Stellar's Foundation Supports Delay of Smart-Contracts Upgrade After Bug Found

A bug in the upgraded software, identified Jan. 25, was deemed to pose "little risk," but after "robust feedback" from the blockchain's developer community, the Stellar Development Foundation is now recommending a delay beyond the Jan. 30 target date.

AccessTimeIconJan 28, 2024 at 10:41 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 5:49 a.m. UTC

The Stellar blockchain is likely to delay its much anticipated upgrade to add Ethereum-style smart contracts, after a bug was found that prompted developers and validators behind the project to reconsider the Jan. 30 target date.

The Stellar Development Foundation, which supports the blockchain's ecosystem, found a bug on Jan. 25 in the Stellar Core v20.1.0 software, according to a draft blog post shared with CoinDesk on Saturday. The bug could theoretically affect applications and services on the new "Soroban" smart-contracts transactions once the upgrade goes through.

SDF officials "decided that the bug posed little risk given the phased rollout plan," but after "robust feedback" from the developer community, the foundation is now planning to "disarm" its own validators to prevent them from voting to upgrade the network on Jan. 30, according to the post.

Other validators could still choose to push ahead with the "Protocol 20" upgrade, according to the post.

But in an email on Sunday, an SDF representative told CoinDesk that six of seven tier-1 validators had now communicated plans to disarm, including SDF, Satoshipay, Blockdaemon, Public Node, Lobstr and Whalestack.

"Given current configurations, if less than five organizations vote for the upgrade, it won’t have sufficient quorum to be accepted," according to the representative. "In other words, it appears that the upgrade will be postponed."

A fix for the bug should be available within the next two weeks, and if the upgrade ends up getting postponed, the foundation would then "coordinate to determine a future vote date."

Stellar is one of the oldest blockchains, created as a fork of the Ripple protocol in 2014, and the project is upgrading to add the programmability that Ethereum and its "smart contracts" are known for. Traders may be speculating whether the facelift could put fresh energy into the project's native XLM tokens.

UPDATE (Jan 28, 22:40 UTC): Adds update from Stellar Development Foundation on number of tier-1 validators signaling support for a delay of the of the upgrade.


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Bradley Keoun

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Tech & Protocols team. He owns less than $1,000 each of several cryptocurrencies.