February 12, 2021
Recap: Q4 2020 Board Meeting
The Stacks Foundation is working to realize our mission of delivering a user owned internet. Through the work of the community, the support of our board, and our team, we are able to make that vision a reality. We strive to continue to share the Foundation’s work openly with the community to encourage discussion, debate, and transparency. As you’ll find below, this is an exciting time to be part of this community. We look forward to building with you for years to come.
Q4 2020 was an eventful quarter for the Stacks ecosystem with the Stacks 2.0 mainnet launching just last month. In light of this major milestone, the Q4 2020 Board meeting (held on Feb 5, 2021) was spent reflecting on the impact of Stacks 2.0 to date, identifying key growth opportunities for the Stacks ecosystem, and further defining the Foundation’s role in accelerating that growth over the next 12 months.

Two new features launched in Q1 are huge opportunity areas for the community. First, Stacking offers a new way to earn Bitcoin rewards for holding Stacks (STX). Participation is easy through the Stacks Wallet or partners like OKCoin. Whether you hold 50 STX or meet the 100k minimum, you can now Stack to support consensus. Second, Clarity smart contracts can now go live on mainnet - making it easy to build on both Stacks and Bitcoin. We’ve seen developers starting to ship Clarity-powered applications after mainnet. The Foundation will work within the ecosystem to support more development, education, and resources to welcome thousands of developers building applications that support a user owned internet on Stacks.
Ecosystem Overview
Stacks 2.0 is now live (as of Jan 14, 2021), which means new functionality, DeFi opportunities, and STX trading in the US. Some highlights include:

  • The ability to write and deploy Clarity smart contracts
  • Participation of 50+ miners on Stacks, supporting the chain through Proof of Transfer (PoX)
  • STX holders can now earn BTC through stacking. Current yields are at ~10%+, with the first cycle having started on 1/27.
  • STX token is no longer a security! After a successful Reg A offering in 2019, STX are now tradable in the US.
  • STX are now trading on OKCoin for US persons, as well as on Binance, UpBit, and KuCoin for international parties.
Ecosystem Maturity & Development
Now that the fundamental technology, economics, and access points are in place, our strategy for further developing the Stacks ecosystem is to increase the utility of STX tokens. In Q1 we are committed to:

  • Making STX more usable: We want to ensure that it's easy to hold, send, buy, sell, and earn STX. We’ve announced STX integrations with OKCoin, Blockchain.com, and UpBit and will continue to work with other exchanges, custody providers, and wallet partners to increase access to STX and encourage easier onramps to access, hold, and trade.

  • Expand DeFi on Stacks: Stacks is unique in that it enables DeFi to be built on Bitcoin. This creates numerous opportunities, not only for token holders interested in earning BTC, but for developers and entrepreneurs to build out new tools, applications, and business models. The Foundation has wishlist grants with up to $50k in funding to support development of a BTC-based DEX and other wrapped STX products. Stacking is now live, which rewards STX holders with BTC for agreeing to lock tokens for a ~2-week cycle. Externally, Hiro has partnered with Wrapped.com on wrapped BTC using STX.
Stacks Foundation Overview
In Q4, we developed the Stacks Grants beta program to fund more development in the ecosystem, created SIP-000 to turn on mining on Stacks 2.0, supported the rebrand + rename of the Stacks ecosystem, and worked with exchange and liquidity partners to enable token trading in the US. This quarter, we plan to:

  • Expand the Grants Program: We want to begin funding projects larger than $5,000 and set up the legal and accounting infrastructure needed to issue grants in STX.
  • Scale talent recruitment for new grants: The Grants committee is working to partner with new communities and organizations to encourage new Stacks grant applicants across the categories of: development, research, community building, and infrastructure.
  • Grow communications at the Foundation: We have onboarded two new hires focused on communications and marketing efforts and will soon bring on a senior marketer to help spread the Foundation’s mission and to highlight work happening across the Stacks ecosystem.
  • Facilitate governance through Stacks Improvement Proposals (SIPs): We will work closely with community members to establish SIP working groups, which will play an important role in reviewing and approving changes to the Stacks blockchain.
  • Increase the usability and accessibility of STX: We will continue to build relationships with exchanges, custody providers, and wallet partners to increase access to STX.
Open discussions on the Stacks Foundation
Looking ahead for the year, we used this time to get input from our board members on the most pressing questions. We wanted a diversity of perspectives to help drive this conversation by including a number of guests in the meeting, including:

  • Brittany Laughlin - Executive Director of the Stacks Foundation [Board Member]
  • Rodolfo Gonzalez - Partner at Foundation Capital [Board Member]
  • Zavain Dar - Partner at Lux Capital [Board Member]
  • Sean Gonzalez - Stacks Community Member [Community Board Seat Representative]
  • Jude Nelson - Research Scientist [Observer Guest]
  • Meltem Demirors - Chief Strategy Officer at CoinShares [Observer Guest]

We agreed that there is a lot of opportunity, but the best path forward for the Stacks Foundation is to hone in on key areas of growth and development for the Stacks ecosystem. We took away the following questions as areas to explore and answer within our team and through the support of the community:

  • What are the defining features of Stacks?
  • Why would developers and entrepreneurs build on Stacks as opposed to other networks?
  • How can we leverage the ability of Stacks to bring DeFi to Bitcoin?
  • How can we create a clearer, more compelling narrative around Stacks? One that highlights the unique possibilities offered by PoX?
  • What can the Foundation do to drive more experimentation?
Time to Build
Board meetings serve to support the Stacks Foundation organization, but the Stacks Foundation serves the Stacks community. We represent an important catalyst for change and growth in the ecosystem. We have a large treasury, a small, focused team, and an incredibly dedicated community around us—there is no shortage of opportunity for us to advance the Stacks mission.

The biggest challenge will be extending the Stacks mission to others. Together with the Stacks community, we will work to empower new builders—through grants, education, governance, and tools—to take ownership in the network and build a user owned internet for all.

Brittany Laughlin is the Executive Director of the Stacks Foundation. She's spent the last decade working at the intersection of community, capital, and internet collaboration. She tweets at @br_ttany.

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