Stellar Community Fund: A New Era of Community Empowerment Begins


Anke Liu

Publishing date




The Stellar Community Fund (SCF) has evolved considerably since its inception in 2016, with four iterations implemented to support the Stellar network and its ecosystem as they have grown and developed. Smart contract functionality will soon be on Stellar’s public network with Soroban’s Mainnet launch, and with this massive development approaching, SCF is getting another upgrade. Driven by community feedback, this fifth and latest iteration will empower community members to support the awards process, onboard even more new projects, and support these projects as they prepare for Soroban’s Mainnet launch.

Earlier this year, SCF was supersized in its fourth iteration to help bootstrap the Soroban ecosystem. This new structure provided the framework for builders to create the first tools and applications on the Stellar network’s native smart contracts platform. With almost $10M in XLM* allocated to more than 130 projects so far in 2023, SCF is on track to quintuple the amount of funding and number of awarded projects compared to previous years. To adapt to this incredible growth of the Stellar ecosystem, we’re introducing improvements to SCF that will provide better support to Soroban projects and further empower community members.

Discover What's New in SCF


Central to SCF 5.0 is the introduction of Neural Quorum Governance, a new governance and voting mechanism explicitly designed for SCF in collaboration with R&D firm BlockScience.

This mechanism is modeled after neural networks and contains layered voting neurons that allow members to adjust their voting weights based on their expertise, trust given by peers, and historical contributions to the SCF. In addition, voters can delegate their weighted votes to a group (or quorum) of other individuals, which draws inspiration from the Stellar Consensus Protocol.

Common issues across voting mechanisms include inaccurate sentiment of the larger community, voter fatigue and apathy, as well as a lack of growth in the core group of voters. NQG aims to solve these issues in SCF by:

  • Distributing voting weight across community members in a fair, transparent, and decentralized way in alignment with the SCF’s objectives;
  • Fostering higher engagement by empowering members to grow their reputation within the community;
  • Providing greater flexibility on voting responsibilities when a voter has limited availability or expertise;
  • Making it more accessible for newcomers to join, which is necessary for the success of Stellar and Soroban.

The first implementation of Neural Quorum Governance is built on Soroban on testnet, and the pilot Community Vote phase of SCF #20. For the foreseeable future Community Vote will still be used as a signaling mechanism to determine the final award allocation as we adjust the inner workings based on results and feedback in the coming months, but we aim to be fully reliant on the new voting mechanism by mid-2024.Dive deeper into the Neural Quorum Governance design in this blog post by BlockScience, and explore its integration on Soroban in an insightful piece by one of the lead engineers. We’ll link all updates and information of our progress in the SCF Handbook.

A Fresh Look


Today we’ve released a much-needed and well-deserved refresh of the Stellar Community Fund website: — check it out! This redesign better reflects our vibrant and active community by highlighting projects and teams that have been previously awarded by SCF and is powered by automatically updated metrics. The project directory is more organized, allowing projects to showcase more than one submission and share news on their social channels. And a brand new community section welcomes new members and encourages participation in governance discussions.

With transparency as our north star, the new integrated dashboard showcases an enhanced UI for both submission and review, shedding light on every step and decision.

Award Process


The award structure has been streamlined to solve the discrepancies between panel review and community vote. SCF now has two types of awards, an Activation Award and a Community Award. Submission deadlines are every 4 weeks and are the same for either award type.

  • New projects can request an Activation Award up to $50K worth of XLM* for 1-1.5 months of development work to demonstrate their commitment to the project. Activation Awards are allocated directly by a distributed review panel consisting of both SDF and SCF verified members following a week of review.
  • If they finish their deliverables successfully, they can then request a Community Award for up to $100K worth of XLM* for 2-3 months of development work. Community Awards are allocated through the input from a Community Vote, final decisions are made by the review panel. Projects can request additional Community Awards according to the resubmission guidelines.

Sneak Peek of What's to Come

Charting the Path Forward

While we’ve made big leaps with the Stellar Community Fund, our journey doesn't stop here. Here’s a sneak peek into the next set of initiatives on the horizon:

  • Automate Verified Member tiers to increase community participation;
  • Renew the SCF Startup Camp and make it funnel directly into SCF Awards;
  • Collaboration with growth partners (accelerators, incubators) to support projects;
  • Adding security audit credits and infrastructure credits;
  • And more!

If you’re looking to build on Stellar and Soroban, we encourage you to submit your project before the next deadline on December 3rd. If you’d just like to get involved in governance, become a Verified Member and join the Stellar Dev Discord today!

*To determine the number of XLM equal to the USD value of any Award, the USD valuation of XLM shall be calculated using the CF Stellar Lumens-Dollar Settlement Price as administered, maintained, and reported by the cryptocurrency index provider CF Benchmarks Ltd. (using the ticker “XLMUSD_RR”) (available at, or, if such settlement price is unavailable or reasonably suspected by SDF to be unreliable, the settlement price as reported on a substantially similar and equally reputable cryptocurrency index provider as determined by the SDF in its discretion. The USD valuation of XLM for any particular Award shall be calculated using the CF Stellar Lumens-Dollar Settlement Price (or other agreed upon settlement price) reported on the day such Award is scheduled to be paid. The Participants acknowledge and understand that XLM is a highly risky and volatile asset, and that SDF does not provide any representations, warranties, or guarantees of its value.