Starting at 10 AM PT on January 11, 2018, the base reserve will be reduced 20-fold from 10 lumens to 0.5 lumens.
"Stellar Validators have decided that tomorrow at 10AM pacific time the base reserve will be reduced to 0.5 XLM from 10 XLM. What does it mean? You don't need 20 XLM to create an account, but 1 XLM; additional entries like trust lines require an additional 0.5 XLM instead of 10 XLM. I just ran the same command that operators have scheduled for tomorrow on testnet so testnet is already running with the reduced reserve. Cheers!"
This will result in the minimum balance for every Stellar account dropping from 20 lumens to 1 lumen. How the minimum balance is calculated:
Entries like trustlines, offers, signers, and data amplify the minimum balance.
The base reserve can change over time:
"The base reserve and base fee can change, but should not do so more than once every several years. For the most part, you can think of them as fixed values. When they are changed, the change works by the same consensus process as any transaction."
This is likely happening now because:
- The value of the minimum balance increased 25x relative to the US dollar over the past 3 months. The 20 lumen minimum account balance required someone with an average income in Nigeria to keep almost 1 day’s wages in their account. If you are living day-to-day, a day’s wages can be hard to maintain in your bank account.
- Some developers on the Stellar Slack were expressing frustrations with how unwieldy the minimum balance makes their projects given the price growth.