Stellar, found online at Stellar.org, is a cryptocurrency project founded in 2014. Find out everything you need to know about Stellar and its Lumens (XLM) cryptocurrency today in our review.

What is Stellar?

Stellar is a cryptocurrency projected created by Jed McCaleb, co-founder of Ripple, in 2014. McCaleb launched Stellar after running into philosophical differences with the rest of the Ripple board.

While Ripple is focused on providing solutions to banks, Stellar aims to facilitate payments between people. Many people have compared Stellar to Ripple due to its widespread appeal among banks and other institutions. In fact, Stellar has already launched major partnerships with groups like Deloitte, which announced a partnership with Stellar in 2016 to develop a payment app. 30+ banks have also signed up to use Stellar’s protocol for cross-border transfers.

Stellar remained a relatively unknown cryptocurrency until late 2017. By the end of 2017, the price of Stellar’s cryptocurrency, Lumens or XLM, had risen 41,900%, making it one of the best performing cryptocurrencies of 2017.

Today, XLM has a market cap of $3.6 billion and a price of around $0.20 per XLM, putting it in the top 10 cryptocurrencies worldwide by total market cap.

How Does Stellar XLM Work?

Stellar is the protocol, while Lumens are the cryptocurrency used in that protocol. Stellar’s open source payment protocol shares several similarities with Ripple.

Just like Ripple, Stellar’s payment protocol is targeted at financial institutions. It aims to drastically reduce the time and cost of international money transfers.

One of the biggest differences between Ripple and Stellar is that Stellar is open source, while Ripple is a closed system.

Stellar is also attracting different customers. The company is focusing on developing markets, for example, including money remittance services and other financial institutions targeting “unbanked” individuals in developing countries. Ripple, meanwhile, is working with established banking institutions and consortiums.

At its foundational level, Stellar works in a similar way to other cryptocurrencies. The protocol runs a network of decentralized servers, including a distributed ledger that is updated every 2 to 5 seconds across all nodes.

The most prominent difference between Stellar and other cryptocurrencies is the consensus protocol: Stellar does not rely on a network of miners to create consensus. Instead, it uses a unique consensus protocol called the Federated Byzantine Agreement, or FBA algorithm. This allows faster processing of transaction using “quorum slices” to approve and validate transactions. Each “quorum slice” is a portion of the network that creates consensus. So instead of relying on the entire network to approve every transaction, Stellar’s quorum slices provide similar security but with vastly improved speeds.

Stellar also has a unique system of “anchors”. Each “anchor” is a trusted entity that provides lines of credit for people to use the Stellar network using assets like dollars or Euros. This system essentially involves “staking” an asset on the Stellar blockchain, then receiving an equivalent amount of another asset. You can access USD by staking EUR, for example, at a fraction of the cost of traditional foreign exchange and lending services.

This anchor system also leads to another powerful feature: Stellar’s decentralized exchange. The decentralized exchange can be used to trade anything held by Stellar’s network of anchors. You can trade everything through the Stellar Market – including both fiat and cryptocurrencies.

Which Institutions Use Stellar (XLM)?

Stellar has a number of major partnerships around the world. A number of banks, financial institutions, and entire countries have signed up to use the Stellar protocol in some capacity.

One of the stated goals of Stellar was to process up to 60% of all cross-border payments in the South Pacific, including countries like Australia, Fiji, and Tonga. This will allow small businesses, non-profit organizations, and local banks to expedite commercial transactions in a region that’s been traditionally fractured between currencies.

Deloitte also announced a partnership with Stellar in 2016. Deloitte is partnering with Stellar to launch a payments app. Later in 2017, Stellar co-founder McCaleb confirmed that 30 banks had signed up to use Stellar’s protocol for cross-border transfers.

Overall, Stellar has a long list of partners. You can view its list of partners here. They include major names like IBM, Stripe, SatoshiPay, Deloitte, and Lightyear.io.

Who’s Behind Stellar?

Stellar was co-founded by Jed McCaleb, who split from Ripple in 2014 due to philosophical differences. Development of the cryptocurrency is officially led, however, by the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), which is a registered non-profit incorporated in Delaware.

The SDF’s funding comes from the initial creation of Stellar Lumens. The foundation controls 5% of all Lumens. The SDF also received a loan from $3 million from Stripe back in 2014. They repaid the loan with 2 billion Lumens.

Stellar Lumens (XLM) Conclusion

Stellar is a blockchain protocol designed specifically to enable cheap international payments. The protocol is in use by IBM, Deloitte, and other major names worldwide. It’s similar to Ripple in its ability to attract major financial institutions. However, Stellar is an open source project while Ripple is closed source, and Stellar is targeting its services to the entire unbanked and underbanked populations of the world – not just major financial institutions. Stellar has unique features like the FBA consensus protocol and its own built-in decentralized exchange.

To learn more about Stellar and its popular Lumens (XLM) cryptocurrency, visit online today at Stellar.org.

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