Blockstack token whitepaper v1.0.1 feedback

The other day, the Blockstack core devs released a draft of their token whitepaper. I thank them for publishing more details and giving us a chance to provide feedback before the proposal is finalized.

Here are my thoughts after reading:


  • Enables new features e.g. voting and atomic swaps in a way may be cleaner than without stacks.
  • Provides incentives to early users and app developers that bitcoin (the underlying cryptocurrency) may not provide (at least as directly related to the success of the Blockstack platform).
  • Muneeb points out that the token has thus far been favorably received more often than not. Much of this enthusiasm could of course be due to the overall exuberance around tokens and the potential for a financial return, and have little to do with the technical merits of the proposal, but the support is there nonetheless so I think that counts for something.


  • Adds complexity, such as voting, KYC, and namespace auctioning, where the system is currently very simple.
  • Creates new attack vectors through the mining processes.

Some general comments/ questions

  • My personal opinion is that the added complexity outweighs the benefits. I like the simple system as it exists today.

  • I especially do not like the idea of requiring KYC for token buyers or miners. As we have seen, giving PII to third parties exposes people to considerable risk. Many users either can’t or won’t go through the KYC hazing ritual, and will thus be excluded from the token distribution process. I would encourage you to consider anti-sybil mechanisms that do not require divulging PII to third parties.

  • Is the text on GitHub? There were quite a few typos in the whitepaper that I found while reading and I would be happy to submit a PR with fixes.

  • Is there a way to do the burn mechanism without bloating bitcoin’s UTXO set?

  • Doesn’t the idea of launching your own blockchain (Section 6) go against the Blockstack principle of using the most secure blockchain? Surely a new blockchain would be less secure than Bitcoin or another well-established blockchain?


Thanks for the feedback @light! I’ll comment on other points later but for any typos please email them to me – that’s the fastest way to fix them right now. Thanks,

@light We also started this process for collecting feedback:

You can leave comments directly on Github this way. Thanks!

@muneeb It would be awesome to get a reply to @light’s feedback, btw. I’m interested in your thoughts around it. I also see he didn’t add it to the repo yet.

I’m not so concerned about the KYC as that is basically only the way to initially bootstrap the network. And we’ll be small at the start.