The Stellar Development Foundation has announced a new upgrade to improve the pricing and capacity of the tenth-largest cryptocurrency network.
Dubbed Protocol 11, the upgrade will change the way transactions are executed on the Stellar blockchain. In addition to improving transaction pricing and network capacity, it will also introduce improved functions for making offers on-chain.
Validators most vote on the new upgrade by Monday, June 10th. If successful, it will go live immediately afterwards.
Making Developers’ Lives Easier
One of the biggest improvements will allow smart contract developers to program buy offers for the first time. Written simply as ‘ManageBuyOffer’, the new function ends years of coding struggle.
In the current system, Stellar only allows a ‘sell’ expression in the codebase. That means that in order to create a ‘buy’ feature, developers have to code a ‘sell’ function and invert the price.
“[It] forced you to think about the transaction upside down,” the Foundation explains in a blog post. “As a result of this change the Stellar orderbooks behave just like other major market orderbooks, which makes things a lot easier for pretty much everybody.”
“As a developer, the inclusion of ManageBuyOffer is a simple but huge quality of life improvement,” wrote one user on Reddit. “Thank you for adding it.”
Although Protocol 11 will change little for front-end users, it will enable buyers to explicitly state how much of an asset they want to buy. That ends an issue in which buyers could place offers without knowing how much they would end up receiving.
Lower Transaction Prices
Protocol 11 also includes changes to the calculation of transaction fees, allowing significant savings for regular users.
“Before Protocol 11, fees were fixed,” the SDF explained in the blog post. “[Y]ou submitted the amount you were willing to pay to add your transaction to the ledger, and that was that.”
That was a problem for smart contract developers, who had to anticipate what likely fees would be far in the future. It was also a problem for regular users, who found themselves paying higher fees than necessary, or risking delays from surge pricing.
“[T]he fixed-fee model encouraged people to overpay for their transactions,” the Foundation notes, “which honestly goes against the very spirit of Stellar.”
Following adoption of Protocol 11, transaction fees will be calculated by auction. Users will state the maximum acceptable fee, but they will pay the lowest fee which the market allows. If throughput is low, users will pay minimum fees; if average fees exceed the set maximum, the transaction will not be executed.
“As a result,” the SDF wrote, “you can choose the highest fee you’re comfortable with safe in the knowledge that you’ll only pay that fee if required by circumstance.”
Improving The Validator Experience
Changes to the Stellar protocol happen periodically. The last update, which improved signature verification as well as rounding error in the codebase, took place back in September last year.
The new protocol upgrade is part of a push by the SDF to make the Stellar blockchain easier to use and build on. “Improving the validator experience is a top priority of ours right now,” wrote Stellar founder Jed McCaleb, in a Reddit AMA, noting a number of other announcements to be expected in the next weeks.
Protocol 11 is also expected to improve network capacity. Shortly after the vote on Monday, validators will convene for a second vote, on whether to set the limit on operations per ledger at 1000.
“TL;DR: Life on Stellar is about to get easier,” the blog reads.