Stellar Report: End of Year Updates

Team

Mat Schaffer is our new Reliability Engineer. Mat is a developer who who loves building approachable and reliable systems. Before joining Stellar, he most recently worked at Netflix – you can read more about him here. Welcome Mat!

Technical

Inflation is back up and running—see the mandate for details about the idea behind inflation and how it works.

Happenings

  • We asked the community to explain Stellar in 400 words or fewer. This was one of our favorite answers:

    “Stellar is a platform for exchanging value over the internet. The stellar network is made up of companies called anchors that exchange real life assets (currency, gold, silver, shares of stock) for their equivalent digital IOUs that you can hold or spend with a digital wallet. The benefit of converting goods to digital IOUs is that they can be traded or sent to anyone worldwide in a matter of seconds without going thru a bank or third party that charge hefty fees. Stellar makes exchanging digital assets as easy as sending an e-mail. Competing market makers on the Stellar platform create liquidity to allow users to exchange a digital IOUs for other IOUs (for example, to trade USD to Gold). These IOUs can be redeemed at the issuing anchor for the actual asset.”

  • Joyce spoke about reimagining the world’s financial systems with digital currency at Above All Human. Find more community responses to her talk here.

Bitcoin Program

When we launched in the summer of 2014, we published our Mandate that outlined our main programs, including the Bitcoin Program. We had targeted the start of the program within six months of launching to the public.

Due to concerns over scalability and security which should be fixed with major code releases in early 2015, we believe it is necesary to delay the Bitcoin Program until after we have released substantive changes to the way that stellard handles consensus on the network. For more insight into the scalability and security issues driving the new code, read our post Safety, liveness, and fault tolerance–the consensus choices.

Early next year, when the code is closer to release we will make additional announcements about the forthcoming whitepaper authored by Prof. David Mazières. Once the new code is tested, implemented and safe for many more users, we will begin the Bitcoin Program.

We will give at least one month advance notice of the snapshot date for BTC, and the claim program will be open for at least 90 days. In the meantime, we have confirmed with several large bitcoin exchanges that they will be able to determine the appropriate recipients based off the snapshot, but you should confirm with whichever party you use to store your bitcoins.

Non-Profit Status & Donations

Nonprofit status comes in two parts: corporate status (occurs at formation; lays out rules by which the nonprofit entity must operate) and tax-exempt status (application to the IRS; gives tax-exempt benefit to the entity for being a nonprofit). The first part was completed at incorporation, viewable here in our public governance docs. We have been working on the second part with our non-profit counsel Adler & Colvin and we should be receiving the first draft for submission shortly. Applications for tax-exempt status takes a while — the IRS’s webpage states that their target processing time is 270 days after submission. Since that is a long time, our hope is to publish our Form 1023 when we submit it to the IRS so that we can have those documents publicly available as well – we are waiting on approval from counsel.

In the meantime, we now have a fiscal sponsorship that will allow us to start accepting donations and applying for nonprofit grants in Q1 of next year. Keep an eye out for announcements on that front.

Join Team Stellar

We are closing the year out with almost 20 people on our team and we are honored to have so many talented people joining us to work on our mission. We want to say thank you to each team member for working so hard and giving it your all.

As we roll into the new year, here are our top four biggest hiring needs as we look into next year:

You can read all the detailed descriptions on our jobs page and take a peek at our benefits which include lunches, health & dental, an awesome in-office donated massage chair and other great stuff. We also do an annual offsite to meet with nonprofits, micro-finance orgs and companies and learn from their work – it is also the time when we gather all the team members from around the world in one place.

If you are interested in joining Team Stellar, come check us out.

Looking forward to 2015,

Team Stellar


Fun fact: as part of our first White Elephant gift exchange, we asked that every gift be recycled, freecyled or from Craigslist Free. We got some pretty great gifts including both this astronaut and puppy.

@tammycamp looking so stellar with her new white elephant gift

A photo posted by Winnie Lim (@wynlim) on

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