It’s that time again. The time when there is a befuddling amount of programs providing opportunities for developers to get involved with and learn about Soroban. If you’re looking to get engaged but don’t know where to start, this guide will help you understand our current and upcoming programs, who they’re for, and what they offer.
It would be remiss of me not to start with the basics for those of you who are new. Soroban is a scalable and developer-friendly smart contract platform that integrates with the Stellar blockchain. Soroban is currently live on Futurenet, a shared test network, with plans to go live on mainnet later this year.
The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) has developed and hosted numerous programs, many as part of the $100M Soroban Adoption Fund, to encourage and support developers as they learn, experiment, build, and scale projects on Soroban. Past programs include Sorobanathon: First Light, Sorobanathon: Equinox, Hacka-Soroban-athon, Stellar Quest Live Series 5 and 6, the ongoing Stellar Community Fund (SCF), and more.
We have seven current and upcoming programs: Sorobounty Spectacular, Sorobanathon: Road to Mainnet, the Stellar Community Fund (SCF), SCF Startup Camp, the Soroban Dapps Challenge, RPCiege, and Soroban Quest.
These programs have various audiences and goals, so let’s break them down.
Sorobounty Spectacular is a content bounty program that provides the structure for developers to build dapps on Soroban along with educational content such as written tutorials, video walkthroughs, explanatory READMEs, and more. Both contract code and content must be publicly available in GitHub, dev.to, Medium, or YouTube.
Soroban adoption programs have, in the past, focused on attracting tinkerers and tool builders. As Soroban gets closer to mainnet launch, it’s important to encourage application developers to use the platform and its tools and provide feedback on both. The educational content is also necessary to attract and inspire other developers and help them get started building with Soroban quickly.
If you’re a developer already building a dapp on Soroban or are thinking about doing so, this program is a great way to showcase your project and get awarded for your efforts!
Sorobanathon: Road to Mainnet is an exciting hackathon event providing opportunities for dapp developers to learn about Soroban, build applications with Soroban on the Stellar network, and share their projects with the community. This program consists of one Learn Week where developers can deepen their knowledge of Soroban and the Stellar network, followed by two Build Weeks where they work on their projects and engage with their fellow participants.
As with Sorobounty Spectacular, this program aims to encourage and support application developers on Soroban. However, Sorobanathon: Road to Mainnet is more coordinated and community-focused, with several opportunities to interact with and support other devs. Participants are welcome to continue developing their Sorobounty Spectacular project as a Sorobanathon: Road to Mainnet submission.
The Stellar Community Fund is a community-driven program for long-term, fully-formed, and high-quality projects such as tools, protocols, and dapps. SCF accepts submissions from individuals, teams, businesses, and startups that benefit both the Stellar and Soroban ecosystems. Submissions for awards should have well-researched and tested concepts, an MVP, and high-level architecture models.
Participants can submit Stellar network or Soroban-based projects, but we are focusing more on Soroban as we work to build up the ecosystem approaching mainnet launch.
Rounds run every four weeks.
The SCF Startup Camp is a global, virtual bootcamp that supports those interested in building on Soroban and/or the Stellar network. Over the four-day program, participants will define a problem, design a solution, construct a prototype, and record their product demo for the community and program organizers. The SCF Startup Camp aims to help ease the product development process for startups with mentoring from SDF, DFS Labs, and the community.
The SCF Startup Camp prepares participants for the Stellar Community Fund by helping them design and build a viable Soroban and/or Stellar network-based product or service and introducing them to the vibrant SCF and Stellar network communities.
The Soroban Dapps Challenge provides course-like walkthroughs aimed to teach Soroban dapp development from start to finish. Two courses are currently available: the Crowdfund Dapp Challenge (this one even has an accompanying YouTube video) and the Payment Dapp Challenge, with more on the way. Each educational challenge guides the user through building, deploying, and interacting with their Soroban-based dapp and provides milestones for practical experience.
This program empowers developers to build dapps with Soroban on the Stellar network and is a great way to kickstart your Sorobounty Spectacular or Sorobanathon: Road to Mainnet submission. If you’re a developer new to dapp development or looking to learn specifically about Soroban, this is the program for you.
RPCiege is a series of small coding puzzles (called skirmishes) that teach the fundamentals of Rust and Soroban smart contract development in a storified environment. Players are educated in topics such as strings, callback functions, byte arrays, and more as they compete with other devs for a top spot on the leaderboard.
New coding challenges are released periodically but old puzzles are always playable. There have been seven skirmishes so far with the eighth being released in the near future. If you’re a dev looking to sharpen your Rust and Soroban skills while having some fun along the way, RPCiege is the place for you!
Soroban Quest is a gamified experience where a series of increasingly difficult challenges teach the basics of Soroban development. Players learn everything from writing a simple Hello World contract to dealing with reverse engineering to wrangling custom types and more, all in Gitpod, so devs don’t have to set up their own environment.
Soroban Quest is a fantastic way for developers interested in building on Soroban to quickly get started and learn the fundamentals. Soroban Quest is evergreen, meaning each quest is always available and playable.
Our current programs provide a little something for everyone, whether you’re an individual developer looking to build a simple tic-tac-toe dapp, a builder aspiring to design the next big smart wallet, or a new application dev looking to learn the basics. And there will be even more programs and opportunities coming as we head into mainnet launch to ensure we’re supporting the growth and development of the Soroban ecosystem.