Need help understanding Bitcoin DeFi?
Need help understanding Bitcoin DeFi?
Need help understanding Bitcoin DeFi?
Need help understanding Bitcoin DeFi?
Need help understanding Bitcoin DeFi?

Hiro’s 2024 Biennial Public Benefit Report

Hiro is a public benefit corporation with the explicit purpose of enabling an open, decentralized internet which will benefit all internet users. Let’s look at the progress we’ve made towards that purpose over the past two years.

March 21, 2024
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We believe that building in Web3 is a noble pursuit. The work we do at Hiro contributes to a new internet, an internet that gives users control and ownership over their own data, an internet that bypasses walled gardens and monopolies, an internet that creates equal access for people all over the world.

We believe that building in Web3 is a noble pursuit.

At the center of this vision are principles of fairness, transparency, and sovereignty. We believe that human society as a whole benefits from an internet that embodies these principles, and that a decentralized, user-owned internet will accelerate humanity’s progress. That’s why Hiro exists. That is our purpose, and that is the public benefit we work towards every day.

To that end, we’ve come a long way since the launch of the Stacks blockchain in January 2021. Since then, more than 82,000 Clarity contracts have been deployed on mainnet. Today, Hiro receives an average of 450M+ API calls per month. Dozens of companies are building in Stacks, and alongside Lightning, Stacks is the largest project building on Bitcoin today.

But how can we more concretely measure Hiro’s progress towards our purpose? To do so, our board of directors adopted the following standards to measure our progress towards enabling an open, decentralized internet which will benefit all internet users:

  1. Support software developers, entrepreneurs, and users.
  2. Build open-source tools for the decentralized web.
  3. Expand the Bitcoin economy.

Supporting Our Developers, Entrepreneurs, and Users

Supporting devs is what we do

Over the past two years, we’ve done a lot to support a robust group of developers and users. Our core business involves building developer tools that enable developers to build on Stacks. Today, there are dozens of teams building on Stacks, and the majority of them use Hiro tools to do so.

To better support and enable our developers, we’ve invested in a lot of resources to make development frictionless, and we are proactive in communicating with our community. In the past two years, we published 8 educational ebooks, 200+ blogs, and 95 videos. We added a new chatbot and better search functionality to our docs. We grew our Twitter following by 41%. We hosted or sponsored 4 different hackathons. Our team spoke at 17 different events.

All of this work helps support our developers and strengthen our community. Here are a few snapshots highlighting the growth and strength of our developer community today:

Stacks ecosystem stats

Apart from supporting Hiro developers with our tools and our efforts to strengthen community and teach developers how to build, when feasible, we take opportunities to contribute to decentralized, open source blockchain protocols, such as the blockchain working group that released last year’s Stacks 2.1 hard fork. We are now contributing to this group’s work on April’s Nakamoto fork, which will bring faster blocks and Bitcoin finality.

Additionally, we prepared subnets (a scaling solution for Stacks) for mainnet, and we developed open source code for Pyth’s blockchain oracle protocol that would enable developers to integrate price feeds in their Stacks applications.

Building Open-Source Tools

Building in the open is just better

A key part of our strategy at Hiro is building open-source tools, and in the past few years, we’ve shipped a lot, including new tools and major updates to old ones. Here are some of our biggest open-source tool releases from the last two years:

  • We released Chainhook, a re-org aware transaction indexer that enables developers to create lightweight custom databases. Chainhook also enables developers to launch individual “chainhooks”, custom IFTTT logic that reacts to on-chain events in real time.
  • We shipped the first dedicated API microservice with the Token Metadata API, and we’ve invested a lot of resources into making sure all of our API services are scalable and reliable.
  • We released Clarinet v2 and the Clarinet SDK, bringing Clarinet closer to the JavaScript world and improving the debugging experience for Clarity contracts.
  • We overhauled the Stacks Explorer, including a rebrand, major code refactoring, new features like search filters and token pages, and more.
  • We launched Stacks.js starters, which enable devs to launch a frontend in just a few clicks.
  • Most recently, we released an API toolkit last fall that streamlines API development and improves code quality with convenient and reusable modules.

While not open source, we also launched the Hiro Platform, an end-to-end solution for smart contract development and deployment. The platform removes friction from the Web3 development experience and enables devs to create and deploy contracts without a single installation.

We believe that enabling devs to easily build apps is one of the biggest unlocks for growth, so we focused on shipping value in the middle of a market downturn in which the number of Web3 developers decreased by 16% in the past 2 years.

Despite those headwinds, our tools have seen significant adoption, including*:

Hiro tool stats

From writing contracts to querying blockchain data, developers rely on Hiro tools throughout the development process, and we will continue to deliver value to them with new tools and features in the years ahead.

Expanding the Bitcoin Economy

Growing the Bitcoin pie

We believe that building on Bitcoin is the biggest contrarian bet in Web3 today. When most people think of Bitcoin, they think of “digital gold”, an asset that can be held, but not much more than that.

In the past year, that’s started changing, in large part thanks to Bitcoin Ordinals. The rise of ordinals in 2023 helped bring experimentation back to Bitcoin. 62M ordinals have been inscribed on Bitcoin so far, showing a clear market demand for issuing assets on Bitcoin, and there are days when ordinals activity accounts for the majority of transactions on Bitcoin.

We started paying attention to Bitcoin Ordinals early on, and Hiro was one of the first entities to work on ordinals tooling so devs could build with this nascent Bitcoin protocol. Last year, we released the Ordinals API, the Ordinals Explorer, and Ordhook, all so developers could build with this Bitcoin protocol that is unrelated to Stacks.

Ordinals tooling is so hot right now

Beyond Bitcoin Ordinals, we’ve spent a lot of time working telling the story of Bitcoin layers to counter the narrative that serious devs can’t build apps on Bitcoin. We’ve sponsored many events all over the world to meet with developers and tell them about the work we’re doing. We spun out the Leather Wallet (formerly the Hiro Wallet) into a new independent entity through a sale of the assets, and Leather has quickly become one of the most popular Bitcoin wallets. We launched a company rebrand that tightens our association with Bitcoin.

Our investment in the Bitcoin narrative through research and product development has helped drive the story of “Bitcoin layers” across the industry, and today 40% of Bitcoin developers are building on Bitcoin layers.

Looking to the Future

Building the future, today

Our work to build on Bitcoin is far from over, and there are many exciting developments in the pipeline. We are focused on delivering value and delight to developers via our Hiro tools, and notably, as a compelling package via the Hiro Platform. We want to offer devs a first-class experience when it comes to building on Bitcoin and Stacks and reduce friction from the developer process wherever we can.

The Nakamoto release endeavors to put the network on par with other Web3 blockchains and bring faster blocks (~a few seconds) as well as Bitcoin finality, making Stacks a true Bitcoin L2. This release also paves the way for sBTC, a new trust-minimized Bitcoin-backed asset that will enable users to put their BTC to work in Web3 apps.

If approved by the Stacks community according to the voting criteria, the Nakamoto release is scheduled to go live on mainnet alongside the Bitcoin halving in April, and sBTC is expected to follow in a second release a few months after. Several of our engineers have made open source contributions to these releases as part of Stacks’ public blockchain working group.

We imagine a world in which Stacks is the layer to build on Bitcoin, and to prepare our developers, we are investing in infrastructure (scalability, reliability, performance) and better onboarding (more education, more events, more content) around Hiro products.

Stepping back to consider the big picture, it’s been an incredible few years, and the growth we’ve seen despite the overall bear market in Web3 has been remarkable. I’m incredibly proud of the Hiro team, but the work is far from done.

We have a lot in store in the years ahead, and we’ve never been more bullish on the decision to build on Bitcoin and on our purpose and the public benefit we strive to achieve by enabling an open internet that benefits users all over the world.

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