Decoding the Stacks Ecosystem

Stacks Ecosystem
4 min readSep 12, 2021

The Stacks Ecosystem is not one single entity, rather it is an ensemble of entities with distinct missions that contribute to the growth of the ecosystem. By design, no one entity is in control of the other, but collectively these entities participate in a governance process to develop, vote on, and implement strategies. This entity formation approach is one of the most understated innovations in the blockchain space.

It represents a hard-fork away from the traditional venture capital model that fueled the growth of Silicon Valley. While Silicon Valley led to world-changing innovations, it has arrived at an anticlimactic exodus running towards a new and more inspiring model for software innovation. A new era of growth hackers in the blockchain space have not just invented blockchain technologies, but they have also invented a new way to grow open-source projects that are corruption-resistant and incorporate built-in tokenomic mechanisms to fairly compensate creators.

The growth of a blockchain “ecosystem” is fundamentally different than the growth of a technology “company”. Truly decentralized blockchain ecosystems are an innovation in their own right — and the Stacks Ecosystem is one of the finest examples. The founding entities of the Stacks Ecosystem establish a unique and decentralized basis for growth that will withstand the tests of time.

A family of decentralized entities on a single mission

At the time of this writing, there are five core entities and many individuals hard at work driving progress across the Stacks Ecosystem. They are both globally and functionally distributed, establishing a decentralized, yet highly structured, platform for growth. Over time, as the Stacks Ecosystem continues to grow these seed entities will grow with it.

The Stacks Foundation is positioned as a non-profit and is the steward of the Stacks Ecosystem. The foundation strategically awards grants, hosts events, and supports country chapters around the world. As a non-profit with a broad scope, the foundation is uniquely positioned to foster ecosystem growth without being held to a capitalist ethos.

Hiro Systems serves as a technical innovation engine continuously developing foundational end-user products and developer tools such as Hiro Wallet for secure on-chain transactions and Clarinet for composing smart contracts in Clarity. As an engineering-first company, Hiro Systems focuses on ensuring the most critical onramps to the Stacks Ecosystem are best-in-class.

Daemon Technologies focuses on the development of lesser known but critical software that can be used to support Stacks token (STX) mining operations. Mining is a critical component to the Proof of Transfer consensus mechanism. Daemon Technologies is also based in Hong Kong and serves as a bridge to general ecosystem growth in Asia.

Freehold is a uniquely designed grassroots community growth engine. It is member-only and incentivizes members to make tangible contributions to the ecosystem. Freehold acknowledges that while the development of core technologies and funding of startups represents the foundations of growth, the broader community of creators, evangelists, and hodlers also have a major role to play in these nascent stages.

The Stacks Accelerator is incubating world-changing startups on the Stacks blockchain and is committed to supporting founders all over the world (including underrepresented founders). The Stacks Accelerator is a catalyst for on-chain innovation, de-risks participating startups, and brings new investors into the space. At the time of this writing, the first batch of startups has just finished their investor pitch day and are readying to launch their companies on the Stacks 2.0 mainnet.

In the long-run, decentralization of power is of equal importance to the decentralization of technologies

The below Stacks Ecosystem model is designed to be resilient against the persistence of human greed. The non-profit foundation pillar sets directives to fund catalytic ecosystem initiatives. The technology pillar brings the best product and engineering minds together on open-source software development. The startup incubation pillar accelerates founders who want to build on Stacks and ultimately bring the user-owned internet to the users.

All of these entities grow stronger together, and because the core infrastructure is owned by the Stacks Ecosystem instead of a private corporation, we can trust that it will serve the interests of the ecosystem participants with an unprecedented standard of fairness.

Stacks Ecosystem Entities and Pillars

The internet we know today started out as an open web and just 20 years later is has devolved into a few massive corporations virtually owning the entire internet. Once a place where economic freedom was within reach and anything was possible, the internet has become a place where clicks and messages are farmed out to the highest bidder.

The Stacks Ecosystem and the growing army of decentralized entities is our best hope for a globally accessible, user-owned internet.

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Stacks Ecosystem

Stacks Ecosystem is a team of Stackers writing articles about the the Stacks Ecosystem.