Stellar Smart Contract Upgrade Delayed Due to Software Bug: What Does it Mean for Stellar?

The much-anticipated upgrade to add smart contract functionality to the Stellar blockchain has been delayed past its initial Jan. 30 target. The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) requested pushing back the upgrade after a bug was discovered that could enable problems with fee-bumped transactions.


  • A bug was found in the Stellar Core software that could impact smart contract applications after the upgrade to Protocol 20
  • The Stellar Development Foundation now plans to delay and “disarm” its validators from voting for the upgrade on Jan. 30
  • Other validators could still choose to upgrade if they reach a quorum, but at least 6 major validators now also plan to delay
  • A bug fix is expected within 2 weeks, after which the Foundation plans to coordinate a new upgrade date
  • The reaction highlights Stellar’s collaborative governance and decision to prioritize security over decentralization

The bug occurs within the Soroban smart contract platform that would activate as part of Protocol 20. Specifically, refunds for smart contract transactions are incorrectly sent to the inner transaction’s source account rather than the outer fee-bump account.

After finding the bug on Jan. 25, the SDF initially judged the risk low given Soroban’s gradual rollout plans. However, extensive feedback from node validators, developers, wallet providers, and other Stellar contributors led to a reassessment.

On Jan. 27, the SDF announced plans to “disarm” its own validators, preventing them from voting to trigger the upgrade. At least 5 other major validator nodes plan to do the same, likely postponing upgrade barring an unlikely validator quorum.

This reactive decision-making highlights Stellar’s emphasis on reliability and security over pure decentralization. The SDF stressed collaborating with stakeholders before proceeding rather than exercising its leadership position to push changes through regardless.

The good news is developers expect a fix within two weeks. From there, the SDF intends to coordinate with validators and set a new upgrade date. The process exhibits open channels of communication between technically-skilled community members.

While a setback, the delay ultimately provides assurance that the intensively peer-reviewed Soroban will function properly upon release. Stellar contributors backed taking additional time to strengthen the upgrade’s integrity before subjecting it to live conditions.

The circumstances also reaffirm the ecosystem’s underlying health. A diversity of node operators, wallets, traders, builders, and infrastructure providers scrutinize network developments and provide critical insight into risks from their unique vantage points.

The responsive postponing of Stellar’s smart functionality launch is a prudent move. It sustains constructive momentum rather than rushing code to mainnet that may introduce headaches for users and applications down the line.

The post Stellar Smart Contract Upgrade Delayed Due to Software Bug: What Does it Mean for Stellar? appeared first on Blockonomi.

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