Stellar is a blockchain-based payments network that aims to provide a global, efficient system for digital asset issuance and exchange for individuals and institutions. Its native cryptocurrency is Stellar Lumens (XLM), which is used to pay transaction fees on the network to combat spam and also functions as the bridge currency that provides liquidity to any asset issued on the network by trusted entities called “anchors.”
Originally a fork of the Ripple protocol, Stellar was founded by Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim in 2014 following internal conflicts in Ripple’s management. The Stellar Development Foundation, initially aided and funded by Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, is dedicated to building and promoting the Stellar network as a more accessible, low-cost system of financial services.
A notable design difference from other blockchains is the Stellar Consensus Protocol, which was introduced in 2015. This system foregoes proof-of-work consensus for a federated system that uses mutual trust among groups of peers, or “quorums,” and scales this trust across the network to achieve consensus.