I’ve been interested in how the “Web 3.0” vision is evolving, and one of the companies that is leading the path is Blockstack - a platform for developing dApps (decentralized apps).

Developing dApps requires a significant change in mental models for developers. But the core purpose of a development platform is the same - to help developers build, grow and monetize their apps.

Blockstack takes an interesting approach. All DApps are single page apps that interact with the blockstack.js library, which provide the core identity and storage services for a DApp. All the complexity for a Blockstack app is moved to clients vs. on the blockchain itself through smart contracts. This makes sense since clients have the compute power, and the chain is only used for the core decentralization purposes.

There are 3 principles that define what type of apps developers can build using Blockstack:

  • Users own their identity, and have full control over how that is used. Blockstack provides the infrastructure to provide users that control. Decentralized identity is a fundamental part of every dApp.
  • Users own their data, and can create apps on Blockstack using the Gaia decentralized storage system
  • Users have free choice of clients. Your identity and data can be easily transferred between dApps by default. You can build a dApp but if you are using Blockstack’s Identity platform and decentralized data, it can technically be used by another app.

Some other notes:

  • As a developer, I often want to bring decentralization into my apps in the form of data or identity. Blockstack provides an infrastructure for both of these, but it can be a bit hard to dig through. I wish their website was designed around helping developers around these principles, instead of being hidden in their docs.
  • App Mining is a very interesting funding model. This pays developers based on contributions to the ecosystem, and rewards them on a regular basis based on app reviewers input (more here). While this isn’t using a specific crypto token, it shares the spirit of financially supporting the developer of a dApp.