As Soroban development marches onward toward Mainnet launch — well, actually, marches may not be the right word. Sprints, maybe. Or charges. In any case, Soroban development is happening fast. And as the platform’s design continues to progress, it’s time to start considering the developer tools, protocols, and resources needed to make it successful. The essential building blocks that will attract new developers to the ecosystem, help them quickly get up to speed, and allow them to focus on solving the problems they’re passionate about.
Let’s say you’re building a house. It’s a formidable project requiring loads of tools and materials: a hammer, a ladder, a tape measure, a bunch of wood, maybe a book on framing (is it obvious I have no idea how to build a house?) Well, what if you actually had to construct your own hammer, ladder, and tape measure, go gather the wood yourself, and there were no framing books in sight? Building the house would be significantly more difficult, causing you to give up and go live in a cave instead.
It’s the same with Soroban. Not having the basic tools available to developers for Mainnet launch is a huge risk — not like, “I’m going to go live in a cave” risk, but we definitely want to ensure Soroban has all the fundamental building blocks for a viable ecosystem. And now is a wonderful time to start building these fundamentals!
If you’ve been around the blockchain block for a while, you probably have a good idea of the essentials we’re talking about. Soroban is unique (and appealing) because most of these tools and resources need to be built from scratch for a new paradigm. A lot of what’s out there already is applicable to Solidity and EVM, whereas Soroban is all about Rust and WASM. With this in mind, I spoke to several Soroban enthusiasts within the Stellar ecosystem and learned that many fundamentals fit into three main categories: public goods, basic application features, and educational materials.
Let’s explore some specific tools and resources that would support the Soroban ecosystem.
Block explorers provide an interface for searching a blockchain and allow users to access data about transactions, addresses, ledgers, balances, and other metrics. Coupled with data analytics tools, you can interpret and visualize the data to identify key information that will ultimately help improve your dApp. Stellar already has some great block explorers like stellar.expert, but Soroban needs explorers that can retrieve data about smart contracts come Mainnet launch.
Then there are the security tools. Seen by some as rather humdrum, these tools are some of the most important to implement, especially considering some of the hacks we’ve seen throughout the industry’s history. Security tools conduct an analysis of contract code, then identify and fix any security issues. Ensuring your project is safe and secure helps strengthen user adoption.
Oracles allow dApps to act in response to real-world information. A blockchain application by itself can only see and use data that’s on the blockchain. With the use of an oracle, smart contracts can execute based on real-world events, such as: a donation address being unlocked when a series of weather APIs confirms a natural disaster. Oracles allow dApps to interoperate more easily with our traditional systems.
Collateral-backed tokens allow users to lock their Stellar assets into a smart contract in exchange for protocol-issued tokens of equal representative value. The Stellar assets can then be used to lend or provide liquidity on the network. These types of stablecoin protocols are decentralized and typically over-collateralized to account for potential price volatility.
Treasury management is a major component in the successful functioning of a DAO. The treasury holds the funds for a decentralized organization and is controlled by the rules written in a smart contract. Members of the DAO can vote (voting systems are also written into the smart contract) on how to spend the assets in the treasury, and payments are executed automatically. Building these types of DAO tooling enables the coordination of future projects on the network with reduced trust assumptions.
Last but not least, we have educational content. This one’s open for interpretation — but having individual courses and series created by Soroban ambassadors is a great area for opportunity. Soroban is updated often, and having community members keep up with these changes, understand the state of the ecosystem, and document their learnings will make it much easier for other developers to get up to speed quickly and consistently. Whether you’re into creating video tutorials or written content, these educational materials are a great way to attract new developers and build your own reputation in the ecosystem.
The Soroban and Stellar story is a compelling one. We have the unique opportunity to create some significant overlap between Stellar’s established real-world use cases and Soroban’s DeFi potential. Stellar’s asset issuance capabilities and anchor network reach are unmatched — with the possibilities that smart contracts present, developers and innovators have the chance to succeed on Stellar where they couldn’t before. We want to give Soroban the greatest chance for success, and we’re excited to see what projects, tools, and resources are built in the coming months to make this happen.
And did we mention that building now is exciting? Soroban is a green field, open to innovation. You can be the earliest builder of a vital project on the platform, which is pretty cool. And if that isn’t tempting enough, rewards are also on the table — submit projects to Sorobanathon: Equinox or the Stellar Community Fund, two of SDF’s Soroban Adoption Fund programs.
Let’s conclude with some links to other helpful resources. Want to learn more about Soroban?