The Stellar network is an open-source, distributed and community-owned blockchain network used to facilitate cross-asset transfers of value. Stellar aims to facilitate these transfers at a fraction of a penny, while aiming to be an open financial system that gives people of all income levels access to low-cost financial services. The native digital currency of the Stellar network is known as Lumens (XLM). Every Stellar account is required to hold a small amount of Lumens to act as a barrier against spamming the Stellar payments system. Through the use of Lumens, a user can send any currency that they own to anyone else in a different currency. Stellar also supports smart contracts.
Stellar was co-founded by former lawyer Joyce Kim and Jed McCaleb in 2014. Jed McCaleb is also the founder of the now-defunct Mt. Gox exchange, and the co-founder of Ripple. In fact, both payment networks used the same protocol initially. Like Ripple, Stellar is also a payment technology that aims to connect financial institutions and drastically reduce the cost and time required for cross-border transfers, although while Ripple focuses on banks, Stellar focuses on banking the unbanked. One of Stellar's largest partnerships is with IBM — signed in October 2017 — to set up multiple currency corridors for ease of payment in the South Pacific.
Stellar is also supported by the Stellar Development Foundation, a non-profit that helps with the maintenance of Stellar's codebase, and supports Stellar communities, among other things.
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