Blockstack is a decentralized version of the internet where users own their data and apps run locally. Learn everything you need to know about Blockstack today.
What Is Blockstack?
Blockstack is a new type of internet built on blockchain technology. Like other platforms built on the blockchain, Blockstack is decentralized. The platform has been in development for 3+ years. So far, over 72,000 users have registered for Blockstack, and anyone can join the waitlist today by visiting Blockstack.org.
The main difference between Blockstack and the internet we know today is that users own their data and apps run locally. It’s designed to combat some of the biggest problems of our modern internet – like massive data breaches, insecure connections, and the lack of security over your personal information.
As the Blockstack.org website explains, “The old internet is broken” and “The new internet is here”.
The first version of Blockstack appeared online in August 2016. Today, the Developer Alpha is available on Github. Blockstack isn’t freely available for users to download. However, users can join the waitlist if they’re interested in joining Blockstack in the future.
Why Do We Need A New Internet?
Blockstack is designed to fight back against some of the biggest problems of the “old internet”. Those problems include:
Massive Data Breaches
Traditional apps store user data in massive data silos. This gives hackers an easy – and enormous – target just waiting to be breached. It seems like major companies experience a new hack on a near-weekly basis. Even if you just use one app, you’re trusting the safety of your data to dozens of companies.
Traditional apps rarely provide secure connections. Sure, apps may claim to be secure – but they’re often vulnerable to hacking through methods like domain name and website certificate spoofing. Reliance on third party servers and many trusted services makes us less safe.
Traditional apps use digital keys to identify and authenticate. These digital keys are owned by large monopoly platforms. This means users and developers are locked in and forced to use these platforms, which restricts innovation.
Advantages Of Blockstack
How is Blockstack an improvement over the “old internet” we use today? Here are some of the benefits proposed by the developers:
Own Your Data
Blockstack apps allow you to truly own your data. That data is kept on your device and encrypted before being backed up in the cloud, thus removing the need for blind trust in third parties and making it easier to keep your data safe.
Own Your Apps
Blockstack’s apps put you in control of your software. You load apps via a secure domain name system. The apps also live on your devices. This makes you independent from third parties, which keeps you safer.
Own Your Identity
Blockstack apps let you own your identity. The digital keys are seamlessly generated and kept on your device, letting you move freely between apps and control your online experience.
How Does Blockstack Work?
How does Blockstack achieve the benefits listed above? Here are some of the key features of Blockstack:
Identity & Digital Keys
Blockstack users get digital keys that act as their identity. These digital keys let users sign into apps locally without remote servers or identity providers.
Blockstack has a storage system that lets users bring their own storage providers and control their data. All data in this storage system is encrypted and can easily be shared between applications.
Blockstack uses Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies for simple peer-to-peer payments. Using Blockstack’s P2P payment system, developers can charge users for downloads, subscriptions, and more in an efficient and affordable way.
Multiple Types Of Apps Available
Blockstack could potentially be home to a wide range of apps. Some of the suggested apps that could be developed (or have already been developed) for Blockstack include:
Decentralized Social Networks:
Today’s social networks lock in users and limit access. With a decentralized social network, users could own their relationships and data and carry that data with them wherever they go.
Today’s marketplaces take a massive cut while also limiting what can be bought and sold. A decentralized internet like Blockstack could allow the creation of a peer-to-peer marketplace where individuals can make transactions freely at a lower cost.
Collaborative Search Engines:
The internet was originally designed to be open and accessible. Today’s search engines, however, rely upon proprietary algorithms. A decentralized internet allows for the creation of a search engine where users are incentivized to contribute to a collaborative index of information.
These are just three of the potential uses for a decentralized internet like Blockstack.
Blockstack is an open source project with developers located around the world – from New York City to Hong Kong. You can view the list of contributing developers.
The first version of Blockstack appeared on Github in August 2016. Today, the Blockstack.org website reports that 72,000 users are registered (as of May 24, 2017). There are also 5800 community developers.
How To Use Blockstack
Users can install Blockstack and start using it by joining the waitlist. Just enter your email address and you’ll be added to the waitlist.
Alternatively, developers can install Blockstack by installing the browser kit. To do that, you’ll need to sign up as a developer.
The tutorials also walk you through the basics of the command line interface – including how to look up names, get name prices, and register names.
Finally, the Developer Alpha (v 0.90 at the time of writing) is available on Github. Versions are available for Mac and Linux. New versions have been consistently released approximately every 2 weeks, if not sooner. The first version of Blockstack was released on August 12, 2016.
You can view complete step-by-step instructions on how to install Blockstack by visiting the tutorial page.
Ultimately, Blockstack has ambitious plans for the future of the internet. We’ll keep you updated as this project continues to gather momentum over the coming years.