Previous SDF Mandate

This document outlines the previous goals of both the Stellar Development Foundation and the Stellar Network and Protocol.

*This document was been retired after the introduction of our new mandate.

Stellar is a common financial platform that is designed to be open and accessible to everyone. This document outlines the long-term goals of both the Stellar Development Foundation and the Stellar Network and Protocol.


The mission of the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) is to promote global financial access, literacy, and inclusion. SDF accomplishes this by expanding worldwide access to low-cost financial services through the development and maintenance of technology and partnerships.

SDF’s vision is an open and affordable financial system where people of all income levels can access simple-to-use, secure, and low cost financial services. SDF also aims to empower developers with useful technology to create financial products and services for their communities.


SDF --- also known as Stellar.org --- was incorporated in 2014 as a non-stock nonprofit corporation in the U.S. State of Delaware. SDF has no stock, no profits given to individuals, and no private inurement.

The Stellar Network and Stellar Protocol, as defined in the Responsibilities section, are hereinafter collectively referred to as “Stellar.”


To promote global financial access, literacy, and inclusion, SDF shall:

  • Develop and maintain a secure and low cost global transaction network (“Stellar Network”) and protocol (“Stellar Protocol”) that is high quality, open-source, and publicly accessible to everyone
  • Develop and maintain publicly accessible tools and services to support the Stellar Network and its users
  • Provide guidance and direction for the Stellar ecosystem
  • Promote adoption of Stellar as a worldwide payment standard
  • Distribute the native currency of the Stellar ecosystem, lumens, to the world to expand the reach of the network and create a more inclusive digital economy
  • Create and support technical and non-technical partnerships and educational initiatives to boost digital financial literacy and development efforts at the institutional and community level


SDF employs full-time and part-time employees, as well as contractors, to develop and execute programs that promote global financial access, literacy, and inclusion. Aside from personnel costs, other operational expenses include the costs of office rent, office amenities, hardware, software, and partnership and educational programs.

It is critical to our mission that Stellar remains a publicly accessible good. Therefore, we do not and will not ever profit from transaction fees on Stellar. We fund our operations with:

  1. 5% of the initially created lumens on Stellar. We periodically auction these lumens on various exchanges
  2. Charitable contributions from companies or individuals
  3. Foundation membership. For more information on membership in the Stellar Development Foundation, please click here
  4. In 2014, SDF received a loan of $3,000,000 from Stripe which was subsequently repaid with 2B lumens


For an FAQ related to lumens, please click here.

Lumen Distribution

At the genesis of the Stellar Network, 100 billion lumens (XLM) were created as specified in the protocol. As part of its custodial mandate, SDF is entrusted to oversee that the vast majority, 95 billion, of the lumens are distributed to the world.

SDF manages the execution of lumen distribution, with oversight and direction provided by SDF’s Expansion Board. The initial lumens held by SDF are required to be distributed to the world in the following manner:

  • 50% for distribution via the Direct Sign-up Program
  • 25% for distribution via the Partnership Program
  • 20% for distribution via the Bitcoin Program
  • 5% held by SDF to support operational costs

Direct Signup Program

The goal of the Direct Sign-up Program is to make lumens easily accessible to millions of individuals and communities across the globe. By implementing a simple mechanism for distribution featuring a low barrier to entry, we hope to distribute free lumens to millions of individuals.

We believe the Direct Sign-up Program will help us expand the reach of the network and, subsequently, help achieve our goal of building a more inclusive digital economy. Giving away free lumens is an invitation for communities to learn more about Stellar’s low cost infrastructure, learn more about digital financial assets, and design and build the financial services they need. The availability and active use of lumens on the network will increase the overall network’s utility.

For these reasons, 50% of the initial lumens are dedicated to the Direct Sign-up Program.

The Direct Sign-up Program will be conducted in rounds and with a phased roll-out to encourage learning and public awareness throughout the distribution process. We will experiment with various ways to conduct distributions. Any initiative or scheme we implement to support this distribution will serve the implicit purpose of this program: to get a small amount of lumens in the hands of as many people as possible with the intention of promoting financial knowledge and access to financial services around the world.

Partnership Program

The purpose of the Partnership Program is to encourage adoption and growth of Stellar through the institutional distribution of lumens. As institutional adoption is a primary driver for scaling usage, the Partnership Program is structured to incentivize key institutional adopters and align their goals with the SDF’s.

More specifically, the goal of the program is to reward institutions that contribute to the Stellar ecosystem in two core capacities:

  1. By being an early adopter and contributor to the Stellar ecosystem or;
  2. By extending the network’s reach to underserved or financially excluded populations

To fund the rewards, 25% of the initial lumens will be set aside for grants to businesses, governments, institutions, or nonprofit organizations that contribute to the growth of the Stellar ecosystem.

For more information about current partnership programs, please visit the Stellar Partnership Grant Program page.

Bitcoin Program

SDF allocated 20% of the initial lumens to be distributed for free to holders of bitcoin and XRP (19% for bitcoin holders and 1% for XRP holders).

The goal of this giveaway was to encourage bitcoin holders to explore and use Stellar, encourage exchanges to support lumen trading, promote the development of useful Stellar ecosystem technologies, and encourage Stellar integrations by financial institutions and service providers. With more people holding lumens and transacting on the network, the network itself will become more useful to those who build low-cost services on it.

The Bitcoin Program was completed in two rounds: one round was completed in October 2016 and another was completed in August 2017. SDF does not intend to conduct another round of lumen distributions to bitcoin or XRP holders.

Members and Directors of SDF were not eligible to participate in the bitcoin program for any bitcoins or XRP that they hold during the claim period.

Unclaimed Lumens and Stellar Build Challenge

Lumens that were not claimed by during the Bitcoin program are currently going to the Stellar Build Challenge and toward the operations of SDF. The Stellar Build Challenge rewards development, education, usage, and integrations in the Stellar ecosystem by awarding lumen to the creators of useful technologies, resources, and applications. For more information, please refer to the Stellar Build Challenge page.

Held by Foundation

In order to provide market stability to lumens, SDF founders and Stripe have voluntarily agreed not to sell any of the lumens initially received (either via employee grants in the case of the founders, or via repayment of the Stripe loan) for at least five years. However, Stripe may auction any of their lumens, provided the recipients also agree not to sell their lumens for five years, and net profits will be returned to the Foundation.


The Stellar Network has a built-in, fixed, nominal inflation mechanism. New lumens are added to the network at the rate of 1% each year. Each week, the protocol distributes these lumens to any account that gets over .05% of the “votes” from other accounts in the network.