Hello and welcome. First of all, before we dig into our strategic goals for the upcoming year, I want to share the exciting recent growth Stellar has seen in r.p.w.—a seldom-discussed, yet crucial, cryptocurrency metric:
As any industry insider will tell you, this is the critical indicator for a decentralized protocol. We seem to have finally hit the inflection point, where one rando sees another rando talking to someone wearing a Stellar tee-shirt and just comes over and stands there. Recent milestones include:
“What exactly are your services? Create ICO tokens on the stellar network?” – MoonTtrading
“So . . . how are you different from bitcoins?” – coin_spy_pro
“Hey man remember me? We met once a long time ago and now my brother is really into cryptocurrency.” – Kevin
Our internal projections, based on the most recent data, estimate that by quarter’s end all mankind will stride up to Stellar, take a wide stance, and ask us what we think about RaiBlocks.
The above notwithstanding, our last post has the best information on Stellar’s recent performance metrics. Today, we’ll be discussing how to keep all those metrics moving up and to the right. This is our 2018 Roadmap; it has two main goals.
Goal #1: SDEX – the Stellar Decentralized Exchange
At the end of 2017 we recruited a veteran team, with a substantial track record of product and marketing success, to build a front-end for Stellar’s inherent decentralized exchange. SDEX is our working name for the project, and internal prototypes are underway. This is our main product focus for 2018, and we’ll reveal further details on SDEX’s specific roadmap, brand, and leadership in the near future.
SDEX will be the world-class front-end that our underlying technology has long deserved. It will enable on-chain, protocol-level trades for any Stellar token, and we will create liquidity to minimize spreads and maximize choice of assets. Specific niceties the SDEX implies:
– Day One trading for any Stellar ICO token
– atomic pathfinding to discover the cheapest rates between any two assets
– very low trading fees
– end-user control of secret keys
For SDEX to compete with other major exchanges we will need to increase the quality and number of anchors and market-makers on our network. We continue to offer grants of up to $2M for partners in these areas.
The Exchange also promotes our vision of moving more real-world assets on the blockchain. ICOs are already coming to Stellar because we’re cheap, scalable, and fast. See Mobius’s We Did It! announcement, posted just a few days ago, for their impression of our platform.
In 2018, we will put significant energy into bringing a wider variety of financial instruments on to the network. SDEX will be the exchange of first resort for all Stellar tokens, and we foresee a future where, say, carbon credits, oil futures, and the latest digital asset are all traded together—cheaply and quickly.
Secondary Product Objective: Better Ecosystem Support
We recognize that our platform is only as useful as the tools built on top of it. As noted, we’re seeing more interest in Stellar than ever before, from randos and !randos alike, and we want to make sure it’s easy for anyone to begin building on our network. We need a robust and informed community of developers and entrepreneurs alongside us to become a global financial protocol.
In 2018, we plan:
– better overall brand communication
– more implementation walk-throughs to help people get going
– better technical documentation, including release notes
– continued improvement to our Horizon API and the surrounding SDKs
We will also continue to award lumens, via the Stellar Build Challenge, to people and businesses who contribute to our ecosystem.
Goal #2: Lightning Network on Stellar
Technology has always been the strongest part of the Stellar story, and we will make it even stronger in 2018. We’ve noted the market demand for more private channel transactions on Stellar, and we will integrate the Lightning Network in 2018. For those of you unfamiliar with Lightning, this Vice piece is a decent introduction: WTF is the Lightning Network and Will It Save Bitcoin? Of course, unlike Bitcoin, Stellar doesn’t need “saving” . . . we’re just going from a good place to an even better one.
Lightning will have a huge positive effect on Stellar’s long-term scalability and security. We’ve been aware of Lightning’s potential for Stellar for a while, and we’ve recently collaborated with Stellar advisor and Bitcoin Core developer Jeremy Rubin to optimize our implementation.
We intend to extend Stellar Core with a Bump Sequence operation; you can see our progress and read the formal spec on github.
Secondary Tech Objectives
Hardening: as we make performance improvements, the network must remain resilient and secure. We will reduce the attack surface at the protocol layer by adding invariant support (with checks performed constantly by the validator). Those checks will reduce the impact of bugs on the ledger state.
Decentralization: we want to make it easier to run a full validator. In order for the network to be as decentralized as possible, the overhead of running nodes should be minimal. By making nodes more reliable and self sufficient, node operators can spend time doing other things. We’ll also be making improvements to how we monitor the network’s health, and the way nodes exchange data, by revisiting some characteristics of the peer-to-peer code.
As always, encourage our community to modify and audit Core’s protocol implementation. We are rewriting part of the data layer for improved code semantics. Check our github to get involved:
For those of you hoping for splashy partnership announcements, that’s not our goal here. Also, at a philosophical level, we believe that applauding our nth partner is less important than ensuring existing partnerships are successful.
We closed 37 partners last year and highlighted a few, including IBM and Tempo, in our Stellar and the State of Cryptocurrency post from last week. Corporate development work will continue: we’ve planned major partnership events around the world this Spring.
In the meantime, we are focused on making sure Stellar as a platform is ready for the vastly increased attention, growth, and scrutiny to come in 2018.