Stellar is a decentralized, open-source platform that offers its services to users from all over the world.
Based on the distributed ledger technology (DLT), Stellar is a payment network that facilitates borderless value transfer for its users regardless of their location.
By using Stellar’s services, individuals and companies alike can transfer as little or as large a sum in any currency of their choice anywhere in the world.
So how does Stellar actually work?
Well, Stellar is a large network of servers all over the place. All of these servers combined come together to power a network based on DLT.
What this “ledger” does is to keep track of or record all the transactions made by companies and individuals who make payments on the Stellar platform.
Every Stellar server actually has a full copy of the transaction lists as well. Each of these several servers “talk” or communicate with each other to check in and verify information on the various transactions that take place over the network.
The servers sync with the ledger every 5 seconds at most. This is known as the “Consensus.” The money you’ve put in is translated into credits through bridges known as “Anchors.” An anchor in this system is much like a bank or payment processor.
This “credit” is given to your online account – which is sort of like an online wallet for Stellar Lumens. To bring it down to its simplest form, Stellar works like this:
→ The users’ money (USD or EUR for example.) goes into the system
→ Crosses the bridges (or anchors.)
→ Is translated into credits. (USD Credits, or EUR Credits for example.)
→ That information gets recorded in the ledger.
→ Your online account now has credits!
Now that there are credits in the account, you can transfer these credits to other users whether they’re down the street or all the way in out in the United Kingdom.
What’s nice is that Stellar will do all the conversions for you, at the lowest possible rate too! So all you have to do is start the transfer.
This means that no matter which currency you are depositing into the Stellar network, you can send the amount in a currency of the recipient’s choice. By using Stellar’s internal currency conversion, you can transfer funds between one another with ease.
Introduction to Lumens
So what about the Lumens?
Stellar Lumens (also known as XLM) is one of many cryptocurrencies out there, but one which serves a defined purpose for its network.
Lumens is also a native token asset for Stellar which helps give Stellar added security and anti-spam features while also aiding in the execution of multi-currency transactions.
That is correct, XLM cannot only be easily transferred over the network from one user to the other but by acting as a facilitating cryptocurrency between fiat conversions, it allows the conversion rate to be extremely economical to the end user.
All such transactions require a very small fee of Lumens to start, but this is to help stop users who intend to take advantage of the system.
Stellar also doubles as a development platform where users can develop their own decentralized applications (DApps). While it does not perform complex computations like Ethereum, it remains free of any scalability issues and thus is a viable candidate for simple DApps and the launch of initial coin offerings (ICOs).
All such transactions require a very small fee of Lumens to start, but this is to help stop users who intend to take advantage of the system.
Lumens once again play a big part in this integral process of the Stellar network, where users can utilize their XLM to pay for network fees pertaining to development.
This is a factor that is underrated. Many are not aware of the fact that the Stellar Network provides developers with the ability to create decentralized applications and issue and deploy tokens.
This is a valuable part of Stellar, it gives it much more value, instead of being just a legally payments network, it facilitates the creative process in various regards.
This key addition makes it a prime cryptocurrency network as we progress into the future. It already has scalability figured out as it has a consensus method that is different from Proof-of-Work, in addition, the fact that it is legally compliant across the board can give it a leg up on other cryptocurrency networks.
From the perspective of a developer, developers can issue tokens, deploy projects and not have to worry about scalability or being legally compliant.
What’s even more interesting is the fact that, with Stellars Decentralized Exchange (SDEX), creators of tokens, can create tokens and issue them on the decentralized exchange, completing the picture.
They don’t have to worry about liquidity and getting their tokens listed, they can do it all on the Stellar Platform. These are some pretty cool features of the Stellar that make it stand out from its competitors.
Now you’re probably wondering how to get Lumens in the first place.
Lumens can easily be purchased from various exchanges across the web. However, it’s good to remember that using just any exchange that you stumble upon without checking its credibility and validity can be risky and dangerous.
Therefore, as with any other investment, you need to do your research on any institution that you are investing your funds with, which in this case happens to be the cryptocurrency exchange from where you are buying your Lumens.
How to Buy Lumens!
The first thing to do when you’re going to buy Lumens is to ensure that you actually have a wallet that works with Lumens in the first place.
Since it is a relatively new cryptocurrency as compared to Bitcoin, Stellar wallets are hard to come by and only a few providers support storing Lumens. With that being said, there are still a few very good choices available for those who want to hold their Lumens in desktop, mobile, or web-based wallets.
It should be noted that as with any other cryptocurrency, “storing” your Lumens in one only means that you are making your account information as secure and as isolated from being accessed by malicious hackers as possible.
When you store the information of your cryptocurrency funds in a software or hardware wallet, the coins remain on the blockchain, but they virtually become inaccessible by anyone but you (which is how it should be in the first place).
Many users also hold their cryptocurrencies in the exchange’s wallets from where they bought them originally. However, this poses sufficient risks to users since exchanges are susceptible to hacking attempts, no matter how safe they are.
Therefore, it is a lot safer for users to hold their cryptocurrency in a personal wallet that is highly secure in itself, since hackers tend to go after the “bigger fish” and larger exchanges!
If you have been in the cryptocurrency industry for a while, then you must have heard of Ledger, the Holy Grail of hardware wallets.
Launched in 2014, this French company has grown on to be one of the most prominent success stories of the cryptocurrency industry and that is all without launching a coin of its own.
The company’s current flagship product is Ledger Nano S, which is a hardware wallet in the form of a flash drive that can hold your cryptocurrency information safe in the securest of manners.
While it is a notable purchase at over $90 (depending on where you purchase it from), the Ledger Nano S is a good investment as it does not only hold Stellar Lumens, but has support for multiple cryptocurrencies and lets their communities develop helpful applications to work with the Ledger wallet interface as well.
Even though its primary deliverance is that of being a decentralized exchange, Stellar Term is used by many as their primary wallet to hold Lumens, and for all good reasons.
The application, which is available in the form of a desktop client, provides multiple options in terms of usability and allows users to exchange Stellar with multiple other assets.
Stellar Term provides a high level of security with which users can store their cryptocurrency information on their computer or laptop.
Foxlet is another popular choice when it comes to desktop wallets, to the point where it is the primary option for many users who want to keep their Lumens safe.
The desktop wallet uses a simple yet easy to use interface and allows users to store the information for their Lumens in their device.
Apart from ease of use, Foxlet promises security implementations of the highest level so users may rest assured in the thought of keeping their Lumens safe.
Stargazer is yet another option for those users who want to secure their Lumens on their own computer.
Much like its other counterparts, Stargazer offers a clean and simple to navigate user interface with options that are clearly defined and functions that can be performed without one having to understand intricate technicalities of the program’s backend.
But it does not compromise on security for the sake of ease of use, and still provides great implementations when it comes to the most important part of a software wallet.
When it comes to mobile wallets, Lobstr remains the top choice for many because of its design which is in line with some of the most critically acclaimed and easy to use mobile apps, all while performing its basic job of keeping the Lumens safe in a spectacular fashion.
Centaurus also offers an easy to use mobile wallet in the form of an app, so you may have the option to access your Lumens no matter where you are. The app, like Lobstr, also has good security options and remains widely used by the holders of Lumens.
Besides having a catchy name, Interstellar also boasts of an interesting app which is not only aesthetically pleasing but delivers in terms of security features which the holders of any cryptocurrency can expect out of a mobile wallet.
While last on this subsection, Firefly is by no means the least when it comes to showcasing security and simplicity within one single app. The app comes with a commonly-used interface and security features that do not leave a lot to be desired.
Web Based Wallets:
Astral is the top choice of users who want to hold Lumens in a web-based platform for easy access while also ensuring that they are safeguarded by some of the highest security features that technology has to offer. Through Astral, users can access their Lumens from anywhere without having to rely on a single device.
Saza provides the same accessibility as Astral, and with almost the same usability features. Saza is also highly secure and come with the assurance of keeping the stored digital assets out of the hands of malicious attackers.
Smartlands often comes third on such lists, but it has more to do with the app’s marketing than its features since it is built along the same lines of security and accessibility as the other two wallets on this list. It also houses a simple to operate interface and thus remains easy to utilize.
As for the exchanges from where you can buy Stellar Lumens, you can find a large list of them here.
A couple of the big names in cryptocurrency trading where you can get Lumens from are Binance, Stellar Port, Bittrex, and Poloniex.
However, these exchanges and most of the others that you will find in the provided list only usually accept cryptocurrency deposits.
This means that you can only utilize their services if you already have some cryptocurrency with you which can be deposited into your account at any of these exchanges. Afterward, you can trade the deposited cryptocurrency for Stellar easily.
With that being said, if you are looking for methods of depositing fiat, then Kraken and Bitfinex offer their users to deposit fiat through bank transfers – with the latter not providing its services to individuals in the U.S.
So why can’t you just buy Lumens mostly with fiat like you can buy Bitcoin? Well, you probably can if you looked around enough, but the problem is that those places you can buy Lumens from, if unknown, are probably going to scam you.
Your best option is to get Lumens by exchanging it for another currency through established means, whether it is through fiat or other cryptocurrencies.
So let’s assume you don’t have any other cryptocurrencies right now, and you’re looking to buy Lumens through a quick method such as credit card purchases. This means you’ll need to pick out a place to buy some cryptocurrencies from so that you can exchange them for Lumens later.
If you would like to use your credit card for the mode of fiat deposit, then you can do so from places such as Coinbase and CoinMama.
From there, you can buy Bitcoin or Ethereum and can exchange those for the Lumens you want in any of the other cryptocurrency exchanges which offer Stellar but do not accept fiat deposits.
What’s best is that using either of these two options, Coinbase or CoinMama, is relatively simple.
Signing up for an account of their services is fairly easy and the process remains straightforward afterward.
In Coinbase specifically, there is a “Buys” page that you would navigate to at first. Then you’ll need to pick out what cryptocurrency you’d like to buy, which would include options such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, et al.
After picking which cryptocurrency you want, you’ll need to tell the app how much of the currency you’d actually like to purchase, and which wallet they’ll be going into.
When you’ve done that, it’s time to pick your payment method, and then confirm your order.
Now you’ve got some Bitcoin, or some other cryptocurrency of your choosing. You can now take these to a cryptocurrency exchange.
As explained above, there are several exchanges that support Lumens, and a few of those are outlined below.
While it was established less than a year ago in 2017, Binance has since grown to be one of the most popular exchanges in the world, which is mostly due to its low fees yet fast services.
Binance only accepts cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals, so you will need to follow the method of obtaining some cryptocurrency first before you can start trading on the exchange and buy Lumens for yourself.
Bittrex is another reliable and popular choice for cryptocurrency traders.
Based in the U.S., Bittrex deals with a slew of new and established cryptocurrencies but only facilitates deposits and withdrawals in cryptocurrencies.
This means that in order to buy Lumens, you will need to deposit another cryptocurrency into your Bittrex account.
However, Bittrex makes an exception for fiat deposits only when they are over $100,000 in value and performed in exchange for Bitcoin, Ether or Tether. This process can be followed by contacting the Bittrex support team.
Kraken is another cryptocurrency exchange that has established itself as a viable trading option all around the world.
In addition to Lumens, Kraken offers a large variety of other cryptocurrencies to trade with, with multiple trading pairs available on the exchange.
Kraken also accepts fiat deposits through bank transfers namely in USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, and JPY. While this remains a time-consuming option, users who do not have urgency pegged as a deciding factor can opt towards it.
Apart from that, cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals are near instant, but you will, of course, need to have some cryptocurrency to deposit in order to utilize this option.
Just like with any other site to get started, you’ll need to have an account with one of these places to exchange for Lumens, but just like the others, it’s not entirely too difficult to get going.
For instance, if you’ve chosen to get started with Binance, then you can move forward with signing-up through email, after which you will need to verify your account.
You can then take the cryptocurrencies you bought earlier, and put at least some of them into your Binance account. There will be an option to deposit them (or withdraw them) in your funds section.
After you’ve added some coins to exchange for Lumens, you can then go ahead and hit that “Exchange” link in Binance to get to the transaction executed. Depending on what cryptocurrency you’ve chosen to use, you’ll want to do a search for “XLM___” and whatever currency you’re using. If it’s bitcoin, you would search for “XLM/BTC” or if it’s Ethereum, you would look up “XLM/ETH”.
Then you’ll put in how many Lumens you’d like to purchase, and you’ll see how many Bitcoin or Ether you’ll need to spend to buy them.
With all of that done, you can now choose to go through with the exchange of currencies, and you’ll finally have some Lumens!
These Lumens will be available in the account wallet, but you can choose to withdraw them to one of your other wallets for storage whether it be in a hardware wallet such as Ledger, a desktop client like Stargazer, a mobile wallet such as Lobstr or a web-based wallet the likes of Astral.
On Investing With Cryptocurrencies
As always, remember when investing in general, it is important that you never throw your money away willy-nilly.
Always do your research, make informed decisions and invest accordingly.
Think twice, practice patience and don’t continue to fret about the decisions you’ve made if you see the prices moving in different directions on a day to day basis.
If you believe in cryptocurrency and the network and what it is doing and see that it is progressing, you’ll most likely do fine, if you don’t believe and don’t know what is going on, well that is a different story entirely.
Remember, do your due diligence, stay calm and make your investing decisions wisely and you’ll be good to go.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed the guide and learned a lot, at least enough to help you make a decision on Stellar.