With 2 billion underbanked or unbanked people worldwide, financial inclusion is an unsolved problem. To tackle it, we're growing an organization in three phases: the Stellar network itself, financial institutions and service providers that plug in, and, finally, products that connect end beneficiaries to the global economy. In sharing our roadmap here, we’re also sharing some hard-won clarity about the Stellar.org mission and our strategy to fulfill it over the next couple of years.
Our primary goal in 2015 was to help design, implement, and ship a robust platform that could scale to meet the needs of millions. In April 2015 we shared plans for the Stellar Consensus Protocol, which was released in November 2015. The software at the core of the Stellar network is now released and in production, ready for people to build on.
Organizations that connect to, or integrate with, the Stellar network are often looking to lower transaction costs and thereby serve new customers. Anchors, usually financial institutions licensed as money services providers, are a kind of integrator trusted to accept deposits and honor withdrawals. In order to make the network accessible for services such as remittances, each country needs an anchor integration. After spending nearly a month in Lagos earlier this year, our team will dedicate the balance of 2016 to anchor partnerships in Nigeria, a country that has the potential to move fintech history forward.
After anchors connect to the network, they can open their APIs for entrepreneurs and developers to build new financial services. This platform approach to financial services is already happening in Nigeria: The payments startup PayStack—participants in Y Combinator’s Winter 2016 class—comes out of a partnership with Access Bank.
New and innovative uses for mobile money, solar credits, health savings accounts, remittance products—these are all services we expect to see blossom in this phase. In addition to indirectly serving end users through products built with Stellar, our efforts will turn to reaching end beneficiaries through technical education, financial literacy, and NGO partnerships and programming.
Though financial inclusion has always been the driving goal behind Stellar.org, in many ways it’s taken 24 months to see the path clearly. Achieving our mission to connect people to low-cost financial services to fight poverty and maximize individual potential will require focus. The Stellar.org team will dedicate our efforts exclusively to the key activities of each phase.
For the second half of 2016, that means:
Giving away lumens is an invitation for communities to design the services they need. With more people holding lumens and transacting on the network, the network itself will become far more useful to those who build low-cost services on it. While we focus our energies on anchors and expanding the reach of the network in Phase 2, we'll remain an incorporated type C non-profit entity under the sponsorship of the Citizen Engagement Lab.
Business inquiries: Interested in remittances or micropayments, or have other use case-related questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technical questions: Our Slack channel is open—you can reach Stellar.org developers in the #dev channel.
Non-governmental organizations and nonprofits: If you'd like to procure a batch of lumens for learning or social good purposes, email email@example.com.