Building apps and smart contracts on Bitcoin with Stacks 2.0

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Everyone wants Bitcoin, now you can build on It too

Stacks, which you may know by the name Blockstack, is an open-source and developer-friendly network for building decentralized apps and smart contracts. More specifically, The Stacks blockchain inherits the security of the Bitcoin blockchain through its consensus mechanism, Proof of Transfer, and enables the creation of secure smart contracts with Clarity. 

Stacks and the companies in the companies within the ecosystem have been pioneers in the decentralized app space for some time; using blockchains to build a DNS equivalent and a PKI/CA equivalent, without relying on root servers or central authorities. 

The idea is that the web in its current form consists of thin protocols like TCP/IP and fat applications like Facebook and Google. Most of the value is captured by the applications running on the top.

smart contracts on bitcoin

Blockchain and token mechanisms can incentivize the creation of fat protocols in a decentralized network — where the data is captured in the fat protocol layer itself. 

The applications on top can be thinner and no application ends up owning the majority of the value e.g. value in the social network could be user data. In the dapp world, important user data may remain more mobile across different apps.

How Stacks is different?

Stacks builds on and extends the Bitcoin blockchain. Satoshi Nakamoto designed its restricted scripting language for a single-use case — tracking the ownership of Bitcoin. 

While this is one of the things that keeps Bitcoin secure, unlike Ethereum, it means developers are unable to program Bitcoin with enough expressivity to build decentralized apps. 

Stacks adds this expressivity to Bitcoin without spinning up a new Proof of Work chain. Instead, Stacks re-uses Bitcoin’s computing power and its blockchain for settlement and security.

smart contracts on bitcoin

What’s new in Stacks 2.0? 

Stacks 2.0 blockchain is a layer-1 blockchain that uses the Bitcoin blockchain as a secure base-layer. It brings apps and smart contracts to Bitcoin, unlocking innovation, new value, and an innovative way to earn BTC. 

smart contracts on bitcoin

Firstly, the Stacks ecosystem is a collection of independent entities, developers, and community members united by the mission of building a user-owned internet on Bitcoin. The ecosystem can already boast over 300,00 STX token holders, hundreds of independent app developers, and 35,000+ community members. 

Secondly, Stacks also presents users with a new way to earn BTC through holding STX. Stacking, or locking STX to the network and sending periodic transactions, STX holders actively support consensus, further securing the network and earning regular bitcoin (BTC) rewards. 

Stacking is a new, more secure way to earn Bitcoin without the need to build high-priced mining setups, leverage 3rd-party DeFi products built on conceivably insecure Solidity contracts, or become involved in centralized lending schemes.

With the Stacks 2.0 launch, over 300,000 STX holders will be able to earn BTC by holding STX.

Thirdly and perhaps most importantly is the introduction of the Clarity programming language – allowing smarter, smart contracts. The new Clarity language vitally brings smart contracts to Bitcoin.

Moreover, It is a decidable language, meaning you can know, with certainty, from the code itself what the program will do. Clarity eliminates entire classes of bugs, protects end-users, and gives developers a safe way to build complex smart contracts.

What problems does it solve? 

A Blockchain solution will bind digital properties. This way a new node-user can independently verify all data bindings, without reliance on third parties. Furthermore, digital identity keys are also generated on your devices, not by the app or service owners. 

There is a saying in cryptocurrency “if you do not own the keys, you do not own the coins,” and this is true of your data and authentication keys. Stacks allow users to retake control of their identity and developers to build applications that leverage these properties. 

Why developers are already building on Stacks

A smart contract is a code that runs on the blockchain instead of a server. Using smart contracts, users can agree on a global state without having to trust a central authority. Clarity is a next-generation language for writing smart contracts, optimized for security and predictability. 

Smart contracts power high-stake transactions and apps. Bugs or malice in these contracts can cause large-scale irreversible harm. Yet most users won’t be able to audit a contract’s code. 

Those in the Stacks ecosystem believe that Instead of having full flexibility, it should be hard for developers to write dangerous code, and in turn, protecting users proactively.

The Clarity programming language is predictable. It includes mathematical proofs that tell you what a program will do before you execute it. That way, developers can catch a lot of bugs before they appear.

Clarity code is not compiled. The code developers wrote, analyzed, and tested, is exactly what gets executed. It includes defenses for users. Instead of trusting developers, users can supply their conditions for transactions. These conditions ensure that a contract may never unexpectedly transfer a user’s tokens.

As competition for Ethereums dominance heats up there are many compelling reasons why developers should look outside the Ethereum blockchain when it comes to building dapps. 

Get involved

Now that you have a better understanding of how Blockstack works, it’s time to get involved.

Take part in the smart contract challenge! 

Apply for grants 

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