News

Jun 10, 2020

Industry Leaders Blockstack and Algorand to Jointly Adopt Clarity Smart Contract Language

By: Algorand

Scientists from MIT and Princeton collaborate to grow a secure, alternative language aimed at high-stakes transactions

NEW YORK, NY — JUNE 10, 2020  —  Today, two blockchain industry leaders, Blockstack and Algorand, have jointly announced an independent open-source project to support a first-of-its-kind smart contract language, Clarity. Recognizing the need for smart contract languages that are more safe, secure, and predictable in order to mature the industry beyond its current state, teams run by Blockstack Founder Dr. Muneeb Ali, a Princeton Ph.D in computer science, and Algorand Founder Dr. Silvio Micali, a computer science professor at MIT, will collaborate on Clarity design and development. 

Unique smart contract language for developers

To date, this is the first time two leading cryptocurrency projects have come together to release an alternative smart contract language that is purpose-built for the needs of developers working on high-stakes transactions in the hundreds of millions of dollars, which require more predictability and reliability than current solutions. Algorand and Blockstack are both top-100 projects on CoinMarketCap and have deep scientific roots that originate from the computer science departments at MIT and Princeton, respectively.

The value locked up in smart contracts recently crossed a billion dollars, and that number will likely continue to grow exponentially,” said Blockstack Founder Dr. Muneeb Ali. “While JavaScript might be the language of choice for writing web apps, smart contracts have radically different requirements for verifiability and security which require a different approach. We could get away with using insecure languages when the stakes were low, but with increasing real-world use cases, it is time for a serious upgrade.” 

Clarity backed with mathematical certainty

The collaboration represents an important step toward smart contract development. While smart contracts have been used by organizations to experiment with, in most cases, this has stopped short of significant use and prevented the industry from maturing. Experience has shown that it can be difficult to produce secure and effective code using today's most popular smart contract languages. Unlike common “undecidable” languages, that by their nature make it impossible to know precisely how a contract will behave in certain situations without prior execution, Clarity is a “decidable” language, meaning developers can know, with mathematical certainty, what a program will and will not do ahead of time. This shift addresses a key obstacle currently preventing large-scale, serious use.

Algorand Founder Dr. Silvio Micali said, “Smart contracts are an integral driver of blockchain adoption, as they eliminate the need for a third-party intermediary and facilitate frictionless economic exchange. With high volumes -- and values -- of assets stored in smart contracts, the emergence of a next generation programming language such as Clarity has the potential to unlock blockchain-based solutions for large-scale enterprises and governments, which demand a higher level of trust and security.”

Seamless contract integration

Additionally, Algorand and Blockstack see Clarity as a way to work towards interchain communication, inviting others to join them on this open-source initiative to avoid walled gardens that traditionally require a third party intermediary. With Clarity, developers can initiate and execute contracts between each other seamlessly through the use of a widely adopted, decidable, open-source language. To that end, both teams will continue to work jointly toward blockchain interoperability to provide ways to execute smart contracts across several platforms. For more information or to collaborate on this open-source initiative, visit: Clarity-lang.org or GitHub.

About Algorand Inc.

Algorand Inc. built the world's first open source, permissionless, pure proof-of-stake blockchain protocol for the next generation of financial products. This blockchain, the Algorand protocol, is the brainchild of Turing Award-winning cryptographer Silvio Micali. A technology company dedicated to removing friction from financial exchange, Algorand Inc. is powering the DeFi evolution by enabling the creation and exchange of value, building new financial tools and services, bringing assets on-chain and providing responsible privacy models. Details on Algorand’s Smart Contract Architecture can be viewed here. For additional information, visit algorand.com.

About Blockstack PBC

Blockstack PBC is the company behind Blockstack, the software for a user owned internet that returns online data ownership to developers and consumers. Founded in 2013 and headquartered in New York City with employees and contractors in Canada, Europe, and Asia, Blockstack PBC is funded and backed by more than $75 million from Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, Lux Capital, Winklevoss Capital, Naval Ravikant, and others. Blockstack software is open source, with a more than 7,000-strong global community.

Since its SEC-qualified offering in July 2019, Blockstack successfully distributed STX to 4,500+ participants of token offerings and forged strategic partnerships in Asia, including partnerships with Recruit, HashKey Group, SNZ, Fenbushi, and others. Blockstack recently launched the testnet of Stacks 2.0, an upgrade that will allow developers and miners to participate in Blockstack’s latest consensus mechanism, Proof of Transfer (PoX). For more information, please visit blockstack.org