Stellar

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Stellar cryptocurrency guide advises where to buy and how to buy Stellar. This guide also contains the markets, value, trading, investing, buying, selling, transactions, blockchain, mining, technology, advantages, risks, history, legislation, regulation, security, payment, networks and many other interesting facts about Stellar as well its status in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Stellar, Tuesday, 2018-08-21

Stellar (XLM)

What Is Stellar?

The world of cryptocurrencies is expanding and advancing at a very fast rate. In 2009 Satoshi Nakamoto simply opened a new avenue that is now appealing to every person with cryptographic and financial expertise. This has yielded diversity that is stretching the definition of cryptocurrency with a very wide range. Stellar is a new type of cryptocurrency in the market altogether. Unlike other cryptocurrencies that mainly rely on the nodes distributed in their networks to confirm and add transactions in their public ledgers, Stellar relies on delegated nodes, standard nodes, and servers distributed in the network.

Stellar is a distributed blockchain based ledger and comprehensive database that helps to facilitate the cross-asset transfer of value and payments. The core idea behind Stellar is crafting a major cryptocurrency platform that will help to connect payment systems, people, and banks to facilitate faster, reliable and cheaper transfer of funds. The cryptocurrency is designed with two core components run by a not-for-profit organization referred as Stellar.org.

  • Stellar network that comprises of the Stellar Core and Horizontal API.
  • Stellar Lumens abbreviated as XLM.

The sudden rise in stellar

The sudden explosion of Stellar price between early 2017 and early 2018 has made a lot of people to develop interest. In January of 2017, one XLM was valued $0.002. In January 2018, about 12 months later, the price had grown by more than 20,000%. That is right.

This sudden upward shift is attributed to the unique design of the cryptocurrency. Its focus on becoming a major payment network and emerging partnership has demonstrated the inherent value Stellar is bringing to the society. The demand, growth and ultimate acceptance by the crypto community mean that Stellar could grow to reach the levels achieved by other top cryptos such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Beginner's Guide to Stellar

Stellar cryptocurrency is one of the leading brands in the industry today. The cryptocurrency was created by Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim as a fork of Ripple Protocol. Jed, who has huge experience in the cryptocurrencies, believed that he could craft a better system, an improved model, and winning crypto to take the technology to all corners of the globe.

The Stellar Ecosystem

Building on the legal and community expertise of Joyce, Jed and the entire Stellar Development Foundation started on a low note but kept improving the Stellar system. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, the Stellar system has helped to demonstrate that the conventional banking system, companies, individual and the Stellar network can work together as a single ecosystem.

Therefore, Stellar is no longer talking about competing with banks; rather, they are partners. The Stellar Foundation is also not targeting the super rich with the capability to buy expensive mining hardware. Instead, it has avoided mining and preferred direct distribution through consensus with the focus on the underbanked.

The ideology of ensuring everybody is involved has captured the attention of multinationals such as IBM, Telindus, Factury and Wipro that want to be part in defining the crypto future. This, plus a growing community has raised the demand for Stellar and fired its value by more than 20,000% between January 2017 and January 2018.

Well, should you invest in Stellar? The cryptocurrency no doubt presents huge potential as experts indicating it could grow and surpass Bitcoin. To make the decision to join or use Stellar, you need to get all the questions about its technology, profitability, trading, markets, and history answered. Do not leave anything to chance, get all details and make the most informed decision.

This guide has the answers you are looking for. Whether you simply want to send money, invest, or learn about Stellar, this is your guide. It digs deeper into the Stellar protocol, the blockchain, fees, security and much more to comprehensively answer all your questions. You are welcome.

Where and How to Buy Stellar?

Many people who are hearing about Stellar for the first time get curious about where and how to buy the native tokens. But the demand is now coming even from those who have been in the cryptocurrency niche for some time. A lot of people are now shifting to Stellar with the expectation that it will keep growing in the coming years. They anticipate growth similar to that demonstrated by Bitcoin.

To buy Stellar Lumens, no matter the method selected, you need to have a cryptocurrency wallet. This is the location that will hold the lumens once the buyout is successful. Once you have an appropriate wallet, it is time to look for the right platform.

Note that unlike the cryptocurrency platforms that allow users to operate in total privacy, most of the purchase platforms require users to register for personal accounts and verify them with personal details such as phone numbers, email address, and even proof of location in some instances. The verification is a requirement by local authorities that guide the exchanges. Some of the platforms to consider include.

  • Cryptocurrency exchanges.
These are top trading platforms that operate like the standard forex markets work. However, the crypto exchanges deal with cryptocurrencies as opposed to fiat currencies. To buy from these platforms, you are required to open an account with them and channel the Lumens to your wallet. Note that the market demand determines the price of XLM in the exchanges. Some great examples include Binance, Bittrex, Poloniex, and Kraken.
  • Cryptocurrency ATMs.
The idea of cryptocurrency ATMs is relatively new. They are a new option in the market that allows users to simply walk into an ATM and walk away with the preferred cryptocurrency of choice. However, there are no Stellar ATMs at the moment. If you have cash, the only available ATMs are Bitcoin ATMs. Therefore, you simply need to buy Bitcoins and exchange them for Stellar Lumens in a preferred exchange.
  • Direct purchases through cryptocurrency clubs.
Since cryptocurrencies entered the globe, a lot of communities have been developing around them. Some are specific for each currency while others are general. One such cryptocurrency group is the LocalBitcoins.com. Once you join the club, you will meet those who are willing to sell some Lumens. The price and methods of payment are all based on the agreement between seller and buyer.

Stellar Wallet

Cryptocurrency wallets are software and storage locations for native assets such as Lumens. The wallets are crafted to securely hold the crypto coins whether for trading or making payments. In some cases, the wallets also serve as the main clients in crypto networks.

If you take a closer look at the term Stellar wallet, the accepted definition is a location for holding the native coins. However, you need to appreciate that all native assets such as Lumens and Bitcoins NEVER leave their networks. Even when one makes a payment, it is only the ownership that changes.

In reality, what the Stellar wallets store are the public and private keys. These are special identifier codes that link to your tokens in the Stellar platform. The public key is what you share with those who want to send cash to you. However, the private keys are personal and should never be shared. You only use the private keys to bring your Stellar account to live when making payments, following the history or reviewing the balance.

Here are the top five Stellar wallets you should consider.

This is one of the leading cryptocurrency hardware wallets out there today. It is a finger-sized hardware that resembles the standard flash drive. The wallet has earned the reputation for its security robustness. The Lumens are stored in a special chip fixed at the heart of the hardware. Your Lumens are always stored offline so that you will never have to worry about the risk of getting hacked. So good is the Ledger Nano S security that owners can even use them on a compromised computer without worrying of getting attacked.

  • Stellar Desktop Client (desktop wallet)
The Stellar Desktop Client is used by Stellar as the main client for its users. It not only helps users to store their Lumens, but also ensures they have access to the network and all its features. The wallet is designed to work with both Linux and Windows platforms. It is also available in multiple languages. As a full node, it means that users have to download the entire blockchain.
The wallet uses multi-signature and 2-factor authentication security methods to protect stored Lumens. It also employs a hierarchical deterministic model that gives users absolute control over their private keys.
  • Stellar portal (web-based wallet)
This wallet is run as a decentralized web app to help users access the Stellar network. It is aimed at making it easy for clients to receive, send, and trade Lumens. To make it even more convenient for users, the mobile version of the Stellar portal has also been unveiled. The good thing about the Stellar portal is that you can sync the mobile and desktop version for optimal productivity.
  • Centaurus (mobile wallet)
This is an open source cryptocurrency wallet that boasts of being the first Stellar wallet to feature on Google Pay. When you get the Centaurus wallet, it will generate your private address and a recovery seed phrase to use in the case of a loss. One unique advantage that comes with using Centaurus is that the wallet accepts cross-currency payments. As a mobile wallet, you are sure of always having your Lumens and trading them on the go.
  • Lobstr (web-based wallet)
This wallet is considered one of the most secure options. It is created with a very clean and appealing UI (user interface) that makes even new users learn fast and start trading like pros within a very short time. Besides, Stellar traders also find the wallet easier to use because of the inbuilt price converter, email notifications and anti-fraud measures. Though this wallet is designed as a web application, it also has mobile versions for iOS and Android devices.

Where to Buy Stellar with Credit Card?

The moment the term cashless society is mentioned, what comes to the mind of most people is plastic money. These are cards such as credit cards that are accepted in both conventional and online marketplaces. The cryptocurrency world has been developing rapidly, and some platforms are now accepting credit cards for payments. Note that some credit card companies restrict the use of their cards for any transaction related to cryptocurrencies. Therefore, ensure to check the policy carefully to avoid getting penalized. Note! Some exchanges might require a screenshot of the credit card. Here are some platforms that accept credit cards for payments.

Where to Buy Stellar with PayPal?

Though Stellar has worked very hard to forge partnerships with a lot of payment networks, PayPal remains on the periphery. Indeed, PayPal discourages its users from making direct payments into cryptocurrency networks. Therefore, there is no way to buy Stellar directly with PayPal.

To buy stellar with PayPal requires users to follow a very lengthy route. You have to utilize platforms that accept PayPal for their services and convert to fiat or Bitcoins. Then, use the Bitcoins or fiat currencies to buy Stellar.

How to Buy Stellar with Wire Transfer?

Even though many people are very excited about the cashless society notion, few are willing to dissociate with their bank accounts completely. Their salaries and loans are still processed through bank accounts. Stellar cryptocurrency network has made it easier for its clients to buy the native XLM through its direct partnerships with banks. Here is the procedure for buying Stellar with a wire transfer.

  • Start by opening a bank account and depositing ample cash for buying the preferred quantities of stellar.
  • Look for an appropriate exchange that allows traders to use wire transfers. These are markets such as Coinbase, Bittrex, Kraken, and Poloniex.
  • The selected exchange will set up two small and temporary transactions to facilitate communication with the account for verification and payment. The process often takes longer compared to using credit cards depending on the bank of preference and its location. However, most of them take a maximum of four days.
  • The cryptocurrency exchange will credit your Stellar wallet with the XLM you bought after the cash hits its account. Remember that the cost of wire transfer is relatively higher compared to using credit cards or altcoins.

Where to Sell and Trade Stellar?

After taking some time in the Stellar network and getting enough Lumens in the digital wallet, there are three things you can do with them. One, you can use Lumens to make direct purchases. Two, you can hold the lumens and wait for the price to improve. Three, you can trade Lumens for other cryptos or fiat currencies. If you opt for the third option of trading Lumens, you need to understand where to trade them.

When cryptocurrencies emerged as important and popular assets, trading platforms also started sprouting. Indeed, the exchanges have been emerging almost at the same pace as cryptocurrencies themselves. One thing you need to appreciate when selecting these platforms for trading Stellar is that they are an easy target for hackers. Every other month, reports of successful or attempted hacking of cryptocurrency exchanges always hit the news. To be sure of trading Stellar securely, you need to be extra careful about the cryptocurrency trading platform of choice. Here are some useful tips to consider.

  • Look for a platform with a good reputation and no hacking history. The last thing any Stellar Lumens owner wants to hear is that the native coins in the network have been stolen. To reduce this risk, you should only pick the trading platform that has a great reputation.
  • Pick the cryptocurrency exchange with affordable charges. The main reason for trading XLM on different platforms is to make a profit. Therefore, you should only select the platform that has subtle trading fee to avoid getting the entire profits consumed as trading fees. This calls for a closer review of the top trading platforms’ charges.
  • Only go for the exchange that provides cold storage facilities for its users. One of the best measures of keeping clients trading in platform safe from intruders is moving their native assets to cold storage. Some exchanges even insure the crypto assets trading in their platforms.
  • A great cryptocurrency should provide users with advanced metrics for faster market analysis. Like forex trading advanced analytics, crypto traders also need to have advanced reviews that demonstrate the performance of various assets. If you pick an exchange with such metrics, it will be easier to check the right pairs and make decisions that will bring highest ROI (return on investment).

Top five Stellar trading platforms

1) Poloniex

Poloniex is one of the most active cryptocurrency trading platforms that come with advanced security and trading features. The exchange is based in California and has cut a name for offering margin trading for its crypto users. Users can trade in hundreds of cryptocurrency pairs including Stellar Lumens, Bitcoins, Monero, Ripples, Litecoin, and Ethereum.
Since the successful hacking that took place in 2014, Poloniex redefined its operations and emerged one of the best platforms with 24/7 surveillance, advanced trading metrics, and 2-factor authentication. They also have a very lovely user interface that makes trading easy and fun for both pro and newbies.
The main challenges of using Poloniex include withdrawals and limited payment methods. After joining the exchange, you are only allowed to make daily withdrawals of $2000 worth of Lumens. However, this will grow to hit $25,000 with additional verification. Besides, Poloniex only allows crypto-to-crypto trading. If you have cash in the bank, credit card, or cash in PayPal, you need to start with converting them to Lumens in another digital asset.

2) Kraken

Like Poloniex, Kraken is another US-based cryptocurrency exchange. It was started in 2011 by Payward, Inc. and has since grown to become one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the globe. It is considered outstanding for accepting payments in cash through bank transfers. This is one of the main reasons why more people with cash in their banks prefer to use Kraken to other crypto-crypto only platforms.
Kraken also provides advanced metrics for traders to follow the performance of various coins before picking the best trading pairs. The good thing about the metrics is that they pop up as a small window for users to check real-time trends of Stellar Lumens and other assets of interest.
For advanced traders, Kraken is a great attraction because of its low fee and admirable leverage trading. The maker is charged 0.16% while the taker pays 0.26% (for the lowest volumes). To enjoy even lower rates at Kraken, you only need to raise the trading volume. For traders who want some leverage, Kraken provides 1:2 to 1:5 margin on the lower and upper side respectively. While this margin might be considered low comparing it to standard forex markets, it is among the highest in the crypto markets. For example, HYCM offers only 1:10 margin trading for the top coins.

3) Bittrex

Bittrex was started in 2014 and continued to grow to become one of the most preferred crypto trading platforms. The steady growth is mainly credited to the founders who designed the market with the target of becoming the most secure trading platform. The company is based in the US and strictly follows the established money laws to guide its operations. This is evident in its setup and strict requirement for verification.
To start trading Stellar Lumens, you are required to register for an account with the exchange. The verification requires users to include their names, address, date of birth, and telephone number. But this verification still comes with some limitations on the features that traders can access and use when trading Lumens. If you want to access more trading features, additional verification will be required.
Bittrex is preferred by traders because it is always fast to select emerging coins that help users pick new opportunities with their Lumens. The Bittrex trading fee is also very low compared to others in the industry. You only pay a flat commission of 0.25% for every transaction.
The biggest challenge of using Bittrex is that it does not allow margin trading. Therefore, you must fund the entire trading from a personal account. Besides, it only has very few methods of payment. You can only make payments with bank transfer or use crypto-to-crypto trading on the platform.

4) Binance

Binance is one of the recent, yet fast-growing crypto markets around the globe. It is based in China and traders love it because of the minimal verification procedure. At the first level of verification, users only need to use their email addresses. However, you can only trade Lumens equivalent of maximum two Bitcoins. However, advanced levels such as Level two allow traders to make withdrawals of Lumens equivalent to 100 Bitcoins but require additional verification with a photo ID.
If you opt for advanced trading in level two and above, Binance provides advanced market analytics. This, together with progressive reviews helps even new traders to understand the market well and make the best moves. Besides, they have a very small fee of 0.1% for every transaction.
The biggest challenge of Binance is its poor customer support. Many traders who use the platform indicate that inquiries and concerns are rarely replied to or take very long. For those people who are new to the cryptocurrency market, these challenges can make it very hard to trade profitably.

How Much Are the Transaction Fees of Stellar?

The main promise that cryptocurrencies give to people who want to join their networks is the low transaction fee. Though most of the cryptocurrencies have managed to pull down the fee, the cost is still higher than anticipated. However, the Stellar network has helped to lower the transaction cost by a huge margin to $0.01. This is lower than most of the networks including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The low cost of transactions has been cited as the core reason for the current preference of Stellar as a payment network by many companies including Stripe that has recently dropped Bitcoin. As far as Stellar maintains the transaction cost and guarantees users of high-quality services, it is expected to continue growing rapidly.

Stellar Markets

The cryptocurrency industry is adrift. This is exemplified by the growing market diversity across the globe. Just like the cryptocurrencies have increased to reach more than 1200 between 2009 and 2018, the markets have also followed the same trend. The Stellar markets are platforms that allow users to trade Stellar Lumens for other cryptos or fiat currencies. Here are the top markets to consider for trading Stellar.

Coinbase is an American based cryptocurrency exchange that operates in more than 32 countries globally. By 2014, it was the largest cryptocurrency market in the globe. It provides users with a lot of flexibility in setting the price of their stellar lumens and using multiple payment methods. You can opt to use payments such as cryptocurrencies, credit cards, and wire transfers.
Though Coinbase has had to deal with bad publicity relating to Mt. Gox scandal that saw a lot of people lose money in the scheme, it appears that the platform developers have learnt their lessons. They have installed very advanced fraud detection system that follows trading on a 24/7 basis. This means that malicious transactions are easily identified at the earliest possible instance.
For those who want to trade very large volumes of Stellar or other cryptocurrencies, Coinbase has a special feature called GDAX. This provides special support and advanced features for the user to check real-time analytics.
  • Qryptos
Qryptos is one of the new cryptocurrency platforms in the market. It stands out because of its unique operational mode of providing liquidity. The focus of the platform is listing new coins especially those that have negative trading fees to help them generate liquidity.
Though it took time for many investors to notice this platform, it is now gaining a lot of momentum and attracting even high-value cryptocurrencies. As a Singapore based market, the exchange implements the strict know-your-customer policies and anti-money laundering requirements.
The market provides leverage of 1:25 ratio though its products are fewer compared to the standard forex trading markets. Many forex markets provide high leverage of up to 1:500. Qryptos also provides a rebate of 0.075% for its users who offer liquidity in the platform. The Taker fee is also small at 0.15%. This means that the market is providing 50% of its entire profit to passive traders.
  • Bitfinex
This is a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange that has a special focus on operating under the set administrative rules. Its operations in the US are particularly guided by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) even though the regulations in the cryptocurrencies remain unclear.
Bitfinex allows its users to trade in multiple cryptocurrencies using various types of payment methods. Whether you prefer crypto to crypto trading, crypto to fiat trading or want to use others payment methods such as credit cards and wire transfers, Bitfinex is a great option. They also have a great UI (user interface) that is easy to follow even for new traders.
The trading platform charges are 0.20% and 0.10% for the takers and makers respectively. Though the cost is average, users argue that the trading platform should consider lowering the charges because of its size compared to emerging platforms.
In August of 2016, the cryptocurrency was hacked and about $72 million worth altcoins stolen. The exchange paid the victims to salvage its face and continue operating in the lucrative market.
  • Bitcoin Indonesia
Bitcoin Indonesia is one of the fastest upcoming cryptocurrency exchanges in the market today. It is preferred by Stellar traders because of low transaction fees. The cost of using the platform is between 0.000% and 0.30%. This implies that you can use the market without worrying that all the profit will be taken as fees.
The market has minimal verification requirement. You only need to provide the name and email address to start trading. When this is coupled with the ability to trade Stellar for both fiat and cryptocurrencies, users are sure of enjoying greater flexibility.
The main challenges of using Bitcoin Indonesia are lack of leverage and limited payment methods. You can only make deposits with fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies. If you have cash in credit cards or PayPal, you might need to start by purchasing Stellar from a different exchange and then move them to Bitcoin Indonesia.

Value of Stellar

The main attraction to the Stellar cryptocurrency is its fast-growing value. For many investors, the main objectives of joining crypto networks are to become part of them and see their investments grow with time. This is what early investors in the Stellar cryptocurrency are now enjoying. Early in 2017, the value of Stellar was only $0.002. This value has grown with close to 20,000% by early 2018 to reach about $0.4 per Stellar Lumens. The market capitalization has also grown rapidly between launching and early 2018 to hit close to $10 billion.

Is It Profitable to Invest in Stellar?

Cryptocurrencies are considered among the fastest rising investment opportunities in the globe. They provide huge returns on investments and promise to rapidly grow wealth over time. Though the most notable investment opportunity is Bitcoin after its price rose to more than $11,000 by early 2018, there are other equally profitable options. One of these options is Stellar. Within a very short time, Stellar value has shot up with a huge margin. If you invested $1000 in early 2017, the investment would have grown by more than 20,000% by early 2018. This means the returns would be even more than most cryptocurrencies in the same timeframe. Here are additional pointers on why Stellar is a profitable investment.

  • The demand for Stellar is growing. This means that the value is expected to continue with the upward trend in the coming years.
  • The adoption by major payment networks means that its use as a payment network will become more significant.
  • Endorsement and use by top brands such as IBM have given it a better launching pad and appealed to more clients. These factors are driving the demand and value to even higher levels.

Experts are likening Stellar to Bitcoin in its early years. Stellar is fast, caters for inflation, and its distribution method is more vibrant compared to most cryptocurrencies. Every year, the Stellar Development Foundation releases 1% of the Stellar Lumens to cater for inflation.

Where to Spend or Use Stellar?

One notable characteristic with most cryptocurrencies is the target to offer a parallel platform for sending money. This model puts them into the conflict zone with other top financial services providers such as banks. However, Jed McCaleb saw this problem from a far and came up with a different system. Instead of competing with banks, Stellar presents itself as a partner. This means that payment organizations and even banks are opting to use Stellar to become more efficient. This has accelerated the acceptance of Stellar Lumens in most companies, stores, and marketplaces. Here are some of the places where you can use Stellar.

  • Stripe.
  • Buying IBM products.
  • Telindus.
  • Factury.
  • Wipro.
  • Rehive.
  • HashCash consultant.

Can Stellar Grow to Become a Major Payment Network?

The ability of a cryptocurrency to become a major payment network is dependent on its effectiveness in drawing more users and crafting partnerships. This has been a tall order for most cryptocurrencies because their core focus has been enhancing anonymity and rushing to win the first position. A good example is Bitcoin. Since Bitcoin hit the market, its growth has been riding on the ever growing demand for its native coins. But a closer look at its operations reveals it has so many shortcomings. The numbers of transactions it can support is very small while fungibility is a serious bottle-neck. This is where Stellar has proved that it could beat many cryptocurrencies out there to become a major payment network. Here are the main reasons why Stellar could easily grow to become a major payment network.

  • The cryptocurrency is architectured with the focus of enhancing payments. This means guaranteeing users of seamless transactions at faster rates. This focus has started making important partners opt for Stellar compared to other cryptos. For example, Stripe, an online payment company, has dumped Bitcoins because of low transaction speed and opted for Stellar.
  • Many companies are finding Stellar a great option for issuing and running their ICOs. For example, David Gobaud (CEO of Mobius) indicated that they preferred Stellar to run their ICO because it is cheaper and has a very enthusiastic community. With more ICOs lining up to use the Stellar platform, its popularity and ability to become a major payment network are increasing.
  • Stellar uses the banking model through partnerships with financial institutions and major players. Since 2016, Stellar has partnered with very many banks in Europe, Asia and Africa. One such organization is the Coins.ph that provides financial services to the underbanked population in South East Asia.
  • The model adopted by Stellar presents a three-pronged outlook that combines forces to catapult it to a great network for making payments. One, it is a cryptocurrency that everyone can use to send cash instantly. Two, it presents itself as an organization that targets to provide better reach to the underbanked in South America, Africa, and Asia. With partnership to highly successful ventures such as Mpesa in Kenya, Stellar is a force that will surprise the current giants in the market. Three, Stellar works with banks to enhance its acceptability. It is, therefore, a matter of time before Stellar becomes a threat to other bigger cryptos.
  • The ability of the cryptocurrency to handle transactions both in cryptos and fiat catapults it far ahead of others. This implies that whether you are in cryptos or not yet decided, Stellar has something for you.
  • The transaction fee at the stellar network is very small. Many people have expressed concerns about the high charges associated with making transactions, especially in the top platforms. If you are making a transaction on the Bitcoin network, the charges are about $10. If you opt to make a transaction in a different network such as Ethereum, the process will cost about $4. The low cost exhibited by Stellar is expected to continue drawing more people to the network and make it a great payment network.

How Does Stellar Work?

Stellar employs the Stellar Consensus Protocol that utilize the Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) algorithm. The FBA operates by creating a consensus between a set of pre-selected nodes in the network. Ripple, another blockchain network which Stellar broke away from, employed this model but added a slight adjustment. Ripple allows any member in the delegated group to be edited by nodes spread in the network. However, the added member is required to be trusted by all participants. This raises the barrier to participation as well as maintenance of the original members. In Stellar, unlike Ripple, there is no list of preferred centralized members list. Instead, Stellar allows all participants to work in absolute freedom to select the participants to act as delegates. This means that the network uses two levels of consensus; the participants and delegates.

Achieving consensus in the Stellar protocol

When a transaction is initiated, it is passed through two rounds of consensus building. First, the transactions are voted for by the nodes/participants before progressing to the delegates who also vote on it. Note that the consensus can only progress to the second level if the first one is successful. Though the double consensus building might look lengthy in the paper, it is very fast. It takes between 2-5 seconds to hit a consensus. Here are more advantages of using the Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) algorithm.

  • The system employs a decentralized model that allows anyone to participate in building consensus.
  • The users in the network can trust any combination of delegates which enhances trust between nodes and delegates while reducing the risk of large companies controlling the consensus process.
  • Very high security via hash families and digital signatures.
  • The nodes can reach a consensus faster. It takes between 2-5 seconds for consensus to be reached.

Does Stellar Use Blockchain Technology?

The architecture of Stellar relies on blockchain technology to deliver convenience and speed. The Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) algorithm bridges the Stellar distributed servers and nodes spread across the globe. The stellar network consists of a long chain of rapidly growing public ledger updated with the latest blocks.

Once a client initiates a transaction, and it is confirmed at both levels, the delegates and participants stages, the details are added to the next block and permanently embedded into the Stellar public ledger. But you might be asking how this is achieved in the double-structured Stellar network?

Take an example, of John who is in Chicago and wants to send cash in US Dollars to Rose in Britain. But Rose wants the cash in euros. The moment the transaction is initiated, Stellar network operators pick and subjects it to the two levels of consensus before selecting the best exchange rate with Lumens as an intermediary currency. The system will look for an exchange with the lowest fee and the preferred currency output.

The reason for Stellar’s preference of Lumens is its capability to facilitate transactions in multiple currencies. Once the exchange is found, Rose receives the equivalent of the cash in the preferred currency. After the transactions are confirmed, they are immediately added to the public ledger. This means that you cannot reverse the details.

Mining Stellar

Mining in cryptocurrencies is used for creating new currencies, distributing the currency and verifying transactions in a decentralized way. This is the typical model of a mining process on top platforms such as Bitcoin. Note that the mining process in most cryptos is done by nodes spread across the network for a fee. However, the process is completely different from Stellar.

There is no mining in the Stellar network. When Stellar was created, a total of 100 billion Stellar Lumens were created. Then, the Stellar Development Foundation took the responsibility of distributing the coins across the globe with a target of reaching as many people as possible. This is achieved through giveaways and consensus in line with the Stellar Development Foundation mandate of taking financial services even to the underbanked.

The only other method of generating and releasing Stellar is through inflation. Inflation is the process of helping Stellar to cope with new demands arising from loss of tokens and economic growth. Stellar Development Foundation will use a fixed rate of 1% of new stellar generation.

The only way to earn from participating in the Stellar is joining the network and acting as a node. When nodes and delegates help to confirm transactions through the consensus process, a fee of 0.00001 XLM is charged for every transaction. At the end of every year, the stellar network requires nodes to vote on those to receive the fee. All the nodes that receive over 0.5% of votes are entitled to a reward. Note that the reward goes hand in hand with the annual inflation control system at the network.

What Are the Advantages of Stellar?

Since Stellar entered the cryptocurrency world, it has grown from strength to strength. Its unique model has endeared it to a large community while the new partnerships are promising to catapult it to a major payment network. The sudden explosion of its value has left more people searching and wondering whether to join the network right away. Here are the main advantages to anticipate of you join the Stellar network.

  • Stellar guarantees its users of rapid growth of its token value. Because of its unique structures and focus on security, the increasing demand promises investors of progressive value growth.
  • The Stellar architecture guarantees users of speed and scalability that other cryptocurrencies can only envy. This provides you the assurance that you are working with the best network for better services and growth over time.
  • Stellar has a very vibrant lead team comprising of tech experts and financial advisers. This means that users in the network can expect to get better support, faster response to issues and optimal security.
  • The stellar network is not just a local product, but a willing option that is appealing to global multinationals. Therefore, users anticipating to join Stellar have the confidence that they are doing the right thing. With time, your investment can only grow because of the huge trust and authority that organizations such as IBM carry.
  • The network is fitted by an automatic cryptocurrency exchange to facilitate cross-border transactions. This implies that Stellar can handle both cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies simultaneously. You only need to define the expected output.
  • The Stellar network does not rely on mining. This means that the system is not likely to suffer aftershocks that other networks such as Bitcoin anticipate when their minable tokens finally run out.

What Are the Risks of Stellar?

While the application of cryptocurrencies has brought numerous benefits such as reduced cost of transactions and extra convenience, the risks attached to them are equally many. For about ten years, the rising popularity has made more people to jump ship and join the cryptocurrencies without appreciating all the inherent risks. Here are the main risks associated with the Stellar network.

  • The risk of losing Stellar. One danger that always looms when you join the cryptocurrency world is losing the native assets. Just like other cryptos, your Stellar can be lost through forgetting the private keys, losing the phone with the Stellar wallet, or even formatting the main drive with the crypto wallet.
  • The danger of the looming regulations. As cryptocurrencies' popularity continues to grow over time, many administrations are feeling threatened and getting the urge to act urgently. From China to Argentina and other countries, the focus is drawing regulations that can halt the current growth. Once these regulations are installed, there is a great risk that Stellar could lose value and cause huge losses.
  • The danger of getting involved with crime. Like other anonymous networks, Stellar allows traders to send their money anonymously. Because you are dealing with other users who have also masked their identities, the risk of getting involved with criminals is very high. For example, a trader who sells stolen products could insist on getting paid in Stellar. However, since you cannot unmask the seller and there are no chargebacks, you are likely to get directly involved.
  • The danger of getting hacked. It is not uncommon to get regular reports of cryptocurrency exchanges and individual crypto networks getting hacked. This means that most people with Stellar are at risk of getting hacked at the user client, wallet, or even exchange levels.
  • The risk of more advanced cryptocurrencies. Just like Stellar came with new technology to remedy issues such as scalability and cost of transactions, the chances are that newer cryptocurrencies will also emerge in the future. In such a situation, more people will rush to the new and more appealing cryptos and leave Stellar. This could affect its application, appeal, and success.

What Happens if Stellar Gets Lost?

The main method of getting Stellar is buying from the markets. For many people, getting several thousand Lumens under their wallets is a great achievement. However, it is important to appreciate the danger of losing them. A direct check into the network reveals a lot of people in agony after losing their native coins. Stellar can get lost through hacking, sending to the wrong address, of forgetting the private keys. You could also lose the wallet holding the coins.

What happens to the Stellar after loss depends on the nature of the loss? Here are several scenarios that define what happens when one loses Stellar.

  • If Stellar was lost through hacking or sending to the wrong address, it means the Lumens have changed ownership. They are still in the network but under a new identity. The problem is that you cannot tell who have the coins and the transactions are irreversible. Therefore, they are lost forever.
  • If the Stellar lumens are lost because you forgot the private keys or lost the wallet holding them, it means that they are still in the network under your signature. However, they will be dormant until you find the private keys or recover the wallet. If you fail to recover them, they will forever remain dormant. However, this fall off will not affect the entire Stellar network for long because new Lumens are progressively added to cater for inflation.

Stellar Regulation

When cryptocurrencies joined the financial sector, most people were up in celebrations that the era to a cashless society had finally arrived. This is true, but the benefits might only last for a short period because of the looming regulations. The moment cryptocurrencies such as Stellar and Bitcoin got ingrained into the community, most administrations felt threatened. There was a feeling that cryptocurrencies were out to take away their power and create a new world order.

From institutional collapse to inability to control inflation, no government wants to see its authority eroded by cryptocurrencies. The issue of Stellar and other cryptocurrencies’ regulations is so serious that some administrations are contemplating blocking every crypto related activity. In Russia, the government has warned traders that using cryptocurrency might be considered illegal. In China, the Chinese administration has closed dozens of ICOs (Initial Coin Offering) and other cryptocurrency related activities.

Because Stellar operates on a peer-to-peer basis and charges a very small fee, it means that governments do not get anything in terms of taxes. With time, it implies that the governments' capability to raise revenue could get compromised. Notably, even with these issues that are threatening to tear government's apart, none of them has established legislation to regulate Stellar and other cryptocurrencies. Here are some major challenges that might be standing in the way of establishing new legislation.

  • Most governments are playing catch-up when it comes to blockchain technologies.
  • The Stellar and other cryptocurrencies are very progressive such that no administration wants to appear to block such progress.
  • Many administrations have been suffering from the problem of Big Data, and the blockchain technology has finally brought the solution. Therefore, they cannot limit the technologies that are pointing to the solutions for their issues.
  • Unlike standard financial institutions that are owned by individual entities or persons, the Stellar and other cryptocurrencies are not owned by specific individuals. This notion is made worse by the fact that the nodes that own the network are spread across the globe.
  • The blockchain technology is advancing rapidly. Even if the administrations contemplate legalizing Stellar, the chances are that new types of public ledgers will emerge. Even Stellar could molt into a different type of network the way AntShares molted to NEO.

Even as the issue of Stellar and regulations continue being a mammoth challenge, one thing that users in its network should be clear about is that laws will finally be installed. Some jurisdictions such as the US and European Union are already at advanced stages of crafting laws to guide cryptocurrency operations.

Is Stellar Legal?

Stellar is legal in most countries globally. While many nations only give directions on how to treat Stellar and other cryptos, there is nothing inscribed in law. This has left many people wondering whether to join the cryptocurrency train or wait for the regulations to come into place. Here is a closer look at Stellar's legal status in various countries.

The United States

Like many countries, the US has a lot to gain from the proliferation of cryptocurrencies. As a major generator of Big Data, the US wants to remain ahead of others when it comes to latest technologies including the Stellar’s blockchain technology model. By remaining quiet about cryptocurrencies and their use, the Federal Administration has left Vermont, Maine, Arizona, and New York among others to own craft bills for regulating cryptocurrencies. Notably, most of these states are working on draft laws to facilitate application of smart contracts and blockchain ledgers.
The only federal statement that the US administration has given about Stellar and other cryptocurrencies is that they are properties. This means that when you make any gains, they are taxable just like shares and other assets.

The European Union

When the 2008-2009 financial crisis hit the globe, Europe and the US were fast to craft laws to cushion their economies. However, it has become very difficult for EU to craft laws that can comprehensively guide the application of the elusive Stellar and other cryptocurrencies. Unlike other nations that are seeing Stellar and other cryptocurrencies as disruptive, there is a general sense of acceptance among the 19 members of the EU Monetary Union. They feel that they have a lot to gain from the technologies.
The European Parliament is crafting a decentralized ledger for its own operations. This decentralized platform is believed to be the main learning platform that will inform the crafting of specific cryptocurrency laws. However, some countries in Europe are already ahead of others in supporting cryptocurrencies.
Switzerland has already decided to adopt cryptocurrencies though in an unregulated manner. The Swiss Federal Council has indicated that it does not see any reason for regulating cryptocurrencies. In addition, the council has indicated that it supports the new blockchain technologies and that laws on their applications will be crafted in due time. The booming blockchain startup scene has attracted many communities such as the Crypto Valley Association that have demonstrated the capacity to team with local enterprises to foster growth.

Stellar legal status in Australia

Stellar is legal in Australia. While other countries such as China and Russia are very negative about Stellar growth, Australia is very receptive. The country has managed to strike a balance between handling the emerging technologies and speculation in the crypto industry. Instead of drawing new legislation, Australia has indicated that cryptocurrencies such as Stellar be classified as money. By accepting them as a currency, it means that people trading them are required to meet all tax obligations the same way forex traders operate.
The Australian administration came out to support ICOs as important funding activities for startups that target to start running in Australia. While there are very many issues that need to be factored before full recognition of ICOs and other crypto activities, investors in networks such as Stellar are optimistic that the Australia laws will anchor growth of cryptocurrencies.

Asia

Stellar is legal in most Asian countries. However, the countries appear skeptical and extremely cautious about the possible negative impacts of Stellar. In China, the government has indicated it will not allow ICOs to be run within its jurisdictions.
However, it is interesting to note that China has some of the biggest cryptocurrency platforms. Stellar and crypto related platforms such as OkCoin, Huobi, BTCC pool for miners, and Binance are located in China or its Special Administrative regions such as Hong Kong.
Other countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, and Kyrgyzstan have expressed their fear that Stellar and other cryptocurrencies will channel lots of funds in taxes away. They have either banned activities such as ICOs, crypto ATMs and cushioned traders that they are joining the networks at their own risks. However, the emergence of reports that blockchain technologies can be used to address some of the challenges that these governments face has seen most of them coil back and only give guidelines on how to treat cryptocurrencies for tax purposes.
Even as the issue of Stellar legality continues becoming hotter, what is clear is that every administration is working towards bringing legislation that will help to guide the application of blockchain technologies. The best thing for Stellar investors and users is to invest with extra caution and remain vigilant to avoid aftershocks from laws that can cause hefty losses.

Stellar and Taxes

Just like the subject of Stellar and regulation has become hot, the notion of crypto taxes is even hotter. For many people trooping to cryptocurrencies, the main focus is getting a haven with no tax responsibilities. In most of the cases, Stellar network users and traders feel that the anonymous nature of their operations can help to cover them from tax authorities. Well, this is possible but might not last for long.

Many countries have directed that every Stellar user should meet all tax obligations. In Israel, the government has indicated that revenue arising from trading all cryptocurrencies including Stellar and Bitcoin should be taxed. In the US, the Commodity Trading and Futures Commission (CTFC) advised that cryptocurrencies be treated as commodities.

From an expert's viewpoint, the best way to handle cryptocurrencies is looking at every associated income as taxable revenue. Experts indicate that the same way technologies are growing could haunt them several years down the line. This means that the technology used at Stellar to keep transactions anonymous could be outdone in future and all the data in the blockchain revealed. If you never paid taxes on associated revenue, the chances are that a chain of lawsuits will follow.

Expert suggestions on handling tax and Stellar

From the US to the entire OECD members, there is a special commitment to enhancing tax compliance. Some of the suggestions put forward for regulating cryptocurrencies in the US are recommending backdating tax compliance to 2009 when the crypto market entered the globe. Therefore, how do you enjoy the benefits of Stellar and stay on the positive side of the law?

  • Consider revenue generated from the stellar network as taxable income.
  • Traders accepting Stellar should ensure they make appropriate deductions to tax authorities just like standard transactions.
  • As a trader in the Stellar network, make sure to capture every detail of the transaction for the sake of verification. Though this might not be necessary now, it might help to prove personal compliance in future.
  • Ensure to capture the value of Stellar and corresponding value at the time of a transaction. This will help to avoid getting overcharged in future.
  • Do not hold back when need to seek expert advise on tax and cryptocurrencies arises.

Whether you prefer trading on the Stellar network or hold them waiting for the value to increase, it is recommended that you focus on being tax compliant. Remember that the looming regulations are mainly trained on enhancing tax compliance for Stellar and other crypto users. Therefore, being tax compliant will put you far ahead of others.

Does Stellar Have a Consumer Protection?

Stellar does not have consumer protection. The design of most cryptocurrencies, including Stellar, is to ensure that the systems drive themselves. This means that the users spread in the network are responsible for all the decisions made in the system. To put it differently, the Stellar network is owned by the users spread in its system.

The closest that Stellar comes to offering consumer protection is the formation of the Stellar Development Foundation. Even with the foundation, the operations are delinked from the main Stellar networks. They only support the development and smooth operations of the cryptocurrency network as opposed to handling consumer-related issues. If you send funds to the wrong address, they are gone forever because you can neither complain to Stellar nor the central administration. Because Stellar does not have a system for consumer protection, it means that you have to take the initiative of protecting your lumens personally. Here are some tips you can apply to raise your level of protection when operating in the network.

  • Never share your digital wallet’s private keys with anybody.
  • Always keep the computer with the Stellar wallet and Stellar client updated.
  • Ensure to protect your phone or the device with the Stellar client protected with an appropriate program.
  • Consider using only one computer when accessing the Stellar network as opposed to multiple logins.
  • Select the trading platforms with a lot of care.
  • Try to keep all the Lumens in cold storage when they are not being traded.

Illegal Activities with Stellar

The anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies such as Stellar has made them the most preferred option for criminals. From drug dealers to cybercriminals, the privacy provided by cryptocurrencies helps to protect them and ensure that their funds cannot be easily discovered. Besides, they also use the networks to hide from authorities. Despite this suitable environment, Stellar’s extensive scrutiny of transactions through its advanced Federated Byzantine Agreement algorithm helps to filter them off. Since its launch, no illegal activities have been reported in its network.

Is Stellar Secure?

The success of any cryptocurrency is as a good as its security. Jed McCaleb understood this concept very well when creating the Ripple fork because he had seen the dangers of a flawed network. The Stellar Development Foundation had to work tirelessly to create a system that would guarantee users of utmost security whether sending cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies. Here are the main things that make Stellar one of the most secure today.

  • Stellar employs the Federated Byzantine Agreement algorithm that takes every transaction through multiple levels of consensus before confirmation and adding to the public ledger.
  • The Stellar Development Foundation and the nodes are responsible for the distribution of the Lumens to the globe. This reduces the risk of having over 50% of the native Stellar coins falling in the same hands if the distribution was done through mining.
  • The Stellar development team works with tech giants such as IBM to craft newer and more reliable security solution for the network. This is the reason behind pro-active and progressive updates on the network.

Even with this enhanced focus on security by the stellar network, it is crucial for all the users spread in the network to focus on staying extra secure. Try always to keep your Stellar Lumens in cold storage and avoid cryptos exchanges with hacking history.

Is Stellar Anonymous?

When transactions are initiated at the Stellar network, the first thing step is encrypting their details. This allows the user to cover his privacy completely from both the delegates and other nodes spread in the Stellar network. However, the link between conventional banks and Stellar networks has made some people start questioning the level of anonymity. It is still possible to follow back on transactions especially when they are moved through the Stellar servers.

Banks operate under strict local laws that require them to carefully vet all clients. When Stellar links with these institutions, the same scrutiny has to be implemented. Users might be getting unmasked without knowing. However, most of them do not appear to worry about anonymity as far as the cost of transactions is kept low and security assured.

Has Stellar Ever Been Hacked?

On 15th of January 2018, the report that hit the news was that of a successful Blackwallet hacking that siphoned about $400,000 worth of Stellar Lumens. This has led some people to start asking whether their Lumens are secure. However, it is important to appreciate the different stakeholders involved in every cryptocurrency operation. For example, the Blackwallet is a digital wallet that operates independently from the Stellar system. Though the hacking was successful, it was not within the realms of Stellar. Blackwallet is a third party just like cryptocurrency exchanges that are prone to regular attacks. Since its formation, Stellar has never been hacked.

Remember that though Stellar has never been hacked does not mean that there are no hacking attempts made on the network. Hackers are always trying new technologies and following respective networks such as Stellar waiting to exploit every flaw and siphon the coins. It is, therefore, crucial to always store the Stellar lumens in cold storage, avoid sharing private keys, and only use the secure markets

How Can I Restore Stellar?

If your Stellar lumens get lost, the possibility of restoration depends on personal preparedness prior to the loss. This implies that you need to get it right on using Stellar right from the first day on the network. For example, you need to capture and store the private keys recovery seed that is used for recovering lost wallet. Here are the most important scenarios for restoring Stellar.

1) Restore Stellar using the private keys seed phrase.

This is the main method of restoring lost Stellar in your network. When you select the preferred Stellar wallet, the first thing you get is a private keys seed phrase. This is a unique code that helps to identify and recover lumens in case the private keys are lost. Just like your email address, the wallet will ask you to enter the private seed phrase and confirmation before regenerating the private keys. In some cases, users are required to continue holding the same seed phrased or get a new phrase for future recoveries.

2) Restore Stellar from your backup.

If your Stellar was lost through loss of the wallet installed on the desktop or phone, you could restore them with a backup. This means reinstalling the wallet, using the right private keys, and updating it to reconcile with the latest blockchain. For those who had kept a backup, the Stellar platform allows them to restore their lumens by downloading new clients and using the current private keys.
The secret to restoring Stellar after a loss depends on whether you had anticipated and kept a backup. More importantly, you need to ensure that the private keys seed phrase and the private keys are kept well all the time. Remember to also take every precaution to prevent loss of Lumens especially through methods that sink them completely such as sending to the wrong address.

Why Do People Trust Stellar?

  • Stellar is associated with some of the top brains in the cryptocurrency world. Jed McCaleb was the first to create a cryptocurrency exchange referred as Mt. Gox. McCaleb and his Stellar Development Foundation comprise of the best brains that are believed to steer the cryptocurrencies to the next level. This is what people are counting on to continue seeing their investments grow.
  • The application of Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) algorithm has given people a new way to look at cryptocurrencies. Unlike the proof-of-work algorithm such as the one used in the Bitcoin network that attracts people based on rewards, Stellar is different. The Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) algorithm means that people joining the network want to grow and enjoy associated benefits of latest technologies. Because users are focused on long-term benefits, Stellar is expected to continue growing at an even faster rate.
  • It is the only cryptocurrency that has catered for inflation. By adopting an adjustment of 1% for inflation, it means that the crypto can expect to flourish even in the coming years. It will easily beat Bitcoin that has only 21 million coins or EOS that has 100 million coins. The annual release guarantees users that the crypto is there to stay and reach more people.
  • The cryptocurrency’s operation is attached to a noble cause. Every time that people hear a noble cause to help the world become a better place, they develop a lot of trust with the involved parties. With the Stellar foundation focusing on taking financial services to the underbanked, it has won trust from a lot of people.
  • The value of the cryptocurrency has maintained a promising upward trend. Many people joining the cryptocurrency landscape are interested in getting the highest possible ROI. The capability of Stellar to deliver this growth has been demonstrated with the recent explosion of about 20,000% between January 2017 and January 2018. This is the growth the many traders are anticipating in the coming days.
  • A lot of big incorporations are identifying with Stellar. Even if you had some doubts about Stellar, the chances are that you will change mind after big giants start joining the network. For example, big organizations such as IBM, KlickEx, ICICI bank, and SatoshiPay are giving Stellar a lot of weight and portraying it as the cryptocurrency of the future.

History of Stellar

The history of Stellar can be traced back in 2014 when Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim launched it based on the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm. The shift from Ripple was as a result of disagreements between Jed and other founders in the Ripple protocol.

Jed and Joyce later forked the Ripple Protocol and created a new code which they launched in November 2015 as an improved protocol. To facilitate faster progress and ultimately compete with Ripple and other cryptos, Jed and Joyce established the Stellar Development Foundation as a non-profit organization responsible for developing the network. However, the main mission was to take Stellar to underbanked to help fight poverty.

In June 2017, the Stellar Development Foundation released 16 billion Stellar Lumens for distribution across the globe. Notably, Stellar indicated that it would use consensus to facilitate faster distribution and reach especially to the regions with poor support from other financial institutions.

In January, Stellar made a breaking record for selling $39 million Mobius ICO (initial coin offering) in only two hours. The publicity generated after this success has demonstrated that Stellar could be a better platform for ICOs than Ethereum.

Who Created Stellar?

The Stellar cryptocurrency was created by Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim. Jed has a long history in cryptocurrencies and is credited with crafting the first Bitcoin cryptocurrency exchange. However, the exchange later sold and recorded after the fallout between Ripple and Stellar. Jed is also known for creating eDonkey, a file sharing network.

Joyce Kim is an attorney. Unlike Jed who has a lot of focus on computing, Joyce was very instrumental in facilitating the focus of Stellar in target those who are underbanked. She served as a VC at Freestyle Capital and also worked as an attorney at Wilmer Hale and Sherman & Sterling and pro bono at Sanctuary for Families and the Innocence Project.

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