Blockstack Primer: Introduction to the Decentralized Browser
Every company is founded based on a change they would like to bring to the world. Facebook was about networking many individuals together under one domain, and Amazon was about making it possible to buy anything from anywhere. But what has happened along the way is users and their information have become a tradable commodity.
Blockstack’s Ideals and Goals
One of the core ideas of the start-up Blockstack is we should all be able to retain our data. Rather than hand over all your data, you would just be able to use it as an identifier to gain access, much like an ID to get into a secure location.
If you wanted to distill Blockstack down to a single idea, it is that of a decentralized browser. You have all the same features of a regular browser, but the storage, identity, and other features are all decentralized. What this means for developers is they no longer have to worry about certain aspects of their creations, as the Blockstack platform handles those. This frees them up to work on building applications on top of the Blockstack platform to help the users.
High Profile Investors
One of the best signs in an early stage start-up is the quality of the investors. They signal a value to the idea and possibility of execution that would be hard to verify without conducting close-quarters interviews and research, which isn’t always possible for users.
The vision of a free and open Internet is one that most of the top investors share for the future of technology. Based on recent debates about net neutrality and how the protocols should be run, it seems like we are in dire need of a more democratic system of running the Internet.
The beauty of something like Blockstack is that it has huge social value, as well as economic value. Thinking of users in restricted countries like China or North Korea, Blockstack could be helpful for freeing them from the oppression they currently face by opening up the Internet.
Most investors look for situations where there is a possibility of innovating an old business model and disrupting the industry as a whole. It seems like major Internet players have much too much power and Blockstack is a potential way of changing that.
OpenBazaar, Tierion, and ConsenSys are three of the most prominent companies which have been building their product on the Blockstack platform. Tierion’s main use is in the verification of data and files, and OpenBazaar is an e-commerce company aiming to connect buyers and sellers using a DAO.
A recent trend in the blockchain community has been belated releases of tokens. For some companies, there is not an obvious use case of a token, and it doesn’t make sense to release one for pure fundraising, since regulators might perceive that unfavourably.
On October 10th, 2017, Blockstack announced the debut of their token and released a white paper. The token, Stack, is centred around spam control and creating proper incentive structures on the Blockstack platform. Between November 1st and December 1st, the registration and sale of the tokens occurred.
The ICO was extremely successful, and raised money from nearly every big investor in the game, including Union Square Ventures, Foundation Capital, Lux Capital, Winklevoss Capital, Blockchain Capital, Digital Currency Group.
Future of Decentralized Apps
With 12,000+ developers currently active in the development of decentralized applications that work with identity, storage, and tokens that work in applications which are user controlled, the future of Blockstack seems bright.
The token ICO received a lot of attention because of the high-quality investors who showed an interest in it, but this is also a platform that has clear promise. Much like Ethereum’s use case, Blockstack stands to benefit from the fact that value can actually be captured in this protocol, which wasn’t possible when the Internet first debuted.
Blockstack’s power is in its ability to ride some major economic and social trends, and the combination of high profile investors and its quickly scaling platform is a positive indicator for its future.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.