Interview with Stellar Network: let’s start with our universal payment network




Q: What can you tell us about your currency?

Lumens are the native asset of the Stellar network. Lumens are an essential part of the Stellar network in that they contribute to the ability to move money around the world and to conduct multi-currency transactions quickly and securely.

The Stellar network offers all of the innovative features of a shared public ledger on a distributed database—often referred to as blockchain technology. The Stellar network’s built-in currency, the lumen, serves two purposes:

First, lumens play a small anti-spam role.
Each transaction has a minor fee—0.00001 lumens—associated with it. This fee prevents users with malicious intentions from flooding the network (otherwise known as a DoS attack). Lumens work as a security token, mitigating DoS attacks that attempt to generate large numbers of transactions or consume large amounts of space in the ledger.

Second, lumens may facilitate multi-currency transactions.
Lumens sometimes facilitate trades between pairs of currencies between which there is not a large direct market, acting as a bridge. This function is possible when there is a liquid market between the lumen and each currency involved.

Q: What type of services exist or can we expect in the future?”

The Stellar network is an open financial protocol that enables seamless interoperability and exchange between diverse financial systems and currencies. We’ve built an internet level protocol to facilitate payments between the world’s financial institutions. Utilizing distributed ledger technology, we have designed a network that makes sending and receiving any type of currency (money) as easy as sending an email. Within the Stellar network transactions are settled in 3-5 seconds, for fractions of a cent in a safe and secure network environment. The Stellar network can be used by different financial institutions to build and support range of financial services including banking, micro payments, and remittances.

Q: Are you targeting the consumer or Business Market? If so, how does the business model work?”

Stellar is a non-profit open source network. This means anyone that wants to build on the Stellar platform is welcome to do so for free. Although Stellar can be used by individuals, the majority of activity will take place through financial institutions integrating to the network.  Stellar can be used by banks, microfinance institutions, governments at the state and federal level, startups, hospitals, and other corporate entities that require a convenient platform to connect and move money.

Q: What are the details around the most important project you’re working on currently?

Our mission is to expand financial access and that remains core to everything we are building here. Today, we are focused on helping our current and future global partners integrate on the network. Further, we continue to speak with financial leaders and institutions around the world about Stellar and the importance of financial inclusion. When we bring on new partners, these integrations have an ancillary effect, saving potentially billions in transaction costs to these financial institutions and provide underserved populations the opportunity to send money quickly and reliably across borders at the cost of a fraction of a penny.

In the short-term, our specific goals are to increase the remittance volume flowing into the Philippines via Stellar, and open up some markets in Africa, particularly Nigeria and Kenya, to low-cost cross-border payments flows via Stellar.

Q: How does the competition compare?

There are other competitors out there working in this space, but many of them have primary functions that differ from what we are doing at Stellar. At Stellar, our open protocol is focused on the development of an international open payments standard. Other competitors in the market focus on other applications such as inter-bank transfers, healthcare, manufacturing, post-trade settlement and many other use cases.

Q: The market has many players, what differentiates you?”

There are a few things that differentiate us but let’s start with our universal payment network. The Stellar ledger allows you to hold any type of asset or currency in the system, dollars, euros, bitcoin, or whatever people are wanting to use. Second, our compliance protocol allows financial institutions to exchange and verify information on both the sender and receiver, such as  Know Your Customer (KYC)/Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks, prior to processing the actual transaction. This is a big step up from slow and typically unidirectional exchange of sender information that is used today. With the Stellar network, this is a bi-directional exchange and happens in real-time.

All of this is great, but if it isn’t scalable, it’s not useful. We’ve solved this problem through the Stellar Consensus Protocol or SCP. Unlike other networks, Stellar doesn’t use proof of work or proof of stake to keep the network in synch, it uses SCP. The advantages of SCP are that it is fast, flexible, scalable, and it doesn’t require mining so resource requirements are low. We could get more granular of how it works, but it’s better to probably go to our site to learn more.

We have many other features that will further differentiate Stellar on the way so keep an eye open!

Q: could you tell us more about your achievements in this?”

To date we are working with everyone from startups to established companies to major banks in more than 35 countries and have 10 live integrations in place and more coming. Our developer community continues to grow with more than 2100+ developers participating in our Slack channels and we have over 80 “build” submissions  to-date as part of our quarterly Stellar Build Challenge we launched in the fall of 2016.

Q: could you tell us more about where you see Blockchain technology in the future?”

There seems to be a reoccurring theme the last several months among financial and tech publications that 2017 will be the “Year of Blockchain.” We see Blockchain not being a sudden adoption worldwide but rather becoming of growing importance moving forward across dozens of industries from finance, health, manufacturing, agriculture, etc. At Stellar, we have a heavy focus on universal payments as we believe this will be a fundamental and enabling element to greater blockchain applications in financial services. Ultimately, as major institutions start fully-integrating Blockchain technologies over the next few years, we’ll see a higher adoption curve start to take place until it becomes a standard part of industry.

Additionally, one of the most important applications that is generally highlighted about blockchain technology is its potential to bring financial services to the underbanked. However, up to this point, the benefits of blockchain have largely served technologists and the Bitcoin community. With Stellar, we’re using blockchain technology towards financial inclusion to bring services, such as banking, micro payments, and remittances to people who’ve never had access to them previously




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