Boggles my mind that the SEC would give the tick to an ICO with heavily discounted tokens. You gave founders, employees and investors tokens at $0.00012. Then you sold discounted tokens at $0.12. Now you're pumping the pyramid scheme further with a public sale at $0.30.
It's a nice way to pump a 2500x return for yourself and investors before any exchange listing. Can't wait for the SEC to endorse that behavior across the ecosystem. /sarcasm
Thanks for pointing this out. From direct text from our FAQ:
"Why were Stacks Tokens valued/sold at $0.00012 prior to the 2017 accredited sale at $0.12?
Founders and early employees of Blockstack PBC received tokens at $0.00012 per token in October 2017 based on an independent valuation from Foresight Valuation Group, LLC when the Stacks Token was still in its earliest stage of development and before the publication of the token white paper at the end of that month. This grant was subject to a three-year time lock commencing upon the introduction of the genesis block to the Blockstack network in November 2018, and the nominal price reflected the early, high-risk support of founders and early employees.
Holders of Blockstack's Series A convertible preferred stock who had invested a total of $5.1 million as of late 2016 and funded Blockstack's early growth and development before the decision to create a token, or the drafting or publication of any white papers—were also provided an opportunity to purchase tokens at the $0.00012 per token price. This opportunity to participate at a nominal price was given in return for their early support and in proportion to their equity ownership, and it was based on their reasonable expectation as early investors that they would receive tokens if Blockstack ever decided to create a digital token. These tokens are subject to a three-year time lock, commencing upon the introduction of the genesis block to the Blockstack network in November 2018."
Now more context here:
I purchased my shares in Blockstack PBC in 2013 for $42, as does any other startup founder. Will I get a 23809x return if I sell my shares for 1,000,000? No, I'm earning these by the 5+ years of work and no reasonable person would assume that it's a 23809x return. The grant is "free" or at "$0" and the $42 number (standard practice in startups) is there for a tax cost basis.
Exact same logic applies to founder/employee token grants, as we structured our token grants after equity grants.
We did not sell "discounted tokens" at $0.12. That was the price the market was able to bear in Fall 2017. If you consider that a "Series A" price. A 2.5x multiple for a "Series B" is, again, totally standard and rather at the low end for traditional startups. Same thing applies here.
Finally, we are disclosing all this information so investors can make informed decisions. Not the standard practice in other token offerings. I believe disclosures and transparency is a good thing and that's why we took this approach and worked with regulators.
My one request would be to view this from a "what would it look like in a traditional startup?" angle vs. a "how is this project trying to scam me with a pyramid scheme?" angle. Thank you!
How is that different/worse than a startup? Early founders/employees get stock at a lower price, and then the price goes up if the company makes progress. There's only a return if the market values it.
So if an unregulated ICO does it, it's bad. But if a regulated ICO does it, that's cool, just regular startup scene behavior. Pump and dump those return multiples on unsophisticated public investors. The VC leeches will love this new short-cycle SEC-endorsed wealth channel.
If by this you mean tokens that were locked for 1 year under Reg D and then unlock monthly since the launch of the Stacks blockchain in Nov 2018, then yes there is a subset of tokens that are unlocked following the unlocking procedures that other holders also follow.
Union Square Ventures, myself, and my co-founder are one of the largest holders of such tokens. We have restrictions from the SEC on selling these on the open market (given >5% ownership of Blockstack PBC). Restrictions which are also disclosed in the offering circular. Happens all the time with IPOs.
Happens all the time with IPOs so it's totes fine, right?
Your greed is showing, Muneeb.
Plenty of posters in this thread talk about "following you" since the beginning and having lovely things to say about your product. Truth is: There is nothing your product does that other decentralized services didn't already do, for free. Your ID service is a less-secure Sovrin and your storage is a gated IPFS.
You just saw what Ethereum did and wanted a piece of the pie for yourself.
"Happens all the time with IPOs" refers to restrictions on significant holders and company affiliates to sell. Which I believe is a good thing.
Blockstack pre-dates Ethereum and is the exact opposite of Ethereum in terms of tech design. This is a regulated token offering which is very different from what Ethereum did. Doing what Ethereum did i.e., "ICO", in my view, is a much easier but legally risky path.
Love what Sovrin is doing. Blockstack pre-dates Sovrin by a couple of years. We've worked on the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF) with them.
I don't understand your IPFS comment, can you please elaborate? Gaia provides blockchain-pointers to private data lockers, IPFS is p2p storage. You can actually plugin IPFS as a storage option with Gaia, driver here: https://github.com/blockstack/gaia/pull/129/files
I've been tracking BlockStack for a time, and love the technology. I particularly like how you have supported Decentralized Identifiers by specifying a DID method for use with BlockStack. I think decentralized data and identity is one of the killer blockchain apps, or at least I hope so.
I've been part of the community for 2 years and I have to say I appreciate the diligence and hard work in pushing this through. Plus, I love having access to all of the different apps with a single login, and _not_ having to pass all my usage patterns/data to a google or facebook.
I've been following your company on hn for awhile. I'm still iffy on whether crypto will really change the world but if it does I'd rather see your offering beat out libre. FB et al shouldn't be creating a coin but join with companies like yours who have a solid footing and create new stuff within existing ecosystems.
> FB et al shouldn't be creating a coin but join with companies like yours who have a solid footing and create new stuff within existing ecosystems.
Its easy to say that while completely ignoring the lopsided economic incentives of launching your own thing
If there is a single 1 incompatible thing then the team and network wont let you launch on their network, wont give you any of the partner tokens or subsidies
And you did all that when you could have just used your clout to launch your own thing collecting literally 8, 9 or 10 figures of USD and the majority ownership of a precreated asset you granted yourself.
50 years of salary, taxed way lower, for any software engineering founder.
If you’re ignoring this just because “crypto”, while working on someone else’s adtech has-been, you are doing yourself a disservice.
The issuer side of all markets is heavily misunderstood. But especially in crypto markets. People view the whole concept from the speculator’s side.
I agree with you that the crypto industry in general over-hypes, and everything is a "revolution." The scalable infrastructure and developers tools still require a lot of work and getting "killer apps" is a whole new phase of traction.
With that said, I'm optimistic as all signs seem to point to the fact that security and privacy are going to become more and more critical. Facebook Libra is a great example. Even FB wants to enter this space and rightly so. They have the userbase and are trying to build a decentralized (well federated really) network. Blockstack is open vs. permissioned (Libra). We've done 4+ years of R&D work and are now in the developer traction phase. We want thousands of experiments to happen and organic usage of apps to emerge.
Our hope is that the work we've done (and the $1.8M legal and accounting fees that we've paid!) helps other projects as well. That would take some sting out of the legal/accounting costs of doing this :-)
If these are registered securities they will need to trade on regulated exchanges where the company knows all the token holders only and thus cannot be used in decentralized applications by normal people. Which seems to defeat the purpose in the first place. Or..?
Regulation A+ is technically an exemption from registration requirements. Although in practice it works closer to a fully registered offering. Just pointing it out because the Stacks tokens are not "registered".
Transfers can take place between users/peers and do not need to be registered. Trading in the US needs to be on a regulated securities exchange while the token is treated as a security. See our FAQ question on exchanges: https://stackstoken.com/faq/
Trading in international jurisdictions depend on appropriate local law.
Finally, this is decentralized open-source technology and Blockstack PBC cannot control activities on the network.
Pretty intrigued by this, especially because of Clarity (Lispy) and the storage system (I can save stuff on S3, not "on the chain". Pretty awesome, I might build a social network on top of this, just what I wanted/needed.
I didn't get into Clarity in my summary above but really into the decidable smart contract language design. The reason I didn't mention Clarity is because most programs on Blockstack are not smart contracts. We think that smart contracts are only a subset of use-cases and should only be used when needed vs. making smart contracts the only way to program decentralized apps.
For any readers that are intrigued by what is Clarity, it's Blockstack's smart contract language that is different in two mains ways:
a) Clarity is a decidable language i.e., it is intentionally Turing-incomplete. This allows for complete static analysis of the entire call graph of smart contracts.
b) Clarity is interpreted. The contract source code itself is published and executed by blockchain nodes i.e., no compiler.
> We think that smart contracts are only a subset of use-cases and should only be used when needed vs. making smart contracts the only way to program decentralized apps
Great job with blockstack, the APIs seem real easy to use - only thing I'm worried about is that the mobile SDK's are just JS wrappers so the JS bridge might be a speed bottleneck in mobile apps. Also, are there plans for a Flutter SDK (pretty easy to make a wrapper for both platform SDK's)?
Hi Muneeb, curious to take your take on the following: (1) main reason dapps haven't found an audience yet (2) if you see a way forward through 'hybrid' architectures, say like coinbase but for non-financial applications?
I think that the industry needs to move from infrastructure phase, to developer traction phase, to user traction phase. Not in discrete steps but in general.
By the 2017 "crypto mania" the infrastructure was barely there. Imagine that even a single app/smart-contract on Ethereum could not scale beyond 500K users without choking the entire network. Cryptokitties comes to mind.
Just building infrastructure is not a magic solution. You need to iterate over developer tools, give developers the right tools, have educational resources, raise awareness around why decentralized apps are important etc. That's generally the developer traction phase where I believe Blockstack is now (we've had 170 independent apps/startups built on top -- most in the last 6 months).
With an active community of developers organically building decentralized apps and playing around with tools, you can see a lot of experiments but can still end up with a graveyard of apps that no one uses. That's the user traction phase which I do not think we're in yet for Web 3 / decentralized apps. I remain confident that as the UX of these apps gets better and as security/privacy becomes more and more imp, we'll start seeing "killer apps". Some of these will be "crypto native" meaning they are not just "decentralized X" but they'll have some crypto native functionality that was simply not possible in web 2.0 and the traditional client/server model.
Thanks. I think the best metaphor I can think of is how you can't convince a meaningful number of people to give up meat and buy the new vegetarian imitation meats by telling them it's better for the larger good; the only way is to make it better than actual meat (also like the Tesla approach). Other than some financial applications, do you have a favorite current dapp you think is fundamentally better than it's centralized equivalent?
Several companies have tried to create blockchain-based products using offline mesh networks, but there's the problem of there not being a ledger, and thus transactions not being able to be confirmed. Do you think blockchain-centric companies could integrate technologies like, say, Bridgefy to enable their mobile products to work without Internet and thus become more decentralized?
I propose a simple "smell test" for "new internet" projects. A project would need at least one of the following two (not necessarily both given the maturity lifecycle):
1. Would the core platform developers work on it for "free"? As in, develop it because they really genuinely believe in it, not because they're trying to get rich quick through some high-tech blockchain-based multi-level marketing scheme, and not because they've convinced themselves they believe in it in a cult-like way by listening to "lies told a thousand times".
2. Would any real non-technical users want to use it without any strings attached? As in, use it because it delivers some genuine benefit to them, without them having to pay for it in some insidious way, and not because they're being paid to use it.
I worked on this for free until we could raise venture capital to support the open-source development. Without venture capital, I'd probably be working on it in academia but I think that'd be less impactful given limited resources. Developers have been building apps on Blockstack since 2017, the App Mining program was introduced in late-2018. There is a genuine community of developers who'd work on this for free because they believe in the mission.
Users don't have any strings attached. There is a free username registration service for them (the default method) and the apps on https://app.co/blockstack provide real utlity while hiding blockchain-complexity. I don't think most users even realize that there is any blockchain involved.
Finally, no user is being paid to use any app. The App Mining program for developers is the only component in the ecosystem where any incentives/payments are involved. Apple had developer incentive programs for iOS for example. When launching a new platform you have the chicken & egg problem of users and apps. We're trying to get enough high-quality apps so users can get real utility. The App Mining program stops after the initial years.
Core platform developer here (for 4+ years). Would absolutely work on this project in my spare time if I wasn't already employed at Blockstack PBC. You can also check our various projects' contributor graphs on Github (all under https://github.com/blockstack) if you want to gauge developer interest.
EDIT: providing more context below:
The reason Blockstack appeals to me is because I think it is one of the few projects with a reasonable, sustainable architecture for ensuring that users own all their data. In particular, Blockstack apps with the same performance characteristics as traditional Web applications _while also_ ensuring that users (1) don't have to run their own servers if they don't want to, and (2) don't have to keep their personal devices online 24/7. The storage layer, Gaia, achieves this by leveraging any/all existing storage media for hosting and serving the data, including commodity cloud storage and CDNs.
Because users provide the primary replicas of their data, they retain control and ownership of it even if the application goes away, or if they switch applications. Indexes and aggregations of user data -- such as the notions of a Twitter feed or a comment thread -- are treated as downstream, soft-state replicas derived from user data, and can be independently reconstructed by anyone. Blockstack apps nevertheless can easily create such indexes and aggregations with Radiks -- https://github.com/blockstack-radiks.
The blockchain component is buried deep in the stack, and is used today for user discovery: user A can discover user B's public key and URLs to their data. By running a Blockstack node, you learn every user's public keys and URLs. This enables Blockstack apps to encrypt data end-to-end so only its intended recipients can see it (Gaia and its underlying storage media only see ciphertext). Users don't directly interact with the blockchain; this is all handled through the user's Blockstack authenticator (https://github.com/blockstack/blockstack-browser) and through blockstack.js.
The system can handle a large number of users today. Most user registration is handled through a batching mechanism, whereby ~160 name/pubkey/URL triples are announced and replicated to the Blockstack peer network per blockchain transaction. At 8 transactions/block, this yields over 180,000 registrations/day.
The reason to introduce a token is to implement smart contracts, which in turn are meant to allow applications to implement small programs to manage a small amount of global state without needing a dedicated, trusted server. Not all applications will need smart contracts -- in fact, all Blockstack apps today that I know of (see https://app.co/blockstack) get along just fine without them. However, there are a few cases where having a small amount of global state is useful -- for example, if you were to build Reddit on Blockstack, you might have a smart contract that lists a directory of all subreddits and the list of admins who curate them.
A lot of thought, time, and energy has gone into the design and implementation of Blockstack's software stack prior to this sale, and the system has been running successfully in production for 3+ years.
Front-end Chinese developer based on Shenzhen city,China. I love this project because it is open source like Nginx,docker,mariadb, etc. More and more devs contribute their time on it( you can find them on forum.blockstack.org and slack).I still remember the first time I used hello world and todo list sites programmed by Larry. At that time, There are no 170 apps like now , and no xordrive.io,bitpatron.co these kinds of websites. Now,devs can find docs and seek support from support easily from forum.blockstack.org. One week ago, I realized how important open-sourced blockstack auth is,because I use vpn in China,gmail blocked my email account without a reasonable reason and forced me find a Phone number to verify it.I use that gmail address for daily works. Suddenly I cannot use it for many websites. I realized ,They(google,github) can block any users as they like. I reduce my use of google drive and gmail now. For general users, use open source software as possible as we can.If even some core developers(Jude,Aran,Ali ) died or did evil things that other devs cannot accept(not offend),other devs can also fork a new project like blockstack, you know that Linux have many versions,Firefox also have many versions in China.
Blockstack Auth pros and cons:
1. You don’t need a phone number to verify your account and worry your phone number leak.
2. You don’t need time to write traditional codes about user registration and finding password. And you don’t need to buy or deploy a mail server like mailgun and sendgrid.
3. No one can block your accounts (blockstack id )like google did it for me,currently.
4. No one can sell your data to others, I don’t how it going for data business in USA , but in China, Alibaba and baidu , every day, they sell data of users to their paid merchants without our permissions.
5.No cost for image storage in Gaiahub now
1. No server nodes in Asia, it is really slow to use graphite and xordrive, I mean, most blockstack sites load pages slower than trational websites. It’s time to deploy Asia servers !
2. No 100% decentralized, actually , I wanna say that blockstack websites and apps also based on ip protocols. China government firewall can easily blocked these domains. If some blockstack websites use Twitter,react Facebook js cdn, we have to use vpn to use these sites normally.
Thank you! It took 10 months so not sure if qualifies as trailblazing. The legal and accounting treatment was new for everyone, so can expect it to take some time.
There is no one year lock on the Reg A. The Reg D offering (which we did earlier in 2017) and which is limited to Accredited Investors has a year and a day lock. We do have a monthly unlock over 2-years but that was our design decision, not a regulation.
Really interesting question about no longer being considered a security. We spent a lot of time on this. There is an entire discussion about decentralization in the offering circular. Our stance is that this is a utility token and due to an abundance of caution we're complying with securities regulations. However, upon further decentralization of the network (and we discuss certain metrics for this) the Stacks token may no longer be considered a security.
Pasting relevant info from the offering circular:
"Blockstack’s long-term strategy is to decentralize development and governance of the Blockstack network such that no single entity, including Blockstack, is in control of the network. At some point when this decentralization process is complete and there is a healthy ecosystem of applications and users on the network, Blockstack PBC expects to develop new business models, which may include the development and commercialization of premium versions of open-source software, enterprise licensing for blockchain technology, and development of new applications for the network. Blockstack may also dissolve Blockstack PBC and distribute the Stacks Tokens in Blockstack PBC’s treasury to Blockstack PBC’s stockholders. We do however intend to continue operating for a minimum of two to three years and likely until one of the following occurs: the Stacks Tokens are no longer deemed to be securities, we are no longer deemed to be the issuer of the tokens, or the Stacks blockchain undergoes a hard fork without Blockstack’s consent that effectively results in Blockstack no longer driving the governance of the network. Blockstack also intends during this time to encourage independent entities to contribute to the development of Blockstack Core, the core open-source software governing the network as well as contribute to the growth of the eco-system."
Calling it a utility token doesn't really square with the deflationary monetary policy created by capped supply. This is basically a "number go up" dog whistle. I appreciate the attempt at volatility dampening in the new mining algorithm, though.
Can you explain the business model behind the payouts you make as part of app mining, please? (https://app.co/mining)
In simple terms; I'm trying to get my head around what Blockstack gets in return for paying developers to use Blockstack Auth ?
Also, you may want to investigate the rounding of Dmail's figures shown on that URL ^^
At the time of writing the page shows a lifetime payout to Dmail of $19,999 yet last month it shows they earned $20,000. Surely "lifetime" earnings must always be >= last month's figure, as last month is part of "lifetime" ?
There is no business model behind App Mining payouts for Blockstack. It's a developer incentive program, meant to incentivize developers to build high-quality applications on the network, especially in the initial years.
You can argue that the developers make the Blockstack ecosystem more valuable by spending their time and effort to build apps for it in return for newly minted Stacks tokens. Kind of similar to how Bitcoin mining works where miners provide computing resources to the network and do some "work" and earn newly minted tokens.
Thanks for the Dmail feedback, we'll look into it!
We conducted an economic audit and as a result of that study made certain changes to future supply of tokens. Details are in the forum post linked above.
The token economics 2.0 paper is not published yet but the bulk of the details are in that post. We outline the open challenges in the "adaptive mint/burn" mechanism for future token supply there as well. Basically researching optimal values for the "evaluation window" and if we should have a maximum cap on mints i.e., tokens that re-enter supply after being burned/used.
The question is, how many tokens have been pre-mined/created on a non-mined basis (if any).
Who owns these pre-mined / created tokens.
Half the time these blockchain scammers have the public only get access to 10% of the actual tokens, resulting in totally crazy valuations for the premined token's they are sitting on. Someone should be able to run the numbers.
Ie, pre-mined tokens not offered * offer valuation per token = supposed value they've created with platform.
Good luck Muneeb! It's always nice to see a fellow Pakistani doing great things.
I particularly have to give you props on all the effort and investment required to be the first SEC qualified token offering. The vertical has been dominated by bad headlines and bad players, so this legitimacy is a great step forward, and you guys are trailblazing here. Highly commendable.
Having a regulated token offering means hopefully that not only traders and hodlrs will buy the tokens but also real users, all the real users who use already the decentralized blockstack apps and all the users who will use them because they want to be in control of their data.
an active community of developers organically building decentralized apps and playing around with tools, you can see a lot of experiments but can still end up with a graveyard of apps that no one uses.<a href="https://www.techsupportdubai.com/led-tv-repair/">Tv Repair</a>
That's the user traction phase which I do not think we're in yet for Web 3 / decentralized apps. I remain confident that as the UX of these apps gets better and as security