Earlier this year, when I made my very first cryptocurrency investment, it actually was not the colossal Bitcoin. While the first payments I received from a mobile app I was playing were in Bitcoin and Ether, the very first coin I actually purchased on my own was Stellar Lumens (XLM).
I did so for the following reasons:
At less than $1, it was affordable. The coin is currently trading for: $0.281
The transaction costs were low (0.00001 lumens per transaction).
I was drawn in by the fact that XLM had a high transaction speed of 3-5 seconds.
It was environmentally friendly.
It had an identifiable founder, former Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb
By initially targeting the unbanked and underbanked, it articulated a vision that was relatable to the common man.
And so, in a space that is notorious for its volatility, I was willing to take a risk with Stellar. And though I have since come across other equally sound projects (like Algorand) and have made other investments so that my Stellar holdings are no longer my largest, I continue to bet on XLM.
Might be that I'm swimming against the tide here, but I actually quite like XLM, though I'm not blind to its shortcomings.
Let's talk about it.
What is Stellar?
Stellar is an open source blockchain designed to connect people from all over the world by allowing for speedy and efficient cross-border payments.
The Lumen (XLM) is Stellar's native token. It is used for the payment of transaction fees and for creating digital assets within the Stellar network, making monetary transactions cheaper and faster than the existing banking system.
In this goal, coming up against the established banking system, Stellar is like a gusty David, knees braced, eyes squinted, slinging shot drawn as it aims to topple the status quo established by modern day financial giants.
But Stellar is not without controversy.
Not without Controversial Origins
Stellar was founded in 2014 by the brilliant American cryptographer and blockchain pioneer Jed McCaleb after he parted ways with Ripple Labs, an organization that he co-founded together with the XRP token three years earlier in 2011.
Unfortunately, McCaleb left the organization following differences with Ripple Executive Chairman Chris Larsen, and this story is so murky, I'll just leave a link for you detailing the breakdown here.
Ripple vs XRP
Today, Stellar and Ripple share many similarities. They are both affordable, though Ripple can trade for above US$1, peaking at $3.40 in January 2018. They both have similar coding. They also both have low transaction costs and high transaction speeds.
There are a number of critical differences as well.
While Ripple is centralized and targets the large banking industry, Stellar highlights the fact that it is an open network initially targeting the unbanked and underbanked in underdeveloped areas of the world, and promoting financial inclusion. In other words, it presents itself as a borderless, blockchain payment network.
A Stellar Future
Though the conflict between the founders of XLM and XRP has inevitably led to bad blood between the two projects, as an investor, I see the value of both.
Despite its origins, Stellar has been able to attract institutional interest, with Grayscale, the world's largest cryptocurrency asset management firm, among those investing in XLM.
Additionally, with Ukraine announcing its entry into the virtual currency space, the Ukrainian government has revealed that it has chosen Stellar's network as the platform to build its central bank digital currency.
These are just a couple of a number of strategic projects and partnerships in which the Stellar team is engaged. I expect there may be other key announcements in the future. Or, as an investor, it may just be wishful thinking.
Today, at number 24, XLM has fallen slightly from its lofty position among the top 20 cryptocurrencies by marketcap. But things change quickly in the crypto-verse, so, who knows?
But, guys, what are your thoughts on Stellar Lumen?
Do you think XLM is a good crypto investment? Or are some of the concerns raised about the project and its founder enough of a deterrent to steer you clear of this coin?
Find me on Read Cash
Oh, and guys, I've only just joined read.cash, so if you'd like, you can drop in and say hi. Also, this article is also posted there.
Until the next article, folks, arrivederci!