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What is an anchor?

An anchor is a Stellar-specific term for the on and off-ramps that connect the Stellar network to traditional financial rails, such as financial institutions or fintech companies. Anchors accept deposits of fiat currencies (such as the US dollar, Argentine peso, or Nigerian naira) via existing rails (such as bank deposits or cash-in points), then sends the user the equivalent digital tokens on the Stellar network. The equivalent digital tokens can either represent that same fiat currency or another digital token altogether. Alternatively, anchors allow token holders to redeem their tokens for the real-world assets they represent.

Stellar has anchor services operating worldwide. View the Anchor Directory for more information on existing Stellar anchors.

Anchors can issue their own assets on the Stellar network, or they can honor assets that already exist. To learn about issuing assets, check out the Issue Assets section.

This documentation will instruct you on how to become an anchor. To understand how to integrate anchor services into your blockchain-based application, check out the Build Apps section. If you’re looking specifically for MoneyGram Access, see the Integrate with MoneyGram Access tutorial.

Stellar Ecosystem Proposals (SEPs) and interoperability

Stellar is an open-source network that is designed to interoperate with traditional financial institutions, various types of assets, and other networks. Network participants implement Stellar Ecosystem Proposals (SEPs) to ensure they can interoperate with other products and services on the network. SEPs are publicly created, open-source documents that live in a GitHub repository and they define how asset issuers, applications, exchanges, and other service providers should interact and interoperate.

Read more about SEPs in the SEPs section.

As an anchor, the most important SEPs are SEP-24: Hosted Deposit and Withdrawal, and SEP-31: Cross Border Payments API. You’ll also work with SEP-10: Stellar Authentication, SEP-12: KYC API, and SEP-38: Anchor RFQ API.

Anchor Platform versus setting up an anchor from scratch

The anchor documentation will primarily focus on setting up an anchor using the Anchor Platform.

We strongly recommend using the Anchor Platform to set up an anchor. It is possible to set up an anchor from scratch; however, the Anchor Platform has official support and is the easiest and fastest way to deploy anchor services compatible with SEPs.

The Anchor Platform documentation is still in progress and will be built out in the coming months.