Blockstack is ready to let people try out their new mechanism of consensus. Blockstack testnet is open for developers to simulate the new, hybrid consensus mechanism for the Stacks blockchain, which Blockstack calls Proof-of-Transfer (PoX).
By participating in the testnet, developers can help Blockstack identify problems and earn rewards.
A functioning blockchain is key to the ability of Blockstack to power a new kind of decentralized internet, one that gives users more control over their data and makes censorship of content much more difficult.
Key innovation for this new mechanism of consensus that it is using bitcoin. In addition to storing a hash of the Stacks blockchain regularly on Bitcoin’s, many of the node participants in the blockchain will receive rewards in BTC, a more reliable source of value than rewards in the native token of a Stacks, STX.
“A successful trial of Proof of Transfer would signal a viable third option that relies instead on Bitcoin as a foundation for Web3 going forward,” Blockstack PBC CEO Muneeb Ali said in a statement. “It would literally create a new use case for BTC.”
PoX is using miners and stackers to recapture that. Miners log transactions, much like miners on the blockchains of Bitcoin or Ethereum, and stackers keep a copy of the blockchain while signaling which fork to mine on. Miners earn new STX from inflation, and pay to join the BTC. That BTC is distributed to stackers, who are required to stake STX.
A start for More Possibilities
Bitcoin was originally incorporated as a way of linking security to the most secure crypto network of all of them, and giving more users a better incentive to participate actively. As the design evolved, the team was beginning to see more possibilities.
“Users can do thousands of transactions on the Stacks chain and the Bitcoin chain only sees a hash of the Stacks block. It starts to become more interesting when you start exploring potential movement of assets or cryptocurrencies between these chains e.g., Bitcoin getting locked on the Bitcoin chain and being used … on Stacks. This area is currently in R&D phase but we’re really excited about the possibilities.”
A few notes on the design for consensus on Stacks that will be tested here:
- The usual threat of losing staked crypto for negligent behavior is not part of the design for “stacker” nodes on the Stacks blockchain.
- Tezos-style delegation has been implemented, so users won’t need to run a node in order to participate.
- The threshold for STX needed to run a node has been lowered and will be dynamic, based on the level of participation. Blockstack did not give a specific number but when we last covered Blockstack 2.0 it was 100,000 STX.