Hi everyone - posting Blockstack PBC’s quarterly community and investor update here. Enjoy!
The past few months have been seminal to the growth of Blockstack’s decentralized app ecosystem and community of open source developers. We’re excited to share updates on what we’ve accomplished in the last few months. You can find the previous community update here.
If you’re interested in helping, we’re aggressively building out our team to accelerate the growth of the ecosystem. We’re currently looking for strong candidates to (a) lead marketing and (b) lead recruiting at the Blockstack Public Benefit Corp. See our careers page for details.
Thanks for your continued support and participation in helping us build the Internet 3.0.
Muneeb, Ryan, and the Blockstack Public Benefit Corp team.
*Stacks blockchain testnet
*New on-boarding experience
*Launch of app.co
Stacks Blockchain Tested
We’ve been focused on building out the core infrastructure and supporting app development and innovation on it. Regarding core infrastructure, our primary focus is on launching the Stacks blockchain network (milestone 1), and we’ve made significant progress towards it. We launched the testnet of the Stacks blockchain. This is the first step to take the Blockstack (Stacks) blockchain live. It currently allows developers to start sending and receiving Stacks tokens, and registering digital assets like namespaces and domains with Stacks. The Stacks blockchain now moves into the phase of security audits and testing — core functionality has been implemented and is live on the testnet. You can read more on our forum.
For the 3.6 billion Internet users to start incorporating decentralized applications into their daily online interactions, they are going to need app experiences that are comparable — or better — than their app experiences today. We’re laser-focused on arming developers with the right tools they need to build decentralized apps. We announced our mobile software developer kits for iOS and Android. This shows the potential to extend decentralized apps beyond desktop and reach the growing market of mobile users. One of the apps built on Blockstack, Stealthy, is building its mobile app and will be one of the first decentralized mobile messaging apps on Blockstack. You can find the forum post on the SDK launch here, and a video of our announcement at the Token Summit here.
New On-boarding Experience
We’ve released a new user on-boarding experience that reduces the barrier to entry for seamless creation of user IDs. This on-boarding experience is a significant improvement over alternatives available for decentralized platforms. We enabled new users to create IDs on mobile devices without needing to pay with any cryptocurrency. Users could initiate the sign-up process from a native mobile app, create the ID within that app, and continue using it without needing to exit to the web browser. This also allows new users to defer the step of recording their seed phrase.
Launch of a Universal Dapp Store
Blockstack sponsored the launch of a Universal Dapp Store called app.co. App.co lists and ranks hundreds of decentralized apps across all projects (Blockstack, Ethereum, EOS, Steem, etc.) The Dapp Store currently serves as an aggregator of usable dapps for gaming, social networking, productivity, and financial services. It is a discovery tool for decentralized apps built on various platforms and launched with over 150 dapps. You can read more details on the announcement here. The Dapp Store was #3 product of the day on Product Hunt.
Our bounty programs have been a successful way for us to directly incentivize developers to build Blockstack apps. We’ve had several decentralized apps emerge out of bounties, including a decentralized communication app and alternative to WhatsApp or Signal called Stealthy.im.
We’re now testing various other channels to attract talented developer teams, as well as jump-starting app development with seed investments.
$1M for social networks. Blockstack Public Benefit Corporation launched a $1M request for social networks program. This program will grant 10 developer teams $100,000 to build any kind of social network — photo sharing, microblogging, forums for specific communities — on top of the Blockstack infrastructure. Close to 200 teams applied, and there are two promising teams who have built out crypto-powered platforms for content creators.
We’ve given seed capital to top developer teams. To-date, the Blockstack Signature Fund — Blockstack’s separate funding arm — has invested $200,000 in 7 top team building apps. The Signature Fund was created to support developers who not only wanted to build an app — but a true, sustainable business. Stay tuned for more updates on the Signature Fund.
We have contributed to the education of stakeholders in the decentralized ecosystem, and outside of it.
Berlin Summit. We held our bi-annual Blockstack developer summit in Berlin, which drew 550 guests and included speakers like Edward Snowden, Nick Szabo, and Elizabeth Stark. You can read about the event and watch presentation videos here.
Token rewards for contributors. Through a formalized Community Rewards Program, open source contributors and Blockstack evangelists can now be rewarded with tokens (redeemable vouchers) for tasks they complete, from submitting pull requests to providing feedback to dapp creators. Over 500 community members have participated in the rewards program by contributing code or completing other tasks like testing or creating tutorials.
Media mentions. Blockstack and Blockstack-enabled applications were featured in the press, leading to increased page views:
New York Times: Tech Thinks It Has a Fix for the Problems It Created: Blockchain
Washington Post: The new technology that aspires to #DeleteFacebook for good
We have expanded the core team and hired for business-critical roles.
We hired for key roles in documentation engineering, DevOps, operations, and product.
The team behind Blockstack’s Public Benefit Corporation is shepherding the growth of the ecosystem, but we are committed to looking more and more like an ecosystem, and less like a traditional company. This involves forming new legal entities (i.e. separate teams for app.co), improving global participation, and distributing leadership across more positions than just the founders.
In the remainder of Q2 and in Q3, we’re aggressively working toward taking the Stacks blockchain live (i.e., milestone 1). The live blockchain will let developers send and receive tokens, and will allow users to perform network operations like purchasing digital assets, namespaces, or subscriptions. It is also the first step towards implementing app-rewards mining, a mechanism to reward developers with tokens for high-performing apps.
The project is committed to remaining fully compliant, and working within applicable law to achieve these goals. Investors should expect forthcoming information about how tokens will be transferred to their wallets when the new network successfully goes live and the genesis block of the Stacks blockchain is released.
Stay tuned for further updates. If you have additional questions about the tokens or our blockchain launch, please reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org.