What is Stellar Lumens?
Stellar is an open-source cryptocurrency with its own ecosystem for distributed transactions. Using the Stellar network, developers can create mobile wallets, tools for banking operations, conduct their own ICOs, and create decentralized applications and auto-payment systems.
Stellar Lumens (XLM) allows instant transactions with low fees making the project popular in business circles. Its main sponsor is the American company “Stripe”. In many ways, Stellar is a rethinking of the Ripple platform by XRP co-founder Jed McCaleb. The Ripple Project isn’t decentralized enough, and many of the technical aspects of its blockchain do not comply with the basic principles of technology. Stellar incorporates the best technical solutions of Ripple while remaining more decentralized and secure.
Stellar Lumens History and Team
The developers of Stellar Lumens didn’t conduct an ICO for XLM. Stripe invested $3 million in Stellar development.
Stellar is a Ripple (XRP) hardfork. Ripple was launched in 2012, with a focus on integrating into the banking sector. The idea of combining banks, payment systems, individuals, and digital assets within the same platform was attractive to many blockchain engineers. Ripple developers published the XPR source code under community pressure in 2014. As the community was unhappy with the centralization of Ripple, it was decided to make a hardfork. Thus Stellarcoin was born, becoming more decentralized than Ripple, but still with the same goals.
Initially, Stellar was implemented on the Ripple protocol, switching to its own protocol in 2015. Hardfork author Jed McCaleb renamed the internal coin of the system from StellarCoin to Stellar Lumens. The system is now controlled by the independent Stellar Development Foundation as an open-source project where every programmer can participate in the development.
Independent developers are able to create their own dApps and launch ICO’s using smart contracts. Unlike the Ethereum platform, Stellar is not equipped with the advanced technology for creating smart contracts, however the platform is perfect for developing simple dApps.
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Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP)
The Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) Consensus Mechanism is used in Ripple. The basic principle of BFT is to maintain network stability, at the expense of some nodes being either disconnected or captured by hackers. The main node controls all validators in Ripple, an approach contrary to the main principles of decentralization, eliminating it. Having switched to their own platform, XLM developers changed the consensus mechanism from BFT to SCP (Stellar Consensus Protocol). The main operating principles of SCP and BFT are similar, however Stellar's consensus algorithm (SCP) has allowed the platform to become more decentralized. In the Stellar network, each participant can create their own node and participate in the process of block creation. Each node in the SCP independently determines which fullnode to trust. Together, they form a “quorum” that achieves a consensus once a certain number of nodes has joined. SCP protocol has a special defensive mechanism: if one node or a group of nodes behaves in an unnatural way, the network operation freezes until a consensus is reached.
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This increases the level of protection against hacker attacks but has a negative effect on the network’s speed and efficiency.
The process of generating and validating a block in the Stellar blockchain looks like this:
An independent algorithm polls the active nodes of the network, which must confirm their readiness to participate in the validation process. Transactions created by users are sent to active nodes for confirmation and validation. This process avoids double-spending. Later, the node sends the transaction to the next node for further validation. It is necessary that 80% of nodes must reach a consensus for a payment to be confirmed. They have a maximum of 5 seconds to reach the consensus.
Stellar uses “anchors” to carry out cross-chain transactions. These act as "intermediaries", allowing you to quickly exchange one currency for another with a minimum fee. Anchors work as simply as possible; you just need to log into your Stellar account and make a deposit with your credit card. Your account will then automatically be replenished by the XLM amount equivalent to the deposited amount.
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