The name is Lumens, Stellar Lumens! You can call me XLM for short.
Crypto can be a tough game, especially if your competing with the best of the best. So I’d like to, as best I can, clarify a little about myself.
First of all, let me start by noting that there are a few different kinds of crypto. There are those that predominantly are looking at becoming the next medium for fiat, those that are looking to set up a network and help other projects to launch, and those that are specified with a specific purpose or utility.
Which am I you may be wondering? Well, not to sound conceited or anything, but in truth, I’m all of the above. Actually this very fact is built directly into my name utilizing a combination of Stellar, which is a network, and Lumens, which is a currency.
You see, back when I was founded by Jed McCaleb, post his Mt. Gox and Ripple days, I was given the name Stellar Lumens. In taxonomical terms, Stellar is the name of my blockchain (as well as, coincidently, the name of the organization running my network), and Lumens refers to the name of the digital asset running on that network, otherwise known as the token that can be exchanged for goods and services. In addition, Lumens can also be used as an intermediate currency when exchanging two other assets or digital holdings, but I’ll get into that a bit later.
Now, a lot of people think that blockchain is synonymous with Bitcoin, and to be fair, without Bitcoin and it’s success an as alternative to mainstream economics, it would no doubt be much harder for any of us to succeed. That said, although the majority of us cryptocurrencies are based off of blockchain technology, there are a few differences between myself and others well worth noting.
For those of you that are not all that familiar with cryptocurrencies in general, I’ll try as best I can to break it down and ilLUMENate you in the simplest way possible.
First off, you may have heard of something called a fork – and no, I’m not referring to something you eat your food with. In essence, there are a couple different kinds of forks, but for all intents and purposes they should be understood as a way for the network to upgrade or update itself. In some cases the network changes but remains in the same hands of its former organizers (i.e. Ethereum Constantinople), where as in other cases, the network splits into factions, and each, from that point on, goes off to do their own thing (i.e. Bitcoin Cash, and then Bitcoin Cash ABC and SV). Now, in my case there is a bit of a misnomer floating around that I am merely one of these forks – a copy and paste job of my older sibling Ripple so to say. To clarify, I am no mere fork of Ripple, but rather my own entity; as on a very fundamental level I have been recoded from scratch with some significant differences.
There are some other major differences between Ripple as well. Unlike XRP which is only partly open sourced, I am completely open sourced and decentralized. Because of the nature of business that Ripple conducts, being a private business primarily dealing with banks and other major financial institutions and having to answer as a private company to investors and share holders, they have much less transparency then what you get with my Stellar network and my Lumens. In addition, where Ripple utilizes a PBFT (Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) protocol for their consensus mechanism, my Stellar network from the time of the core recoding has utilized a Federated Byzantine Agreement known as the SCP (Stellar Consensus Protocol). Basically, in lumen terms, I mean, laymen terms, what this means is that unlike the closed node system of Ripple whereby those validating network transactions are selected entirely by the parent company Ripple Labs, anyone anywhere is free to set up and manage a node in order to help with validation of network transactions. Please don’t panic though – just because we are not governed and operated by a central entity, it does not mean that your funds are in jeopardy. Should there be an attack on my network by a group of malicious nodes or actors as recently took place on the Ethereum Classic network, all progress on the Stellar network will stop until a proper consensus of trust can be reached. This however is more of a safeguard than anything, as in general terms those operating nodes upon my network will be linked with other trusted nodes in order to transparently facilitate network consensus.
At the launch of the Stellar project, 100 billion lumens were created, however, only 5 billion of those were put into circulation – which brings us to another major difference between Ripple’s XRP and my Lumens. Although it is true that both of us were pre-mined, hinting that there is a fixed supply, I have within the Stellar network a built in 1% annual inflation. However unlike traditional banks that print money and utilize it for their own purposes, the annual 1% increase in my supply will be divided amongst those that are holding XLM and be distributed on back to the community on a weekly basis. Now it is true that the ability for this also exists for Ripple, but at the present time, it is unlikely that they are considering doing this, and furthermore may even in the future write in a change that prevents this from ever happening.
I guess, where one could say that Ripple uses a top down approach to mass adoption, utilizing connections through banks to facilitate cross boarder remittances, I in Stellar have always been focused on building a decentralized micropayment network and helping the unbanked. Essentially, it is my goal to bring about ‘the future of banking’ by enabling mobile banking branches and the remittance mobile payment options to assist those that may live in areas where services are not suitable or those that have the inability for whatever the reason may be, to have access to the traditional operation of banks. In order to achieve this, our Stellar network utilizes anchors issuing, holding, and honoring credit using our distributed exchange as a base of operations – an exchange which will convert supported currencies and assets at the lowest possible rate.
Now that’s all fine and dandy you may be saying, but what is it exactly that separates me from the other top projects out there?
One of the biggest differences between myself and some of the other top projects at present, is that unlike other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum, the Stellar protocol is based on a consensus algorithm instead of being mined. What this means is that compared to these other networks, my Lumens travel across the network super fast. Instead of waiting for minutes, or sometimes upwards of an hour when traffic is congested, my Lumens will arrive to the destination in mere seconds.
However, just because our network runs on a consensus protocol does not mean there is no cost. Likewise, just because there is a cost does not mean it has to be expensive like Bitcoin or Ethereum have been in the past. Where as these networks at times can charge upwards of dollars in times of high price evaluations or congested traffic, this is not the case with our Stellar super hi way as everything is done within our own integrated exchange and does not rely on a third party to process transactions on our Stellar network.
Now you might be asking, and with very good cause, why is it that I should have to pay a fee on any network, and furthermore, considering miners on the BTC and ETH hi-ways take the fee to preform the verification process, where exactly does the Lumen fee go in regards to Stellar transactions?
Although this for some may be quite controversial, the reasoning is such that this system has been incorporated in an effort to prevent spam which we sometimes see on platforms like ETHER and EOS. In our case, for every transaction that is made on our stellar system, a total of 0.00001 lumens (100 stroops) will be burnt. To put it in fiat terms, at present this would amount to 0.00000109 USD, or somewhere within the one hundred thousandths of an American cent. While not really much of a burden for the average user in an effort to mitigate network spam, as I’m sure you could guess, for those with intentions to spam the network, this could add up to a substantial cost.
Furthermore, in terms of the bigger picture related to spam, on our network every wallet is also expected to maintain a minimum balance 0.5 XLM in an effort to keep spam accounts at a minimum. Additionally the Lumens held at your address on the network will to aid in prioritization in cases where there happens to be too much congestion at a certain block. In other words, unlike our elders and their Bitcoin or Ethereum network whereby priority and speed goes to those that pay the higher transaction fee, the priority on our Stellar network will go to those with the greatest Lumen balance. Don’t fret though, because in the rare cases where your transaction can not be processed at the time of the congested block, your transaction will be held waiting and be completed in the next ledger.
And the Lumens from all these ‘fees’, what happens to them? Well, don’t worry because as discussed earlier, built within our network don’t forget is the inflationary mechanism – so the more you hold either individually or as part of a pool, the more you will be rewarded.
As previously mentioned, it is the aim of our stellar network to offer alternatives to that which other networks are doing. Where we rival ripple in the field of cross boarder remittances and aim to bring those to the broader unbanked public, we also are looking to challenge the dominance that Ethereum has consistently shown within the broader cryptosphere of as the go to smart contract and developer platform.
In comparing our abilities with that of the spaces prime movers, although Ethereum in terms of smart contracts and other projects developing upon its network at present is could be seen as much more flexible or comprehensive, for crypto to succeed in the future the issue of complexity of such things must be a top priority. In fact, it could be said that in all but the most rare cases, this complexity or flexibility will not be of the greatest concern for the majority of projects that will be coming into the space. In a way, just as we are looking to be the go to network and currency for those that are under or unbanked, we hope to also facilitate an entire ecosystem within our network utilizing what we believe is a simpler yet just as effective for the masses alternative to the smart contract ecosystem that has become the norm across the modern cryptosphere.
In regards to that end, solidifications with some pretty exciting potential outcomes have already been forged. Thus far projects are being developed regarding cross boarder and remittance payments (Tempo, Chynge), tokenization or real estate (Slice), the production of USD tethered stable coin (IBM), and the creation of a digital sharing economy (Kik) just to name a few.
Hopefully from this brief introduction, you now have a better understanding of what exactly it is that is so promising about yours truly, Stellar Lumens. Although we may not be as old as Bitcoin, as mature as Ethereum, as centralized in our partnerships as Ripple, or even come with as much built in hype as EOS or highly marketed as Tron, but we hold within our being a solid framework and yet unrealized inner tech that together, we might just make it to the moon!
Disclaimer by the Author: In an effort to try to do something a little different for my entry into the Trybe Stellar completion, I have tried to represent from a personified perspective some pertinent information regarding the project of Stellar, which might I add was a lot more challenging than I had initially conceived. It should be understood that at times although it may read as an official account of the project, in reality, the author is not an expert on this company or its technology and has no affiliation with the project whatsoever at all. All information has been taken from, to my awareness, reputable sources, and things that were questionable, fact checked with other sources to the best of my ability. Stellar is a very comprehensive project and deciphering that which encompasses it completely is no small task. If in any way I have misrepresented something as denoted above, it was not my intention, and anything contained within this post should be thoroughly fact checked with the project or team directly before being taken as truth. Personally, I believe that Stellar is a forward looking project working towards solving real world problems. Because of this belief, I have tried through the technique of personification, to paint a positive, yet fair analysis. However, being such a comprehensive project, this is just one authors opinion and in no way should be relied upon as financial advice or an official statement regarding the project. In other words, any first person terms (I, we, my, our, etc.) denoted above were intended as a literary device in the submission of this contest and should be understood as this authors third party interpretation and nothing more.
References: The main reference source and verification of third party information for this project was taken from the official project site https://www.stellar.org/. However, ideas coming from the following sources, as well as those listed under the photo credits above, were also incorporated as a jumping off point or for greater clarity: What is Stellar Lumens: https://coinswitch.co/info/stellar-lumens/what-is-stellar-lumens, Ethereum or Stellar: https://medium.com/quillhash/ethereum-or-stellar-which-platform-is-best-suitable-for-your-ico-sto-7f1368bb942c, Exciting Stellar Projects: https://www.investinblockchain.com/exciting-stellar-projects/, Blockgeeks Stellar Blockchain Guide: https://blockgeeks.com/guides/stellar-blockchain/, These are the Stellar Partnerships that Will Send XLM to the Moon: https://cryptodaily.co.uk/2018/08/these-are-the-stellar-partnerships-that-will-send-xlm-to-the-moon, Stellar Consensus Protocol: https://blockonomi.com/stellar-consensus-protocol/, What is Stellar Consensus Protocol: https://achainofblocks.com/2018/12/13/what-is-stellar-consensus-protocol-federated-byzantine-agreement/, Bitdegree: Stellar vs Ripple: https://www.bitdegree.org/tutorials/stellar-vs-ripple/, FUD Nation; XRP vs XLM: https://youtu.be/uNT04AlU9Bo, Stellar Lumens Deep Dive: https://youtu.be/o_w2MjEs4Ww
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