What Is Stacks (STX)?
Stacks is a layer-1 blockchain solution that is designed to bring smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps) to Bitcoin (BTC). These smart contracts are brought to Bitcoin without changing any of the features that make it so powerful — including its security and stability.
These DApps are open and modular, meaning developers can build on top of each other's apps to produce features that are simply not possible in a regular app. Since Stacks uses Bitcoin as a base layer, everything that happens on the network is settled on the most widely used arguably the most secure blockchain in operation — Bitcoin.
The platform is powered by the Stacks token (STX), which is used for fueling the execution of smart contracts, processing transactions and registering new digital assets on the Stacks 2.0 blockchain.
The platform was formerly known as Blockstack, but was rebranded to Stacks in Q4 2020 in order to "separate the ecosystem and open source project from Blockstack PBC" — the company that built the original protocols.
The mainnet for Stacks 2.0 launched in January 2021.
Who Are the Founders of Stacks?
Stacks was initially funded by a range of prominent venture capital funds, including Y Combinator, Digital Currency Group and Winklevoss Capital. It was developed by Blockstack PBC, which has its headquarters in New York.
Blockstack PBC now operates under the name Hiro Systems PBC and joins a wide range of companies building on Stacks' platform.
Blockstack PBC was founded by Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea. After graduating from Princeton University with an MA and PhD in computer science, Muneeb Ali co-founded Stacks in 2013, and still works with the platform today as the CEO of Hiro Systems PBC.
The second co-founder of the platform, Ryan Shea, also served co-CEO between 2013 and 2018, before disembarking from the project to pursue other ventures — including co-founding a new tech startup that is currently operating in stealth. Prior to his role at Stacks, Shea worked as a software engineer.
What Makes Stacks Unique?
Stacks looks to take what makes Bitcoin so powerful, and extends it with additional functionality, without needing to fork or change the original Bitcoin blockchain.
It does this by connecting directly with the Bitcoin blockchain through its proof-of-transfer (PoX) consensus mechanism, which has miners pay in BTC to mint new Stacks (STX) tokens. Moreover, STX token holders can also stack (not stake) their tokens to earn Bitcoin as a reward.
Stacks introduces a new smart contract programming language known as Clarity, which is designed to be both secure and easy to build with thanks to its unambiguous syntax. This smart contract-centric programming language is also used by the Algorand (ALGO) blockchain.
On top of this, Stacks was the first cryptocurrency to receive SEC qualification for a sale in the United States, allowing it to launch a $28 million Reg A+ sale cash offering for its STX tokens in July 2019.
How Many Stacks (STX) Coins Are There in Circulation?
According to the recently revamped economic policy launched with Stacks 2.0, the supply of the newly unlocked STX in circulation will be reduced by around 10% between now and 2020 compared to the original schedule.
In total, around 1.82 billion STX are expected to be in circulation by 2050, compared to around 739.7 million in circulation as of January 2021.
As per the Stacks 2.0 whitepaper draft (v0.1), a total of 1,000 STX per block will be released in the first four years, decreasing to 500 STX/block in the subsequent 4 years, 250 STX/block in the next four years, and then 120 STX/block after that in perpetuity.
In total, 6.6% of the initial genesis supply (1.32 billion STX) was allocated to the founder and a further 7.9% to the Stacks team. These are subject to a three year unlock schedule, with tokens next scheduled to unlock in November 2021.
How Is the Stacks Network Secured?
Stacks uses the Bitcoin blockchain as its base layer. As a Proof of Work (PoW)-based blockchain, Bitcoin uses the combined efforts of thousands of miners and nodes to protect the network against attacks by making it computationally and economically unfeasible to subvert the network.
On top of this, Stacks introduces its own consensus model, known as proof-of-transfer (PoX), which is a novel mining mechanism that sees users transfer the base currency (BTC) to mine STX — effectively bootstrapping the security of the Stacks blockchain using BTC.
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