Stacks Crypto: The Power of Bitcoin Layer for Smart Contracts, DeFi, and NFTs

Written by
Pavel Sazanov
Updated on
November 27, 2023
8 min read

The Limitations of Bitcoin

Bitcoin, the pioneer of cryptocurrencies, revolutionized the way we understand and handle financial transactions. However, as its popularity grew, several limitations became apparent. The most notable of these are scalability and transaction speed.

Bitcoin's scalability issue arises from the fact that its blockchain can only process a limited number of transactions per second (TPS). The Bitcoin network's maximum capacity is between 4 and 7 TPS, which is significantly less than traditional payment systems like Visa that can handle upwards of 1,700 TPS.

This limitation leads to slower transaction speeds, especially during peak times. With an average block time of 10 minutes, transactions can take a considerable amount of time to get confirmed.

The Need for Layer 2 Solutions

To overcome these limitations, the concept of Layer 2 solutions, or Bitcoin L2 as they're often referred to, was introduced. Layer 2 solutions aim to increase the network's transaction capacity and speed without altering the underlying Bitcoin blockchain.

These solutions operate on a separate layer atop the existing Bitcoin network, processing transactions off-chain before settling them on the Bitcoin blockchain. This method dramatically increases the speed and volume of transactions that can be handled at a given time.

One such promising Layer 2 solution is Stacks. Stacks uses a novel consensus mechanism that connects to the Bitcoin network, effectively enabling smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps) on Bitcoin. This innovation opens up new possibilities for Bitcoin and further solidifies its position in the cryptocurrency space.

Introduction to Stacks

As the world of cryptocurrency continues to evolve, new technologies and platforms emerge to address the limitations of existing systems. One such innovation is Stacks, a layer 1 blockchain solution that works in conjunction with Bitcoin to enhance its functionality and scope.

What is Stacks?

Stacks, symbolically represented as STX in the crypto world, is a decentralized network that brings unique and complex functionalities to Bitcoin without altering its base layer. It was created to expand the capabilities of the Bitcoin network, allowing it to execute smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps) directly on the Bitcoin blockchain.

The primary objective of Stacks is to leverage the robustness and security of Bitcoin while providing a scalable solution for a wide range of applications and transactions.

How Stacks Works with Bitcoin

Stacks operates in a symbiotic relationship with Bitcoin, enabling complex operations without impacting Bitcoin's inherent stability and security. It achieves this by creating a separate yet interlinked layer that processes transactions and executes smart contracts.

Stacks uses a unique consensus mechanism known as Proof-of-Transfer (PoX). With PoX, miners transfer Bitcoin to the network as part of the mining process, and these Bitcoins are then distributed to STX holders who actively participate in the network. This mechanism ties the Stacks economy directly to Bitcoin, enabling users to earn Bitcoin by participating in the Stacks network.

Furthermore, Stacks brings programmability to Bitcoin by enabling developers to write smart contracts in a language called Clarity. Clarity is a decidable language, meaning its code can be fully analyzed and understood before execution, enhancing security.

The relationship between Stacks and Bitcoin represents a significant development in the cryptocurrency space, leading to a new era of "stacks bitcoin" functionality. This advancement allows Bitcoin to maintain its core principles while expanding its use cases through the flexible and scalable solutions offered by Stacks.

The Impact of Stacks on Cryptocurrency

As an emerging technology, Stacks has the potential to reshape the landscape of cryptocurrency as we know it. In this section, we will explore the role of Stacks as a Bitcoin Layer 2 solution and the potential benefits it brings to the table.

Stacks as a Bitcoin Layer 2 Solution

Stacks operates as a Layer 2 solution on the Bitcoin network, enabling new functionalities while leveraging the security and decentralization of the underlying Bitcoin blockchain. It introduces smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps) to Bitcoin, features that were previously unavailable due to the design constraints of the original Bitcoin protocol.

The Layer 2 designation refers to a secondary framework or protocol that is built on top of an existing blockchain.

Potential Benefits of Stacks

The integration of Stacks with Bitcoin avails several key benefits:

  • Smart Contracts: Stacks introduces the possibility of executing smart contracts on the Bitcoin network. These are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into lines of code. They enable complex transactions and open up new possibilities for decentralized finance (DeFi) on Bitcoin.
  • Scalability: By offloading transactions from Bitcoin's main chain, Stacks helps to reduce congestion and increase the network's overall capacity. This is crucial for the scalability of Bitcoin as it continues to gain popularity.
  • Security: Stacks utilizes the security of the underlying Bitcoin network, arguably the most secure blockchain. This ensures that applications and transactions on Stacks are as secure as those on the Bitcoin network.
  • Decentralization: In line with the ethos of cryptocurrency, Stacks ensures that any improvements or added functionalities are decentralized. This means that no single entity has control, maintaining the democratic and transparent nature of Bitcoin.

The introduction of Stacks marks a significant milestone in the evolution of blockchain technology. By enhancing the functionality of Bitcoin, Stacks brings us one step closer to realizing the full potential of cryptocurrency.

The Future of Stacks and Bitcoin

As the integration of Stacks into the Bitcoin network continues to unfold, it opens up a new chapter in the evolution of cryptocurrency. However, like all pioneering technologies, this journey is accompanied by its share of challenges and opportunities. Moreover, Stacks is poised to play a significant role in advancing the future of cryptocurrency.

Challenges and Opportunities

The application of Stacks as a Bitcoin L2 solution presents a few challenges. One of them is the need for widespread adoption among Bitcoin users. For Stacks to effectively serve as a layer 2 solution, it needs to be accepted and used by a substantial portion of the Bitcoin community.

Another challenge lies in maintaining the security and integrity of the Stacks network. As the Stacks network grows, it could become a target for potential cyber threats. Therefore, continuous efforts are required to enhance the security measures of the Stacks network.

Despite these challenges, the integration of Stacks into the Bitcoin network also presents numerous opportunities. First, it could potentially enhance the scalability of Bitcoin by enabling smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps) to run on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. This not only expands the functionality of Bitcoin but also potentially increases its value and utility.

Additionally, by enabling smart contracts on Bitcoin, Stacks could potentially open up new avenues for DeFi (Decentralized Finance) applications. This could revolutionize the financial landscape by providing more secure, transparent, and efficient financial services.

The Role of Stacks in Advancing Cryptocurrency

As a layer 2 solution for Bitcoin, Stacks plays a crucial role in advancing the cryptocurrency ecosystem. By enabling smart contracts and dApps on Bitcoin, Stacks is expanding the utility of the most established and secure blockchain network in the world.

Moreover, Stacks is contributing to the democratization of finance through its potential to enable DeFi applications on Bitcoin. This could make financial services more accessible and equitable, thereby transforming the global financial landscape.

In conclusion, while the integration of Stacks into the Bitcoin network presents certain challenges, it also opens up numerous opportunities for the advancement of cryptocurrency. Given its potential to enhance the scalability and functionality of Bitcoin, Stacks is poised to play a crucial role in shaping the future of cryptocurrency.

Where to buy STX coin?

You can buy Stacks on several popular exchange platforms, like Binance or Coinbase. The right place to buy will depend on your intentions with the coin. If you plan to trade Stacks then an exchange platform makes sense. Here, however, it is essential to do thorough research on the exchange platforms available. Some exchange platforms may charge higher fees than others, while some may have different payment options. It is advisable to compare different platforms and select the one that best suits your needs and trading goals.

Apart from exchange platforms, you can also buy Stacks from several online marketplaces, which provide a peer-to-peer marketplace for buying and selling cryptocurrencies.

If you, however, plan on capitalizing on the Stacks price in the long run, you might want to opt for a decentralized option, such as Atomic Wallet. Decentralized options not only provide more security but also give more control over your assets, allowing you to be the sole owner of the stacks you purchase. Atomic Wallet is known for its high level of security, as it makes use of advanced technology to ensure that your private keys are never shared or stored on the platform. This means that your wallet remains completely under your control, and you have the freedom to transact without any third-party interference, making it an excellent choice for long-term investors.

How to buy STX in Atomic Wallet

How to buy Stacks with a bank card?

First, you need to set up a wallet. It's a pretty simple process that is described in detail here. Once you've done that, go to the 'Buy Crypto' tab in the left sidebar. If you're on mobile, find the 'Buy' button at the bottom panel. Here's what it looks like:

Buy crypto tab in Atomic Wallet

Here you can choose how much cash you're willing to spend on your STX and how much STX you're going to get. Once you've decided, tap 'Continue'.

Credit or debit card info

Next, you need to provide the payment information. In Atomic Wallet, you can buy STX with a debit card or a credit card. Thus the next screen will require you to provide your credit or debit card info, your name, the numbers on the back, and all the usual stuff.

Payment information screen in Atomic Wallet

It's now time to input further details such as your billing address, residential information, ID, and others. All fiat currency transactions are handled by our partner - Simplex. They need this information to comply with international regulations to ensure that you are not involved in any money laundering schemes or similar activities. This brings us to our next step.

Once you provide the information, Simplex will need some time to verify it. They will carefully check the details you provided and match them against the provided ID documents. The verification process is thorough and detailed, but fortunately, it doesn't take too long.

After the verification process is over, your Stacks will be sent to you. However, keep in mind that blockchain transactions might take a while depending on the network congestion. Typically, transactions can be completed within a few moments, but sometimes they take longer.

Here's a more detailed guide on how to buy crypto in Atomic Wallet.

How to buy Stacks with crypto?

If you want to invest in STX, but only have, let's say, Ethereum, you can exchange it for Stacks right in the wallet. Atomic Wallet features a built-in exchange that supports more than 500 crypto assets, while you can freely swap tokens without having to verify your identity or follow time-consuming ‘Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols. The exchange also provides real-time prices for assets and cryptocurrency pairs, so you can ensure that you time the transaction to achieve the best possible value.

A step-by-step guide on exchanging assets in Atomic Wallet is available here.

Exchanging crypto in Atomic Wallet

Using Atomic as your STX wallet has a lot of benefits. Also referred to as non-custodial, decentralized wallets allow you to handle your STX cryptocurrency directly, without any additional charges from our side.


In conclusion, Stacks is a unique blockchain that allows smart contracts to run on top of Bitcoin's network. Through this approach, the Stacks ecosystem aims to offer a higher level of security, stability, and decentralization to developers and end-users of decentralized applications. The Stacks platform leverages the Proof of Transfer consensus mechanism to achieve seamless integration with Bitcoin and provide rewards to users who hold Stacks tokens. Overall, Stacks appears to be a promising project with a solid long-term vision, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves in the years to come.

Users who are interested in investing in the native token of the Stacks blockchain, STX, will be pleased to know that they can buy and hold it in Atomic Wallet. This means that not only can users securely store their STX in Atomic Wallet, but they can also easily buy and sell it as they please through the wallet's integrated exchange feature. With Atomic Wallet's user-friendly interface and increased level of control over their assets, users can confidently invest in STX and watch their portfolio grow.

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