Stellar foundation urges delay of Protocol 20 upgrade after bug discovery


The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF)  smart contract upgrade on the Stellar blockchain set for the end of the month after finding a bug in Stellar Core v20.1.0.

“We’ve decided to disarm our validators in support of postponing the Protocol 20 vote on Jan. 30 until after a bug fix,” the SDF explained in a Jan. 27 blog post.

The foundation said the bug (which was found by SDF on Jan. 25) posed “little risk” but said it could potentially impact various applications. SDF noted that a fix is already in the works which should be available within two weeks.

However, SDF stressed that it alone wdecide whether or not to upgrade the network as it stands, as non-SDF validators on Stellar may still choose to vote in favor of the Protocol 20 upgrade on Jan. 30.

“If validators opt to postpone the upgrade, we will coordinate to determine a future vote date once a new version of Stellar Core that contains a bug fix is released.”

“No matter the outcome, the SDF will continue to work to resolve the bug, and to engage in discussions with other validators in both public and private channels,” the SDF added.

SDF said a quorum is required by voting validators for the Protocol 20 upgrade to pass. There were 43 validator nodes as of December 2023, according to

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The bug occurs when a “Soroban” transaction request is made but results in a refund and is fee-bumped. Under the current code, the refund isn’t sent to the fee-bump’s source account as it should, SDF explained in a Jan. 25 GitHub post.

Soroban is a smart contract platform that went live on a Stellar testnet in October 2022.

SDF also launched a $100 million fund to attract developers to the platform in the same month.

One of Stellar’s core developers, Tyler van der Hoeven noted in a Jan. 26 X post that Protocol 20 will be a “phased rollout” but didn’t state how long it would take for a full implementation of Soroban smart contracts on Stellar.

Stellar is one of the oldest blockchain projects and is mostly focused on payments and asset tokenization. XLM, the token powering the Stellar blockchain, currently boasts a market cap of $3.2 billion.

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