Stellar Lumens (XLM) is now the #12 cryptocurrency in the world—ahead of EOS and NEO, and nearing Bitcoin Gold (BTG)—with a market cap of $4.9B.
The past few weeks have borne witness to a landmark growth period for the world of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin cracked $10K, and less than three weeks later it’s pushing toward $20K following the launch of bitcoin futures trading on Cboe (beginning on CME tomorrow). Meanwhile, Litecoin leapt over 300 percent in five days, Ripple jumped 84 percent in a day, TRON has gone up almost 10x in the past week, and Cardano’s ADA coin more than doubled in 22 hours.
Now Stellar Lumens (XLM) finds itself in the spotlight, jumping 54 percent in less than a day, following considerable growth prior to that.
What are Lumens?
Lumens are the ‘native assets’ of the Stellar network. Stellar is a somewhat different blockchain protocol than other cryptocurrencies, and often draws comparisons to Ripple. Like XRP, Lumens are digital tokens designed to help dissolve inefficiencies among financial institutions and consumers.
Getting into the technology behind Stellar would take an article unto itself (like this piece in CoinCentral). In the meantime, the best way to start conceptualizing Stellar is to imagine how Venmo works today. You upload money and have access to it right away. When you transfer it, you do so easily and instantly (and pending it’s through your debit card, free). If Stellar succeeds, it will create a similar system, but on a global scale—and for larger bodies like banks and corporations.
In a practical sense, this means that you could pay your friend in Mexico with XLM and that friend could withdraw the money in pesos. Or, if you were traveling abroad, you could use XLM to pay without ever going through the process of converting your money to a foreign currency.
At 7:49am PST PST Dec. 16, XLM sold for $0.193355 USD, according to CoinMarketCap. 16 hours later (midnight PST Dec. 17), that number was $0.297835—an increase of 54 percent. At the time of this writing, the price is $0.275539.
It’s also important to note that the Stellar team is invested in social impact and innovation. They promote companies and strategies aimed at banking the unbanked, and through their partnership program, they field proposals for the Stellar network that promote financial inclusion—offering grants of up to $2M USD worth of Lumens to selected partners. The Build Challenge, a quarterly program to reward “to reward innovation and development in the Stellar ecosystem,” doubles down on this initiative.