What now seems to be routine year after year, 2022 was not the year anyone expected for our industry or for the world. It started with the emergence of a war that has displaced millions of people, in turn setting off a global economic downturn, followed by failures within crypto as a result of bad business practices paired with volatile assets, and closed with ample skepticism about the value of this technology.
Yet, in the face of all this, the Stellar network and the Stellar Development Foundation stand differentiated. Our strengths as an organization, and those of the network, have never been clearer. In response to war, we found a way for this technology to help and pioneered an aid product that can improve lives and organizations. In response to volatility, we’ve stayed focused on the fundamentals of innovation with a keen focus on utility, and are leading the way towards responsible, truly scalable DeFi. In response to skepticism, we engaged and advocated with all stakeholders, even our critics. What may once have been perceived as boring is now clearly understood as strength: reliability, consistency, maturity.
The benefit of being steady and measured is paying off. Despite industry headwinds, we are in a position to grow and to build up from the foundations we’ve worked hard to cement. We are in a position to show that Stellar is the network that doesn’t just survive through crypto winter, it sets the standard on the other side.
We are contributing to the ecosystem with a clear purpose: to create equitable access to the global financial system. We know what’s required for a network to deliver on that promise: trusted assets, accessible global on and off ramps, intuitive products. The sum of these parts is utility. A network cannot drive change if it is not solving real problems, if it is not useful for real users, developers, or businesses.
That utility is our core focus for 2023 and one we must lean into with a commitment to urgency, outcomes, and a motivation to make change. With delivering utility as our guiding principle, we will be able to bring more builders to the network, and with more builders, that utility grows exponentially. It is the roadmap that leads to and relies on network effects.
As an organization, our work in 2023 will be organized around three building blocks that take network utility to the next level. Each of these building blocks is supported by targeted strategic initiatives — this is where the hard work happens. It’s the focus of the day-to-day, establishing specific outcomes we want to achieve in 2023 that move the needle on utility.
Whether it’s scaling on Stellar’s traditional offering or leveraging a new smart contract standard in DeFi, we need to make it easy to build on the network. This is how we offer surface area for innovation that expands the ecosystem of builders (of all shapes and sizes), equipping them with a tech stack that has a vision to scale into mainstream adoption and introduces them to a thriving DeFi ecosystem to support their development.
In our effort to make innovation easy and scalable, SDF’s work will focus on the following strategic initiatives:
More utility will attract established, trusted institutional players to Stellar. We need to continue to focus on solving problems for these players versus just bringing blockchain to their work. To do that, we need to focus on the broken steps in the current system, highlight them, and show how they can leverage Stellar to help fix them. Then, these builders can deliver scale quickly that can have cascading effects in its ability to attract more builders and in turn bring even more utility. This work will focus on attracting more top-tier assets to the network, expanding access to the network with global on and off ramps, and proving out use cases.
To win over builders, SDF’s work will focus on the following strategic initiatives:
We cannot just build utility, we need to prove it to stakeholders who have a say in the future of this technology. This will require engagement with policymakers and stakeholders to make sure SDF and Stellar are seen as credible and reliable as the future of blockchain regulation is decided. This work will also require SDF to be a clear voice in the broader public conversation to demonstrate to businesses, developers, and other stakeholders that this technology has real-world value.
To build trust through utility, SDF’s work will focus on the following strategic initiatives: