Diwaker Gupta, Head of Engineering at Blockstack PBC, recently took to Discord for a virtual AMA. Thank you to those that were able to join and ask questions, the #ask-me-anything channel will continue to host these type of sessions from different experts and leaders in the Blockstack community.
The next big virtual gathering for Blockstack community is the Blockstack Community Townhall with Muneeb Ali, Blockstack Co-founder. Muneeb will be talking more about the upcoming Stacks 2.0 Testnet launch and taking questions throughout. A final date for the townhall will be set soon, follow Blockstack on Twitter for updates or track all events here.
Below, you’ll find everything Diwaker covered as part of the AMA; the text has been lightly edited for clarity and reordered to read one question after another.
Please note: Answers were given in real-time via Discord using current knowledge, this is not intended to be a final or permanent resource on any of the topics covered. If you have further questions, please join the channel or reach out to [email protected].
Alright, let’s get this AMA going!
What are some of the aspirational goals for developer tools that you’re looking at for future PBC development? #DiwakerAMA
We’re barely scratching the surface. Tools like Truffle have showed the kind of “force multiplier” a good developer tool can be. If we compare the state of tooling in web3 compared to most other software engineering disciplines, we have such a loooooong way to go. Needless to add, PBC alone won’t be able to do everything!
Basically as a developer I want to feel confident that the code that I write is safe, correct and does what it’s expected to do. The stake is much higher in web3 because it’s hard to change the code once deployed, and bugs can be very expensive (literally). Everything from IDE support, better debuggability, end-to-end deployments with guard rails (think staging -> production, testnet -> mainnet), managed services (ala infura) etc etc
Elijah – guidle.me
Can we setup a data marketplace with these app chains, app tokens, for example a youtube where you can ask the user to pay for the last minutes of your video? #DiwakerAMA
For sure! I actually spoke about this at a talk in the context of machine learning for dApps last October at the AI World Summit (read more here: https://floatingsun.net/machine-learning-for-dapps/)
With Clarity, we can now unlock all sorts of marketplace capabilities. App Chains are a really interesting idea, but you can do a lot with capabilities we’ll have in Stacks 2.0. E.g. it should be easy to build a model like that of computable.io on Stacks
The specific example you have of youtube and paying for last few minutes of video almost seems orthogonal? IIUC, what you need there is only unlock the tail of the video upon receiving some payment, which sounds independent of the data marketplace idea
Elijah – guidle.me
What is your motivation to work for Blockstack PBC? #DiwakerAMA
I get this question so frequently that I actually wrote a post on it here: https://floatingsun.net/hello-blockstack/
TL;DR is great team (people), that ships real stuff (product), that has an audacious vision (purpose) and I’m excited about the impact it can have (potential)
What are the most important things we need to do to ensure a successful mainnet launch? – #DiwakerAMA
At a high-level, 2 things.
- make sure the code works (correct, safe, performant etc) and
- that we actually have folks that want to use the mainnet (miners, developers, stackers etc).
So for (1), we need help from folks playing around with the testnet: testing mining, writing contracts, trying to break stuff, helping us uncover bugs etc
For (2), we need help building the right coalitions in the broader crypto community, strong two-way communication that helps us tell our story and also helps us understand the use-cases that folks are excited about etc, among other things
What are you hoping to learn from the Stacks 2.0 testnet?
Along the same lines as above, the testnet is meant to help drive up quality and to help galvanize the community. I wrote about that here: https://blog.blockstack.org/stacks-2-testnet-coming-soon/
Are there going to be testnet incentives? Can you tell us more about those incentives? –
Yes, likely. We’re still figuring out the exact specifics, but you can expect some bug bounty type things (we already have a bug bounty program on hackerone, if you didn’t know) along with a few other incentives. Hope to share more details soon.
What are you most excited about for the launch of Stacks 2.0? What does the launch of Stacks 2.0 mean for the Blockstack ecosystem?
Oh man, where to start. Stacks 2.0 is the biggest launch in the Blockstack ecosystem and has the potential to unlock so much! Besides the actual code and product, it also represents a huge evolution of the community and all the different entities in the ecosystem.
In many ways, esp for me as I’m relatively new to both crypto and Blockstack, it really feels like the “true beginning” — I’m really excited about bringing a credible alternative for building web3 apps to the world, one that’s anchored in the security of bitcoin yet is also packed with new capabilities
What are your thoughts on self Sovereign identity and how important are verifiable claims in the future road map for Blockstack? #diwakerama
If you look at Blockstack’s origins, identity / naming was how it all started. Which is to say, we think and care a lot about identity. The notion of a completely “self sovereign” identity is probably too broad to tackle here. But safe to say that I personally would like alternatives on the Internet, that enable true ownership of my identity, my data and my assets.
Right now verifiable claims exist on Blockstack, but tooling is lacking for a robust experience where you could ask for specific claims, use selective disclosure for presenting part of the claim via ZKP, etc stuff that exists on other SSI platforms. Is there any thought about expanding identity tooling post Stacks 2.0?
No specific plans. If blockstack (the project) is to be truly successful, we hope to see a rich ecosystem evolve with several entities building out different pieces, catering to different needs. PBC (the company) will constantly seek out what we feel are highest leverage / highest impact areas to work out. If that happens to be verifiable claims, great!
@diwaker Is there any interest in ramping up Linux support? Specifically Ubuntu / Debian for my use case.
You mean for the wallet? the Stacks chain software (e.g. for miners) has always been targeted for Linux primarily
Yes, I know we have a fix in progress for running the local testnet now (it panicks ~10min in), but I’d love to be able to get the wallet up and running.
I hear you. We’d love for the community to drive some of these efforts, after all, it’s all open source 🙏😊
The wallet is built on electron and node and yet wont run on one of the first class supported platforms for both of those. It has no tests. I’m baffled how you are planning to go live with a STX token ecosystem with this wallet.
If you’re using node and electron, this shouldn’t require a huge lift to support Linux. I mean, you’re going in with a base of support, and basically doing something to break that. Infinite time and resources shouldn’t be a concern. I’d be happy to try to contribute but I”m not familiar with react.
We’re working with couple of 3rd party vendors to upgrade our wallet experience, and we’ll update our electron wallet as well. Linux support will have to be best-effort though, as a matter of practicality.
That said, and I think I’ve mentioned this before in other places, folks shouldn’t interpret our inability to work on certain things as a reflection of whether or not we think they’re important. With infinite time and resources, there’s a lot one could do.
To that end, I’d be happy to explore ways to sponsor any community members that want to work on Linux support for the current wallet.
These 3rd party vendors also wont support Linux?
One of the vendors is focusing on mobile as that’s an area where we don’t have any solution whatsoever (and arguably the highest demand).
I’m 100% with you that the ecosystem needs better Linux support and we’ll do what we reasonably can to help with that.
STX 2.0 should not require BTC for token transfers from what I understand … where is the wallet that supports this?
There will be one (and hopefully more!) available during the testnet phases, so we’ll have time to kick the tires before Stacks 2.0 mainnet
What will the mining software look like? Is it already available?
Not yet, but it’ll basically be a packaging of the stacks-blockchain software. Pls watch/star the repo to stay up-to-date: https://github.com/blockstack/stacks-blockchain/
Alright folks, this was fun! Feel free to send more questions and I will get to them later
Bye for now!
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