As decentralized applications gain traction and interest builds in the developer community, the number of questions surrounding where to start are going to increase. There are a ton of good options out there, most prominently being Ethereum. However, Graphite is built on Blockstack, and I’d like to explain why I think this is the best fit for Graphite and can be a great fit for a number of other apps and startups.

Let’s first get the notion that there is a single solution for everyone out of the way. There’s not. Ethereum is a fantastic solution. Off-chain distributed solutions can be great, too. The first thing anyone interested in decentralization should do is support efforts to build out a world where decentralized applications are the norm. That means not attacking the available options.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about why I chose Blockstack as a solution for Graphite. Before Graphite was a company, before it was a single line of code in a lonely text editor, Graphite was an idea. It was an idea bouncing around the head of a person who had limited development experience (that’s me!). I’ve been pretty handy with HTML and CSS for a long time now, and as of last summer, I was just starting to get decent with JavaScript. So, when I first looked at Blockstack and saw that apps could be built in plain JavaScript (or any JavaScript framework/library), I was excited. Remember, I had an idea with very little skill and knowledge to execute the idea.

Blockstack’s documentation was pretty damn good at the time, and it’s gotten fantastic in the last few months. As an open source project, they are very clearly trying to make building on top of and contributing to the core of Blockstack as easy as possible. So, I dove in.

I was not crazy enough to try to build out my idea for Graphite right away. I had to see how this whole Blockstack thing could work. So, I tried some basic things like writing a file with the text “Hello, World” and trying to display that back. I’d been learning how to work with databases like Mongo, so being able to just write simple commands like putFile and getFile without interfacing with a database was pretty incredible.*

*Let me take a quick second here to also mention Blockstack authentication. I’d had experience using libraries like Passport.js and was expecting to have to work on the same type of configurations with Blockstack’s authentication process. But, nope. It’s literally just a snippet of code and authentication Just Works™.

Once I realized how easy it was to get people logging in and out and how easy it was to store and read files, I dove in. Because the truth is, when the stuff that tends to bog you down (configuration, servers, key files, etc) are eliminated, you are free to work on the exciting stuff. And maybe that’s probably what I should have led with. By using Blockstack, I was able to start building the fun stuff much faster than I could have with anything else.

Graphite’s development velocity can 100% be attributed to working with Blockstack. Had Graphite been built through any other decentralized application platform or even if it had been built as a centralized application, it would probably still be in the early alpha phase. As it stands now, Graphite, after just a few months of development has a whole suite of features and thousands of active users.

Now that you’ve read all this, I have two asks. If you are a developer, give Blockstack a try. And if you’re not, go give Graphite a spin and see if you might want to control your data and move away from Google.