The “new” idea is a Nakamotoan cryptocurrency (Stacks) that uses “Proof of Transfer” (PoX) instead of classic Proof of Work  . Specifically, you “mine” STX by paying Bitcoin. It’s kind of like tethering, except tethering to (untethered) Bitcoin. Or, you could think of it as a form of “permissioned” blockchain, where nodes can buy their way into the network.
From the point of view of the new cryptocurrency, this solves some of the big problems booting up a new blockchain: too few nodes to be secure, and minimal initial value in the crypto tokens. This is either “bootstrapping” a new blockchain, or parasitism, depending on your point of view.
From the point of view of Bitcoin miners and users, this is, I guess, a potential “use case”* . In the sense that it is something new you can spend your Bitcoin on. I’m not sure it adds much else to the Nakmotoan comics multiverse.
From the point of view of a user, I have difficulty seeing why I would want STX any more than I would want any other mutant cryptocurrency. The advocates make a big point that Bitcoin is “secure” because it has the largest network and the most users by far.
But, as I have said many times, security is an end-to-end property, and STX is no more secure than the weakest link. So who knows? (I’m particularly skeptical of the possibility that wealthy nodes can buy their way into control of the STX system.)
The materials indicate that a big part of the idea is to do “smart contracts” which Bitcoin does not support well, but using Bitcoin equivalent cryptocurrency.
“PoX can enable a powerful smart contract language like Clarity on a new blockchain that benefits from Bitcoin’s security without any modification to Bitcoin.” (from )
Whether this is a great idea or not, executable contracts are certainly not “secure” just because it uses Bitcoin.
I don’t really know what to make of this. It doesn’t seem to me to have much possible use. I guess we’ll see what happens.
* By the way, this is not really the correct original meaning of the term “use case”, which means an analysis of how a system could be used, not just another use for the system. Marketing people repurposing engineering jargon just makes me think they don’t know what they are talking about. Sigh.
- Muneeb Ali, Realizing Web 3.0: Proof of Transfer Mining with Bitcoin, in Blockstack, February 6, 2020. https://blog.blockstack.org/realizing-web-3-proof-of-transfer-mining-with-bitcoin/
- Blockstack, PoX: Proof of Transfer Mining with Bitcoin. Blockstack PBC, 2020. https://blockstack.org/pox.pdf
- Brady Dale (2020) Blockstack’s New Consensus Mechanism Creates New Use Case for Bitcoin. Coindesk, https://www.coindesk.com/blockstack-nodes-will-be-paid-in-btc-not-stx-to-secure-the-network