Stellar is entering a period of growth with a number of significant protocol upgrades well underway. Blockdaemon has a longstanding relationship with Stellar, as one of the first protocols we supported back in 2018. In 2019, Blockdaemon received a grant from the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), a non-profit that supports the ongoing support for the growth and development of the decentralized and open source network. 

Throughout  the course of 2020, we have deepened our commitment to Stellar by extending our infrastructure and tooling support in line with their major milestones. As a Stellar partner, we are aligned in our vision to build the future of banking, and connect users to Blockdaemon’s Stellar nodes, including the Horizon API, with Basic and Full Validators.

We are continuously monitoring and maintaining updates of nodes, including API and Core changes, and regularly applying security updates to ensure the safety of the network. Additionally, each Blockdaemon Stellar node launches with the Stellar Horizon API set up, which in turn makes it seamless to directly connect to the network using any Stellar SDK, including C# to Scala, or make REST calls in different languages or toolsets. This means that users can establish streaming data endpoints and monitor ledgers in real-time, as well as create offers for tokens.  We also offer currently by request rate limit management for Horizon on dedicated nodes and will be rolling that into the app as self-service in Q4. 

In regards to milestones, 2020 has been a year of significant progress for Stellar. The team skipped their Protocol 14 upgrade, because they discovered an issue during testing and responded by immediately rolling out a fix. This fix is now Protocol 15 rather, and ensures that all validators are running the most recent version of Stellar Core when the public network upgrades (see more details here).

Most recently, Stellar has been heads down working on a number of Protocol 15 improvements, including Claimable Balances and Sponsored Reserves. Claimable Balances can be leveraged to split a payment into two parts: the creation of a balance, and the claiming of a balance. This enables Stellar to connect to global financial institutions by smoothing the process of setting up anchor services. This improvement makes it possible to accept an off-network user deposit and simultaneously create an equivalent on-network Claimable Balance that the user can collect in their own time, altogether making the onboarding process more seamless for these regulated financial institutions. 

In addition, Protocol 15 introduces Sponsored Reserves, which enable one account to sponsor the lumen reserves for another, without handing over control of the underlying funds, while also adding new extensions to account entries and ledger entries to record pertinent information about sponsorships. Anything that increases an account’s minimum balance can be sponsored, such as the initial account requirement, offers, trustlines, account data, and signers. Blockdaemon has simplified the ability to adjust the ledger retention and offers this benefit by request.  

Earlier this year, Stellar worked through a number of significant Protocol 13 updates, perhaps most notably Fee Bumps, which allow you to pay the fee for an existing transaction without having to re-sign the existing transaction or manage sequence numbers. With fine-grained asset control, an issuer of a regulated asset can set the asset to require the new kind of authorization — the one that keeps orders on the books  — and when a user wants to make a payment or new offer, the issuer can check to see if it’s allowed given regulations.

We are excited to share that as of today, we have added support for header-based authentication, to ensure better workflows with Horizon, the client-facing API server for the Stellar ecosystem. We have also added cURL commands for Stellar node APIs in-app, which provides an easier path to getting started with nodes. Coming in this quarter, we will allow quorum set adjustment in-app, provide streaming logs and SSE streaming support, as well as Stellar support and streaming through Ubiquity, our universal API. In early 2021,  we will be enhancing “captive core” Horizon-only deployments as more use cases emerge. This really is just the beginning of what’s next from Stellar – and we’re excited to play a part in transforming the world of finance as we know it. 

Visit our Stellar Protocol page to find out how you can connect to Stellar today!