SDF and other community members have worked for two years to integrate smart contract capabilities into the Stellar network. This is a significant step forward for Stellar. This integration is about introducing a slew of new capabilities and possibilities while remaining fully compatible with existing network functions.
A key milestone has recently been accomplished in this endeavor. The SDF, in collaboration with the maintainers of many prominent Stellar Software Development Kits (SDKs), has released a software suite that covers all aspects of Protocol 20. This much-anticipated update will bring Soroban smart contracts to the Stellar network.
To facilitate this transition, the network’s validators have set a vote for January 30 to determine whether or not Mainnet should be upgraded to Protocol 20. This offers the Stellar ecosystem plenty of time to prepare for the shift by updating software.
Protocol 20 is expected to be Stellar’s most significant improvement. The community has agreed to establish the network slowly to maintain performance, security, and stability. Validators will roll out a phased approach after the January 30 vote. This technique steadily increases Soroban transaction capacity while monitoring smart contract functionality.
If validators vote to upgrade on January 30, the Stellar will move from Protocol 19 to Protocol 20. With the completion of this update, the results of more than two years of rigorous technical labor involving hundreds of thousands of lines of code and over 150 projects on the Testnet may finally be seen. With an all-in-one tech stack designed for scalability and efficiency, this upgrade heralds a new era for Stellar smart contracts.
However, the transition to Protocol 20 will be slow. In fact, the validators have taken a step-by-step approach to steadily increasing Soroban transactions on Mainnet. To begin with, Soroban transactions will be highly limited, indicating that dApps built on the Soroban platform will not be operational until later stages.
A systematic rollout in stages also allows us to thoroughly evaluate how smart contract functions affect network performance, security, and stability. With each phase, the ledger limits for Soroban transactions will steadily expand until they reach a level of capacity suitable for both developers and users. The above-phased limits are implementable but only for smart contract functionality. They do not relate to ongoing transactions in any manner; current applications will be unaffected by these limits.
Launching smart contracts on the Stellar network is a significant step, and the SDF will see it through to completion as securely as possible. The staged rollout not only guarantees that the functionalities and features are resilient and secure for all network users, but it also speeds up the deployment process, making it more efficient and transparent. This method is similar to the phased rollout model used at various levels of previews during the release phase experience.