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Stripe-backed Stellar Development Foundation launches blockchain payment network

San Francisco-based Steller Development Foundation (SDF) today announced the launch of Lightyear, its new global blockchain payment network. The Lightyear service is powered by the Stellar network. Stellar is an open global protocol for payments enabling low cost, high access, and seamless multi-asset transactions. Lightyear enables forward-thinking financial entities to easily join the Stellar ecosystem.
The Stellar team stated:

Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) was created for two main purposes. The first is to design and develop the Stellar protocol and create an open source reference implementation that forms the backbone of the Stellar network. SDF provides governance, structure and resources to continue to develop the protocol and maintain the reference implementation. The second purpose is to distribute the initial supply of lumens as widely as possible to businesses and individuals that are creating the Stellar ecosystem and in order to promote and encourage adoption of the Stellar protocol.
Over the past nine months we have been very focused on developing partnerships and helping companies integrate all over the world. Now that the network is gaining traction there is a clear opportunity to continue to connect anchors, provide services and support for new and existing partners, to develop tools and applications that make integration easier and provide functions above the low level Stellar protocol. There is a lot of opportunity/demand to generally facilitate integrating and operating on the network for anchors and other companies. This is not just a business opportunity but also will greatly accelerate network adoption, increase the overall utility of the Stellar network and overall will be very positive for the ecosystem.
But… this isn’t want SDF was designed to do. These activities are much better served by a dedicated for-profit company and that is why we are setting up Lightyear.io.

What is the relation between Lightyear and SDF?
The two entities will have separate boards and a separate set of employees. There will be a lot of collaboration between SDF and Lightyear since they share a common goal but each entity will be focused on a different set of activities.
What is changing?
The partnership team and a few other members of SDF will move over to Lightyear. SDF will be able to hire more developers and focus fully on developing the protocol.
Lightyear will continue the partnership work started by SDF. It will focus on working with new and existing partners, help with implementation, and create products and services on top of the Stellar network. The trajectory of Stellar adoption is already accelerating and Lightyear will push it even further.
From the point of view of the community, expect to see more development and improvements to stellar-core, horizon and friends on one side and more companies and anchors joining the network and increased liquidity and use in the real world on the other.
What is staying the same?
Stellar Development Foundation will continue to have the same mandate. It will continue to distribute lumens (XLM), the native asset of the Stellar network in various ways. The company said they strongly believe that in building an internet like protocol for payments it is essential to have a non-profit that is leading its development. Reason being is the need for governance to be as open and as neutral as possible. No one company should own the network.
The network is still open and free. Lightyear won’t be a privileged actor in the system and no one will be forced to use it. SDF expects other companies will come along to compete with it.
SDF will continue to implement its technical roadmap for stellar core and horizon. It will be publishing an updated roadmap soon. They also stated they have a lot of very interesting projects planned that will continue to improve the decentralized internet.
The SDF team finished their statement by stating:

The Stellar network is only as impactful as its community. SDF will continue to actively engage and foster the developer and general community. We’ll still be in our public slack channel and you’ll see still us pushing code to our git repo. This has and will always be a part of SDF’s mandate.
Ultimately, the expansion and growth of the Stellar network benefits everyone and it validates the work of everyone who’s participated in the Stellar ecosystem. We wish Lightyear the best!

The Stellar Development Foundation was helped along by payments company Stripe who back in 2014 provided backing in the form of initial seed funding.

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