesis block will deliver 395M Stacks tokens to purchasers of SAFTs and interests in two private funds that were sold in our 2017 sale to accredited investors. For further details on this hard fork, please see our announcement.
We also recently introduced App Mining to the Blockstack ecosystem. The App Mining program serves as a way to incentivize and reward developers who build high-quality applications on Blockstack. Starting in December, Blockstack will start paying out a total of $100,000 per month to developer teams who build Blockstack applications. We’re excited to be working with Product Hunt and Democracy Earth as the first two app-reviewers for the program. To learn more, please see our blog post on App Mining. As token holders you’ll get an invite to participate in the review process for the next round.
Finally, we announced our advisory board for the Blockstack token funds. This seven-member advisory board — comprised of experts in distributed systems, blockchains, early stage investing, and digital privacy — will determine whether Blockstack has achieved certain milestones related to the release of funds we raised as part of our accredited token sale. The board members include university professors from Princeton, MIT and Delft University, as well as investment professionals from Foundation Capital, Lux Capital and several other investment funds.
During Q3, we published the Blockstack Roadmap, which provides a high-level overview of where we’ve been, and where we’re heading.
Authentication and Onboarding
UX of decentralized apps is a major challenge for the entire industry. Over the last quarter we’ve sought to improve the authentication and on-boarding experience for the Blockstack browser. This impacts the UX for all apps built on Blockstack. We established, and improved, baseline quantitative and qualitative metrics for Blockstack ID creation/recovery and shipped a series of browser releases introducing various UX improvements. Check out the latest version here.
We want to make it as easy as possible for developers to build on Blockstack. We recently did a soft launch of the Blockstack ecosystem documentation. The goal is to build a place where developers can go for understanding the various parts of the ecosystem and how they interact. The soft launch focused on developer documentation and browser, other parts are under construction.
New developer-focused Blockstack.org
We updated blockstack.org to better represent our focus as a developer-centric community and platform. The upgrade to the site includes easy to find developer tutorials, feature comparisons, better navigation, code examples, and much more.
The blockstack.org website, managed by Blockstack PBC, will remain focused on the core developer platform moving forward. Other ecosystem entities and tools will have their independent websites, for example the Signature Fund website: https://signature.vc.
Decentralizing the World Tour
We kicked off the Decentralizing the World Tour around the globe. The speaking tour features forward thinking leaders and relevant projects; we discuss real problems that are being solved today with decentralized technology. The tour is made up of four major event stops hosted by Blockstack PBC; over 30 new meetups started as a response to this tour.
We joined the Blockchain Association as a founding member alongside Coinbase, Circle, Protocol Labs, Digital Currency Group, Z-Cash and others. We believe that collaboration is pivotal for expanding blockchain technology more broadly and we’re excited to work with the community, as well as regulators, policymakers and academia to spread this powerful technology. Read more: A Unified Voice for the Blockchain Industry.
Internet 3.0 Podcast
The Internet 3.0 Podcast — hosted by Zach Valenti with me (Muneeb Ali) — brings you the stories of digital explorers on the frontier of decentralized protocols, cryptocurrencies, and other revolutionary technologies that are changing the face of the Internet. You can listen to the first two episodes now:
Blockstack, in partnership with ShapeShift, put out a $50,000 challenge to developers around the world to create a Universal Wallet where users hold and exchange cryptocurrencies from within a wallet they privately own. The finalists are all open source, and are listed in the wallet category on App.co. Dappy Wallet won the bounty!
A Blockstack community member released The Blockstats highlighting growth in our community. Check out his site and his forum post.
In Q4 2018, we’re focused on finishing the launch of the Stacks blockchain and meeting Milestone 1, which unlocks ~$25M in capital for Blockstack PBC. We’re opening the App Mining program to more developers and app reviewers, and expanding our engineering org to better support development efforts on our platform.
The best way to help Blockstack is by referring top candidates for the following leadership roles:
We’re hiring for roles across the organization (see full list) but the above two leadership roles are high priority for Q4.
At Blockstack, we’re building an ecosystem and not a single company. The launch of the Stacks blockchain is an exciting time for our ecosystem and we appreciate the continued support of all of you as early investors and community members!
Muneeb & the Blockstack PBC team.