Blog Article

Talk That Tech: Learn from SDF’s Engineering Team


Caroline Young

Publishing date

Tech talks

This year, we’ve gotten great feedback on Meridian 2021’s tech talks – and they’re now available on demand for your viewing pleasure! Hear directly from SDF’s Engineering team on what we’ve been building and how you can leverage these advancements for your work. You don’t have to be technical to enjoy these talks either. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, learn something new, and get those ideas flowing for the new year!

The power of high-throughput payment channels with Starlight

As payments on Stellar increase in both size and volume, SDF began to wonder – how can the network scale without sacrificing safety, security, and speed? Principal Software Engineer, Leigh McCulloch, and Software Engineer, Alec Charbonneau, team up to explain the importance of payment channels, how they work, in addition to demoing Starlight, a Layer 2 payment channel protocol that supports efficient high-throughput payments, on Stellar.

They address three main questions:

  1. Why is Layer 2 technology like Starlight relevant to Stellar?
  2. What are payment channels in general?
  3. How does a Starlight payment channel work on Stellar?

Watch the demo in the video above to see Starlight in action or read on its capabilities and the two Core Advancement Proposals (CAP-21, CAP-40) it leverages.

Preview SPEEDEX: a new type of decentralized exchange

Decentralized exchanges (DEXes) are crucial to the infrastructure of cross-border payments, but current DEX designs often fall short in liquidity, fairness, speed, and scale. SDF researcher Geoff Ramseyer presents on how SPEEDEX (a Scalable, Parallelizable, and Economically Efficient Distributed EXchange) improves upon these shortcomings and what SPEEDEX could accomplish on-chain when integrated with Stellar. Find more detailed information about SPEEDEX within this blog post.

Go behind the scenes on Horizon: Past and Future

Earlier in 2021, Horizon leveled up to Horizon 2.0, enabling any entity, from large organizations to small developers, to deploy Horizon with fewer resources and restrictions and with greater flexibility. Most users of Horizon only know it as the gateway through which their products and services leverage Stellar, but SDF Director of Engineering, Eric Saunders, gives a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what went into the development of Horizon since it first launched in 2015, and what lies in store for Horizon 3.0.

Breaking down the KYC Journey with Vibrant

A must-watch for any financial service or fintech company looking to do business with customers, SDF Frontend Developer, Jeesun Kim, talks about how the know-your-customer (KYC) journey plays out on Stellar and the different Stellar Ecosystem Proposals (SEPs) that companies can leverage depending on their own use case and product design. Jeesun not only breaks down why anchors shouldn’t go off and issue their own KYC APIs (hint: it’s pure chaos), but also shares lessons learned by wallet app Vibrant when designing a user-friendly experience for users undergoing the KYC process.

To keep up with what Vibrant has been up to, check out their site and SDF’s case study!

Pew, pew, pew with SDKs!

In a fun and creative twist, SDF Software Engineer, George Kudrayvstev, unpacks the layers of a Stellar SDK (building transactions, dealing with XDR, and interacting with Horizon) and demonstrates how to implement them by playing a game that he created just for this tech talk. You’ll have to watch to see whether he wins or loses (and, of course, learn all the fun things you can do with SDKs)!

Unlocking DeFi with Stellar Turrets

DeFi is one of the most popular and rapidly-growing use cases in blockchain. SDF Ecosystem Engineer, Tyler van der Hoeven, explains how Stellar could support DeFi use cases without the need for virtual machines with Stellar Turrets, a decentralized network for the secure, cost-effective creation and signing of transactions.

The implications of Turrets could be huge for companies looking to build DeFi products on Stellar, since they would no longer be on the hook to compose the transactions first; rather, they could delegate control of their accounts to a Turret network to create and execute on transactions, then focusing their freed up time and energy on other business needs.

Want to get involved with Stellar Turrets? Join the Discord community to share your expertise and feedback!

Essential viewing for beginners: a Crash Course on Stellar Core

SDF gets a lot of questions about Stellar Core, starting with: “What the heck is Stellar Core?” SDF Software Engineer, Marta Lokhava, to the rescue with a high-level overview of Stellar Core and what role it plays in the Stellar network and the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP). This tech talk is an essential for anyone new to Stellar, as Stellar is a blockchain very distinct from other prominent Layer 1 blockchains.

If you really want to get into the nitty gritty of Stellar Core and SCP, Marta has written a handy primer on how SCP works (complete with excellent visuals)!

Real world use cases with Stellar Ecosystem Proposals

Interoperability is a huge advantage when it comes to using Stellar, and this level of plug-and-play would not be possible without the help of Stellar Ecosystem Proposals (SEPs). SDF Sr. Software Engineer, Jake Urban, explains how SEPs allow applications to communicate with each other via the Stellar blockchain in a standardized manner before diving into real-world use cases.

If you’re thinking about building on Stellar, you’ll want to watch this tech talk. SEPs are especially advantageous for new entrants to the ecosystem, since once they employ SEPs, they are able to immediately integrate with all the existing services on Stellar already compatible with these proposals.

To learn more about SEPs, check out this handy doc that lists not only all the available SEPs, but how to contribute a SEPs yourself!