The price of Stellar Lumens (XLM) shot up 60% in the past 24 hours and crossed the $0.2 mark for the first time since Sept. 2018. The “stellar” price action followed an announcement by the project’s developers that a new version of the Stellar public network protocol had been implemented by validators.
The Protocol 15 upgrade was voted into effect at 4:00 pm UTC on Nov. 23 and introduces two new features that aim to reduce the level of complexity presented to users of Stellar network-based apps and services.
Price action for Stellar Lumens has been relatively subdued over the past year until Nov. 21, when trading volume started to build. XLM has doubled in price over the last 48 hours and leads the top 100 coins by market cap in weekly gains, topping out at 125%. It is among a a handful of coins currently leading the altcoin pack in what could potentially be a long-awaited “alt season.”
Initially forked from Ripple Labs protocol by Jed McCaleb and launched in July 2014, Stellar seeks to lessen the cost of cross-border payments using blockchain. The project is particularly focused on serving unbanked or underbanked regions of the world where access to traditional financial services is either nonexistent or prohibitively costly.
Stellar’s Protocol 15 upgrade includes two new components designed to enhance user experience while retaining a defense against “farm attacks” and other methods in which bad actors may try to subvert the purpose of the network. A farm attack is where multiple accounts are created by an entity with the aim of harvesting the small amounts of funds sent to those accounts by service providers, which are required to activate the account.
According to Stellar’s official blog, the Protocol 15 features have been in development for over a year and address some of the “biggest pain points” for developers when building apps and services for customers on Stellar.
“After the upgrade, developers can create simpler, better user experiences that abstract away the complexity of blockchain, and do it without losing any of the advantages of a fast, cheap, and permissionless public ledger.”
Stellar has also just announced a partnership with East African business-to-business payment platform provider ClickPesa, which serves six countries in the region. According to Stellar’s blog post, ClickPesa was motivated to use Stellar upon recognizing an “opportunity to reduce the friction inherent to intra-African cross-border payments and P2P payment activity.”
In October, Stellar announced that stablecoin USDC would be hosted on its blockchain at some point in 2021, furthering its mission of simplifying cross-border money transfers. Stellar Lumens’ extremely low transaction fees and 4–5 second settlement times are among its top selling points as a cryptocurrency.