Q2 2020 Blockstack Ecosystem Updates
As the world continues to grapple with the effects of Covid-19 and the United States battles racial injustice, I’ve been encouraged by our community’s dedication to building a more just and equitable society. These are difficult and uncertain times, but we remain committed to building a user-owned internet at a time it is more needed than ever.
This work continued during the past quarter, highlighted by Stacks 2.0 development and continued decentralization efforts. The Stacks ecosystem has steadily progressed through a series of important phases throughout its life: (a) initial R&D, (b) building and deploying public infrastructure, and (c) increased decentralization. In 2018, we released an initial ‘Path to Decentralization’ and recently published key updates to these plans which describes current and upcoming decentralization initiatives in more detail, including overviews of new entities that have formed or will soon.
With the formation of these new entities, a narrowing focus for Blockstack PBC, and the launch of Stacks 2.0, we are approaching the state of decentralization we always set out to achieve, one where no single party has too much control or influence in the ecosystem.
You can review the latest Townhall for more decentralization discussion and be sure to look for additional decentralization related updates very soon. Thank you for your tireless efforts in building a user-owned internet.
Here are some highlights from Q2 2020:
- Decentralization: The Stacks Ecosystem continued on the path to decentralization with the launch of the Stacks Foundation. The launch of Stacks 2.0 will mark an exciting new phase for the ecosystem and for Blockstack PBC, which will rename and narrow its focus. → Learn more
- Stacks 2.0: The Stacks 2.0 Testnet is now in the second phase and progressing toward the introduction of full Proof-of-Transfer mining and Stacking. View the live status of the testnet blockchain and get weekly updates.
- Stacks cryptocurrency: Stacks (STX) cryptocurrency trades internationally (outside the US) with a liquid market cap of ~$107M at current rates. Asia-based crypto exchange KuCoin is the latest to integrate STX.
- Clarity smart contract language: Blockstack PBC and Algorand have partnered to create an open-source project supporting the Clarity Smart Contract language. Our goal is to help the smart contract industry mature beyond its current state with predictable, safer, and more secure smart contracts.
- SEC Report: Blockstack PBC filed its annual report with the SEC, making it the only project in CoinMarketCap’s Top 100 that does SEC filings and releases audited financials. This is the most comprehensive SEC filing PBC has done since the SEC-qualified offering last year and covers audited financials, key developments, and highlights from the year, including app growth on the network (114 in July 2019 to more than 400).
- Independent App Teams: The Blocksurvey team closed their first enterprise client and have been shipping new product features while the Pravica team closed a $500k seed round led by 500 Startups despite a global decline in fundraising amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Patent Pledge: Blockstack PBC received new patents during the quarter, bringing the total to five and created a Patent Pledge to ensure Blockstack software is always widely available and innovation is protected.
Register for the #FuturePROOF Summit from August 22-23. This practical summit will discuss how we can support more resilient networks and people. → Learn More → Register
KuCoin Listing: Blockstack PBC entered into an agreement with Asia-based crypto exchange KuCoin to expand global access to the Stacks (STX) token, especially in Asia and other active KuCoin markets. KuCoin serves 1 in every 4 crypto holders worldwide with more than 5 million registered users and is backed by IDG Capital and Matrix Partners. KuCoin joied leading international exchange Binance and institutional exchange HashKey Pro in listing the Stacks (STX) token. → Read more
SEC Report: In July 2019, Blockstack’s offering for Stacks (STX) tokens became the first-ever SEC-qualified token offering in US history. In April, Blockstack PBC filed its annual report with the SEC making it the only project in CoinMarketCap’s Top 100 that does SEC filings and releases audited financials. We’re excited about the progress made since last summer and continue to work on increased decentralization of the Blockstack ecosystem. → Report Highlights
Clarity Language Algorand Partnership: In June we were thrilled to announce that together with Algorand, we formed an independent, open-source project to support future design and development of the Clarity Smart Contract Language. Algorand is an industry leader with deep scientific roots similar to our own. In collaborating, we hope to bring new rigor to smart contracts and welcome other individuals or entities that would like to join together to serve the needs of developers working on high-stakes transactions. Having collaborators in the development of Clarity will only accelerate maturity, increase support coverage, and expand the developer audience.
→ Nasdaq article → Blog post → clarity-lang.org
Decentralization: With the Stacks ecosystem, we’ve always shared an astonishingly ambitious goal. We’re seeking to transform the current model of the internet from one where our internet interactions are owned, tracked, and controlled by corporations, to a model where users are in control. We’re building a user-owned internet.
It has always been clear that to reach this goal, the Stacks ecosystem could not be controlled or significantly influenced by a single party. This quarter saw incredible progress toward decentralization with the launch of Stacks Foundation, progress toward Stacks 2.0, and the introduction of numerous new initiatives and entities forming that will play key roles in decentralization of the ecosystem.
→ Details on new initiatives and entities
Stacks 2.0 Testnet: In April, Blockstack launched the Stacks 2.0 Testnet as the first step on our journey to a mainnet launch later this year. The testnet is providing opportunities for stress testing the system & functionality that will mirror Stacks 2.0.
- Neon Phase (completed)
- Native STX Mining
- Peer Network
- Send/Receive STX
- Publish/Execute Smart Contracts
- Argon Phase (Current Phase)
- Stacks 2.0 Explorer
- Clarity Support in stacks-transactions-js
- Transaction Signing with Blockstack Connect
If you’re interested in the state of the testnet, you can now check on the health of the master node, blockchain API, explorer, and any previous chain resets at status.test-blockstack.com. Weekly Stacks Blockchain Engineering calls are open for any community member to join. Previous meetings can be viewed here.
Earn BTC for contributing to Stacks 2.0: Earn up to $2500 USD by identifying bugs or completing tooling & research bounties. → Bounties
Stacks 2.0 Testnet Explorer: With the launch of the Stacks 2.0 mainnet expected later this year, we have been designing and building an explorer best-suited for the needs of Stacks 2.0. In June, we shared a developer preview of Explorer 2.0 that reflects key design changes and notable new features (including support for Clarity smart contract transactions) and invite everyone to try it out and contribute to improving it.
→ Learn more and try it
Full Proof of Transfer Whitepaper: To celebrate Bitcoin halving we released the full Proof of Transfer whitepaper covering the novel mining mechanism that uses the proof-of-work consensus mechanism of an established blockchain to bootstrap and secure new blockchains. Since the first draft whitepaper (v.02) was released in February, work has progressed and we’ve gathered feedback and new information. This has resulted in a few important design decisions and updates to the mechanism, which are reflected in the new paper. → Highlighted changes → Full PoX Whitepaper
Blockstack PBC Patents and Pledge: Blockstack PBC received 5 patents in 2020. In April, we issued a Patent Pledge to ensure Blockstack software and protocols remain freely available. These patents are defensive in nature and covered by the Patent Pledge which goes beyond broad patent licenses already included as part of licenses like GPLv3 and MIT. → Patent Pledge
Clarity Smart Contract Hackathon: The two-part Clarity Hackathon gave developers an opportunity to get more familiar with the Clarity Smart Contract language while winning prizes for building contracts and developer tools. The hackathon resulted in an array of smart contracts including NFTs, escrow, property rental, auctions, profit-sharing, and even a trustless token exchange. New tools that were built during the second part include:
- Clarity Web IDE - Friedger Müffke: A one-stop-shop for Clarity development, all contained within a web browser. Use Gitpod to begin coding in Clarity immediately, with all dependencies and libraries pre-configured.
- Lumio Visual Clarity Editor - Marvin Janssen: Build a Clarity contract from the ground up using an accessible visual editor. Drag and drop various components of the smart contract, then switch to “Clarity” view to browse the source code.
- DevTool Account & Contract Manager - Léo Pradel: An Electron app for drastically simplified management of smart contracts. Load a project directory and view its contracts, deploy a new one, or generate ten stacks addresses to test various aspects of the project.
→ All Winners
Events: Switching to virtual events did not slow the community down with 60+ virtual events worldwide, including meetups, hackathons, webinars & AMA’s.
- The June Town Hall featured updates from 4 different entities within the Stacks Ecosystem as well as 7 community members.
- Consensus: Distributed where Muneeb participated in a fireside chat with Nathaniel Whittemore, Coindesk. Blockstack was also featured in the Foundations stage where we discussed general updates, Proof of Transfer ‘PoX’, and Clarity, Blockstack’s Smart Contract Language. → Watch
- DeFi Discussions:
- ReadyLayerOne where Muneeb spoke on Proof of Transfer Mining.
- Mainnet by Messari where Muneeb gave changelog updates.
- Blockstack partnered with Binance for an AMA series in China, Spain, Russia, Turkey and United States.
- Women of Blockstack mixer: The first-ever meeting happened on May 19th and was attended by the Blockstack PBC team members and community.
- Monthly “meet and greets”: These started with the goal of helping Blockstack PBC team members and Testnet Ambassadors get to know each other and collaborate on projects with one another. Email here if you’d like to join.
- DJ Ruwe made an appearance at two virtual events, playing live music for the #BitcoinHalving and at the live-coding session for Clarity devs as they hacked away during the Clartity Hackathon.
Highlighted upcoming events:
- Asia Blockchain Summit, July 15 - 19, Brittany Laughlin (Stacks Foundation) and Muneeb Ali (Blockstack) will be speaking at the summit.
- Mining Disrupt, Live!, July 22, Xan Ditkoff (Blockstack) will be speaking at the event, which covers bitcoin and crypto mining.
- #FuturePROOF, August 22-23, Resilient Networks, Resilient People. A FREE virtual event that will explore ways we can leverage crypto to build systems that empower people to take ownership of their digital lives.
→ Find all future events
- The Telegram community grew from 6,000 to more than 10,000 members and new local communities started up in the Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, Russia, Pakistan and France.
- 12 new Blockstack Evangelists joined the community from Mexico to Oman.
- Community members began creating Blockstack memes which led to a dedicated #memes channel on Discord, a Blockstack Memes account on Twitter, and a series of meme competitions.
- There have been comprehensive updates to the Blockstack Community Wiki, created and maintained by community member, Brad Baker.
App Progress & Community Contributions: Community developers built several helpful tools and applications geared toward the Stacks 2.0 testnet. Some of these tools and apps include:
- The Governance Working Group has played an important role in discussing the MVP governing structure of the Stacks Foundation, including support of the Community Board Seat to advocate the interests of community members, and have established standard operating procedures for community involvement in governance moving forward.
- The Business Models Working Group kickstarted Blockstack’s ‘Reading Group’ initiative to help community members learn together about business model innovation in crypto. The group has taken the lead on planning a hackathon for tools and products built using the Proof of Transfer (PoX) mechanism, tentatively scheduled for early August.
- The Proof of Transfer group has largely been focused on the Stacks 2.0 Testnet, with most members becoming Testnet Ambassadors. Testnet Ambassadors are community leaders focused on improving the technical experience of the Stacks 2.0 testnet and making the testnet more accessible to the broader community (by creating instructional blogs, leading technical demos, and more). To date, 30 ambassadors who have helped translate documentation into Russian, Chinese, and Korean, led 7 technical demos, written 6 instructional blogs, and built several tools to help community members work with testnet. The full list of testnet contributions can be viewed here.
- HackerNoon: WTF is Proof of Transfer (and Why Should Anyone Care)? → Read
- Nasdaq: Algorand and Blockstack Are Building a Multi-Chain Smart Contract Language → Read
- Forbes: Blockstack Argues Its Case For Blockchain On Wall Street → Read
- CNN: Bitcoin 'halving' could boost its price as more investors flock to cryptocurrencies → Read
- Yahoo! Finance: Blockstack PBC Files Annual Report with SEC → Read
- Decrypt: New blockchain app tracks COVID-19 symptoms to reduce hospital overload → Read
- Forbes: Bitcoin Halving Coincides With Worst Economic Downturn Since The Great Depression → Read
- Is 'Social Money' the Future of Web 3.0? with Bradley Miles of Roll → Listen
- Making Web 3 Magical with Sean Li (Magic Link) → Listen
- Operator's Guide to Building a Crypto Finance Startup, BlockFi → Listen
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This communication contains forward-looking statements that are based on our beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to us. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the following words: “will,” “expect,” “would,” “intend,” “believe,” or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements in this document include, but are not limited to, statements about our plans for developing the platform and potential mining operations. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that may cause actual results or performance to be materially different. We cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. We disclaim any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.