This past quarter, one thing became very clear to me: A new era of innovation on Bitcoin is upon us.
Let's jump right into some of my favorite highlights to explore this:
Stacks Accelerator: Newly launched in Q2 and already sporting its first class, the Stacks Accelerator fuels teams building on Bitcoin via Stacks. Teams are creating solutions for everything from secure custody of genetic material to taking Bitcoin itself carbon neutral.
Paycoin: Continuing the growth of Stacks in Korea, Paycoin is integrating STX and bitcoin yield from Stacking in their app, bringing over a million users a new way to earn and use Bitcoin as they shop 70,000 top merchants including Domino's, KFC, 7-Eleven, and more.
Risidio: Our very own grantee (and now Stacks Accelerator team) broke open Bitcoin NFTs with music industry legend, Chemical X, by creating NFTs for the likes of Cara Delevingne, Fatboy Slim, and others.
BTC.us: In June, btc.us went live, allowing anyone to register a .btc domain name. Over 4,000 domains have already been registered as people fly the flag of a better internet built on Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Defi: Injective Protocol announced they’re integrating the Stacks chain, allowing them to give everyone access to fully decentralized Bitcoin-based derivatives. Add to the mix the upcoming xBTC and all the components for DeFi to take off on Bitcoin are set.
Jolocom: Headquartered in Germany and leading the way on DID solutions in privacy-conscious Europe, Jolocom uses Stacks to offer people a truly user-owned identity, all backed by the security of the Bitcoin blockchain.
These are just a top-of-mind handful. So what does it mean?
Stacks unlocks innovation on Bitcoin.
Stacks makes Bitcoin more valuable.
Stacks makes Bitcoin better.
You know it, I know it. And while there are still some folks that have to catch up on this notion, and others that may only come kicking and screaming, the evidence and momentum are undeniable. Stacks is being used to solve real problems and give people real control, all by leveraging Bitcoin.
I invite you to take a look through the full list of Q2 highlights below— above is but a taste of the incredible work that's being done throughout the Stacks Ecosystem as we collectively build the user-owned internet on Bitcoin.
Congratulations on your accomplishments and thank you for your efforts.
Mitchell Cuevas and The Stacks Foundation Team
Launched just this quarter and already in full swing, the Stacks Accelerator has raised an initial fund of $4M USD and committed to supporting over 100 early-stage startup teams.
Dear community, the moment we have all been waiting for.
We couldn't be happier to announce our first cohort of 25 startups building on Bitcoin w/ Stacks.
👉 https://t.co/2iZ1kOiGhy 👈
— Stacks Ventures (@StacksStartups)
Jun 23, 2021
Risidio launched NFT auction platform, 'This is Number 1' in collaboration with music industry legend, Chemical X. Initial auctions featured multimedia NFTs by well-known Dave Stewart, Orbital, Fatboy Slim and Cara Delevingne, and raised funds towards charities of each artist's choice.
With the launch of btc.us, you can now register a .btc domain name that is fundamentally under your control and resistant to seizure or censorship. .btc domains are another clear signal that bitcoin is more than digital gold.
CityCoins are cryptocurrencies that allow you to support your favorite cities while earning yield in Bitcoin. When realized, MiamiCoin (MIA) can provide an ongoing crypto revenue stream for the city, while also generating STX and BTC yield for $MIA holders.
Check out this 🧵👇on the first CityCoin being of course MiamiCoin!!!!!!!!! https://t.co/YMUjRwUES1
— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez)
Jun 2, 2021
Boomboxes, by Boom Wallet, are a new type of NFT built on Stacks. The NFT is unique in that it acts as an automatic claim certificate of Stacking rewards, allowing the owner to earn a bitcoin yield.
Stacks grantee and Stacks Accelerator participant, Arkadiko, released their DeFi project live on regtest. Within 3 hours of the launch, 6M xUSD (their stablecoin) were minted.
Since its inception in September 2020, the Stacks Grants Program has awarded $600,000+ to over 40 different projects and Stacks Chapters. The program has driven valuable contributions across the Stacks network, including DID solutions and DeFi initiatives.
Just six months and about 12 cycles in, Stacking has become one of the top mechanisms for earning a Bitcoin yield. To meet the demand for Stacking, numerous accessible Stacking options have emerged:
Stacking delegation went live in the Stacks Wallet from Hiro, allowing STX holders to delegate their holdings to Stacking pools without the need for their STX to leave the safety of their wallets. Pooling allows holders to meet the minimum threshold, among other benefits.
Non-custodial, community pools are also available. Within the ecosystem, you can join pools like Xverse Stacking Pool, Friedger Pool, and PlanBetter.
Custodial Stacking pools: Exchanges like OKCoin and OKEx offer a simple onboarding process for new Stackers, making it easy for Stackers to start earning BTC with as little as 50 STX.
InfStones Starts Stacking: InfStones launched Stacking options for their clients several cycles ago. The Stacks token is already one of the most held tokens by venture and hedge funds, so we’re thrilled to see more Stacking options for these types of holders.
Over the past quarter, STX has been listed on several new exchanges, expanding token access for users around the world. Perhaps most notable was the surge that STX saw following Upbit's introduction of the STX/KRW pair. These listings have made STX significantly more available to the Korean Stacks community, which has been steadily growing since the launch of the Stacks Korea Chapter.
OKEx: A top-ten exchange by trade volume, OKEx now provides Stacking support in addition to its listing of STX and STX trading pairs.
USDT on OKCoin: OKCoin added to their STX offering by adding a STX/USDT pair.
FTX Lists STX Futures: STX listed on the FTX perpetual futures market.
Upbit Adds STX/KRW pair: Upbit, a top digital asset exchange in Korea add a STX/KRW trading pair that helped drive a doubling of value for STX as the highly regulated market sought the asset.
New pairs on Bitexen: Thanks to Stacks Turkey leads, Omür & Ali, five new STX listing pairs were added to Turkish exchange, Bitexen.
StealthEX listing: StealthEX lets users swap over 350 other cryptos for STX without sign-up limits. (You can learn more at the Stacks AMA with StealthEX on 07/07.)
Coinmerce: STX are now available on the Dutch exchange, Coinmerce.
The first 6 months of STX mining has proven profitable for network participants with miners spending more than 500 BTC to mine over 30 million STX tokens. Read the following reports from Daemon for a more detailed overview of the state of STX mining:
STX Mining Update: The First 5000 Blocks of Stacks 2.0 analyzes mining progress from January 14th (mainnet launch) up to February 26th and identifies key strategies for making mining more accessible.
STX Mining Update: Secure for 16,000 Blocks takes a deeper look at the decentralization and security of the Stacks network in the context of Proof-of-Transfer mining.
We just published a report on STX Mining focused on how to think about and measure the security of Proof of Transfer.
We'd like to go deeper on this topic in the future, so please give it a read and let us know your feedback:
— Xan (@XanDitkoff)
Jun 2, 2021
Core devs and entities kept the momentum going following the Stacks 2.0 launch by continually shipping key improvements, new developer tooling, and important documentation and resources. Support for core Stacks features including microblocks, BNS, sponsored transactions, and SIP-010 (FT token standard) were added this quarter as well.
Stacks Wallet: Hiro released security-audited web wallets for Chrome and Firefox enabling seamless access to apps on the Stacks network and has been steadily shipping improvements. The desktop wallet also received a better Stacking flow, dark mode, better display of send-many transactions, and Ledger Live app improvements.
Clarity: Along with a major update to the Clarity VSCode extension, Hiro released Clarinet. Clarinet is a tool that supports testing, drafting, and deployment of Clarity contracts. Clarity documentation and onboarding materials were also updated to make it easier to get started with Clarity.
Explorer: The Stacks Explorer received several improvements including updates to how STX unlocking is displayed, the addition of nonce information for easier troubleshooting, better Sandbox UX, and support for the new Hiro-hosted regtest network.
Stacks Blockchain API: A laundry list of improvements were shipped, many in service of supporting core platform features. An endpoint was added to expose FT and NFT transactions, for fetching transactions inside a block, and for looking up all token transfers for an account. Extended Rosetta and websocket support were also released.
Docs: Docs updates kept up with all the key additions to the network, including documentation for microblocks, the new regtest network, running an API node locally, and more. Just as important, guides and onboarding resources for Clarity, Stacking, the Stacks Blockchain API, and Gaia all received significant updates.
The most recent blockchain release, 2.0.11, has added features such as re-activating microblock mining and new prometheus metrics for mempool transaction processing times. The update has also improved chainstate directory layout, improved node boot up time, and more.
The Stacks blockchain settles blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain, which averages one block every ten minutes. In order to provide users and applications with more timely feedback on the status and results of transactions, the blockchain supports microblocks.
Hiro released a major update to the Visual Studio Code extension for Clarity development! With the updated extension you get language-supporting features to develop Clarity smart contracts with ease.
This new package enables devs to run a local mainnet, testnet, or mocknet node with just a single command, ultimately making it much easier to spin up chains.
Stacks Integrations and Partnerships
In addition to new Stacking providers and exchanges, other key partners are providing incredible new value and use cases for the Stacks network.
The dollar-backed USDC stablecoin is expected to launch on 10 more top chains, including Stacks. Coindesk noted "It’d be the broadest expansion of the $25 billion stablecoin to date, potentially surpassing the eight blockchains that support Tether’s USDT, the market leader with a $63 billion market cap."
The Stacks Foundation is supporting a deep integration of Stacks and Stacking with the Paycoin App. Users can earn BTC and easily spend STX and BTC at well-established merchants like 7-Eleven and Domino's Pizza in Korea.
We are thrilled to be working with the @StacksOrg to integrate @Stacks with the Paycoin App. We will enable a unique opportunity for our users to earn $BTC yield and spend both $STX and $BTC seamlessly.
— Paycoin (@payprotocol)
May 27, 2021
Injective is integrating with the Stacks blockchain to give users access to new Bitcoin derivatives like expiry futures and perpetuals, which are fully decentralized and accessible for all.
Algorand is actively working on a compiler to bring the Clarity language to their layer-1 smart contracts, allowing devs to create and call contracts seamlessly with a decidable, secure, and open-source language.
Chainlink and Hiro have co-sponsored a grant for Tintash to natively integrate Chainlink oracles on Stacks. This integration will enable developers to build smart contract applications secured by the Bitcoin blockchain and augmented by Chainlink’s external data and off-chain computation.
The Chainlink Community Grant Program has awarded the Stacks Foundation a grant to support Stacks Accelerator teams. The grant provides additional resources to developers leveraging Chainlink Price Feeds in their smart contracts.
Community & Ecosystem Expansion
Joining Stacks MENA and Stacks Pakistan are 3 new chapters that we're proud to introduce: Stacks Turkey, Stacks Korea, and Stacks China. Stacks Chapters play a critical role in growing the ecosystem and bringing Stacks to communities around the world. In the past quarter alone, Stacks Chapters have gotten STX listed on various exchanges, launched their own Stacking pools, and onboarded dozens of new Clarity developers.
After a year of virtual hackathons, workshops, and conferences, it was genuinely empowering to get the Stacks community together in Miami and celebrate the explosion of activity in our ecosystem. Stacks community members joined the CityCoins launch party (with special guest, Anthony Pompliano), celebrated with OKCoin, and listened to Patrick Stanley give a talk on Bitcoin and smart contracts with OKCoin CMO, Haider Rafique.
Meet Boom, Risidio, and Ryder, the Stacks grantees working on NFTs on Bitcoin and DIDs on Stacks.
Listen to Muneeb discuss smart contracts on Bitcoin at DeFi Summit and CogX Festival.
Check out this podcast on which Muneeb debates Ruben Somsen on whether or not trustless smart contracts on Bitcoin are impossible without forks.
UFM Fireside Chat Series: Author, Illustrator, and Stacks Advocate Georgina García-Mauriño discusses digital identity and building a better Internet with Jenny Mith (Ecosystem Development Lead, Stacks Foundation) and Harini Rajan (Blockchain Engineer, Blocksurvey).
Tune in to the Crypto Internet Show on Clubhouse and join Stacks community members and other guest speakers as they discuss topics like Bitcoin, smart contracts, and the new internet. (Listen to previous recordings here).
Join the SIP Reading Club every other Wednesday on Discord for deep dives + Q&A on each Stacks Improvement Proposal with some of the Hiro engineering team (access previous sessions here).
Every Thursday (9am EST with Mark Hendrickson) and Tuesday (3:30pm EST with Alex Graebe), the Stacks Grant Office Hours take place. This offers an opportunity to ask questions about an approved grant, your application, or the process.
Leveraging her extensive knowledge on Bitcoin, Meltem will play a key advisory role in developing a strategy for encouraging more innovation and experimentation on Bitcoin via Stacks.
At the Stacks Foundation, we recently debuted the new Stacks Grants App, which streamlines grant payments and distribution (in both $STX and USD!). As the Grants Program continues to grow, we recognize how important it is to provide a delightful experience and keep builders building.
Daemon Technologies welcomed three new members to its Board, all of whom are long-time Stacks supporters with expertise in running startups and operating in the crypto space in Asia. The board is joined by Trevor Owens (Founder, Lean Startup Machine), Melody He (Co-founder, Spartan Group), and Wei Jiang (Founder & Managing Director, CatchLight Capital Partners).
Freehold announced a group of investors including Anthony Pompliano (Pomp Investments), Amanda Cassat (Founder of Serotonin, prev. CMO at Consensys), Balaji Srinivasan (ex-a16z GP, ex-Coinbase CTO, founder of Earn.com), and Ryan Hoover (Founder of Product Hunt and investor at Weekend Fund).
Stacks Summer Developer Course
Xan Ditkoff (Founder of Daemon) and Marvin Janssen (Technical Lead, Stacks Foundation) are running a Stacks Summer developer course with the Hong Kong University of Science and Tech. The 6-week course aims to teach the fundamentals of smart contracts and Clarity. The course is a precursor to a broader Clarity learning portal coming for developers in Q3.
Can't Miss Content
Bitcoin based DeFi and smart contract platforms are taking many approaches, but the ultimate question is how to unlock the $1T in bitcoin capital.
Several common misconceptions of Stacks are that it’s a sidechain, a merge-mined chain, a proof-of-stake chain, or a layer-2 system. None of these are true. The Stacks blockchain is a layer-1 blockchain, which uses a novel and unique mining protocol called proof-of-transfer (PoX).
Each new Clarity contract can help onboard the next 100 Stacks developers thanks to verifiable and usable smart contract sources. This post highlights two key design decisions aspects of Clarity that have a big potential: Truly verifiable and usable smart contract sources.
Build on Stacks: video of deep dives on products from around the ecosystem.
What We Want To Invest in at Stacks Accelerator by Stacks Accelerator Managing Partner, Trevor Owens.
The Blockchain.com podcast with Muneeb about building DeFi on the Bitcoin network.
Stacker Chats playlist - Muneeb Ali and Gina Abrams chat about Stacks and answer questions from the community.
'Exploring Stacks with Founder Muneeb Ali.': dlab PM Paul Saint-Donat chatted with Muneeb about the origin of Stacks in this podcast.
Haroun Kola represented Stacks on CGTV by talking about the Tanzanian President urging banks to prepare for crypto.
Featured Press and Interviews
After losing an epic battle with Mark Zuckerberg over ownership of Facebook and being shunned in Silicon Valley, CAMERON and TYLER WINKLEVOSS are back. This Forbes cover story highlights decentralized projects built on Stacks including Boom, Pravica, and Sigle.
Meet the visionaries building a new, un-censorable, peer-to-peer web using the tools of encryption and cryptocurrency, featuring Stacks Founder Muneeb Ali.
The Paycoin integration was covered in CoinDesk, with a focus on the Paycoin app's 1 million users being able to use crypto in their daily lives by paying with BTC at major merchants.
The launch of 'This is Number One' and the auction of Cara Delevingne's NFT was picked up by Decrypt, The Hollywood Reporter, ONE37pm, Dazed, and Harper's Bazaar among others.
Benzinga published an exclusive exploring the benefits of building on top of Bitcoin via Stacks, with quotes from Mitchell Cuevas (Head of Growth, the Stacks Foundation).
The launch of the Stacks Accelerator was featured in CoinDesk, demonstrating our focus on building user-owned businesses and innovating on Bitcoin.
Benzinga's exclusive also covered the teams on the first cohort of the accelerator, which span from DeFi platforms to NFT marketplaces.
CoinDesk published an article about CityCoins, covering Mayor Frances Suarez's excitement for the idea and the prospect of Miami being first.
The Stacks chain and PoX was featured in continuations regarding its environmental benefits.
Stacks Foundation Head of Growth, Mitchell Cuevas, was interviewed alongside Mark Cuban in a Benzinga exclusive covering alternatives to Ethereum-based DeFi.
Messari released a short report detailing how STX is 'one of the most commonly held liquid assets by crypto venture and hedge funds'.
Freehold's work with Bitcoin influencers was covered in Decrypt, as Patrick Stanley expressed that crypto influencers are necessary.
Two video interviews were published on Reason.com about privacy, and Kitco News on the topic of Bitcoin vs Gold.
Blockworks featured a piece on Floating Point Group's new service for STX holders and why Stacking is beneficial for institutional investors.
Please join us for the Stacks Ecosystem Town Hall today (July 2nd at 10:00 AM EST / 2:00 PM UTC). We'll be covering news and updates spanning all of Q2 2021 and hear from the community building a better internet on Bitcoin.