This blog is now an archive. Find content from Hiro here and Stacks news and announcements here.

Developer Experience: Q3 2019 Highlights

The Blockstack PBC team is relentlessly focused on helping developers make high-quality decentralized apps. This focus naturally covers developer tools, but also extends to the Stacks Blockchain, platform reliability, app funding, education, and community building. You are the center of our universe, and we want to get better and better at making you successful.

Each quarter we reassess our strategy, priorities, and incorporate developer feedback. Based on your feedback from our Q2 survey we:

  • Put serious resources toward improving user onboarding, leading to a formation of our new User Success team.
  • Focused on shipping a developer preview for Collections.
  • Spent more time testing and merging your wonderful PRs in blockstack.js, Gaia, and mobile SDKs.
  • Completed the necessary token sale and distribution activities for our SEC qualified token offering.

Authentication and Onboarding

We formed a User Success team that’s researching new approaches to onboarding people into Blockstack apps both efficiently and effectively. Our aim is to ensure that users will be knowledgable and excited enough during their first experiences to more likely convert into recurring users. We’re also developing a browser extension that will empower desktop users to sign smart contract transactions once Stacks V2 is live. Look out for updates and a beta release coming soon!


We released the developer preview of Collections, allowing to users to share data across Blockstack apps. In the preview you can try the Contacts Manager demo app and integrate your app with the Collections API. We’re looking forward to your feedback and future releases.

App Mining

This quarter we implemented native STX token payments and increased overall App Mining payouts. Additionally, we continued improving App Mining with the guidance of App Miners and the broader community. A full list of program changes is available in the App Mining repo.

Here is a summary of the high-impact App Mining improvements from Q3:

  • Increased payouts from $100k to $200k and launched the full timeline announcement to target paying $1M per month by May 2020.
  • Created a new Maker Portal for updating payment addresses, and opt into STX payouts.
  • Worked with the community to determine a new ranking process for Awario that is more resistant to gaming and better incentivizes important marketing activity.
  • The audit period was extended and a changelog added so the community can better help verify rankings before payouts occur.

SDKs & Gaia

Based on your open PRs and survey feedback, we decided to prioritize the following upgrades:

Documentation and Tutorials

  • We redesigned the Search functionality to allow you to examine results from the Forum or the Documentation.
  • Our tutorials were all refreshed to standardize on React which allows us to ensure the tutorials support multiple OSs from a single code base (mac OS, Windows, and Ubuntu). There is a Vue specific tutorial repository for the Todo List tutorial.
  • We also expanded or added developer-specific documentation of the following features:


Following the developer preview launch of Clarity, we’ve been hard at work fixing bugs and adding more language features. Notable improvements:

Stacks Blockchain V2

Besides supporting the Clarity improvements above, one big focus area for the team in Q3 was SIP-004 which describes “a Merklized Adaptive Radix Forest (MARF) — an authenticated index data structure for efficiently encoding a cryptographic commitment to blockchain state.” This was implemented and merged in PR 1071, and integrated with the Clarity VM in PR 1084. Work continues on finalizing the structure, validation, and lifecycle for transactions and blocks in the Stacks blockchain and can be published soon as SIP-005.

Platform reliability

In light of some large-scale service-provider outages in late Q2 that impacted our services, we added some redundancy and disaster-recovery capabilities to our internal infrastructure. Previously, such outages would impact Blockstack authentication, access to Gaia, our explorer etc. We are now resilient against such outages impacting authentication and Gaia, and we’ll improve availability across the rest of our infrastructure over the next few months.

We also made significant performance improvements to — improving page load speed dramatically. Finally, we updated the EC2 AMI for Gaia and also provided technical support to several community members trying to run their own Gaia hubs.

Community and events

  • Blockstack participated in 60 events worldwide, which included meetups, hackathons, conferences, webinars and AMA’s. Highlights included: zCon in Croatia, Blockchain Live in London, Crypto Springs, and JS Camp Barcelona among many others.
  • Our fall Asia roadshow kicked off in Wanxiang for Shanghai Blockchain week, which consisted of numerous speaking spots. We’re currently wrapping up the September leg at Korea Blockchain week – next up: DevCon in Osaka.
  • 56 new Blockstack apps were built as a result of the Can’t Be Evil: Part 2 contest. You can meet the winners of ‘Best App Coded By A Female Developer, ‘Most Delightful, and ‘Best Lightning App’ here.
  • Expanded our community management team and presence on Telegram (grew from just under 2,000 to over 4,000 members in 2 months).
  • We set a new record in Q3 by onboarding 30 new Blockstack Evangelists from Madrid to Los Angeles!

You’re invited!

We continue to add incredible speakers to the 4th annual Blockstack Summit, in San Francisco on October 23 and we’d love to see you there. We have special passes for developers and other special interest groups. Reach out to [email protected] if you’re interested in attending! Otherwise, come meet the Blockstack team at one of these other upcoming events and webinars.

All the credit goes to our Engineering, Product, Design, and Growth teams—I’m honored to highlight their great work for you, our developer community. As always, we welcome your feedback.


Important disclaimer

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has qualified the offering statement that we have filed with the SEC. The information in that offering statement is more complete than the information we are providing now, and could differ in important ways. You must read the documents filed with the SEC before investing. The offering is being made only by means of its offering statement. This document shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

An indication of interest involves no obligation or commitment of any kind. Any person interested in investing in any offering of Stacks Tokens should review our disclosures and the publicly filed offering statement and the final offering circular that is part of that offering statement here. Blockstack is not registered, licensed or supervised as a broker-dealer or investment adviser by the SEC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or any other financial regulatory authority or licensed to provide any financial advice or services.

Forward-looking statements

This communication contains forward-looking statements that are based on our beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to us. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the following words: “will,” “expect,” “would,” “intend,” “believe,” or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements in this document include, but are not limited to, statements about our plans for developing the platform and future utility for the Stacks Token, our Reg A+ offering and launch of our network, and collaborations and partnerships. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that may cause actual results or performance to be materially different. More information on the factors, risks and uncertainties that could cause or contribute to such differences is included in our filings with the SEC, including in the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion & Analysis” sections of our offering statement on Form 1-A. We cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. We disclaim any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Muneeb Ali

Muneeb Ali

Dr. Muneeb Ali is the founder of Stacks, a decentralized network that brings apps and smart contracts to Bitcoin. He serves as the CEO of Hiro PBC, a Public Benefit Corp that builds developer tools for the Stacks blockchain. He has raised $75 million USD in funding from investors like Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, Lux Capital, Winklevoss Capital, and others. Hiro (formerly Blockstack PBC) was featured in the CNBC's list of 100 promising startups to watch. Muneeb received his Ph.D. and Masters in Computer Science from Princeton University. His Ph.D. thesis was nominated for the ACM SIGCOMM dissertation award by Princeton University. Muneeb gives guest lectures on cloud computing at Princeton and his research publications have over 1,300 citations. He is one of the main characters in George Gilder's book Life After Google and was a technical advisor to the HBO show Silicon Valley.