The Web3 builder’s guide to Stellar

The Stellar ecosystem presents an unparalleled opportunity for Web3 developers seeking a robust, scalable, and user-friendly blockchain platform


Artwork by Stellar


Building in Web3 is a lot like waking up each day and readily suiting up to enter a battlefield. 

It’s difficult to fund ideas, speed and scalability remain issues on major blockchains, and available liquidity and user count are sparse on emerging chains. On Stellar, one of the premier blockchain networks with a newly launched smart contracts platform, builders will find these issues, and more, resolved. 

This guide dives into why Stellar is a viable home for all builders, uncovering how the chain addresses key pain points and highlighting current builders alongside a $100 million commitment to development.

Let’s get started.

Newly launched Soroban smart contracts platform catalyzes excellence

The new Soroban SDK on Stellar paves the way for a truly unique and differentiated blockchain. Having concluded a two-year testing period in January 2024, the SDK is proven—ready for prime time.

Read more: Stellar sparks smart contract upgrade — and it’s not an EVM

Now, developers can seamlessly integrate with the Stellar network and its diverse use cases, gaining immediate access to a robust set of tools and resources. The platform provides a greenfield of opportunities, fostering innovation and addressing key pain points typically encountered in DeFi.

Get connected to the real world

With user and liquidity fragmentation a persistent problem across Web3, access to the real world is essential, as it provides the opportunity for builders to bring fresh liquidity into their project’s ecosystem. 

On other blockchains, many DeFi services are inaccessible to underbanked and unbanked populations due to a lack of on-ramp support and high transaction costs—issues that heighten the barrier between builders and user liquidity. On Stellar, a different reality is available.

Source: Quantifying Cash To Crypto Access Worldwide

Second only to Bitcoin, Stellar provides a world-class, proven network of over 80,000 USDC on-ramp locations; and, while the overwhelming majority of Bitcoin on-ramps are in North America, Stellar has a more balanced and globally dispersed network of on-ramps.

Stellar, while supporting a large presence of on-ramps in North America thanks largely to MoneyGram International, boasts a similarly large presence (in terms of total percentage of on-ramps) across other continents. More specifically, according to a June 2023 study, while approximately 86% of Bitcoin on-ramps were located in North America, 39% of Stellar on-ramps were located in North America, 23% in South America, 16% in Europe, 10% in Africa, and 9% in Asia.

Soroban benefits from an established, global approach to on and off-ramps on Stellar, able to leverage existing assets like USDC and products like the Anchor Platform. Furthermore, Soroban unlocks DeFi for everyone, offering accessible global fiat on and off-ramps without needing a bank account or needing to pay high transaction costs. For builders, this means the pain of user and liquidity fragmentation in the Web3 industry is lightened in the Stellar ecosystem.

An established chain with a robust user base 

Building on new, unproven chains can be a risky endeavor due to uncertainties related to a variety of factors, like unproven security, user adoption and liquidity availability, ecosystem application development progress, etc. 

On Stellar, new builders are provided with all the essential ingredients for success, significantly reducing the risks associated with these uncertainties.

To start, Soroban inherits Stellar’s robust ecosystem, which includes an impressive 16 billion operations and 8.4 million accounts, with over 1.2 million accounts added in 2024 alone. This extensive user base provides a strong foundation for any new application, ensuring immediate access to a wide range of users and a vibrant market.

Stellar builders also benefit from immediate access to a diverse range of stablecoins and financial tools. This ready-made financial infrastructure allows developers to focus on building innovative solutions without worrying about the underlying financial tools and services. The availability of stablecoins like USDC ensures that builders can leverage reliable, stable assets for various applications, enhancing the utility of their projects.

By leveraging Stellar’s established network and interoperable infrastructure, developers can avoid the pitfalls of building on newer, less established chains. This stability and maturity provide a secure and predictable environment for development, making Stellar an ideal platform for launching new applications and services.

Scalability and efficiency for reliable development

One of the significant challenges developers face on many blockchain platforms is dealing with congestion and high operational costs, particularly when deploying smart contracts. On Stellar, these issues are addressed head-on, with Stellar providing a scalable and efficient environment that ensures reliable and cost-effective development.

Soroban offers highly competitive transaction costs, significantly lower than many other blockchain networks. This affordability allows developers to deploy and run their applications without the constant worry of fees, making it an attractive option for projects that require frequent transactions. Affordability is further improved with Soroban’s fine-grained metering and state expiration features. Fine-grained metering ensures that developers only pay for the resources they actually use, optimizing cost management. State expiration helps prevent the accumulation of unused data, maintaining the network’s overall health and efficiency.

By leveraging these features, developers on Stellar can build robust, scalable applications that operate efficiently and cost-effectively. The platform’s focus on low operational costs and high efficiency makes it an ideal choice for developers looking to create scalable and sustainable solutions in the blockchain space.

Low adoption costs create an ease of building and productivity

Developing on blockchain platforms can often involve steep learning curves and complex programming languages, creating barriers to entry for many developers. To aid developers, the Soroban smart contract platform addresses these challenges by providing an environment that is both familiar and efficient.

Soroban uses Rust and WebAssembly (WASM), providing a familiar and efficient environment with extensive developer tools and safety features. This ensures that building on Stellar is not only easier but also more productive than doing the same work on other chains. Using Soroban, developers can focus on innovation and quality, rather than overcoming technical hurdles. 

A bold commitment to builders

The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) is committed to investing $100 million into projects leveraging the network’s Soroban smart contract capabilities, with over 160 projects supported by SDF to-date. 

Additionally, the Stellar Community Fund (SCF) offers further award opportunities to builders, having already deployed $8 million in 2024 to support ecosystem development. 

Notable projects* building on Stellar include: 

Soroswap – DEX

Leveraging a $296.8k award from SCF, the Soroswap DEX team is focused on building cross-chain bridges and providing fast, permissionless swaps to end-users with a small fee per exchange, which is distributed to liquidity providers.

Band Protocol

Awarded $60k by SCF, Band Protocol is a cross-chain data oracle platform that aggregates and connects real-world data and APIs to smart contracts—designed to address the growing demand for accurate and timely data for blockchain-based applications.

For builders, the project provides reliable, secure, and real-time data to smart contracts on various blockchain networks.

Phoenix – DeFi Hub

Awarded $344.5k by SCF, Phoenix is building the ultimate DeFi hub in the Stellar ecosystem. 

End-users can participate in liquidity pools, access rich data to track and manage their portfolio, and easily swap tokens through the platform with low fees thanks to Stellar’s exceptional scalability and rapid execution. 

Blend Protocol – Lending/Borrowing 

Blend Protocol is an in-development universal liquidity protocol primitive, enabling end-users to deploy lending pools with whatever assets and specifications they need.

The platform’s lending pools are designed to be more secure, capital-efficient, and permissionless. Utilizing it, builders will be able to provide a variety of new functionality to the Stellar ecosystem like real-world financing, leveraged trading, yield products, and new DeFi apps.

The home of builders

The Stellar ecosystem presents an unparalleled opportunity for Web3 developers seeking a robust, scalable, and user-friendly blockchain platform. With the launch of the Soroban smart contracts platform, Stellar addresses critical pain points such as liquidity, transaction costs, and accessibility. 

The extensive global network of on-ramps and the Stellar Development Foundation’s significant financial commitment further enhance the platform’s attractiveness, enabling developers to leverage Stellar’s established infrastructure and diverse financial tools to create innovative, impactful applications. As the blockchain space evolves, Stellar stands out as a promising and reliable foundation for the next wave of decentralized solutions.

To get started building, be sure to read Stellar’s developer docs and learn more about Soroban smart contracts.

*Disclaimer: The projects listed above are independent third parties building on the decentralized and permissionless Stellar network. These are examples of potential utility when building on the Stellar network and are referenced for those general informational and educational purposes only. This content does not constitute a recommendation, promotion of, or solicitation to, transact in any digital assets and should not be construed as financial, legal, or investment advice. SDF does not control or endorse any third-party services referenced above and is not liable to you for third-party services in any way. If you choose to use any third-party projects listed on this page, you acknowledge that you do so independently, at your own risk, and you should ensure you are aware of any security, financial, legal, and tax implications applicable to you.

This content is sponsored by Stellar and does not serve as an endorsement by Blockworks. The veracity of this content has not been verified and should not serve as financial advice. We encourage readers to conduct their own research before making financial decisions.

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