The Stellar Development Fund, SDF, has been working very hard towards increasing the User Experience of the protocol especially for the non-crypto and new crypto enthusiasts. First, it was SEP-30, a proposition that will enable every Stellar Lumen XLM holder to manage their keys thus, removing the fear of losing access to their accounts. SEP-30 focused on key management and recovery for users. SDF wishes to make handling crypto as easy as interacting with emails without putting the foundational security of blockchain technology in jeopardy. Well, SEP-30 was just a point in the universal grand plan for SDF.
On October 7th, SDF introduced Protocol 14 improvements, a proposition that will be voted on by stellar devs on 28th October. The upgrade centres on Claimable Balances and Sponsored Reserves. At the core Protocol 14, it eases the pain of onboarding new users especially the crypto agnostic. In the release Justin Rice stated:
“Stellar is designed to connect the world’s financial infrastructure, and Protocol 14 introduces two new features — Claimable Balances and Sponsored Reserves — that make it easier than ever to do that. The Protocol 14 features have been over a year in the making, and they address some of the biggest pain points developers experience when building user-facing apps and services on Stellar.”
Stellar accounts or wallets operate on minimum balances, this means new users need a minimum balance to make their account active, to send and receive assets for transaction fees. Previously, stellar developers were saddled with the responsibility of either educating new D’app users how to use crypto exchanges to buy XLM to activate their accounts or sending them the activation and transaction fees to use their wallet. For a developer who doesn’t want to go through the rigour of the first option, since it is more hectic both for him and can scare away new users, the latter remains a safe haven. This, according to Justin Rice, may attract spammers who can create multiple accounts and send the XLMs meant for activation together to sell.
Protocol 14 sponsored reserves allows developers an account to sponsor Lumen (XLM) reserves for another without giving over the control of the underlying funds:
“Protocol 14 introduces new operations that allow one account to sponsor the lumen reserves for another without giving over control of the underlying funds. It also adds new extensions to account entries and ledger entries to record pertinent information about sponsorships.”
It means developers can now effectively activate new Stellar accounts for their users by sponsoring their minimum balances without giving over the funds. This includes “the initial account requirement, offers, trustlines, account data, and signers.” This will efficiently remove the need to educate new users on how to use crypto exchanges before they can use their stellar based DApps.
Claimable balances also allows developers to send new assets to their users without waiting for them to create Trustlines for the asset. Stellar users have to use 0.5XLM to create a trust line for a particular asset before they can accept it. This means developers are not able to onboard new users easily as they have to educate them about adding trustlines first:
“Starting with Protocol 14, anchors can accept an off-network user deposit and immediately create an equivalent on-network Claimable Balance that the user can collect in their own time. If they really want to make onboarding easy, anchors can also take advantage of the second new Protocol 14 feature to cover users’ trustline reserve requirements…”
Stellar’s focus on creating a great crypto experience is a foundation and a step towards its full-blown adoption. Protocol 14 is an answered prayer to many developer’s pain. It is also a furnace that refines the beauty of Stellar as a blockchain protocol that is years ahead in planning.
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