This article briefly covers my experience with StellarPay, the Papaya anchor, and the Ternio BlockCard. There are quite a few articles about Stellar already, and this is just my take. But I think it might be useful for more people to express their personal experiences with a technology, so people can decide what to do themselves.
Stellar in many ways complements the existing financial system, but is in no way dependent on it. It is simply dependent on the existence of its nodes and anchors. If there are nodes and anchors, both of which can be created fairly easily, the network should thrive, if there are enough users of course. And that's a good thing, because I am quite worried about the traditional financial system right now, not to mention that it is incredibly archaic. ACH transfers, for instance, still take between 3 - 5 days to process. It can cost upwards of $10 to transfer money from one person to another, if they're using a different currency and/or in a different country. None of that is acceptable.
One might wonder why, if I think Stellar is so great, most of my projects are on Tron. World Builder's core token, WRLD, is a TRC-10 token. Its child projects will all be on Tron. Most of the smart contracts will be on Tron as well. The reason is that Stellar and XLM are not competitors to Tron and TRX. They are complementary technologies. I want to learn all I can about Stellar and anchors, because I want to create an anchor for my own tokens, and perhaps for TRX as well.
Anchors and Path Payments
In order to convert from either real world assets, or cryptoassets that aren't native to the Stellar network, you need to utilize an anchor. Stellar anchors are trusted services that hold an asset of a given kind, and issue stellar tokens that represent them. And when you're done using the token, you can return it to the anchor to reclaim the original asset.
There are a number of anchors. Some anchors, like mintx focus on physical assets such as gold and silver. Mintx in particular has tokens for silver, gold, and platinum. I haven't tried the anchor because it's not available in the US, and I'm not sure I trust them to hold my physical precious metals. But even with a relatively decentralized platform like Stellar, somewhere along the way, we need trst.
Other anchors, like Papaya, allow individuals to convert cryptoassets like ETH, BAT, BTC and others to stellar tokens for exchange and trading. I've used both Papaya and Interstellar.exchange's anchor system to convert ETH to tokens on the platform. It's important to note that the two tokens created are not equivalent, and they trade for slightly different prices. Aside from trust, another factor in deciding which anchor to use is the level of trading for the associated token. Papaya's ETH token is traded for more frequently than Interstellar's.
SDEX and StellarPay vs Interstellar.exchange
I live in New York. I have almost zero access to traditional cryptoasset exchanges. It's really frustrating. I've used really expensive services like CoinSwitch to convert between cryptoassets when I need to. While it's quick and easy, the price is painful. SDEX is essentially the only "exchange" that I have access to.
SDEX is Stellar's built in decentralized order book system. It allows the swapping of any two assets on the platform. Unfortunately, because there are few if any real market makers, liquidity is quite low for many tokens. Still, I've been able to swap things around for the most part. And I really needed to make a swap, I could.
StellarPay is an interface for SDEX, while Interstellar.exchange is an anchor and an interface for SDEX. I've tried both. StellerPay is simpler. And it saves nothing to your computer. Its session ends when you refresh or close the window. The UI is simple, and fairly easy to understand. Interstellar is more robust, but also more confusing. While I do like the integrated SDEX interface and anchor, I tend to go back to StellarPay to actually look at what I'm doing. The one nice thing is that Interstellar saves your private key locally, and password protects it. I'm not sure how secure it is, and you have to be very careful with your private key, but if you really want security, a Ledger hardware wallet is probably better anyway.
As you can see, the StellarPay interface is nice and clean. I honestly like it quite a bit, even if it isn't as feature rich as Interstellar's UI/UX.
I've mentioned Ternio before. They're a payment gateway that converts their native token, TERN, into fiat currency at the point of sale, using their BlockCard. Right now, TERN is suffering from a pricing issue. The minimum purchase price through BlockCard's interface is $0.008, but TERN's price is often below that level. Converting fiat to TERN, or crypto to TERN, using their interface, often results in a loss. That's why I prefer to call it "buying TERN" rather than "depositing" fiat or crypto.
Now, a person who isn't looking to purchase anything right away can just wait for TERN to go up. And with a bit of support from the community of TERN users, I think it could easily go up to $0.01 without too much work. A TERN based savings account, something that Ternio might be working on, would also help, as it would increase the demand for the token.
So what can anyone do if TERN's sale price is below the BlockCard purchase price? Well, arbitrage is a possibility. TERN is a native Stellar token, so it's available to trade on SDEX. And I've done a little trading back and forth. Volume is again low, but not terrible. TERN/XLM volume isn't bad, and it seems like there are plenty of times where you can get some TERN for less than the $0.008 minimum through BlockCard itself.
Moreover, while I'm not the best at trading, a lot of people are good at it, and can generate some added revenue, through SDEX, especially if more people start using the platform. That revenue can then be converted to TERN, and spent directly as USD through BlockCard.
One of the most annoying things about Stellar right now is that there is no built in support for NFTs. While you can create a token to represent any asset you want, those tokens are all fungible. It would be great if NFTs could be created too. Imagine an art dealer and storage system where every work of art being held had an associated token, and those tokens could be moved around on the Stellar network.
Aside from that issue, which has little significance for most people, SDEX, the anchor system, and the possibility utility that it can provide with TERN, are really interesting. I do hope more people start to take advantage of the platform, because I really want to see thicker order books. Stellar is an opportunity to integrate the cryptoasset ecosystem, and strengthen DeFi.
I'm definitely going to work towards creating an anchor for my own TRC-10 token, and maybe TRX, because I want to be a part of that ecosystem. I'll also continue to trade on SDEX, and hopefully I can make some coin here and there.
I would really like to see native support for TRX on BlockCard. I've been pushing for it for a while, but Ternio wants to see that there is sufficient demand. Maybe creating my own TRX/WRLD anchor would help, but for now, they want to see users with interest in Tron before they move forward.
ICOs have been a way for projects to get lots of money really quickly, regardless of their quality. Many ICOs have been total scams. That's why I wanted to do something different with my project. And so, I created the "IGO."