Introducing the Hiro Platform

Original post by @muneeb, cross posting from the Hiro Blog Post: Introducing the Hiro Platform

Today we’re sharing high-level plans for a new hosted service, the Hiro Platform, to serve developers building the user-owned internet on Bitcoin. After the launch of the Stacks 2.0 blockchain in Jan, we’re seen tremendous interest from developers to build smart contracts for Bitcoin. Hiro is now more narrowly focused on developers. Anyone can use the open source Stacks software to freely use and develop smart contracts. With the hosted Hiro Platform we want to make it easier for startups and enterprises to build on the Stacks and Bitcoin blockchains. Hiro has always been an open source company and we will continue our commitment to open source.

Earlier, at Hiro PBC (formerly known as Blockstack PBC), our focus was on building the public infrastructure for decentralized apps and smart contracts, specifically around Bitcoin. During this phase, we did the early R&D and development of the Stacks 2.0 blockchain. With the launch of the Stacks 2.0 blockchain by independent miners, Hiro PBC no longer plays an essential managerial role for the Stacks blockchain. We’re excited to have a narrowed focus on developer tools. Stacks 2.0 went live in Jan 2021 and after 2 months there is $800M+ total value locked on the PoX smart contract, with several other smart contracts being developed in the ecosystem.

Blockchains enable new types of computer programs: (a) smart contracts that can be published on a blockchain to execute in a trustless manner, and (b) decentralized apps that are user-owned and avoid centralized servers. Ethereum demonstrated the power of decentralized apps and smart-contracts, and Stacks brings these capabilities to Bitcoin. At Hiro, our thesis is that in the long-term, the broader Bitcoin ecosystem can emerge as the center of gravity for crypto. Enabling apps & smart contracts directly on top of Bitcoin can unlock this potential.

Hiro Platform is a planned hosted service that will make it easy for developers to build on the Stacks blockchain. Areas of focus include testing and deploying smart contracts, spinning up nodes and other server-side resources for scaling, and monitoring and analytics. Hiro Platform will provide the convenience and reliability that developers have come to expect from cloud-hosted platforms and APIs like Stripe for payments and Twilio for telecommunication infrastructure, while the underlying network remains decentralized and open, unlike the cloud.

Hiro Platform is planned to be a hosted service on top of decentralized blockchains. The Hiro Platform can only exist on top of public blockchains like Bitcoin and Stacks that provide the core consensus and decentralized smart contracts functionality; it couldn’t exist until the successful launch of Stacks 2.0. Our work on developer tools and hosted services for Stacks helps move the industry in the direction of a user-owned internet built on Bitcoin.

The Hiro team has been engaging with developers and identifying areas for improvement. We’re gathering insights from app and smart contract creators, our internal development team, and integration partners. We plan to share more details on upcoming focus areas, but in the near term we are working on improvements to Stacks.js, Microblocks, Clarity lang, the Stacks Wallet for Web, and improving developer documentation and developer onboarding experience.

Hiro remains a public benefit corporation building open source software. We have strides to make in improving the Stacks developer experience, and are thrilled to work on the Hiro Platform to serve a vibrant and growing group of app founders and developers in the Stacks ecosystem. We’re publishing this post to get early community feedback. We want to hear from developers who’re building apps & smart contracts for Bitcoin and help make their lives easier.

We’re looking for developer feedback! Please share your comments below.

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This is fantastic news! Here are a few requirements for BlockSurvey that we got from Enterprise. This, I believe, might be needed for other apps as well.

Authorization based on roles: Individuals in an organization that uses Stacks apps would receive access keys on an individual basis and not at an organization.

Here are few drawbacks of this model:
a) If an employee leaves the organization, the access keys are still with the employee and cannot be revoked.
b) Custody of keys is at the employee level rather than at the organization level. No admin access available today.

If Stacks can help to facilitate GSuite like administration, it would help enterprises to be in better control of their data.

Stacks as Payments: Something like Stripe with one time and recurring plan could be helpful for apps running subscriptions. By this privacy of individuals could be protected who are using DApps.

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I would like to see some generated sdks from smart contracts so that I don’t have to lookup the function parameters. Something like openapi but for smart contracts.

Also, I tend to forget which address I used to deploy a certain contract to testnet. Some kind of tool to easily find and use well-known contracts would be nice.

And of course yes to all what you have already proposed :slight_smile:

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Thanks for sharing this. For application devs, abstracting and making smart contracts accessible through APIs would accelerate application development on Stacks. Application devs can focus on building applications alone.

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Because of the Stacks slogan I think Hiro could help “make it easy for an app to become user owned”

Some scenarios:
A. To make sure users can use it and pay enough for using the app they like so developers can keep updating features the users want. (think Discord?)
B. Or perhaps to make sure that an app gets used and the users create content that attracts more users. Users creating content get payed by users that consume. (think Youtube?)

I have heard of app chains can I plug into those on the Hiro platform? So my (as yet unsuccessful or successful) old web 2.0 app can integrate with stacks or an app chain to make it user owned.

Or perhaps that is impossible and you really have to start over at some level but you can adapt existing code, I would want the platform to help me with that in that case.

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Thanks for the input so far! It’s really helpful. We’re collecting notes, please keep it coming :pray:

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