BlockStack & ICO Speaks AMA Summary

Blockstacks AMA

Ask Me Anything with BlockStack at ICO Speaks: Summary

November 16th BlockStack Ask Me Anything session at ICO Speaks telegram chat. From the BlockStack side, there were:
👨💻  Joe Bender| Developer Evangelist @joebender
👨💻 Rohan| Community Manager @rohanshr

ICO Speaks AMA

Joe Bender| Developer Evangelist
Hi everyone! Joe bender here from Blockstack.

Well, I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, receiving my Masters in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. After gaining an interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in 2016, i moved to New York City and joined ConsenSys to work on Ethereum. I joined Blockstack as a Developer Evangelist in April 2020, looking to spread awareness of the technology and empower developers to build powerful decentralized applications. My favorite thing about the blockchain ecosystem is the passionate, thriving community full of eclectic, ambitious thinkers. 

Excited to be here, and thanks for having me!

Rohan| Community Management and Marketing Department
Hi, My name is Rohan, I’ve been helping out with Community management for over an year now. I am also helping Blockstack expand into the local community, and all of you are more than welcome to join the our main community 


_______________________ Let’s get started! __________________________

Q: What is BlockStack? Is it a Token or does it have a unique blockchain?

A: Stacks brings apps and smart contracts to Bitcoin. We believe that Web 3 will emerge around the Bitcoin ecosystem vs on some separate smaller network. Stacks blockchain connects to Bitcoin and enables smart contracts. We unlock the $250B of BTC capital directly around Bitcoin and turn it into active capital that can be deployed in smart contracts.

We are VERY pro BTC…and so is our community. You can think of us as a giant gear attached to BTC that utilizes its power, we believe we’ll be the first of many.

The Stacks 2.0 mainnet launch, currently anticipated around December 15th, 2020, is closer to the launch of a whole new project, than a simple upgrade from Stacks 2.0. It is setting the stage for DeFi and other typically Ethereum-based activity to move to Bitcoin, while positioning Bitcoin as the foundation for a better internet that’s owned by its users.

 Blockstacks AMA
Q: What does Stacks 2.0 mean to the STX ecosystem?

A:  The Stacks 2.0 blockchain brings apps and smart contracts to Bitcoin. Proof of Transfer, which connects the Stacks chain to Bitcoin and makes this possible, also makes Stacks (STX) a unique crypto asset. By ‘Stacking’, or locking STX to the network and sending periodic transactions, STX holders actively support PoX consensus, further securing the network and earning bitcoin (BTC) rewards from the protocol for doing so.

Q: Why Bitcoin?

A:  Bitcoin is the original innovation that started the entire crypto industry. It has some of the most sophisticated core developers. There are many projects that are reckless and don’t understand why Bitcoin developers make certain design decisions and they wrongly think that Bitcoin’s limited scripting language or smaller block size are technical disadvantages. These are actually very sophisticated technical decisions that will ensure stability and durability for Bitcoin while other potential competitors fumble. There already is hashpower consolidation for Bitcoin and there might be more consolidation in the future. After 10+ years of production it’s quite clear that we have a winner for the reserve cryptocurrency and settlement layer for the entire crypto industry and it’s Bitcoin. No other system even comes close. So with that in mind, we want to further expand the Bitcoin ecosystem and innovate around the Bitcoin ecosystem for Web 3 and smart contracts instead of starting separate competing networks.

Blockstack AMA

Q: When will Stacks 2.0 Mainnet will be launched?

A: Earlier we gave out a 6 week window of Nov to Dec 15th. All of you should *assume* the latest date i.e., Dec 15th. Any questions about progress before that are not helping anyone. If for some reason it happens before Dec 15th, we’ll give everyone a notice and let you know.

Here’s a quick overview of the current development:

You guys can follow the testnet status progress here: or you guys can join our current bounties and help improve the security of Stacks 2.0. Those who disclose bugs and the techniques they used to exploit them are rewarded.

Blockstacks AMA

Q: How can we earn BTC with STX?

A: Stacking rewards Stacks (STX) token holders with bitcoin for providing a valuable service to the network by locking up their tokens for a certain time.

Stacks (STX) token holders do not automatically receive Stacking rewards. Instead, they must:

> Commit to participation before a reward cycle begins

> Hold ~94.000 Stacks (STX) tokens (Dynamic)

> Lock up Stacks (STX) tokens for a specified period

> Set a Bitcoin address to receive rewards

>Token holders will have to use software like apps, exchanges, or wallets that support participation in Stacking.

The Stacking mechanism can be presented as a flow of actions:

blockstack AMA

Q: What is your strategy to marketing and for Mass Adoption? What message do you want to send to community through AMA today?

A: I think of adoption in two ways: developer adoption and user adoption. We’ve seen some success in the last two years on the developer adoption front. The number of independent projects built on top of us passing 400 at the end of last year shows that. We’ve also seen recent adoption of our Identity solution, passing 1 million verified identities. All of this being said, that is not the same as active users and I think there’s a lot to be done still to reach real adoption.  

The focus now is (1) on providing developers with tools that both enable more experimentation and are easy to use, and (2) on making the network easier for end users. This means removing friction at every point, and allowing the end user to dictate their online experience.

We have team members all around the world in different communities and there are a number of entities within the ecosystem in different areas around the world that all contribute. I work from Brooklyn and generally focus more on developer outreach for example. I think we have to reach new users by doing events like this AMA, and getting the token and technology in front of communities. We also need to continue to make the technology easier to use!

Q:  A new consensus protocol was introduced in the Blockstack whitepaper called Proof of Transfer (PoX).  What’s new in PoX and how is it different from Proof of Stake (PoS)?

A:  Proof of Transfer is a consensus mechanism that extends the security of existing PoW chains like Bitcoin, and allows a new network to anchor to an existing PoW network.  In the case of Blockstack, this gives the Stacks network similar security properties to Bitcoin from Day 1, while still allowing us to offer developer tools like Smart Contracts, without modifying BTC’s protocol.

Proof of Transfer is more similar to Proof of Work based consensus than Proof of Stake. Just like with a Proof of Work network, Proof of Transfer requires spending something valuable in order to mint a new asset. Bitcoin requires miners to spend electricity in order to create BTC. The Stacks Chain and PoX require miners to spend BTC in order to create STX. You only need to go from electricity to digital value once.

There is a staking-like component to Proof of Transfer called Stacking. Stacking is when STX Token holder lock up their tokens, and every cycle (every 7 days) broadcast a BTC address and support for a Stacks chain tip to the network. In exchange for this service, they are sent the BTC that is spent by miners. While this sounds similar to staking, it is not actually necessary for the network to run properly. With PoX, miners are still the ones responsible for securing the chain and making sure the network progresses normally. Stackers simply make the network more decentralized, and give miners an extra incentive to be honest.

Q: What are the future plans for Blockstack Project ? Do you have any exciting things down the pipeline that you can share?

A: I think something SUPER exciting was our announcement the other day that the Stacks Blockchain API now supports Coinbase’s Rosetta Data standard and construction APIs. This gives our devs access to 15 new endpoints. Rosetta Data and Construction APIs. Combined, these APIs provide the ability to read and write information (e.g. blocks, transactions, and balances) to/from the Stacks 2.0 blockchain with a standardized format. It’s so important to support these open industry standards to make blockchain integrations more streamlined and faster.

Q: DeFi is the new frontier and already buzzing in 2020, what roles do you play in innovativeness of DeFi and what’s your approach to DeFi and ultimate DeFi solutions?

A: Totally agree that the explosion of DeFi in the last year or two has been spectacular to see. People finally putting their crypto to work! At Blockstack, we love the cryptoeconomic magic that goes on behind the scenes in DeFi, and are trying to bring that to the Bitcoin ecosystem. 

First, I’d almost say that the Stacking process is a sort of DeFi in and of itself! The fact that you can lock up $STX, and receive a base currency like Bitcoin in return, is a pretty cool cryptoeconomic mechanism. Second, the Clarity smart contract language is going to open up a whole world of dApps in the Blockstack ecosystem. Stacks 2.0 is the blueprint for building exciting things on Bitcoin. A trustless token exchange? Minting digital collectibles? Facilitating property rental? It’s all enabled with Clarity. To answer your question, DeFi is awesome, and it’s on Stacks 2.0 😀

Q:  How has ” ALGORAND ” contributed to the development of BLOCKSTACK ?

A:  ICYMI, a while ago Blockstack and Algorand jointly announced an independent open-source project to support a first-of-its-kind smart contract language, Clarity. Teams run by Blockstack Founder Dr. Muneeb Ali, a Princeton Ph.D in computer science, and Algorand Founder Dr. Silvio Micali, a computer science professor at MIT, will collaborate on Clarity design and development. 

To date, this is the first time two leading cryptocurrency projects have come together to release an alternative smart contract language that is purpose-built for the needs of developers working on high-stakes transactions in the hundreds of millions of dollars, which require more predictability and reliability than current solutions. It was a no-brainer to combine our communities strength to get more eyes on the Clarity language, and more builders pushing the limits of what is possible with it. Algorand is helping make Clarity contracts as robust and secure as possible, while also putting a focus on interoperability.

Q: Why Choosing BlockStack as project name?

A: Good question! I think it’s because we were a technology ‘stack’ for ‘block’-chain technology! HOWEVER, we actually just unveiled that we are transitioning our brand over to a new identity: Hiro!

Q: What level of knowledge do I need to have and what do I need to become a miner or Staker in Blockstack?

A: 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. Soon there will be browser-based, simple platforms to handle the stacking component.

Q: As you know Covid-19 has a large impact in the crypto Market, So How can your company maintain its project and also the team that are working hard during this pandemic?

A:  I joined the team right as the pandemic was accelerating, and was blown away by how unfazed the team’s development process was. We are fully remote at the moment, but with our international team we were already equipped and prepared to not be working in a physical location. Our engineers are heads down on testnet development currently, and I would guess that remote life has even helped with the programming sprints! Blockstack really cares about the safety and mental health of its employees, and has been extremely accommodating in ensuring the team feels comfortable and secure with whatever work modifications. 

We’ve also doubled-down on our virtual event lineup. The last few months we have hosted numerous hackathons, workshops, town halls, and digital meetups. Our conference FuturePROOF was a massive success, and we’re planning an awesome Stacks 2.0 mainnet kickoff celebration. Certainly unprecedented times, but we are full steam ahead to Stacks 2.0 mainnet!

Q: What is the ultimate vision that Blockstack is trying to achieve within the cryptocurrencies market? Obviously the whole space will experience huge growth in the upcoming years, but what role would you like Blockstack play in this?

A: There are two core problems we’re trying to solve:

(a) a way to scale web 3 apps to hundreds of millions of users, and… 

(b) provide verifiable contracts. 

These two are major bottlenecks to Web 3 adoption.

Currently Web 3 apps can’t scale to hundreds of millions of users and we were able to solve that problem over years of R&D and systems design. The project was started by scientists from Princeton University with years of experiencing researching core protocols. 

The Clarity smart contracts language is predictable and contracts can be verified that they will only do what they’re supposed to do and not do harmful things. These two are fundamental advancements to making web 3 real.

Q: One of the most interesting features of Blockstack is the Clarity smart contracts. What is the difference between this and the Ethereum smart contracts?

A: Blockstack watched and waited the last few years as other protocols released smart contract languages, and we think that the lessons we learned help us craft a simple but powerful language that brings expressive functionality to Bitcoin. The Clarity smart contract language optimizes for predictability and security. Smart contracts allow developers to encode essential business logic on a blockchain. These contracts execute in an open, verifiable, and secure way.

The Clarity language is predictable and uses precise and unambiguous syntax that allows developers to calculate exactly how their contracts will be executed. It is also secure by allowing users to supply their own conditions for transactions that ensure that a contract may never unexpectedly transfer a token owned by a user. Finally, Clarity is not compiled. Contracts written in Clarity are broadcasted on the blockchain exactly as they are written by developers. This ensures that the code developers wrote, analyzed, and tested, is exactly what gets executed

ICOSpeaks hosted an AMA Session with the BlockStack Team. That’s all for today.
Thanks to all users who participated.
Thanks, BlockStack Team for being with us
Thanks, all and see you soon😉
Cheers 🥂


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