Key business questions for dApps on Blockstack


Hi All,
@muneeb @larry @ryan @Gina @avthars @prabhaav @patrick @jehunter5811 @xan @shreyas

Most of you would have crossed this stage during your initial Business pitches.

We are doing Pre hackathon pitch, typical questions that were asked by Business leaders & architects are:

  • What is the typical Business model for Apps developed over Blockstack
  • How dApps creators generate revenue
  • Can advertising be done on dApps for example on Afari
  • How users can get reward for Data they share publicly or to other Analytics app
  • Role of Blockstack in building Enterprise applications
  • Any role for 3rd party advertising agency
  • How to prevent dApps (stealthy) from wrong usage (ex. hackers, terrorist agencies) and any model built to detect & prevent such usage. If so who will incur the cost (dApp or Blockstack)
  • Why should we invest in dApps created using Blockstack
  • How will Government agency investigate the user data (in case of any suspicion) and will there be any decrypt key that will be provided to Federal agencies.
  • Business model of Blockstack when compared to other Blockchain technologies (Eth, hyperledger).

It will be great if we get answers to above questions and so we can answer them during our final presentation & demo.

Kindly let us know.

Note: Not sure this is right forum and we are also doing our own research.



Hey @ShankarGanesh_PJ, thanks for posting this here and happy to help. I’ll answer your questions one at a time.

The freemium model seems great for apps like Graphite Docs. They can come out with a free, open source version for most users and then a premium paid version that is not open source and has extra features primarily geared towards businesses.

Misthos could probably do something similar to this as well. I imagine that they’ll be providing a premium version at some point and charging for that. They have another business model available to them where they could charge a fixed percentage of the assets in large enterprise Misthos wallets. This is not unlike the models of cryptocurrency custody providers today. But of course it’s facilitation through software rather than custody.

I would imagine that decentralized social networks like Afari would be able to either have non-invasive advertising or they could have a premium subscription version that isn’t open source. They could also provide transaction support and other financial services inside of the application and take a transaction fee. Last they could probably do a token, which I’m less optimistic about but could possibly work.

Stealthy has similar options available to it as Afari does. That said, it also has its messaging protocol so it could also come out with a premium service for developers and businesses.

Yes, as mentioned above advertising is possible with dApps, although it should be non-invasive. Contextual advertising (based around topics you’re viewing or searching for) is much more possible than individually targeted and personalized advertising (based around who you are as a person and lots of data known about you).

I could also imagine apps paying users for data they release. This would be pretty simple. Just ask the user to share a bit of data and then mention in the app that they’ll receive cryptocurrency deposited into their wallet. I’m not as excited about this model, however.


I would look at this in a similar way to the software providers today that simply deliver software but don’t run their own infrastructure. A company that manufactures database software doesn’t put any mechanisms in place to prevent usage in any way. A company that deploys said database software and runs a particular instance of a database can be contacted and instructed to abide by certain laws and change their operations. In the case of Blockstack apps and Blockstack data, one would need to contact either the user producing the content or the Gaia storage hubs hosting the content (if it is publicly available or private but tracked down).

It’s important to realize there’s no master decryption key in the system at all. Each user brings their own key and encrypts and decrypts their own data. This key is generated using their own device when they sign up. It’s similar to the end-to-end encryption provided by Signal and WhatsApp but such that many competing pieces of software can produce keys that are using the same protocol and interacting on the same data network.


As mentioned above, there is a pretty great role that Blockstack can play in enterprise applications. Graphite and Misthos in particular are two companies that are building apps that businesses are already using, and they could introduce more formal freemium models down the line.

As far as 3rd party advertising agencies, this is certainly possible but it should be compatible with the Blockstack values. User-owned data should be upheld and advertising should not be invasive. Well-informed user consent should be paramount.

As far as business model differences between Blockstack and other platforms like Ethereum, I’d consider a few things:

First, social networks and marketplaces can be built using both technologies and thus I’d imagine the business models to be similar. For these types of apps, though, I’d highly recommend using Blockstack over Ethereum just because it makes a lot more sense. The identity, authentication, storage, and data authorization mechanisms make Blockstack much more suitable for applications where data is the main fluid.

Second, Ethereum currently has a certain class of applications that are not intended to be built on Blockstack, at least while Blockstack doesn’t have support for smart contracts (this may change at some point). These apps include decentralized exchanges, prediction markets, and apps for which assets are the main fluid. There are other business models that are more native and suitable for these types of apps, like for example utility tokens.

Cryptocollectible apps and games are currently possible on both Blockstack and Ethereum and other platforms. Here, transaction fees and special asset sales are possible models to consider.


Blockstack provides a pretty unique, comprehensive offering for decentralized applications. Just think about how you would actually build an app with decentralized data storage and identity that isn’t burdened by blockchains (the most expensive, slow, an unscalable data systems ever conceived). You’d need exactly what Blockstack provides: decentralized identity, authentication, storage, and data authorization, plus optionally transactions and cryptocollectibles.


Thanks @ryan for taking your time and help us answering above questions. This will be great resource for all budding start-ups & new dApp developers.


@ryan your help made us to deliver effective pitch with Business & Value proposition for dApps on Blockstack.

The message went clearly to lot of people and Jury appreciated it. This made our presentation stand-out and win.