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Anchor Basics

Anchors connect the Stellar network to traditional banking rails so that all the world's currencies can interoperate on a single, seamless platform. By providing access to local on/off ramps, they empower the apps and services built on Stellar to enable borderless access to financial infrastructure. Read on to find out more.

Anchors Connect Stellar to the Traditional Banking System

Today’s payment landscape is fragmented — each region has its own payment scheme (ACH, SEPA, SPEI, etc.) which are not interoperable. To bridge these disparate local payment systems, Stellar makes it possible to represent the world’s currencies  in the form of digital assets on one decentralized platform where they can all interoperate freely. By living on Stellar, these digital assets can also interoperate with all the wallets and apps that leverage the Stellar network to provide users a wide variety of cost effective financial services.

To facilitate moving value from the traditional banking system into Stellar and vice-versa, the network relies on anchors, trusted bridges between the Stellar network and other payment rails. Anchors can offer a variety of financial services on the network including issuing assets, creating on/off ramps, providing access to XLM or USDC on Stellar or integrating a Stellar Ecosystem Protocol (SEP) to interoperate with other projects on the network.

The Anchor Opportunity

Stellar is paving the path toward a new global payment standard. Anchors have an opportunity to become an integral part of this effort.

The anchor pathway

As the critical link between the Stellar network and traditional financial systems, anchors are positioned to leverage a variety of business models and monetization strategies, including deposit/withdrawal fees, FX spread, and transaction fees. 

Successful anchors offer services as part of a larger portfolio of products and services that leverage the efficiency of Stellar to provide new, cost-effective financial services, including API-based Banking-as-a-Service offerings, cross-border B2B payments and invoicing, remittances, P2P payments, international payroll, or two-sided marketplace payments.‍

Requirements for Anchors

SDF is interested in speaking with high-quality financial institutions and fintech companies around the world that are able to meet or exceed the following criteria:

When issuing assets

  • All customer deposits should be held 1:1 in reserve in insured accounts dedicated to stablecoin redemption.
  • Issuers should engage a third party to audit whether the stablecoins are backed one-to-one with fiat and whether the fiat funds are held in dedicated accounts.

When creating an on/off ramp

  • Deposits and withdrawals should be processed through local domestic payment rails (ACH, SEPA, SPEI, etc.), not via wire transfer.
  • Deposit and withdrawal flows should follow Stellar ecosystem standards to allow for seamless interoperability between wallets and anchors across the network, as described in our developer documentation.
  • Anchors should maintain a customer support function to ensure customer queries and/or problems are resolved in a timely manner.
  • Anchors should maintain a comprehensive AML policy and program, including the ability to perform KYC checks on new customers.

For all locations where an anchor makes their services available, they must comply with:  

  • Regulatory, registration, and licensing obligations to perform the anchor’s financial and money transmission services;
  • Financial crimes, anti-money laundering, and counter-terrorism obligations;  
  • Data privacy rules and regulations;
  • And industry standard cybersecurity practices.

Anchors also need to comply with U.S. sanctions.

Examples of active anchors on the network:

  • MoneyGram (USDC)
  • Bitso (USDC, XLM)
  • Settle Network (ARST)

For a more comprehensive list of anchors on the Stellar network, check out the Stellar network anchor directory.

Becoming an Anchor is Easier Than Ever 

Because Stellar was designed for the express purpose of tokenizing fiat currencies, issuing stablecoins is a native feature of the network — no smart contract scripting required. 

Launching a seamless fiat on/off-ramp is also a streamlined process thanks to widely adopted ecosystem standards and a dedicated suite of tools designed to help anchors launch deposit and withdrawal flows that seamlessly interoperate with all wallets and apps in the ecosystem.

Get in touch with us to learn more about becoming an anchor on Stellar and how the Stellar Development Foundation can help:

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