The Public Alpha of the Blockstack Browser

The traditional internet was clunky and hard to use before Netscape. The same is true for the world of decentralized apps

In May, we announced the developer preview release of the Blockstack browser, a desktop application that turns any browser into one that can access the new internet for decentralized apps. Users started dreaming about reclaiming their online identity and data. Meanwhile developers could finally start building basic applications without having to worry about servers, databases, or building an identity system.

Since the developer preview release, the Blockstack open source community has grown by 5x, launched a $25M fund for apps, and launched a global app bounty program. We’ve added per-app-storage, end-to-end file encryption, authentication, and an overall enhanced developer and user experience have been rolled out to give developers a chance to start successfully building revolutionary decentralized applications made to be scaled to millions of users. With the upcoming release of multiplayer storage users will be able to share their data with other users across the internet using applications they run locally on their own computers — all with no middleman or gatekeepers. To say this is revolutionary is an understatement.

But this is just the beginning. Many more features and tools will be added for both users and developers over the next several years — and we fully expect to unlock a Cambrian explosion of decentralized applications using Blockstack’s open source tools and network.

While it is still early days, we are proud to open the doors for users of the decentralized internet with our first public alpha release of the Blockstack Browser, which can be found at http://blockstack.org/install.

Before you download we want to give you a preview of the command station of an end-to-end trust-less internet powered by Blockstack:

Home

The first thing you’ll see after onboarding is the home screen, a dashboard of newly minted or in-progress apps. Note that the current state of apps is not representative of what you’ll see as a user even a month from now. Apps like To Do List are just sample apps that show actions you can take as a user, like signing in with your own identity and storing app data in your own private, encrypted cloud storage. There will be many more powerful apps that will soon hit the home screen by early December, and we expect a variety of useful apps released by the community in 2018, like encrypted token portfolio managers, decentralized home sharing, encrypted chat, decentralized crowdfunding and much more.

IDs

What better way to explore the new internet of decentralized apps than with an identity you yourself own. By creating an ID with Blockstack you tie your identity to a secure blockchain and declare your independence from the centralized internet. You can use this identity to log in to apps the same way you would with Facebook or Google login, except with Blockstack, it is just you and your app. With a global, heads up view of who’s who on Blockstack, apps can be built to connect you with other friends, regardless of the platform or interface. It now gets interesting for developers as they have a built-in global database of users when they release their apps.

Storage

The Blockstack Browser enables a world where data from your apps is stored in a location that you select and in a way that you control. Blockstack apps store data where you choose. You can chose to use a public Gaia Storage Hub or a hub that you run yourself in the cloud backed by commodity cloud storage like Amazon S3 or Azure or on hardware and storage devices you own yourself. Either way, sensitive data is encrypted before the information even leaves your computer with secure keys that are unique to both you and each app you use. Only you have these keys and no one else can read your data.

This process of storing information in locations you select encrypted with keys you control is seamlessly transparent to application developers. Developers are presented with an elegant and deceptively simple programming interface that allows them to harness this power of end-to-end encrypted decentralized storage without having to deal with any of the details.

Users are offered a new world where they own their data, they can switch apps and take their data with them, and they can share information privately and securely with friends and family.

Wallet

An end-to-end decentralized experience would not be complete without decentralized money. Each browser comes equipped with a Bitcoin wallet, allowing you to send and receive money from your friends anywhere in the world. More wallets will be added soon, including one for the Blockstack Token and other cryptocurrencies.

Conclusion

We believe that with this new Blockstack browser, we are about to witness the beginning of a new age of computing on a new internet for decentralized apps. We hope you are as excited as we are, and look forward to seeing you there.

We encourage you to download the public alpha of the Blockstack browser and let us know what you think:

Download Browser