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Core Concepts

Build your foundational understanding of what makes the Stellar network tick.

๐Ÿ“„๏ธ Networks

Stellar has three networks: the public network (Mainnet, also called Pubnet or the Public Network), the test network (Testnet), and a dev network (Futurenet). Mainnet is the main network used by applications in production. It connects to real financial rails and requires XLM to cover minimum balances, transaction fees, and rent. The Testnet is a smaller, free-to-use network maintained by SDF that functions like the Mainnet but doesnโ€™t connect to real money. It has a built-in testnet XLM faucet (called Friendbot), and it resets on a regular cadence, so it's the best place for developers to test applications when they need a stable environment that mirrors Mainnet functionality. Futurenet is a dev network you can use to test more bleeding edge features that also has access to its own Friendbot. It resets whenever a reset is necessary, so it's not as predictable as Testnet, but it is where new features may be introduced before the are implemented in stable releases.

๐Ÿ“„๏ธ Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP)

Consensus is hugely important in a decentralized payment system. It distributes the monitoring and approval of transactions across many individual nodes (computers) instead of relying on one closed, central system. Nodes are run by organizations or individuals, and the goal is for all nodes to update the ledger in the same way, ensuring each ledger reaches the same state. Consensus is vital for the security of the blockchain, allowing nodes to agree on something safely and preventing double-spend attacks.

๐Ÿ“„๏ธ Anchors

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.