On External Legitimacy and Developer Acquisition

tl;dr: Blockstack made news for being the first regulated token offering. Will it affect what really matters?

The news that Blockstack is going to raise $50 million in the first regulated crypto token sale is definitely newsworthy and noteworthy.

Of equal significance with the announcement was the story that Harvard’s endowment is an investor in that raise.

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Together, they are both important validators of the growing mainstream acceptance of crypto as an industry.

In my mind, however, it’s the “between the lines” news of the announcement that is significant.

I am going to call it the Intensification of the Crypto Dev Wars, which I have been tracking for a while now.

For any platform, the key to long-term success is acquiring and catalyzing a developer community.

The Apple App Store without the apps is pretty lame. Windows without all of the 3rdparty applications don’t become Windows as we know it.

As Blockstack has done before (in their initial ecosystem fund) with some success (see review of apps here), they are going to use the funds to create the right mechanisms and incentives for developers to build on their chain.

Good for them and I think it is the right move.

Whether it will pay off remains to be seen and this report from Consensys will be one of the ways where we can all see if it does.

In 20 Blockchain Projects with the Most Developer Activity on GitHub, we get a chance to look beyond the hype and the ICO raises and the vaporware. What this report tells us is which of the projects are generating broad and consistent engagement with their platform.

I would look at which platforms have a large number of GitHub commits from a large group of users with a nice amount of distribution.

About a year ago, I asked my intern to start working on a dashboard that would allow us to track exactly this type of info. The idea was to measure and track the level of Developer Passion for a project.

As we explore new models to assess the present and future value of decentralized networks, one of the key metrics will be around developers.

In this respect, Blockstack is on the right path.

Where I think they have a potential area of differentiation is in the “perceived legitimacy” category.

Admittedly, this is pure speculation and hypothesis, but here goes.

There is, I suppose, a group of developers who need external validators that moving to a “crypto company” or “crypto network” is ok.

By having the SEC’s stamp of approval, Blockstack provides that.

Market differentiation has many components in the minds of customers, investors, and, yes, developers.

It will be interesting to see if the regulated offering matters at all to the developer community.


On External Legitimacy and Developer Acquisition was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.