A Guide to Soroban in Defining DeFi on the Stellar Network

stellar soroban

How does the introduction of Soroban on the Stellar network redefine the landscape of decentralized finance (DeFi)?

Known for its pioneering role in global payments, Stellar embarks on an ambitious journey with Soroban, aiming to revolutionize DeFi with unmatched efficiency, security, and scalability. 

In this article

What is Stellar? A Trailblazer in Global Payments

Founded in 2014, Stellar stands as a decentralized blockchain platform specifically designed to facilitate the seamless transaction of digital currencies and assets.

With the support of the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), it has paved the way for global developers and businesses to innovate and build with a focus on open-source collaboration.

The Stellar network architecture is renowned for its robustness, offering a scalable and efficient platform for a wide range of financial use cases.

From cross-border payments to asset tokenization, Stellar provides the necessary tools and infrastructure to execute transactions swiftly and at a fraction of the cost associated with traditional financial systems. Its consensus protocol ensures network integrity, allowing for secure and transparent operations across the globe.

At its core, Stellar provides a foundation for accessible financial services, facilitating participation in the global economy for individuals and entities alike. Supported by SDF, this mission is further amplified, providing resources and helping to foster innovation and growth within the Stellar ecosystem.

As Stellar continues to excel in enabling various financial operations with ease and reliability, the introduction of Soroban promises to expand its capabilities significantly.

This next step in Stellar’s evolution introduces smart contract functionality, opening up new possibilities for decentralized applications (dApps) and further solidifying Stellar’s position as a pioneering force in global payments and beyond.

What is Stellar Soroban?

stellar soroban smart contracts platform
Source: Soroban X/Twitter Profile

Soroban can be defined as a smart contract platform that elevates Stellar capabilities, going beyond its strengths as a borderless payments network to add a whole new layer of programmability and custom decentralized applications.

Introduced as part of the Stellar Protocol 20, Soroban is not merely an upgrade but a significant leap forward.

Unlike conventional sidechains, Soroban seamlessly integrates into the existing Stellar blockchain, reflecting its namesake – the Japanese soroban, the smallest abacus. Soroban sets a global standard for smart contract platforms by focusing on essential functions.

The Technological Backbone of Soroban

  • Programming Language: Rust – Renowned for efficiency, speed, and security, fortifying Soroban against vulnerabilities.
  • Runtime Environment: WebAssembly (WASM) – Faster and more versatile, combining WASM with Rust for a new generation of applications.

Soroban’s Optimizations for DeFi Success

  • Batteries-Included Developer Experience: Prioritizing a seamless developer experience with built-in contracts, a local sandbox, plug-and-play SDKs, a CLI, and an RPC server.
  • Performance Enhancements: Leveraging multi-core CPUs, optimized fee models, and a ledger compaction solution to ensure scalability and efficiency.

The Emergence of Soroban: A Catalyst for Stellar’s DeFi Evolution

With its roots deeply embedded in facilitating global payments, Stellar is embracing a significant evolution with the introduction of Soroban.

This strategic expansion marks a pivotal shift towards integrating smart contract capabilities, setting the stage for an innovative era of decentralized finance (DeFi) on the Stellar network.

Why Smart Contracts Are Coming to Stellar

Recently, I came across a thread on Reddit where users inquired about the potential uses Soroban will bring to the Stellar network. It sparked my interest, and I decided to share my perspective on how this evolution is a game-changer for Stellar and the broader landscape of blockchain applications.

thread on reddit about stellar soroban

Stellar, renowned for its efficiency in cross-border payments, asset issuance, and management, has always provided an ecosystem that is both easy to build for and offers enterprise-level quality and security.

This combination has made Stellar especially appealing to certain profiles and use cases, setting it apart from broader ecosystems like Ethereum.

Stellar’s Core Strengths and the Introduction of Soroban

Reflecting on Stellar’s journey, it’s clear that while the network has excelled in specific domains, the introduction of Soroban marks a significant expansion of its capabilities.

Soroban brings the promise of integrating smart contract functionalities, akin to adding a custom brick builder to our reliable Lego set. This evolution not only retains Stellar’s hallmark qualities but also opens the network to the vast possibilities of DeFi.

As we stand on the brink of this new era, a pivotal question emerges regarding the cost of Soroban fees and their potential impact on the Stellar network.

Understanding the implications of Soroban’s fee structure is essential for those involved in developing solutions on Stellar, offering insights into the network’s new layer of programmability.

As we approach Soroban’s mainnet integration, familiarizing yourself with these operational considerations becomes crucial for anyone navigating this innovative landscape.

Explore more here: How Much Do Soroban Fees Cost? Running Smart Contracts in Stellar

The Future of DeFi on Stellar

With Soroban, Stellar warmly invites the entire DeFi space to the party. I anticipate a surge in diversity concerning use cases over the next few years.

However, the true differentiator, in my opinion, will be Stellar’s ability to offer the best of both worlds: the robust foundation of Stellar Classic combined with the innovative flexibility of Soroban.

Looking Ahead: Maturation and Adoption

This journey into uncharted territory is new for Stellar, and I expect the community to initially test the waters, ensuring stability before widespread adoption.

While 2024 will likely see a flurry of developers and startups introducing new use cases, my sights are set on 2025 and beyond for the influx of established DeFi applications and users, assuming everything progresses smoothly.

This development phase is crucial, as it allows time for Soroban to mature alongside Stellar Classic, fostering a unique ecosystem where traditional financial operations and innovative DeFi applications coexist seamlessly.

The interoperability between Classic and Soroban is poised to catalyze hybrid solutions, propelling Stellar into a new era of blockchain utility.

Learn about the differences between Native Tokens and Soroban Tokens in the Stellar networks here.

Stellar Plus: Pioneering Development on Stellar and Soroban

stellar plus by cheesecake labs

In Stellar’s evolution with the introduction of Soroban, Cheesecake Labs is proud to unveil Stellar Plus, a cutting-edge all-in-one JavaScript library.

This beta release represents our commitment to reducing friction for developers navigating the Stellar network, particularly as they begin to explore the vast potential of Soroban for smart contract development.

Reducing Complexity, Elevating Possibilities

Stellar Plus is the culmination of Cheesecake Labs’ extensive experience as an integration partner within the Stellar ecosystem.

We’ve distilled key insights and best practices into Stellar Plus, offering developers seamless tools for account management, asset handling, and smart contract integration.

This library is designed to empower developers, allowing them to focus on innovation rather than the intricacies of blockchain technology.

Key Features of Stellar Plus

  • Account Handling: Simplifies the management of signatures and integrates with popular wallets like Freighter for web applications.
  • Asset Management: Provides a comprehensive suite for managing various types of assets, including classic tokens and Soroban tokens, and introduces the capability to wrap classic assets into Soroban smart contracts.
  • Core Engines: Facilitates the building, submitting, signing, and processing of transactions with ease.
  • Contract Development: Offers default contract client implementations to jumpstart decentralized application (dApp) development.
  • RPC Integration: Includes handlers for connecting with different RPC solutions, notably Validation Cloud’s RPC API, enhancing network interaction.
  • Plugins and Tools: Extends default pipelines for transaction building and submission, incorporating standards such as fee bump wrapping and automatic state restore for smart contracts.

Stellar Plus exemplifies Cheesecake Labs’ dedication to improving the developer experience on the Stellar network and unlocks new possibilities for innovative applications.

It’s fully equipped to handle the nuances of Soroban use cases, ensuring developers can effortlessly transition between Stellar Classic and Soroban functionalities.

A Beta Release with a Vision for the Future

It’s important to note that Stellar Plus is currently in its beta phase, allowing us to test and refine its capabilities further. We anticipate significant updates to its core architecture before the official stable release, ready for mainnet deployment.

This testing period is crucial for ensuring Stellar Plus meets the high standards of quality, security, and efficiency that developers expect from tools within the Stellar ecosystem.

As we look forward to the broad adoption of Stellar Plus, we’re excited about the role it will play in fostering a more accessible, efficient, and creative development landscape on Stellar, especially as we venture into the new frontiers opened by Soroban.

Open-Source Demos: Showcasing Soroban’s Capabilities with Stellar Plus

Cheesecake Labs is at the forefront of exploring Soroban’s potential through practical, open-source demonstrations.

These demos not only highlight the capabilities of Soroban smart contracts on the Stellar network but also serve as invaluable resources for developers looking to harness the power of Stellar Plus for their projects.

soroban demos on github

End-to-End Soroban Smart Contract Implementations

At Cheesecake Labs, our exploration into Soroban’s transformative capabilities has led to the creation of comprehensive, open-source projects. These endeavors aim to illustrate the practical application of Soroban smart contracts, offering developers a window into the future of dApps on Stellar.

Soroban Liquidity Pool Dapp Example

A standout among our projects is the Soroban Liquidity Pool Dapp Example, a React demo project that simulates a liquidity pool application using Soroban smart contracts. This example serves as a testament to the versatility and power of Soroban, enabling complex financial mechanisms like liquidity pools to be implemented with ease and efficiency on the Stellar network.

react demo project liquidity pool dapp soroban example

This demo not only showcases the capabilities of Soroban smart contracts but also provides a practical guide for developers to replicate or innovate upon.

The detailed README and structured code offer insights into deploying and interacting with smart contracts, making the Liquidity Pool Dapp an invaluable resource for anyone looking to delve into decentralized finance on Stellar.

The Stellar Asset Sandbox: Experimenting with Soroban

In addition to our open-source projects, the Stellar Asset Sandbox emerges as a pivotal tool for developers and enthusiasts alike, eager to understand and utilize Soroban’s smart contract capabilities.

This feature-rich environment empowers users to issue assets, create smart contracts, and simulate transactions within a controlled, user-friendly setting.

  • The sandbox provides an immediate, hands-on experience with Soroban smart contracts, making it an ideal platform for experimentation and learning.
  • Users can navigate through the creation and management of smart contracts, witnessing firsthand the impact of Soroban on asset management and DeFi applications on the Stellar network.
  • This accessible tool encourages exploration and innovation, allowing anyone from seasoned developers to blockchain novices to test and refine their ideas in real-time.

Encouraging broad participation and feedback, the Stellar Asset Sandbox plays a crucial role in demystifying Soroban’s functionalities and fostering a community of innovators committed to expanding the Stellar ecosystem.

Stellar and Soroban: Bridging the Gap to DeFi

With many years of credibility in global payments, the Stellar network, bolstered by Soroban, envisions a new DeFi landscape. Anchors, connecting traditional financial rails to the Stellar network, become bridges for individuals to participate in DeFi protocols without a bank account.

Soroban’s integration with Stellar Anchors, including major exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken, establishes a clear vision for global and equitable financial access.

Soroban: A Glimpse into the Future

Soroban’s design, coupled with the maturity, reach, and accessibility of the Stellar network, holds immense potential for shaping the future of the financial system.

As Soroban’s mainnet launch approaches, developers can experiment on the test network, Futurenet, preparing for a new era of DeFi innovation.

For those intrigued by Soroban and Rust development, initiatives like  Soroban Quest and Fast, Cheap & Out of Control serve as excellent starting points. Join the vibrant community on the official Stellar Developer Discord, where weekly design discussions are open to the public.

About the author.

Fabricius Zatti
Fabricius Zatti

With several years of experience in customer services, my background goes through several areas of technical support, from incident handling and real-time support to on-site service delivery and Knowledge Management through the KCS Methodology, as well as project and product management.