The Defiant

The Defiant Advertorial: Smart Contracts Now Live on Stellar Testnet

External - Press Release

Protocol 20 introduced to bring smart contract support to the Stellar network soon

By: Stellar

The Defiant Advertorial: Smart Contracts Now Live on Stellar Testnet

On Wednesday, September 20 at 1500 UTC, the Stellar Testnet successfully upgraded to Protocol 20, which introduces support for Soroban smart contracts. At this point, developers all over the world can access the Turing-complete functionality Soroban introduces to deploy and invoke DeFi protocols in a common, widely used sandbox environment.

The Stellar network has long been known for supporting connections to real-world financial infrastructure. For years, regulated financial institutions spanning the globe have provided onand off-ramps that allow the seamless conversion of local fiat currency to and from digital equivalents. In 2022, Moneygram significantly extended the Stellar network’s reach by adding hundreds of thousands of cash-to-crypto access points via their worldwide network of agents. With the Protocol 20 upgrade, the access those connections provide will combine with the massive surface area for innovation created by smart contracts to allow for something unique: cash to DeFi.

Many Stellar ecosystem projects are already poised to take advantage of the cash-to-DeFi opportunity — over the past year, even while the Soroban platform has been in development, over 100 created proofs-of-concept — and the Testnet upgrade allows them to improve, harden, and test their code in a stable sandbox environment that mirrors the behavior and functionality of the Mainnet.

The success of the Testnet upgrade was celebrated at Meridian, the annual Stellar conference, where more than 500 ecosystem developers, including many currently building on Soroban, convened to connect, share ideas, and show off what they are building. In a demo featured in the conference’s opening keynote, Beans, a user-friendly, consumer-facing Stellar network wallet, showed what it might look like to integrate with Blend, a Soroban-built lending protocol, to allow a user in Malawi to cash into a USDC balance via Moneygram and, in one click, to deposit that balance into an interest-generating account. If that type of interaction becomes possible, it has the potential to open access to the next generation of financial infrastructure and to create new opportunities for enterprising developers all over the world.

The Testnet upgrade is the last step before validators vote on a Mainnet upgrade (the protocol version the Mainnet runs is, like most network settings, determined by validator vote), and if that vote goes through, the upgrade is immediate. The Stellar network will likely have smart contracts before the end of the year.