Thank you to the NanoNews Community for participating in Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Bloclstack on July 21, 2020. This guest star CEO & Production Partner Xan Ditkoff. If you were unable to join the live AMA, no worries, here comes our 33th AMA recap!
We are glad to meet here
Xan Ditkoff, Prodution Partner at Blockstack
For taking your time out from busy schedule for the AMA!
Q1: Can you introduce yourself to the community? What is your background and how did you join Blockstack?
I’m Xan. I’ve been at Blockstack PBC for a little under three years, leading application development on top of our technology, as well as focusing on STX Mining and Stacking. Blockstack originally came out of Princeton, cofounded by Muneeb in 2013 as an identity solution on top of Bitcoin. The company then went through YCombinator in 2015, during which time the idea for a user owned internet really came together
Q2: Can you briefly describe what is Blockstack? and what makes Blockstack different from other competitors?
Blockstack is building Web 3 anchored to Bitcoin. We believe that Web 3 will emerge around the Bitcoin ecosystem vs on some separate smaller network. The Stacks blockchain interconnects with Bitcoin and adds the necessary features like smart contracts and internet assets registration
Q3: What are Blockstack Progress from the beginning until now?
The two main roadmap items are (a) launch of the Stacks 2.0 mainnet (testnet for Stacks 2.0 went live in April) and (b) increased decentralization of the ecosystem (so several other entities and players other than Blockstack PBC contribute to the ecosystem). Full roadmap is at https://blockstack.org/roadmap
Stacks 2.0 is our master blockchain design. It’s the blockchain we wished existed when we were starting off in 2013. The fundamental issue is that having full smart contracts at Bitcoin level is not secure, and registering millions of internet assets at Bitcoin level is not scalable. Stacks 2.0 interconnects with Bitcoin to re-use the security of Bitcoin and adds the missing pieces of the puzzle i.e., a predictable smart contract language and scalability for Web 3 apps and assets
Q4: What technology stands behind and What are its advantages?
Blockstack is easy to build on and is scalable. Our technology stands for two things: (a) Giving users property rights like they have in the real world, over their data, identity, apps, and digital assets.
(b) Extend BTC’s functionality with STX as a new use case. We don’t believe BTC’s utility stops at sound money…we think it is the bedrock for a user-owned internet. You’ll see that with the upcoming Stacks 2.0 network upgrade where our professional grade smart contracts are powered and secured by BTC (more on that soon). STX holders also earn BTC for holding the requisite amt of STX (similar to staking but earning BTC instead of the native currency)
Q5: What are the major milestones Blockstack achieved so far & what are in future pipeline?
Blockstack has always taken a careful, well-researched approach to everything, including the R&D and technology but also regulations. We did the first-ever SEC qualified offering, and recent trouble of projects with the SEC (for example Telegram) is an example of why a careful approach is important. Same is true for the technology where we’ve taken a careful well-researched approach vs more experimental designs that may not work.
Q6: What do you think about DeFi? Does this high hype have an impact on Blockstack future plan?
Big fan of everything going on in the DeFi space. I don’t think DeFi is going to disrupt the existing financial system, but I do think it’s going to be incorporated into the existing financial system. Once they can get comfortable with the regulation and the risk, it’s golden territory for Wall Street.
I think Proof of Transfer (PoX) actually could enable DeFi to be built on top of it and on top of Bitcoin. Stacking means that there will be some critical mass of assets locked up on the Stacks network. This lock up, compounded with BTC earnings from adding value to the network by Stacking, is a dynamic that can be built around. Lending, Stable coins, more is probably possible. We’ll have to wait and see what gets built
So, do you think this DeFi user will always go up every time?
Well depends what you mean go up. I think the space is still very early, and a lot of the deeper risk analysis that needs to be done hasn’t yet
that being said, it’s still really exciting to see what’s getting built
Q1: The whitepaper says that the miners participating in the Stacks blockchain must compete to lead blocks by transfering Bitcoin, but how you guarantee that the users Will not cheat transfering external BTC to keep the Lead?
Not sure what you mean about transferring external BTC, but STX miners have to interact with both the Stacks Blockchain and Bitcoin Blockchain. So there mining activity is public and confirmed on two chains
In fact, we spent a ton of time on the consensus mechanism because it needs to deal with the possibility of forks happening on two separate chains
and it does so
Q2: What does the launch of Stacks 2.0 mean for the Blockstack ecosystem? How can the community help support Stacks 2.0?
Stacks 2.0 is our master blockchain design. It’s the blockchain we wished existed when we were starting off in 2013. Stacks 2.0 interconnects with Bitcoin to re-use the security of Bitcoin and adds the missing pieces of the puzzle. We’re currently at the second phase of our testnet. The community can definitely help us test, poke, and tinker our testnet at every phase. You can see all on going bounties here: https://www.blockstack.org/testnet
Q3: How friendly and robust a dApp running on Blockstack in comparison to a dApp running on other networks? How can a developer start to build on Blockstack network?
in terms of the dapps themselves, there are over 400 of them today and they range from hackathon level projects to sophisticated teams building with vc funding. You can check out one here https://www.pravica.io/
that one is funded by 500 start ups and currently part of long hash’s accelerator
Q4: What is Blockstack PoX Mining and when is the Blockstack 2.0 mainnet project launch planned?
Proof of Transfer is a consensus mechanism design that uses Bitcoin’s Proof of Work (PoW) to launch new blockchains that are anchored in Bitcoin’s security. Further, PoX can give incentives to participants in such new blockchains in the form of earning Bitcoin. Such Bitcoin rewards were not possible before PoX. These rewards can potentially be used for use cases like consensus participation, ecosystem developer funds, incentives for specific players, etc.
Mining STX is really easy. Proof of Transfer and STX Mining work the same as Bitcoin, Miners spend something valuable to compete to mint a new digital asset, just in the case of STX Mining, that something valuable is Bitcoin itself instead of electricity. Because of this, all you need to mine STX is Bitcoin. There’s no requirements for special or advanced hardware. Right now on testnet mining is command line based, but that is the most technical it will ever be.
Mainnet right now is scheduled for October, but that may move earlier or later depending on what bugs we come across as we progress throught the stages of testnet
Q5: I have experienced many mining systems, and I am very interested in your mining system. Can you share the differences and advantages of Blockstack network mining compared to other systems?
In addition to what I set above, Stacks miners transfer Bitcoin to process new blocks and mint new Stacks Tokens. The Bitcoin they transfer is forwarded to holders of Stacks Token. The process requires no electricity or special hardware and makes the Stacks Blockchain inherit the same security as Bitcoin.
it’s more of a trading type activity than it is like mining bitccoin
Currently attracting real users and mass Adoption is a problem for Blockchain projects. So how will $STX solve this problem?
For layer 1 projects, I think this really comes down to enabling applications and products that get real world use. Making blockstack easy and secure to use are big steps in that direction. The more we can incentivize teams like the one behind Pravica to solve problems with our technology, the more users/adoption we’ll see
What strategies did blokcstack use to attract some investors? does blockstack have investors outside of crypto for now?
We went a different route from most projects in this space. We started as a technical project out of Princeton, before being accepted and going through ycombinator. YC exposed us to investors outside of crypto, like our main investor USV. We also have been lucky to get some great investors internationally, such as Hashkey, SNZ, ZhenFund, Spartan, and others
What is the main focus of Blockstack in terms of technology at the moment? Regarding technology (e.g. POX, Gaia, Stacks 2.0, etc), how far are Blockstack in them at the moment?
The main focus is on PoX and the release of mainnet. Gaia has been live in the 1.0 of the network since 2017, along with Blockstack DID’s and limited usage of the token. PoX will also implement clarity smart contracts and allow app developers to use them for business models or in app interactions
In April, Blockstack launched Stacks 2.0 Testnet as the first step in our journey towards launching mainnet later this year. And there are two phases, the Neon Phase and the Argon Phase, can you explain that phase? And is there a new system in each of these Phases?
There are actually 5 phases.
Phase 1: Neon basics (completed)
Focus: native STX mining (proof of burn), peer network, send/receive STX Nodes connect to one shared public Bitcoin node running in regtest mode
Phase 2: Argon integration (in progress)
Focus: smart contracts, Explorer, other integrations Nodes connect to one shared public Bitcoin node running in regtest mode.
Developers can upload a smart contract and call it (directly and via another contract).
Transaction fees and resource limits in Clarity both work.
A webapp that can interact with testnet contracts: both read and update state
Serve blocks, transactions and neighbor-data via a local HTTP endpoint
Verify side-car is processing and serving data correctly
Verify basic Explorer and wallet functionality
Phase 3: Krypton
Focus: Validate PoX basics: miner get rewards, St
ackers get BTC distributions Nodes connect to Bitcoin node(s) running in regtest mode
Nodes connect to Bitcoin node(s) running in regtest mode
Scope (in addition to what’s in Phases 1 and 2)
Validate PoX basics: miner get rewards, Stackers get BTC distributions
Validate PBC Stacking wallet against testnet
Test all above against a “forking” Bitcoin chain
Phase 4: Xenon
Focus: hardening and upgrade testing Nodes connect to Bitcoin testnet
Phase 5: Staging – perpetual testnet
Nodes connect to Bitcoin testnet. This testnet should live on potentially forever as a “known” staging environment for anyone wanting to build / test against Stacks 2.0
Can we know about STX staking? What’s the reward like? What’s the minimum amount I can stake? Where can I stake presently?
This is called Stacking. STX token holders who lock up their tokens are forwarded the BTC spent by miners. A community member actually made a high level calculator here that you can check out stxstacking.com
What are the future plans for Blockstack Project ? Do you have any exciting things down the pipeline that you can share?
Aside from the launch of the Stacks 2.0 network, we also are doing a lot of work around decentralization. We recently posted this on some of the new independent entities in the ecosystem and what it will look like post mainnet launch. You can see it here https://blog.blockstack.org/the-stacks-ecosystem-next-steps-on-the-path-to-decentralization/
Is there any possibility that BLOCKSTACK will integrate into defi?
DeFi isn’t something Blockstack is focused on developing ourselves, but we do think there are some very interesting opportunities to create assets or financial building blocks on top of Proof of Transfer, the consensus mechanism for the Stacks chain.
Telegram Group: https://t.me/BlockstackChat
Telegram announcements: http://t.me/BlockstackUpdate
Blockstack Indonesia community: https://t.me/BlockStackChatIndonesia
Official Website: https://www.blockstack.org
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