Introducing the Hiro Platform

Today we’re sharing high-level plans for a new hosted service, the Hiro Platform, to serve developers building the user-owned internet on Bitcoin.

April 22, 2021
Introducing the Hiro Platform

After the launch of the Stacks 2.0 blockchain in January, we’ve seen tremendous interest from developers in building smart contracts for Bitcoin. Hiro is now more narrowly focused on developers. Anyone can use the open-source Stacks software to use and develop smart contracts. With the hosted Hiro Platform we want to make it easier for startups and enterprises to build on the Stacks and Bitcoin blockchains. Hiro has always been an open-source company and we will continue our commitment to open source.

Earlier, at Hiro PBC (formerly known as Blockstack PBC), our focus was on building the public infrastructure for decentralized apps and smart contracts, specifically around Bitcoin. During this phase, we did the early research and development of the Stacks 2.0 blockchain. With the launch of the Stacks 2.0 blockchain by independent miners, Hiro PBC no longer plays an essential managerial role for the Stacks blockchain. We’re excited to have a narrowed focus on developer tools. Stacks 2.0 went live in January 2021 and after 2 months there is $800M+ total value locked in the PoX smart contract, with several other smart contracts being developed in the ecosystem.

Blockchains enable new types of computer programs: (a) smart contracts that can be published on a blockchain to execute in a trustless manner, and (b) decentralized apps that are user-owned and avoid centralized servers. Ethereum demonstrated the power of decentralized apps and smart contracts, and Stacks brings these capabilities to Bitcoin. At Hiro, our thesis is that in the long term, the broader Bitcoin ecosystem can emerge as the center of gravity for crypto. Enabling apps and smart contracts directly on top of Bitcoin can unlock this potential.

Hiro Platform is planned to be a hosted service that will make it easy for developers to build on the Stacks blockchain. Areas of focus include testing and deploying smart contracts, spinning up nodes and other server-side resources for scaling, and monitoring and analytics. Hiro Platform will provide the convenience and reliability that developers have come to expect from cloud-hosted platforms and APIs like Stripe for payments and Twilio for telecommunication infrastructure, while the underlying network remains decentralized and open.

Hiro Platform is planned to be a hosted service on top of decentralized blockchains. The Hiro Platform can only exist on top of public blockchains like Bitcoin and Stacks that provide the core consensus and decentralized smart contracts functionality; it couldn’t exist until the successful launch of Stacks 2.0. Our work on developer tools and hosted services for Stacks helps move the industry in the direction of a user-owned internet built on Bitcoin.

The Hiro team has been engaging with developers and identifying areas for improvement. We’re gathering insights from app and smart contract creators, our internal development team, and integration partners. We plan to share more details on upcoming focus areas, but in the near term we are working on improvements to Stacks.js, Microblocks, Clarity lang, the Stacks Wallet for Web, and improving developer documentation and the developer onboarding experience.

Hiro remains a public-benefit corporation building open-source software. We have strides to make in improving the Stacks developer experience, and are thrilled to work on the Hiro Platform to serve a vibrant and growing group of app founders and developers in the Stacks ecosystem. We’re publishing this post to get early community feedback. We want to hear from developers who’re building apps & smart contracts for Bitcoin and help make their lives easier. Please share your comments on the Forum.

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