Stellar Foundation

What is Stellar Foundation?

Stellar is an open-source blockchain network which specializes in payments and asset issuance, endeavoring to allow the world’s financial systems to freely interoperate with each other on a single network. Since launching in 2014, Stellar has processed more than 2 billion operations, made by over 6.5 million individual accounts. Organizations of all sizes utilize Stellar for moving assets to new markets, from large enterprise companies to start-ups with a single-dev.

On Stellar, you can create, send, and trade digital representations of all forms of value. As a public network, Stellar has no central authority and is governed by its community. Stellar claims to be faster, cheaper, and more energy-efficient than typical blockchain-based systems.

Grant size: 
Varies on grant type
San Francisco, California, USA

Simply put, Stellar is an open network that allows money to be moved and stored. When it was launched in July 2014, one of its goals was to increase financial inclusion by reaching the unbanked part of the world – but soon after, its priorities shifted to helping financial companies connect with each other through blockchain technology.


The Stellar Foundation Grants Guidelines

The Stellar Development Foundation offers multiple grants and funding sources for a total of 30 billion of their native token, XLM.

Research & Development Grants are intended to encourage innovation by supporting the creation of minimum viable products and proofs of concepts for improving liquidity, increasing throughput, or other ways of extending the capabilities of the Stellar network to meet the needs of the Stellar ecosystem. Ideas for this grant must meet these requirements:

  • Build and demonstrate an asset-transfer bridge between Stellar and one or more cryptocurrency ecosystems.
  • The bridge must be trust-minimized. There cannot be a single entity that operates the bridge.
  • The bridge can be novel, but the SDF Grants Committee has a preference for projects that seek to integrate Stellar into existing bridging solutions. 
  • The bridge must include a web portal that can coordinate swaps and provide proof of assets.
  • The bridge must have an open API for wallet integration.

Academic Research Grants are available for proposals of basic economic, legal, and technical research which will advance the Stellar Development Foundation’s goals of financial inclusion, fast and low-cost cross-border payments, efficient decentralized markets, and other beneficial applications of distributed ledger technology.

Stellar Community Fund is uniquely open to any project for application and is intended for the broader community of Stellar. This fund supports a variety of topics, which the community has the opportunity to vote on, to grant XLM (native token). Applicants can receive:

  • Funding up to $150,000 worth of XLM*
  • Opportunities for follow-up funding and development (coming soon)
  • Opportunity to speak at monthly project pitches and quarterly held Investor Demo Day
  • Access to exclusive educational resources and events
  • 1:1 meeting(s) with SDF team after Award Distribution

Marketing Grants are meant to support the user acquisition and growth of projects building on Stellar. This fund supports offline and digital marketing, PR, in-app incentives, and communications. Marketing Grant applications should offer the following:

  • Traction: Is the project live with traction or preparing to launch soon?
  • Mission: Does the project have a connection to SDF’s mission of increasing financial inclusion, diversity, equity, sustainability, compliance, and social responsibility?
  • Impact: Will increased success of the project directly and positively impact the Stellar ecosystem?
  • Feasibility: Does the marketing proposal have a detailed execution plan with clear deliverables, timelines, and measurable milestones for success?
  • Capability: Does the project have its own marketing team/resource that could implement a co-created plan?
  • Details: The more detail you provide the better your chances are of getting funded.

Enterprise Fund (Investment) is for organizations which demonstrate real and sustainable use cases for the Stellar ecosystem. The Stellar Development Foundation will invest with the companies with the greatest potential for growth in the network which can be integrated within 1 year of direct investment. Enterprise Fund applications should offer the following:

  • Stellar Fit – Does Stellar provide compelling value to the Company? Will the team further SDF’s mission?
  • Impact – Does the company bring real & working use cases to the Stellar ecosystem? Does the Company have potential to 10x Stellar’s current transaction volume, network value, or assets under management?
  • Team – Does Stellar trust management to execute, focus, and commit to building for the long term? Is the team able to build a compelling product that is competitive in the market and brings value to the end user? Does the team have a viable go-to-market plan?
  • Viability – ‍Does the company have a viable path towards financial independence from Stellar (either through external funding or revenue) in the next 18-24 months?
  • Timing – Why now? Is this the right time for Stellar to invest? Does the team have a clear, realistic, yet ambitious plan of how to use the money and why it is needed now?

Matching Fund (Investment) is for pre-Series A/B companies who are interested in building on Stellar. The Stellar Development Foundation will match investments from a lead investor up to $500,000 USD.


The Stellar Development Foundation also offers additional funding sources such as:

  • Currency Support – funds for teams which issue fully-backed, redeemable currency stablecoins on Stellar, including deposit-withdrawl endpoints for the network or supporting market-making efforts for essential tokens on the Stellar DEX.
  • Infrastructure Grants – for supporting projects which provide a crucial utility to the Stellar network.
  • Developer Initiatives – support for meetups, hackathons, and other developer-community initiatives of importance.
  • Bug Bounty Program – get rewarded for fixing exploits and vulnerabilities which have been discovered in the Stellar SDK or related repository code.

Application Process

The application process is different for the several funding opportunities available. 

Research & Development Grants ask for Email, Discord Handle, Twitter Handle, GitHub username, Country of Residence, a description of the idea, a description of the team, and any additional information.

Academic Research Grants should be no longer than 3 pages (11-point type) and include the following:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • One paragraph biography of the principal investigator, highlighting relevant research results and/or former students
  • Technical proposal body
  • Budget not to exceed $150,000.
  • When known, please name the student or post-doc interested in participating in the research.
  • Statement of intent not to patent the results, including a brief description of the principal investigator’s track record in patenting or not patenting research
  • References

The Stellar Community Fund accepts applications every four weeks. After the initial submission, there is a selection & review period where submissions are checked against Submission Eligibility Guidelines, compliance, and Participant Eligibility Guidelines. If selected, a project will receive 10% of its requested budget to complete the first deliverable as part of a Proof of Intent phase, followed by the official community vote to receive the remaining grant amount. The application has six sections that ask the following:

  1. Legal acknowledgments;
  2. Information about your project and the products/services it offers;
  3. Project deliverables for the next 2-4 months and the budget you need to achieve them;
  4. Links and visual assets;
  5. Information about yourself, your company, and/or team;
  6. Referrals and references.


Marketing Grant applications have the following steps:

  1. Submit your grant application on the Stellar website.
  2. Your application proposal will be reviewed internally by the Stellar Development Foundation.