Blockchain startup Blockstack says it raised $52.8 million in its ICO, finalized Friday. The company is building a sort of parallel to the internet that users access via the Blockstack browser and that features a wide variety of apps. The Blockstack ecosystem promises to benefit both users and app makers. It gives users control over their own data via a personal API. Meanwhile, it allows developers to launch apps without having to host user data or worry about related storage costs and data privacy.

Instead of having all your data stored centrally (for example, having your email stored by Google, your photos by Instagram, your social messaging stored by Facebook), you would have your data stored locally on your laptop, with copies in one or more cloud services of your own choosing. Blockstack apps would have pointers to the part of your data relevant to their app, but they wouldn’t own or store that data. “It’s like Facebook Connect — you bring your identity with you” to various apps, Blockstack cofounder Ryan Shea told VentureBeat.

One potential limitation Blockstack’s approach faces is that, with all apps running locally on a user’s machine rather than on remote servers, app performance could be uneven, with the user experience depending on the limits of his or her device.

But Shea argues that users are unlikely to exprience hits in performance: “The apps run on your machine and they’re fairly lightweight, so in general you shouldn’t be constrained by any resources on your device. Some of these apps will require additional resources from remote servers, but in these cases they won’t be dependent on these remote servers. Instead, they will use them as throwaway servers that provide partial resources for a decentralized network.”

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