Working Group Session - 05/11/20


  • Quick check in with group members, what have you been working on? (Jason)
  • Review PoX Business Hackathon (Jenny & Shannon)
    • What has been decided so far: will take place in late June?
    • What categories are being considered: Delegation, Stacking, and Wild Card?
    • Open to group input on any additional items / aspects
  • Quick note about project management and using Github
  • Presentations from Nako and Peter regarding product ideas
  • Open Discussion

Table of Contents

Video Recording

The video recording, audio files, and chat transcript can be found in this Google Drive folder.

Stand-up / Check-in

Jason: Checking in with everyone, going through our stand-up / check-in each week: is there anybody who’s had any major successes or blockers as we are working to start making money on Blockstack?

Peter: Waiting for the testnet to move along and to start mining, other than that, all good.

Jason: That’s fair, we are definitely in a state of constant progress with mining right around the corner, and with testnet, we keep breaking and fixing, is there anyone else who’d like to share?

Nako: Joining for the first time, really nice being here, looking at a delegator service, think that’s something that can work as a business model. I’m here to talk about it with anyone thinking about the same thing, but it’s very early stage, everything is still in the ideation phase.

Jason: Well the way I look at it, we all have to start somewhere! Happy to have you here for that. I appreciate everyone being here today, I will roll it over to Jenny and Shannon to talk about the proof of transfer business hackathon and some thoughts around that.

PoX Business Hackathon

Jenny: Thanks Jason, and thank you Nako for mentioning that, that actually is a good segue to what we wanted to talk about today. In the previous meeting we went back and forth about a business models competition, whether it is about business plans or businesses themselves, and with stacking and delegating enabled on testnet coming up soon and folks starting to build these products and services, we thought it would make sense to have a competition around building products around delegation and stacking.

Jenny: What we were thinking so far, if the competition moves forward, it would take place in late June. We are considering having three different categories for submission:

  1. Delegation (like Nako had mentioned)
  2. Stacking
  3. Wild Card (ideas that leverage PoX)

Jenny: In addition to other prizes, thinking about a pretty cool opportunity coming up in July. Shannon has also been a great mastermind behind this event, wondering if she is missing any details.

Shannon: No, you’re all good, we think the timing would work perfectly for an event coming up. (Comments from others - hard to hear Shannon)

Jenny: What Shannon was about to mention, we’ve got a pretty cool event coming up in July, not sure if they can mention details yet, but it would give winners an opportunity to present to potential customers, beyond those details, nothing else has been decided, obviously we wanted to test the waters and the group would take a pretty big lead on the event to get it up and running.

Jenny: If there is any feedback, please share it now, and there will be forum posts and other places to talk more about it. Any initial thoughts?

Project Management on Github

Louise: From me, want to touch up on what Jason said in the email thread, on the working flow for the business model working group. I think Github is a nice way to put everything moving forward.

Jenny: Agree, we do have that repo, so we can definitely put.

Louise: I know, right, for example, the governance group is actually utilizing it and I checked it the other day, you could check everything, who is owning what, I think it was stellar.

Jason: Perfect, so to highlight a little bit of detail on that for everyone, I had made a comment in an email thread outside of the group here, saying that I would love to really continue using the resources we have. We have this excellent github repo, we have started putting some ideas there, we have some ideas on the forum, we talk about things on the call, so I’m hoping to create a more streamlined effort to make sure we are not missing anyone’s chance to contribute, giving a consistent basis for “hey this is where you go to dump an idea”, or if you want to do something else, that’s where some of that coming from.

Jason: Is anybody opposed to using Github for project management and/or for keeping track of agendas or anything like that. Is there anybody opposed to that idea?

Jason: I think that’s one of the few times I really like silence! Cool, so looking at that, and looking at that announcement, I know we asked if there was any other input on the PoX Business hackathon, is there any other input we would like to get on that subject before moving on?

Cameron: Is anyone else from the west coast?

Patrick: Yeah, Patrick here, Jenny, Jason.

Defi on Blockstack

Cameron: Ok, cool, just curious. Next thing: seems like DeFi is the real use case everyone is gravitating towards right now, talked last week about where funding for research would come from, needs to be liquidity, a pool of funds, needs to be liquidity to build in a decentralized way. Third category should be DeFi applications on Blockstack.

Patrick: For sure.

Cameron: What is your guys thoughts on this? Have any of you done a deep dive in DeFi business models? They are pretty interesting and unique.

Patrick: Yeah definitely, I think between clarity and proof of transfer, one could create pretty solid / interesting defi products. When it comes to first use cases, my assumption is that the first use case would be earning more bitcoin, how to HODL stacks and earn more bitcoin, might build delegators (like Nako), features to stack more stacks like reinvesting compound interest automatically. I would love for you to unpack a little bit of what you said about liquidity to the rest of the gang so we can all be on the same page.

Cameron: decentralized financial application, the money needs to come from somewhere, like on the last call with the research example, excuse me, I just woke up, needs to be some pool of funds for there to essentially start the entire world of decentralized finance. otherwise it’s a giant ponzi scheme, lending money they don’t have.

Patrick: I see. In defi in ethereum, they lock ETH up in a smart contract, which creates a stable coin for example. Is that kind of what you’re describing?

Cameron: Yes, this could be one of the many interesting applications that could come out of the competition. Some sort of analysis for the need of a stable coin on Blockstack.

Patrick: Interestingly, wonder whether its possible to create a stable coin where the users’ sell custody, their stacks, and use the delegation function to signal commitment to the creation of a stable coin. Not sure that makes sense, but it’d be kind of cool. I see what you’re saying, creating liquidity pools you can draw down on due to volatility in the markets. Is that generally correct?

Cameron: Yeah, pretty much.

Patrick: Honestly, if you thought about this, has to be careful what to encourage, but the stable coin is super interesting. There is a world where every project actually needs to have a stable coin to be competitive. Might be obvious in hindsight. Want to get a jump on that pretty quickly, to have a bitcoin-backed stable coin would be pretty interesting.

Cameron: People would love that.

Jason: Definitely, sounds like a strong idea, what that sounds like to me is that when we are looking at the rewards or structure of the event, that adding a defi category sounds like an awesome one, and with the stable coin that’s another thing that PoX can unlock. There’s a shared doc that I plan to share with the group at the very end, where we were just mulling around ideas and throwing in notes we didn’t know where to put anywhere else, and I had a twist on user subscriptions that could help bolster the economy as well. So there’s a few interesting things coming out of there - any other thoughts on those subjects?

Phillip: participated in DeFi conference, as everyone was saying, they were thinking of not doing the conference because of web2 issues, big collapse in bitcoin market, big hacking problems, financial problems, ecosystem issues. Very much to do. Still have to develop a little more. Decided that because of the challenge, still a good idea, and it will come to the Blockstack ecosystem. We probably have to wait until things mature. It’s not soemthing we should encourage so much in the beginning because we have more basic stuff. Especially for people hacking things and looking for things, people making money now, making traps, so many concepts that it’s overwhelming.

Cameron: Will second that, incredibly overwhelming, a lot of applications and issues that can emerge. but I do think it’s worth exploring, to create this bridge between bitcoin and defi - essentially bitcoin and lending, bitcoin and borrowing, futures markets, could be built on top. a list of defi use cases. two resources listed in the chat: defiprime and dystopialabs. They are constantly coming out with more, important for Blockstack and the community to be on the pulse of this. But I agree, it’s incredibly overwhelming.

Nako: I wanted to make a comment and get some feedback from people in respect to the DeFi space, I think its definitely the place to focus on since that’s where the focus is, regardless of controversy. How do we differentiate ourselves from other larger bitcoin derivatives and there is a huge uptick in this space. could have an impact on alt coins and the entire alt coin market, which we are a part of. Just some feedback on that, what are your thoughts?

Phillip: I see the big innovation right now that Blockstack has put into place, linking the network to the blockchain. At the beginning, has been the driver for all the dapps that have been developed, even though there is so much to do in that segment. That’s the big innovation with the ID, the routing, and now the STX blockchain and new opportunities in terms of the financial sector. We don’t want to lose those drivers, it will reach the mainstream, and that one has the difference, not just the financial sector. Financial sector is just a small sector of all the businesses (industrial, companies, etc).

Cameron: Just to be clear, are you referring to oracles, or the IT architecture and infrastructure of Blockstack?

Phillip: the IT, replacing the DNS (BNS), actually the network and network protocols. there is so much to do there. Not oracles, those are not mentioned on the platform yet.

Peter: Wanted to add to what Nako was asking, right now Blockstack is behind mainly because we are fighting events, defi and crypto in general, one of the advantage of it, can be built and how each of the networks develop and issue coins, capture value. Obviously, Ethereum in terms of the defi is way ahead, because there is more liquidity, more tokens, more people using it, and the more people using defi the more valuable it is. One approach is the connection of Blockstack and Bitcoin. Bitcoin was still notably behind because of the non-turing complete language, in terms of the defi goals, even there it’s getting better. I just recently saw an alpha or beta version, there are tons of people holding their Bitcoin, maybe bringing them into the Blockstack ecosystem.

Jason: Let me do my best to summarize some of the takeways there. So based on what Phillip is saying, or, we will start with Cameron. Definitely I see some room to start looking at the high-level defi kind of stuff we can do on Blockstack. We have smart contracts, we can start thinking of logic, we can start wrapping our heads around what would make this successful. To Nako’s comment, to what really makes us different, I think we just look back to proof of transfer. This concept works for us, it really differentiates us from a lot of other areas, so I think that diving deeper back into that we can start looking into the answers to that question.

Jason: Finally, Phillip, your points there about the IT, the BNS or the Blockstack Naming System, or looking at some of the core technologies as well. I see those as expanding quickly too. So I think we’ve got a lot of elements in motion like we’ve talked about, it can be a bit overwhelming but we all have our own little areas and niches that we like, as well, so that we can help expand and bring those back into light. Just like you were saying Peter, the defi thing is really fascinating to me, and when you have people who are holding Bitcoin, I know Patrick has mentioned this before, there’s always the notions of free riders in a system. So how do we get people that are stacks holders or even Bitcoin holders who aren’t doing anything to do something, and that’d be a nice way to bridge into that as well.

Nako’s Delegator Idea

Jason: Getting back to the agenda real quick, unless there are any pressing topics there, I’d like to use this as a chance to segue into what we are talking about with Peter and Nako’s projects. Starting with Nako, if you’d like to present a little bit of your delegator idea or share any insights on your product, is there anything else you’d like to share in that regard?

Nako: The delegator, as many of you know, there are other ecosystems that have the same setup. Instead of completely reinventing the wheel, it is helpful to look at what is successful on other projects, particularly looking at how the Tezos network set up their delegation services. Obviously there are some differences between how we would do it for Blockstack, but I think that they have a pretty good blueprint. One of the things talked to Patrick about is compound interest, something she hasn’t seen on there. Maybe someone has the feature, but it would be really attractive. Do see a lot of bitcoiners looking for ways to participate not just HODL (I’m one of them), and lending seems to be on an uptick and we can attract some of those type of profiles to delegation services.

Nako: A lot of it will have to do with marketing, how we message things, our community is extremely splintered in crypto. You’ve got your maximalist and everyone who thinks if its not BTC its sh*t, literally, “shit-coins”. So it depends on how we message, who’s our target, still going through that, looking at how to message effectively. I’m part of that market, so I understand myself and people who are like me, still in the very beginning stages of that. Will have a document out for everyone, I have something that I’ve started, so will have a working document for others to look at and add their comments.

Jason: Awesome, thank you for that and I appreciate it, something I thought of as you were talking there, too. We talk about not reinventing the wheel a lot, so we do want to look at things that are successful in other avenues. It’s very tempting to first look at all crypto projects, but we can also look at banks, and I don’t like them necessarily and I don’t like the way a lot of things work in the credit industry, I have my own gripes, but there are some successes and failures we can likely take off of. The compound interest is a fascinating topic to me, and same with dividend reinvestment, we see that common in the stock market, or with apps that try to save your extra change by rounding up transactions. There are some fun things we can definitely pull in from other areas. Patrick - I see you have to go, thanks for being here!

Patrick: Thank you, this is great, just want to shout out to Cameron for hopping on the call and participating. Really insightful and really appreciate it. Also, Nako for having the courage to get started on a delegator wallet. See ya!

Peter’s Stackulator

Jason: Awesome, appreciate you, take care! So just wrapping up that thought, thank you Nako I see you have to jump too, the last thing we wanted to get into was to talk to Peter about the Stackulator, for any insights you have or any asks that we can help with as the group. Is there anything new you’d like to share with the group?

Peter: Will share a link in the chat, switched to a proper domain, had it on a temporary hosting. One of the stacksholders from defi digital created hosting, how much of an investment can a stakeholder expect from mining. It seems like it was pretty basic given that I’m a developer for some time. My thinking there was that we need basic tools in Blockstack right now. Experienced this as a developer, a lot of the tools are not there yet, it’s hard to do anything with Blockstack but obviously it’s still early. Even for a stacksholder there are a lot of missing tools before we get to do delegation. So that’s why I created the stackulator, the goal is to have an entrance for people who own STX, people who might be thinking about stacking, the next part depends I’m still waiting on more feedback and want to release to the broader community. Kept it mostly inside of Discord and the Blockstack team at this time, time to move to bigger audience with Stacks 2.0 on the horizon, see what the feedback is in the broader community. From there, have a few ways this could actually be used. Might leave it simple, could help with delegator service, application services, providing some information about stacking or first time stacks holders.

Jason: I think it looks great, I know I’ve been through it and given feedback where I can, I can see the there are a few neat little updates too. For the amount I can earn, if I hover over the fiat amount I see BTC so that’s new, and happy to see it up on a domain. That’s STXSTACKING.COM if you caught it in there. So feedback sounds like a big ask, so is there anything people would like, or how to use it with their application, is there anything else we as the working group can help you with in regard to developing or promoting this a little bit?

Peter: If there are experimental ideas, a few ways he can move, can leave it like this but would rather build something for the public, could feed into delegator services, have some ideas there, could use for experimentation, one low hanging fruit, imagine creating some form of affiliate program. I don’t know if you noticed, two or three weeks ago Amazon changed its affiliate programs, so tons of people depending on the affiliate program lost half of their monthly income because of the changes, and obviously those changes were pretty sudden. So having some for of public and hard to change, transparent algorithm for affiliates with a slight twist of using the tokens might be helpful. A lot of smaller experiments that can be around such a simple service.

Peter: Realizes what Phillip was saying being careful by working with defi, but we should go into defi just because this is what people are using tokens for, the issue is not using defi itself, just that some of the experiments are way too ambitious. So people are creating projects that lock tons of the money without being properly vested. Having such a small experiment as the stackulator or other projects might be a more careful way to go. We can talk about proof of HODL and some other things that can be used with the stackulator.

Jason: As I’m typing notes, I’m curious too, the ability to provide some of this functionality via an API and/or using smart contracts for access to that API were two ideas that came to mind from my side, was there anyone else who wanted to provide feedback or any other thoughts on Peter’s stackulator?

Phillip: very nice work, thank you for doing that, Peter.

Peter: Thanks Phillip.

Jason: Saw Louise was saying too that it was really helpful for the group on Telegram and it’s been really cool. I think at this point if we don’t have anything else to add, we had a few more people start to jump and we are getting close to time here, were there any final thoughts we wanted to share before we jump off the call today?

InHolland Business Group Update

Louise: I had some final thoughts regarding the InHolland Business Group since you asked me to message him, he said the students are working on their proposals, and once that is complete they will be more than happy to share with the business model working group.

Jason: Excellent, that’s super fun, so for anybody who had not been a part of that conversation we have the InHolland business group doing a Tokenomics course and they are basing it all around Blockstack and the ecosystem here. So they are thinking of, in their own ways, how these business models apply and how to work with ideas on the new internet, this “web3” we keep talking about. If they need any feedback along the way then I’m happy to help. On that note I think we are finishing up.

Cameron’s California University Presentations

Cameron: Real quick, if you don’t mind, so this is for the community. I am running a couple courses at some universities in California, we are planning to talk about Blockstack a good amount, what should the weight of that discussion be? This is mainly for computer science students, should it be based more on the Blockstack stack, like the IT stack, or around trying to get these CS students to discuss more business models? We don’t have that much time, in terms of priority of how to spend the time, what does the community think? Should we focus more on PoX and Clarity? Discuss new emerging business models?

Louise: would love to jump in, computer science students have a broad interest, so it depends. right now I’d say it should be more on PoX and Clarity because we want to focus on mainnet, but I don’t want it to take the initial interest with students, start with an overview of Blockstack, and encourage to join working groups. Instead of dropping too deep into concepts in the beginning.

Peter: Talking as a developer, few things I am biased about, few interesting things about crypto on blockstack in particular. In general, not sure on their exposure to crypto, but the idea that they can create a self-sovereign ID (focus on the technology), actually owns the money (not possible before), heard about the idea years back and still exciting. Secondly, Clarity might be interesting because it is based on LISP, something for me is harder (LISP is not used as much), but if at a university would love to dive into and learn LISP in a real world project. So, being able to learn that on top of building on the blockchain is quite interesting. Maybe showing them something different compared to bitcoin, that you can actually run the node on something small like a raspberry pi. So having them build their own node and running contracts on the raspberry pi might be interesting to computer science. Obviously I would mention business models, or PoX, as an extra bonus, but with limited time focus on the tech.

Cameron: Thank you so much, I’ll follow up with you on a later date.

Phillip: The experience of presenting Blockstack, the whole full-stack concept that the ecosystem is promoting, you can develop applications with this interaction with the blockchain. The value is in creating something new that hasn’t been there before, and these network protocols, and storage, and routing. The more we talk about that and think about that, it’s kind of interesting. The Blockstack solution is applied in a very concrete way that IT people will undertand very easily in addition what we have here.

Shannon: Hey Jason, not sure if you can hear me but I have to end the zoom recording due to another meeting, apologies.

Jason: No problem on my end, and actually, everybody I appreciate that. I took a ton of notes, Cameron I think that’s a fascinating topic, we’ve got some great feedback for you already and I’d love to explore that some more with you as well. I’ve got my notes, let’s circle back in Discord or just keep in touch, thank you everybody for being here and I look forward to the next one, definitely. So thank you all.