The main function of Stellar is to provide individuals and institutions with a more efficient way to send and receive transactions. There are a total of 49 nodes validating the Stellar network, but only 23 “top tier” nodes. Top tier nodes are full nodes operated by the SDF and six partner organizations tasked with keeping the blockchain in sync with network activity. Basic validators are computers that submit and validate transactions, but only full nodes are also responsible for publishing blockchain transaction history.
Anchors are organizations that Stellar relies on to serve as token issuers and fiat off- andon-ramps. In other words, anchors are companies and financial institutions that can issuestablecoinson Stellar or enable users to deposit and withdraw funds to and from Stellar. Users interact with anchors whenever they send money across borders or must convert between crypto and fiat currencies. The purpose of anchors is to connect Stellar with the traditional financial system to make blockchain payments accessible to all consumers.
Since Stellar lacks smart contracts and a substantial DeFi ecosystem, most of its utility is derived from anchors. Anchors that issuefiat- or commodity-backed stablecoinsare audited to ensure that the tokens they issue are fully backed by the underlying asset. Anchors are also required to be fully compliant with laws, regulations, licensing obligations, and sanctions on top of their responsibility to run KYC checks. These stringent requirements ensure that only reliable and trustworthy anchors are permitted to issue stablecoins and provide services on Stellar.
Adoption of the Stellar network has mostly been driven by partnerships with payment processors and stablecoin issuers. For instance, the SDF partnered with international money transfer service MoneyGram and USDC stablecoin issuer Circle to establish the infrastructure for stablecoin-based money transfers using Stellar. Partnerships like this bring Stellar closer to its goal of being the cheapest and fastest way to send remittances and cross-border payments.
Stellar’s partnership with Circle has been one of the most crucial since it introduced 160 million USDC to the network—an important first step for Stellar’s stablecoin liquidity. The integration of Stellar to MoneyGram will also serve as an important step in onboarding users to Stellar’s payment network. Additional partnerships with fintech firms like Stripe, Wirex, and Tala have also furthered Stellar’s aim of being a top global payments facilitator.
Among Stellar’s most important relationships are those with governments and banks around the globe. The SDF is at the forefront of developing central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), which are digital currencies officially issued by reserve banks and governments. The government of Ukraine will be the first to build its CBDC using the Stellar blockchain.