Beyond Bitcoin: Stacks, a Decentralized Democratic Internet

Many people are becoming familiar with Bitcoin and the concept of blockchain technology. However, not many are aware of the magnitude of the technological and societal revolution we are witnessing. It is not just the better money (see post on this here) that was created in 2008. The technology behind it will change the way we interact with the world around us in the coming years. There are hundreds of projects using blockchains to develop new decentralized ways of doing everything. One of the most important ones, in my view, is Stacks.

Stacks (previously known as Blockstack) is a decentralized computing platform and the concept is explained in detail in the Ph.D. thesis of Muneeb Ali at Princeton University, entitled “Trust-to-trust design of a new internet”. Muneeb also has a brief description in the form of a TED talk here.

In the same way Bitcoin is better money, Stacks can be pictured as a better internet, but with additional features not currently present on the internet we are used to. One of the most important features is security, as the Stacks blockchain leverages the Bitcoin blockchain by anchoring to it. Just to emphasize, Stacks is a separate blockchain but uses the Bitcoin blockchain for security through a mechanism called Proof of Transfer (PoX). If you want to look under the hood and get more information on how this works, see the Stacks 2.0 white paper here.

Some of the most important features of the Stacks platform are:

• You can run secure, decentralized, and censorship-resistant applications on it

• You own your own data, rather than the companies that you interact with. There is no middleman

• It enables new ways of doing business and receiving payments

• No major player has control

I find the concept truly fascinating, and something that we cannot afford not to have for the following reason. Stacks is a democratic version of the internet, as opposed to the current one in which the power is in the hands of a few players like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. I am not trying to paint any of them as evil. In fact, I think they have done great contributions to society. But they are run by humans, and it is a fact that humans that hold power for too long, get corrupted. It is in human nature. This is the reason why in most democratic governments, there are limits in the number of years the leader of a country serves in office. The internet is now bigger than any country, and it is too important not to bring important elements of democracy to it.

This is the future. Hundreds of decentralized apps have been already built for Stacks, and the list is growing by the day. To learn more, I encourage you to go here.

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