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App Mining: Fueling the Development of Decentralized Apps

Over the past years working with developers, we’ve learned that building decentralized apps have three roadblocks: (a) scalable infrastructure, (b) access to capital, and (c) exposure to potential users. A lot of our work in 2016 and 2017 focused on scalable infrastructure, and with our new Stacks blockchain we started addressing incentive structures for developers and users.

We understand that traditional revenue models, like monetizing user data, won’t always work or simply aren’t attractive to founders building on decentralized infrastructure. Also, as an ecosystem in its infancy, the time and effort required to gain new users and become sustainable while building a decentralized application is much greater.

We are thrilled to introduce App Mining, an early-stage program that will directly fuel developers building apps people want on Blockstack. The underlying goal of App Mining is to accelerate growth of the decentralized app ecosystem, fueling and rewarding those that are investing their time and talents in building on a new, better internet for all of us.

What is App Mining?

We’re broadening the meaning of “Mining”.

Traditionally the term ‘mining’ in cryptocurrency refers to the process of contributing compute resources to the network and earning a reward. On the Blockstack network, however, instead of just “mining” through computation, developers can “mine” by contributing apps to the ecosystem and making applications the community wants.

Founders that build apps using Blockstack developer tools like Blockstack Auth get paid each month, in amounts proportional to that month’s app quality ranking. Blockstack PBC, in cooperation with, currently administers the payouts. A set of independent “App Reviewers” determines the monthly ranking during the pilot phase.

App Reviewers

We are proud to announce that the initial set of App Reviewers for App Mining are Product Hunt and Democracy Earth. You can read about their announcements by clicking on the hyperlinks.

App Mining will provide a new source of potential revenue directly to pioneers; these payouts can be used to operate and grow their business, pay themselves, or otherwise work toward self-sustainability. It will help them with visibility and user growth through the interaction with key App Mining partners.

The goal is to build a self-governing process that dispenses funds to projects and developers that it elects. This process needs to be decentralized, transparent, democratic, and, above all, driven by the Blockstack community over time. More details on the expected timeline and initial payout distribution can be found in the FAQ.

App Mining Pilot is Live!

During the pilot phase of App Mining beginning December 1, 2018, selected projects will receive $100,000 in aggregate monthly, paid in bitcoin. When the Stacks Blockchain launches, the payout to developers can potentially increase to up to $1,000,000 monthly pending legal/regulatory approval.

We’ve already paid out $25K in a preliminary alpha run across all registered apps. Take a look at the top results or view them all on

Long-term, we believe App Mining will increase the ability of developers to continue building a decentralized network and ecosystem where users do not need to simply trust centralized applications and the corporations behind them to have their best interests at heart. We believe our ecosystem reestablishes the user as the first-class citizen.

We’re excited that App Mining will allow creators to focus on building a quality experience without sacrificing their vision for the wrong investor or business model and that it provides them another option for runway at the most delicate early stages.

If you’re a developer that believes in decentralized values and protecting your users, and you need more funds for your efforts, we invite you to register for App Mining. More details on eligibility, payouts, and more can be found in the FAQ or at

This blog post contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding Blockstack PBC’s plans for its App Mining program. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance. Potential risks and uncertainties that could change our actual results include, but are not limited to, risks associated with: the failure of App Mining Program to successfully incentivize the development of applications for the Blockstack network; risks associated with attacks designed to influence the App Reviewers or game their methodologies; technical difficulties in the transition from a centralized to a decentralized administration of the program. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Blockstack PBC disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Any decisions that may be made through the App Mining Program regarding rewards provided to app developers are not recommendations as to the quality of any investments that individuals may make in a company that receives rewards.  If you are considering an investment in any of these companies, you should make your own decision regarding that investment and not rely in any way on the results of the App Mining program.

Patrick Stanley

Patrick Stanley

Patrick Stanley is the head of growth at Blockstack. He studied Economics and Psychology at Johns Hopkins, and was the first employee at data-driven lending startup Earnest which sold to Navient for $155m in 2017. In a growth role there, he helped it scale from from 1 to 200 employees and go from $0 to $2B in originations within 3 years.