Blockstack - A New Internet

The founders of our portfolio company Blockstack are ambitious.

What they have built and are announcing today is effectively a new Internet, powered by the blockchain.

This is what the Blockstack team is after:

A new internet needs to have security and safety as a core of its DNA. Applications and services cannot be owned and controlled by remote third-parties. We can build a digital world of truly peer-to-peer internet utilities not maintained by corporations, but collectively, by the people. We can build a digital world that encodes property rights, where we can own our data, and where the people are powerful.

Here is their blog post announcing the Blockstack Browser.

And here is my partner Albert’s blog post on the USV blog explaining why this is important.


Comments (Archived):

  1. c1ndygao

    this is right out of ‘silicon valley’…

    1. Frank W. Miller

      Lol! Middle out makes it all work! 😉

    2. Rob Underwood

      Yes!! Another example of why it would be great for our host to check the show out (and agree to guest star in the inevitable NYC episode).

      1. JamesHRH

        Yes, this is totes what @fredwilson:disqus should do.And, he should specifically ask for his story line to involve Guilfoyle and, I don’t know, Fred having a massive prejudice against CDNs.

        1. Rob Underwood

          Another plot idea: Big Head being recommended to Fred to lead a computer science education non-profit on the heals of his guest lecturer assignment at Stanford. Erlich helps Big Head to teach an “Hour of Code” at a local Palo Alto middle school.

          1. JamesHRH

            This is also a great idea.Although, Erlich trying a Vulcan mind meld negotiation trick on Fred would also be awesome.Or Fred having dated Laurie Bream @ MIT or……so many well drawn characters its dead easy to pop up ideas.

        2. Frank W. Miller

          Can you imagine Fred and Guilfoyle in a conversation about politics? Not very many monotone words. 🙂 (sorry to talk about you in the 3rd person on your site, its in fun)

  2. Prashant Gandhi

    Is this what you were referring to in your Techonomy talk as token based economy ?

    1. fredwilson

      well i was thinking more generically about the sector as a whole, but this is a great example of that

      1. Twain Twain

        Interesting we had a blog post on the return of Command Line in how we communicate on social media and now Blockstack walks devs through the Command Line installs for its libraries.The serverless single page application replicates what Amazon already offers.It’s doubly interesting since AWS is moving on from Command Line to this: https://uploads.disquscdn.c…And the guys at (raised $7.2 million from MS and NEA) are also offering a visual interface married with command line tools.The question remains whether Blockchain offers the types of data munging and processing power needed in AI and to get towards Natural Language Understanding.The server less application with 0 cost lambda functions and distributed micro services is already provided by AWS.

  3. Ryan Shea

    Fred, you’ve always been an important part of our story. Muneeb and I started the design foundations of what would become Blockstack in late 2013. We started thinking through how we would build this new decentralized internet and decided to start with identity in particular, as we saw that as the most critical component to get right first. We soon after saw a talk of yours on how we need to own our identity and data and that got us even more fired up than we already were. We knew we were on to something and the vision that you and Albert Wenger shared with us is what led us to work with you as partners in our journey.Over the years we built out all of the critical components for a decentralized internet. From identity, to naming and discovery, to data storage, to developer libraries, to the browser, we’ve built what we believe is going to form the foundations of a new decentralized internet. We believe the future is within reach and we just need to join forces to build the applications of the new internet. Apps that are more owned by the people than individual corporations. Apps that operate more like public internet utilities and less like monopolies.What we’re tackling is extremely ambitious but we’ve been working hard on it for a long time and we have a strong dedicated community and we have a long road ahead to building out a better future.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      Just an FYI: the “Get Updates” link at the bottom of the page at isn’t working. This is exciting news and I want to signup.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

      1. Ryan Shea

        Thanks, fixing!

      2. Ryan Shea

        Thanks fixed!

    2. Mike Cautillo

      Ryan…very cool and ambitious project. Can’t wait to see what’s in store when projects like Blockstack & Urbit come together fully empowering future sovereignty.

    3. creative group

      Ryan Shea:How is the platform that controls Blockstack structured? A company, non profit, etc. Who control’s and makes the decisions?(BTC came to mind, early dysfunction)VC’s are philanthropic when it fosters and controls their image and narratives. (If one argues Fred and USV is the exception we understand)The reason a VC is created is to make returns.WIIFM to assist with funding without a returnThe internet as we know it began on similar terms now look at it.This isn’t an attack just a request for clarity.Thanks in advance

    4. iggyfanlo

      Awesome stuff… if you guys pull this off, you’ll literally CHANGE the world… not a cliche… #TRUTH

      1. Muneeb Ali

        Thanks! The 40-year old internet infrastructure badly needs an upgrade. We’ve been working on solving some of the hard scalability and performance issues which is very imp for realistically switching over to a decentralized internet.

        1. Twain Twain

          I like the distinction Blockstack makes wrt Ethereum: “If you want to make changes to Ethereum, you’ll need to get buy-in from miners and other parties in order to deploy them. If you want to make changes to Blockstack, you can do so independently of the blockchain.”It’s a different model of consensus and a very Milton Friedman one: the freedom of the individual user to make self-determination rules.

          1. Muneeb Ali

            Yep, we strongly believe that complexity and logic should be kept outside of the blockchains. We believe that blockchains should be a “dumb layer” that only does ordering of operations.

          2. Twain Twain

            Ok, good because the blockchain structure isn’t set up to do any useful AI stuff.So would the “dumb layer” be where things like Lambda functions get written to, for example?I get that Blockstack is re-configuring the Trust, Signature, Encryption and Namespace piece of the Internet Protocols Stack.Where I want the distributed Web to go is where most of XML-OWL-RDF-EmotionML is re-engineered so the machines can get to Natural Language Understanding: https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…@fredwilson:disqus — Albert observed I’m in my own thought world. LOL. Yes, well, key pieces of data and tech are integrated inside my mind.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            Right, but the blockchain will still exist – and the platform and application – as Albert mentions a few times, the blockchain used can be switched. The value here is the structured data for the users and the mobility between [competing and other] applications that it gives users.

          4. Twain Twain

            Blockchain is simply a coding convention involving crypto #hashes and another version of spinning up database instances and virtual machines.The arrangement of those machines (Master-Slave & Controller mechanism) (hub+spoke / mesh / star etc) is what differentiates Blockstack and Ethereum and others. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…So it could be called Pink Flamingos instead of Blockstack/Ethereum and blockchain would still exist.:*).

    5. aminTorres

      Great work Ryan. It is apparent that you guys are wired differently. Never before have I seen a team trying to solve a fundamentally technology-first problem and making such a strong emphasis on design and identity as a crucial part. Great stuff, looking forward to seeing more. I will be interested to see how designers can help Blockstack.

  4. Tim Greive, CFA, CAIA

    Richard Hendricks and Gavin Belson are also interested in building an alternative internet. The Weismann Score Richard can get with his loss-less compression algorithm is beyond previous theoretical limits! Should be an interesting space to watch.

    1. falicon

      +infinity! 😀

      1. Ben Dover ✓Verified

        Infinity * infinity!!!

  5. JLM

    .A Day Without Commentary starts in three, two, one …….. now.Good luck and best wishes.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  6. LE

    From Albert’s post (my emphasis):The Blockstack blockchain itself in turn only contains keys and pointers. All the enduser data is stored in existing storage systems, such as S3, Dropbox, Google Drive etc. But the way it is stored there is fully encrypted and distributed across these systems. That way each underlying storage system is used like a dumb hard drive and the use of multiple systems provides resilience at high performance. This is provided by Blockstack’s Atlas Network and Gaia Storage components.And this:This feels just like using an existing centralized system and requires no special skills or knowledge. Similarly, developers can now write decentralized applications without having to learn all the details of the underlying systems. Instead, they can write in Javascript and implement the authentication and data access APIs exposed by Blockstack. Doesn’t this just put the developer in the role of the middleman in terms of trust? Doesn’t the average ‘stupid computer user’ (I deal with them and have for years) just want something that works? The reason they don’t want to ‘think about changing their own oil’? They want dummy lights, not gauges. They want fake electric fireplaces (oh god what’s the point?) instead of having to bring wood inside that someone else chops. Even if real wood crackles and smells great burning.

    1. JamesHRH

      I agree – I hate to be a naysayer, but this sounds like Tech Nirvana stuff.

      1. LE

        I first experienced what you call ‘tech nirvana’ when doing martial arts as a kid (this was the David Carradine days). I remember there was always a friend that was talking about some new martial arts that was better than the existing martial arts. You know it combined the best parts of this, that and the other thing.The question is, is this a big enough ‘pain point’ for end users?

        1. JamesHRH

          I am using Nirvana in the pejorative sense – its a mythical state, not a reality.

          1. LE

            To be clear I was doing the same. There is a shortcut that I observed years ago that is smart to follow with autos. The best selling car in it’s class is usually the one that you want to buy if you don’t want to sweat the small stuff and if (and this is important) you care about the cost. The market has figured it out typically at least in terms of value. The point is that the market en masse doesn’t divert from this type of easy thinking.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      It does put the developer in th erole of middleman – and that role is governance. How they manage their ecosystem will dictate who stays there and who eventually may leave. The whole value is the mobility this technology gives users.

    3. Twain Twain

      In his original white paper, Satoshi argued that banks shouldn’t be the middlemen because they can’t be trusted.He wrote, “The code is the law.”So now blockchain developers are the middlemen and the arbiters of the “truth” and “trust”.

      1. LE

        Entirely drink the cool-aide esq.. Instead trust some person that hasn’t even revealed who they are. But not banks. They can’t be trusted.

        1. Twain Twain

          Ironic paradoxes abound, right?Satoshi may be like the Kobayashi character in ‘Usual Suspects’. He gets a bunch of strangers and believers to pull off his heist and he disappears with the loot.In any case, about 50,000 blockchain/bitcoin/ethereum developers are currently in his thought experiment building HIS worldview for the distributed Web.Meanwhile, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and W3C are where exactly?

    4. Muneeb Ali

      Nope it doesn’t put the developer as the middleman of trust.The users are mostly oblivious to the technology. They just register a global username and connect some storage providers and then start using apps without worrying about passwords or creating new accounts at every website/app.

      1. LE

        What do you see becoming the killer app that keeps this front and center in their mind? Or prompts them to register a global username in the first place?What prevents what would be called ‘squatting’ on desirable usernames?For example I have but haven’t used it since registering it.

  7. awaldstein

    Without big ideas we would still be living in caves and fearing for our lives.With big ideas we would think that the status quo is all there is.Without big ideas made in countless little pieces we couldn’t wake up each day and think we can actually make a difference.Thinking bigger and differently is what makes me forever pragmatically optimistic.(I’ll have to dig into their vision post the work day.)Thanks Fred!

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      ^What Arnold Said.

      1. jason wright

        what Susan said Arnold said (the reply button is directly below)….

        1. Matt A. Myers

          what Jason said Susan said Arnold said (the reply button is directly below)….

          1. creative group

            what Matt A. Myers said that jason wright said that Susan Rubinsky said that awaldstein said. (the reply button is directly below)…. Not sure you should use it. Already overdone.

  8. Susan Rubinsky

    This is BIG. Really BIG. Not sure the masses will understand it yet. Congratulations to the team at Blockstack.

    1. LE

      There is definitely am opportunity to make money in something that is a bit difficult to understand such as this is. [1] What did I say the other day? “Your ignorance is my opportunity”It wouldn’t be difficult to get the masses to understand it. Just need a few puny brains working on the marketing copy. The question is will they value what they will get. From all past behavior it is not clear that they will.[1] You know the simpler things are races to the bottom. Almost anyone can paint their own house. Ditto for lawn mowing. As a result the amount that a painter or lawn guy can charge is greatly reduced over what a plumber or electrician can charge for their time.

      1. thinkdisruptive

        The only thing that is truly difficult to understand is why the average user needs it. It may be in all of our best interests to use a more secure architecture, but there are lots of people living in tin shacks and houses infested with termites and buildings insulated with asbestos who happily live their lives not knowing what potential disasters loom. The old internet is no different. There needs to be a compelling application and something that is easy to understand if you’re going to get several billion people to flip over.

    2. SubstrateUndertow

      I’m more or less part of the Joe-public masses and even I fully grok their simplified explanation about the beneficial importance of this endeavour to both individuals and our collective social progress/stability in the face of organically accelerated network-effect interdependencies.Most of us don’t need to understand the substrate mechanics. We just need to be motivated by the obvious/significant/primordial personal benefits at hand !From the Blockstack Blog – Repost everywhere – especially on Facebook Imagine a world where people don’t have property rights. In this world, you cannot own a house, and all your belongings are kept in a storage facility owned by a few corporations. And in this world, walking into any store or theater implies that you disclose all your personal information, places you’ve been, other things you’ve bought to the business owners. You are tracked 24/7, your belongings are stolen from storage facilities, and you can’t do anything about it.

      1. Susan Rubinsky

        You are a thinker, a life long learner. Most people are not. I have too many friends (childhood friends, people I grew up with, family members, etc.) who would not identify with that at all. They are all on Facebook complaining about rain and gossiping about the Kardashians.

        1. Drew Meyers

          “They are all on Facebook complaining about rain and gossiping about the Kardashians.”sigh…

    3. Muneeb Ali

      Thanks, Susan! We’re really excited about it and been working hard solving some of the fundamental challenges in building a decentralized internet for the last 3-4 years. Finally, now, we can tell the world about it,

  9. LE

    I want to hear @falicon:disqus ‘s simplification of all of this. Along the lines of (and I am not using the quote to joke but to prove a point) talking about the British and cool rules in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. To wit:Jeff Spicoli: What Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place ’cause it was bogus; so if we don’t get some cool rules ourselves – pronto – we’ll just be bogus too! Get it?

    1. JamesHRH

      I have forgotten that quote, but I couldn’t agree more.Albert’s post was terrific, right up to the last two sentences, where he could have switched to Swahili and I would have captured the same amount of understanding.Its clear that end users are never going to drive a BlockChain conversion. Its a developer or content creator or trader / broker value proposition. Not my gig, so hard to predict….although is does sound like a Better MouseTrap.Its also hilarious how spot on Silicon Valley is at timing ideas coming out of the tech ecosystem ( see last 2 paragraph of episode summaries –… ).

      1. awaldstein

        DunnoIf you think about the impact of work as a token community, maybe not.This is in actuality community commerce, connected to what many local commerce experiments are doing all over Europe, yet decentralized.I reserve more on this till after I spend a day listening to the presenters at the commerce.

        1. JamesHRH

          Pls take this as sarcastic humour:- took CS classes in the 80’s- lab partner from those days runs Google CAN Engineering (1000+ reports)- like to stay superficially currentNo clue what you just said 😉

      2. Muneeb Ali

        I think the Silicon Valley stuff might be inspired by us. I’m saying this because they use certain wording that was live on our website earlier (when the show was directed/filmed).

        1. JamesHRH

          Muneeb – that’s not surprising, given how interesting and cutting edge your work is. It is surprising that a TV series has such detailed feel for any industry – although not too surprising, given Mike Judge’s reputation and overall gift in that regard. He’s on the All Time Underrated Media Superstar squad – a guy you don’t think of who has a killer track record.Congrats on your progress to date. if you stick around you will see that I am not a HUUUGE (love that word now) BlockChain advocate, but I do think your angle is the best one I have seen to date.That being said, I stick to my ‘Huh?’ comments throughout the comments section of today’s post. The area gets people 10 stories off the ground, verbiage-wise.

          1. Muneeb Ali

            Thank you! Looks like there are articles coming out saying that the Silicon Valley show is like Blockstack:

    2. falicon

      Sorry – I got nothing for this…yet…

      1. Twain Twain

        I’m sticking with AWS. See my comments to Fred.My second Alexa Skill got certified yesterday — hurrah!

        1. falicon

          What’s the skill? I’ll check it out and try to share it around (btw, I just put another one out too ->… )

          1. Twain Twain

            Great app!On Colors, I get to 5 and then the loop seems to break?

          2. falicon

            Thanks – will check into it and get it fixed asap!

  10. Matt A. Myers

    How does something like a Disqus app run on Blockstack?

  11. Matt A. Myers

    Curious how does Blockstack compares to Ethereum? Could they be consider comparable?

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Thank you. You can tell you’ve really been working on this problem for awhile now. 🙂

  12. Hiyito Patada

    Very exciting! I look forward to more. This is straight out of my non-technical musings about the web, going back many years. I don’t have the technical chops to do it, so it’s thrilling to see brothers from another mother making it happen. Congrats!

  13. Matt A. Myers

    Blockstack’s Atlas Network and Gaia Storage – love those names.

    1. Muneeb Ali

      Ha, yeah — Greek gods.

  14. jason wright

    how will the token be issued and distributed?

  15. Muneeb Ali

    Ambitious for sure! Blockchains provided a solution to a critical problem that can lead to a truly decentralized internet. However, blockchains are fairly limited and a lot of pieces are missing for having a real scalable decentralized internet. That’s exactly what we’ve been building for the last 3+ years and are really excited for the launch today!

    1. Twain Twain

      “Blockchains are fairly limited” and lots of missing pieces would be an under-statement. For a truly decentralized Internet we need a structure closer to a post-Quantum Computing machine (Einstein+Dirac).Meanwhile, we have Merkle Trees for Blockchain which are old school Classical Model (Descartes+Bayes) if ever. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

      1. Vendita Auto

        Mark Twain: Thinking [intuitive] what would a new young cyber Dirac’s thoughts be with D-wave [neuromorphic] probabilities – indeterminacy ref block-chain security ? what say you. It seems to me The importance of access to D-Wave systems has been/is completely underestimated by corporate / institutions

        1. Twain Twain

          Well, let’s imagine what cyber versions of these folks would do in an integrated way … LOL … https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          1. Vendita Auto

            My comment was meant to be serious [not flippant]. I should have been more explicit “new young cyber SECURITY Dirac’s” I was asking your opinion of the security vulnerability of block-chain if a very bright accomplished mortal had access to D-wave systems [neuromorphic] warp speed data re probabilities – indeterminacy and the possible effects on block-chain security ? I ask you as I thought you might have considered this.

          2. Vendita Auto

            Thanks was not aware of this will look later, “inspired by Dirac” even Einstein remarked “Dirac poses problems for me” well above my pay grade. I know that D-wave opens Fynman’s paths leaving block – chain vulnerable, that is aside from general commerce & institutions that have not even considered D-Wave security problems. I should have gained access to D-Wave years ago and gone into the gaming industry think the saying goes “time is information we don’t have” [Carlo Rovelli]

    2. Twain Twain

      By the way, I believe Satoshi didn’t think through the Blockchain thing and future-proof it for Quantum structures or for Natural Language Understanding AI whereby the crowd defines and determines things whilst retaining individual freedoms of choice.That’s the thing I’m most annoyed at Satoshi about.

  16. thinkdisruptive

    It all sounds wonderfully idealistic and perfect, but begs the question — what applications can be done here that can’t be done on the old internet? Unless people can see and know the difference, it isn’t going to matter, and no one is going to be motivated to switch. People have grown very dependent on Google and Facebook and Amazon and a few other core sites — what benefit is there to those companies to move, because without them or a reasonable facsimile, you don’t have a parallel universe.I need someone to paint a day-in-the-life scenario for me that says how these universes co-exist (because they will have to for a good long while), and what’s going to be different. i get identity and data ownership. Privacy and security seem to be a given. But there doesn’t seem to be any obvious killer app that we all need that will drive change.

    1. joelatone

      Good questions. The internet started out decentralized, as did the killer apps like email, and natural laws led to centralized services. Add the web/browser plus the “Buy” button (marketing/ads), and the “decentralized web” is trying to fix the mess we’re in now, e.g., privacy & security. It’s not obvious to me there needs to be a single killer moment or app. It could be a more gradual (perhaps seamless) integration of the old & new, and a browser is an obvious first step towards mainstream. E.g., you will see existing big businesses start to dip their toes and offer decentralized web services to their existing customers. 🙂

      1. thinkdisruptive

        It isn’t in most businesses’ interests to do this. Today, most businesses depend on capturing and holding your data hostage. Why would a Facebook or an Amazon or your bank want to give that up?It is in the interests of average users, but only if there are applications they can use that do something they can’t do now, and they understand why and start using it, and businesses go along with it. If Facebook says you can’t use your account unless you continue to allow them to capture and own your data, it won’t matter whether you access it through a Blockstack browser or a conventional one. and that means businesses will follow, not lead, and internet users will have to demand it. But why are they going to?The big difference between how the internet started and today is that the internet exists and has a few billion users. Now, you have to get people to switch to different behaviors and tools. To do that, it will require good reasons, and much better communication of value proposition than “a new internet needs to have security and safety as a core of its DNA”, which is true enough, but all the world needs is a little more peace, love and understanding too.

      2. Frank W. Miller

        One beautiful aspect of the Internet’s design is is supports any choice between centralized and fully distributed applications simultaneously. The “New Internet” being referred to here is a set of distributed applications that make various design choices for all the things you have to do in distributed apps. From what I can tell, Its all above layer 3 and probably the vast majority above layer 4. Like the “dark web” and its variety of application protocols, mostly distributed, it all flows over the same pipes.With the cursory look at what they are doing and the comments here, I’d point out two views: 1) its essentially a storage play that uses blockchains for both technical implementation to the backend storage and for marketing purposes to exploit the current environment. 2) Its the dark web with verified identity.While technically potentially interesting, I’m not sure how you make money wrt my first point. The second point is much more interesting. The badness on the dark web is primarily due to the ability to be anonymous. If this stack provides the same function without that ability, it may be useful for a whole different set of things that are in the light.

        1. joelatone

          I don’t need to ask myself all the legitimate skeptical questions because I get asked all the time…after the laughter stops. If you’re looking to make progress in this space, it helps to suspend disbelief for moments. And without even suspending disbelief, I could easily see decentralized versions of services/businesses that become successful and as a result–e.g., of natural economics–move more towards centralized services/businesses.In any case, the most interesting aspect of all of this for me is:1. it’s a platform for innovation (especially for young innovators)2. that it lives on the existing internet (by which I mean the most important internet protocols, like UDP/TCP/IP)3. with intrinsic crypto mechanisms4. and unregulated virtual currencies (that can be exchanged for fiat) that allow for: i. funding the innovators (no more VC’s, except Fred) and ii. e-commerce (i.e., the Buy button).The web had 1 and 2, and now we’re going to try the web again with 3 and 4.Oh, and:5. nothing is going to stop it at this point (except a war and global economic collapse).

          1. thinkdisruptive

            One should always be skeptical of those who can’t explain any useful applications for their ideas plainly and simply.Things that are successful support jobs that people want to get done, or provide needed outcomes — that’s a universal truth that engineers ignore at their own peril. Even gag products like the Pet Rock had a job to do in making an ironic statement. I don’t doubt that someone somewhere might think of something, but that doesn’t answer how this particular product, if it can be viewed as a product, will succeed.Even if I view this as a meta-product, developers have to make choices about where they spend their efforts — why here, and not somewhere else?For those who have suggested it’s just like TCP/IP or HTML (@cavepainting:disqus ) — a technology in search of a problem to solve, and that it wasn’t obvious what their value was either, that’s simply not true.Prior to the internet, we had proprietary networks running on proprietary platforms, which did not interoperate/connect very well if at all. Connecting to others and sharing information was already a well-understood need, and one where the costs and inconveniences of existing technology at the time made something like the internet inevitable. An open platform with standard and non-proprietary protocols was exactly what was needed, and when the military opened up this technology for public use, it was clear we’d use it for communications, commerce and play almost right away. Those technologies are well-established now, and lots of infrastructure is built on top of them.Regarding international payments, and eliminating the excessive fees charged by banks for holding, moving and converting currencies, this is no doubt a big application. However, there are already several fintech companies doing this, many with bitcoin as their backbone (but not all). Here’s one that just announced a new product a couple of days ago:… I might be naive, but I don’t see what Blockstack adds, especially since i have to pay some unknown and highly variable cost just to register an identity (that’s a pretty big barrier to entry for the average person).

          2. cavepainting

            I understand what you are saying. You may well turn out to be right. I am just not comfortable dismissing it out of hand without giving it the benefit of the doubt.Please note that the fintech companies doing money transfer are marginal improvements on bank fees and commissions, but they are not disruptive by any means.I see needs for the following. Whether it is done by blockchain or something else, these needs are real.1. Send or receive money seamlessly with any person or institution in any part of the world at bare minimum fees with complete security and traceability and with maximum convenience.2. Create self-executing contracts with binding terms between suppliers and customers. Execution is based on verification of multiple data elements (which are populated by IoT or other distributed data collection systems that are structured in as a part of the contract and updated on an ongoing basis). Will have a huge effect on global trade if even a part of this vision is realized.3. Create decentralized social network equivalents for twitter, linkedin, facebook,etc., where the user has complete control and agency. This needs to be thought out more and I am not very convinced yet this can be done in a way to overcome friction and switching costs.

          3. thinkdisruptive

            1. Regarding companies doing forex, they are not as convenient to use as I’d like, and still charge too high a spread, but if you move much cash around they are still a highly disruptive solution when compared to traditional banks. I have used a few of these services, as I semi-regularly send and receive large amounts across borders/currencies. You will save at least $500 per 10K using a service like this, so they are already taking the highest volume and most lucrative foreign transfer customers from banks. I’d like to see near zero transaction costs and exchange rates that have no spread built in — theoretically, it shouldn’t cost more than $25 to move 10K to another country which still leaves the processor with a nice profit. We aren’t there yet — maybe blockchain + competition will get us there (regulatory compliance is going to be the biggest question mark, and the service fees to make sure everything is legal and that you aren’t laundering money will likely exceed the real costs of everything else combined for the foreseeable future). Right now, if I was willing to bear the risks of being a forex trader, there are services I could use that would get my fees close to what I think I should be paying. Though I personally would love to see a frictionless, convenient, low cost system, I’m not convinced that this is a big problem for the average man on the street.2. People are already working on blockchain-based contracts. What does Blockstack add? Not saying it doesn’t offer potential improvements, but if it does, someone should be able to articulate in a way that I can understand.3. Sounds nice, but what do I get out of that? I’m safer and own my data (theoretically), but if I don’t see any day-to-day difference, why would I switch?Here’s a bone that I’d toss out. If this is truly an “alternate universe”, then it probably makes sense to start by emphasizing things that are alternative, and not the way the current system works. For example, I hate online advertising. It is noisy, interruptive, browser-crashing, bandwidth-consuming, workflow slowing and generally a pain in the ass, and on top of that it’s mostly annoying and irrelevant to me. And, while those ads are being served up, hundreds of cookies and trackers are being set that spy on everything I do (not me as much, because I routinely delete cookies and history and clear cache, and don’t use the worst offending services, but giving up data is unavoidable to a certain extent). Lots of people like me would happily pay to live in an alternate universe where we never saw another ad again. If my identity could be used to log me in to an ad-free system and administer whatever micropayments or subscriptions I had to pay for to make this happen, I’d be on it tomorrow.This may or may not be viable, and it may not fit the priorities of whoever is making this happen, but to get established, an alt internet needs to cater to must-have users with a different set of needs who will lead and pull everyone else along. It has to have a different set of benefits that I can’t get by staying where I am. What I’ve described is a major divergence that fits a key requirement that would make this disruptive and necessary. It’s also consistent with the implied promise of better privacy and security.

          4. cavepainting

            I hear you. the alternate universe of ad-free content has been discussed a lot before, but there has been little traction so far from the publisher side. Except NYT, WaPo, WSJ and possibly FT, no other newspaper has managed to make online subscriptions viable. They all rely on ads and still come up woefully short.A solution of an alternate internet universe that is subscription based with NO ads that people can browse to their heart’s content (maybe with a multi-tiered model of key websites) is appealing, but this is a question of proving there is enough demand and finding publishers that are willing to participate in such an endeavor. Ad blocking on the client side hopes to achieve the same goal, but it really does not work that well on mobile and it completely does not work with native ads on social media. And with ad blockers, you still take the hit on bandwidth on the browser side. ..A fresh start by a media upstart seeking to build a network of publishers might be interesting. But that is what facebook and google are also trying to do with instant articles and AMP.

          5. thinkdisruptive

            As of the end of 2016, there are 615M devices globally using Adblockers, and year over year growth of 17%. That suggests a pretty sizable potential market of people who are fed up and willing to tolerate the hassle that using an Adblocker entails, and you don’t have to think very hard to imagine that at least 25% would be willing to pay (they are paying for the blockers, and getting compromised service as a result). I think you could actually get close to 50% converted to a pay model within the first year, and a large number who aren’t using Adblockers would also jump ship — many see blockers as not legit so won’t use them, but they still don’t like ads. Imagine if your internet experience ran cleanly and at 3-4 times the speed it does now — I think most people would be willing to pay for that.In fact, I’d posit that if these people don’t care enough to pay for an ad-free internet experience, then they don’t care enough about privacy and security and owning their identity to switch to this platform. In my mind, this is the must-have user segment.Publishers are easy to persuade. What are they getting from people who use adblockers or who abandon their site because of how it works now? This is net new revenue, and it costs very little to find out. The music industry hated streaming and fought it tooth and nail (they also fought digital music sales and drm free files — now they would be thrilled to return to that). Now, for the first time in more than a decade, music revenues are rising because they’ve finally committed to streaming and negotiated deals that work for all. There are devils in the details of making it work, but there is no doubt we will eventually have some sort of pay model, but that resistance will remain high unless it is ad free.FWIW, I would never pay just for the NYT. That is a useless subscription to me at full price, because I’d only read a handful of articles in a week. But, by erecting a paywall that forces me to get a subscription after landing there a few times because of search (whether I read the article or not), they are effectively losing me completely. For 2nd tier papers or industry journals, erecting a paywall isn’t an option at all — no one would subscribe. I scan about 30-40 publications a week, but if I had to pay full fare subscriptions, that would go down to 1 (probably the WSJ) and maybe one magazine — maybe. They have had growth in paying subscribers, but I think they are reaching saturation because of this very quickly. Moreover, paying for a subscription does not get rid of ads, or of invasive privacy sucking junk, so it’s a double insult. This is all about getting the business model right, and if Blockstack is a technology enabler of this, I’d be willing to help get it done myself.Facebook and Google are not competitors to this — they are both in the game to sell your data as many ways as they can, and they will still serve ads.Anyway, the point is, you must have a compelling and different value proposition that delivers something I can’t get now in order to have something like Blockstack take off. Without it, it is dead in the water, no matter how “superior” it is.

          6. cavepainting

            So is what you are suggesting a model like a network of publishers who can be accessed for a small fee per month without ads at much higher level of performance?The distribution of revenue per month is directly proportional to views per publisher.Getting small publishers is easier because they do not have choice but without major publishers, who would not want to cannibalize their online subscriptions, can this find a big enough audience? Maybe it can aggregate the long tail of publishers around the world and bundle publishers by region, language, or speciality?I wish people see google and Facebook as data pimps but most don’t. They have more power win publishers than anyone else.Whoever is creating an ad free internet for publishers needs a lot of leverage. And breaking the initial catch 22 is tricky.

          7. thinkdisruptive

            I wasn’t suggesting how to create a solution, only the nature of the problem.I think a reasonable solution is like pay tv, but more flexible. You might start at the top level with an all-you-can-eat plan that lets you view anything from any participating publisher as much as you want, and tiered pricing based on volume of usage. Then, I’d offer bundled packages (business, tech, sports, entertainment, local, thought, science, etc), and probably specialty premium content (investments, top tier pubs only – e.g. WSJ, NYT, Economist, WaPo, FT).I think you’d have to be flexible with publishers on how they’re compensated, at least initially. Some of the top tier channels are the ones that will drive participation and readership for others, so you might have a special deal for WSJ and NYT — same as sports pays for elite players like Tiger or Serena or Usain or Phelps to be at select tournaments/meets. The rest are probably getting paid based on views or time spent (an article in the Economist will take much longer to read and is of higher value than USA Today).This is very high level — there’d be much to figure out to balance interests. You’d also want to deal with individual publications, so even though they have their own paywall and subscription service, if I’m set up on this platform, I would want to simply tick a checkbox to add Chicago Tribune and WSJ if that’s all I care about, and not have to set up and manage separate accounts with each.While it is more complex under the covers than how things are today, There are existing old-style models that could be copied — like the way ASCAP counts plays on radio or other channels to pay musicians for use of their material, and I think ultimately a very micropayment service that allows me to share an article and have the publisher/author compensated when others read it is needed, without charging me for sharing it. It’s doable, and it’s the grease that will make the whole system work smoothly and remain fair to all sides. (And, people will be better served if publications focus on the needs of readers rather than the needs of advertisers. Think how much fake news is driven by trying to attract clicks to get advertisers — I’m going to be a lot more angry and demanding as a reader if I’m paying for that content directly.)This is of course pie-in-the-sky — I haven’t spent any time validating a business model or working out details, but I am absolutely certain that something like this would work, and that if this was something Blockstack could facilitate, would drive adoption by early users. This is the kind of thinking about applications that needs to happen — not a nice-to-have fintech application that already exists in the current universe, but something different and essential to must-have users that they can’t get any other way.

          8. thinkdisruptive

            These are the opposite of what I would like to see. And, the BAT idea is absurd — you can’t purchase something I’m not willing to sell, and anyone who is willing to sell you their attention to watch ads is either lying, or not valuable as a target audience.It’s not about blocking ads — that’s a useless pursuit. I want and am willing to pay for platforms and services which have no ads, at all. Many (my guess is a near majority) are like me.I am tired of paying more and more to upgrade my hardware + bandwidth + speed, but getting worse performance and compromised security and privacy. It’s just not acceptable. Blockers make things worse, as they battle it out with sites trying to push junk out, both consuming excessive horsepower trying to win. I just want a fast, reliable, secure and peaceful online experience, where snoops aren’t trying to follow me around so they can parcel up and sell my private data to the highest bidder. The whole internet has become a festering toilet — we need to flush it and start fresh.These services are junk, and do nothing like what I’ve proposed above.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      People will build better ‘mousetraps’ – with more or better value, better governance – to slowly build matching infrastructure.

      1. thinkdisruptive

        Over 6,000 patents have been issued to inventors of “better mousetraps”. Fewer than 20 have ever made money, and the same common snap trap that was used 150 years ago is still the one most commonly sold and used today.Better mousetraps are useless unless they do something that can’t be done today faster, at lower cost, more conveniently, etc. Can you name a single thing that people want or need (and are willing to pay for) that this accomplishes better?

    3. Twain Twain

      See my comments to Fred below on how AWS provides serverless locally-hosted single page apps.The question is, “WHY would the developer migrate? And then build apps. And maybe get monetized in N years time.”Ok, expérimentation is cool and the Internet is broken but there are some really big missing “WHY?” in the whole Blockchain movement thing.

      1. thinkdisruptive

        I can see why Fred might want to take a flyer on this in case something useful comes of it, but the language I see being used by the Koolaid drinkers is the language of religious fanaticism and faith, not the language of those who understand business and the reasons people make choices to buy or do things. A single use-case, simply expressed, with a clear benefit is all that’s needed to convince me otherwise.

  17. joelatone

    There are many new internets emerging (though I prefer “webs,” because they’re all going to continue to use TCP/IP and the entry-point into them is one of the many new browsers like, Brave, etc).

  18. Daniel Olshansky

    How does this differ from Ethereum’s mist?

    1. JamesHRH

      This is going to be today’s theme: which comments are actually lines from a scene in Silicon Valley?I say this is.

      1. Daniel Olshansky

        I can’t believe I have sunk that low…

    2. jason wright

      …it ain’t Ethereum. that’s how :)E does not stand for Everything.

      1. Daniel Olshansky

        Fair enough.Could you share the resource you’re referring to where Gavin Wood discusses the issues with Ethereum scaling?

        1. jason wright

          i deleted that point because i remembered that there are one or two Ethereum acolytes here and i don’t want a tetchy debate. people should research and make up their own minds. (hint. there’s a video on Youtube where he talks about his project and makes some ‘read between the lines’ utterances about Everything. I can say no more. sorry).

          1. Daniel Olshansky

            Fair points. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  19. iggyfanlo

    Sounds like the follow up episode to “Silicon Valley” on HBO

  20. iggyfanlo

    The MOST amazing thing is that with the changes in “net neutrality” you would have thought that this kind of thing could be squashed, but with the Trump administration, I believe that the exact opposite (and ironic) thing might happenTrump is ridiculed and reviled by most Valley participants. Given his narcissistic personality, he could make the Machiavellian move and actually embrace and encourage this distributed internet, which could strongly erode the power and equity value of the large incumbents (e.g. Google, FB, etc); giving him and his supporters both the relative power gains and the Schadenfreude that they desperately seek from any failures of the intelligentsia, particularly in tech.

  21. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!Sir Roger George Moore has died at the age 89 in Switzerland. ( 14 October 1927 – 23 May 2017) was an English actor. He played the British secret agent James Bond in seven feature films between 1973 and 1985. Roger was more humor than action in his portrayals of Bond.Those of us who are Baby Boomer remember Roger Moore as playing Simon Templar in the Saint (1962-1969).Roger Moore wasn’t the best James Bond but he represented the role well.Daniel Craig, if you are not a woman, is the best acting James Bond to date. Period.Brings reality to the role.

  22. Pete Griffiths

    Bold.You know to recognize a pioneer? He’s the one with a back full of arrows.Fingers crossed and good luck. 🙂

  23. sigmaalgebra

    Points in response:(1) If anyone is concerned about being tracked or losing their anonymity on the Internet, then let them use a proxy server to hide, say, their real IP address. Tor should usually be good enough!(2) If anyone is concerned about data a Web browser sends a Web server, e.g., that can be used for identifying the user’s computer via fingerprinting, e.g.,HTTP_USER_AGENT = Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:35.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/35.0then tell Mozilla, Google, etc. to have a browser option that lets a user specify such a user agent string.(3) If a user is concerned about some other aspects of privacy, then let them set options in their Web browsers not to run JavaScript and not to accept Web site cookies. I do a lot of that.(4) If users are concerned about man in the middle attacks, then let them restrict their Web site usage to sites that use HTTPS and a respected certificate authority. Google’s Chrome does this and, indeed, says that Albert’s page does not offer a “secure connection”.(5) If users are further concerned, then let them use only sites that promise to protect their privacy and anonymity.The Web site of my startup does that: Users have no user ID or password and never log in. The site sets no cookies. The site does not look at or keep the user agent strings. When a user visits the site, what happens in the interactions is totally independent of any prior visits to my site or any other sites except for blocking IP addresses that look like sources of denial of service (DOS) security attacks on the Web site. If users want such sites with such privacy, then some Web site owners will respond.(6) Tell users how to set options in their Web browsers not to accept “third party cookies”. I do that.(7) Have Congress pass laws having the FCC and/or FTC enforce user security and anonymity on the Internet, e.g., an ISP can’t track a user’s Internet, e-mail, or Web traffic.Likely more security options can be constructed.For my buying a token, no thanks!For this Kumbaya, socialist flavor of who owns what, I’m totally unimpressed except turned off, not really as a Web site developer but just as a person.Actually, a lot of people are really eager to be well-known on the Internet, to give up their anonymity. I’m not.Many people eagerly give lots of personal information to Linkedin, indeed, pay Linkedin money to accept their information. I don’t, but lots of people do. I’m relatively anonymous on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.I don’t get much spam from any source; so, apparently the various approaches to stopping spam have worked.Sorry, I don’t see much future in the Blockstack Browser. And if some parts of that effort are desirable, then Mozilla, Chrome, Microsoft, etc. should be able to duplicate or equal the parts.To me, still, the block chain looks like a solution looking for a problem. So far the main use is for illegal financial activity. Other uses seem at best small potatoes.Or, way back before PCs, it was super easy to see that word processing and document preparation were a huge, gigantic waste of time, money, and effort. So were paper documents, printing, photocopying, filing, etc. E.g., Weyerhaeuser was making money selling paper; USPS, stamps; IBM, electric typewriters; Xerox, copying machines; someone, correction fluid; Webster’s, dictionaries for spelling; otherwise it was a gigantic waste of time, money, and effort. Easy to see.And soon we saw with early computers that computing could help a LOT. The question was cost; no one was going to pay $1000 an hour to type letters. But with the first microprocessors and small printers, dot matrix, daisy wheel, inkjet, it was immediately obvious that those devices were cheap enough and powerful enough to devastate the typewriter approach to written documents. Presto, Bingo, Gates saw this and … is now the richest person in the world. Jobs saw a more elegant approach, and Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world. First cut guys, it was all just to replace typewriters.Lesson: If want a really valuable solution, then start with a really big problem.Net, so far I don’t see a really big problem that block chain solves in a legal way.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I love how you framed this. My only problem with Blockstate is not so much the buying of tokens, but currently what buying tokens currently means in the sense of something becoming the transaction layer for currency – it shouldn’t be unfair or distribute buying power unevenly and not based on demand upping the cost to purchase.

  24. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!2012 Football Hall of Fame inductee Cortez Kennedy who played eleven years with the Seattle Seahawks as a Defensive tackle has died in Orlando, FL at the age of 48….…A saying famous deaths occur in threes. (Don’t believe in it)

  25. reece

    important question… does this make you Peter Gregory or Gavin Belson?

  26. Hiyito Patada

    I have to chuckle a bit at some comments. I get the skepticism, but I recall people saying similar things about email, text, mobile, social, and the web itself. “Who needs this email thing, when I have regular mail?” “Who needs this social media stuff, when I already have email?” Etc.People ask about the killer app(s). Maybe it already exists in BTC and the emerging digital token marketplace. P2P on Blockchainis delicious to me. Months ago, I knew little about it. NowI’m excited after learning more. Taking all of that together, the appeal of owning your data in a decentralized ecosystem is damn appealing.I’m not a technologist, just another Joe. But I see the vision. Will it be the next hot thing with the Euro/US mainstream? I don’t know. But does it have to be? I think many people are forgetting the impact mobile can have on this, particularly among those not yet wired like we are.Will it succeed? Again, don’t know. But it’s very low to no cost or risk for me personally to bet on it, with much to gain. This seems much of the point to decentralization.I can play it safe and bet against it, but gain nothing either way. But, quite frankly, from an individual user and small business perspective that would be self-defeating self-fulfilling prophecy and painfully lame.I’d rather be early and wrong, than timid and late with something like this.

  27. ZekeV

    IPFS, Urbit, also read Bram Cohen is working on something … a lot of variations on reinventing the internet with some form of scarcity for spam control, user control over identity and data, etc. Let’s say all of these efforts are more or less successful in gaining users, then what does the internet look like? Dammit, we will need a metaprotocol and another token just to mediate between all the Xanadus! :))

  28. jason wright

    there’s a question rattling around in my head. how will the incumbents respond? what are Google and Facebook working on to protect their positions in the face of this revolution that could sweep them away?

  29. Galina S. Stavskaya

    This is genius

  30. thinkdisruptive

    Let me make it even simpler.Somebody has to make money at this in order for all the promised good to happen. That implies that they need to be able to deliver a benefit greater than the cost that people want. People will only pay for things they need to get done, and they will generally take the path of least resistance (which is why so many are happy to give up their privacy and security to use existing free tools). Asking them to change anything without a clear benefit that helps them accomplish their goals better is a non-starter.At this stage, I see only indirect benefits, and no one seems to be able to say how or why or what I’ll be able to do that I can’t get with the infrastructure that already exists.Better is in the eye of the beholder. (and I tend to be an early adopter of most things)

  31. thinkdisruptive

    No, i’m saying they are related, and neither is going to change without a very good reason.Businesses go where customers are. If there is no reason for users to move, and no compelling money-making opportunity for businesses in being able to offer products or services they can’t now, why is anyone going to change?

  32. thinkdisruptive

    There’s not much evidence of the truth of that, but even if I agreed to that massive assumption, it doesn’t explain why this tool will be adopted or by who.

  33. cavepainting

    you are correct, but technology in search of a problem is not necessarily a bad thing as it often unlocks possibilities that were never consciously pursued. Remember TCP/IP, HTML in the 1990s. Few would have understood the real impact of what those meant.The initial use cases here are likely to be international money transfers and payments. Doing this without a bank in the middle is a big deal. the fees charged by intermediaries need to be cut down to a fraction of what it is now.