In this guide, we are going to introduce you to the Stellar Project, and take you through the process of buying the lumens native coin (XLM).
What are the goals of the Stellar Lumens Project, and XLM?
Stellar.org connects people to low-cost financial services to fight poverty and develop individual potential.
Stellar is a common financial platform that is designed to be open and accessible to everyone. This document outlines the long-term goals of both the Stellar Development Foundation and the Stellar Network and Protocol.
The mission of the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) is to promote global financial access, literacy, and inclusion. SDF accomplishes this by expanding worldwide access to low-cost financial services through the development and maintenance of technology and partnerships.
SDF’s vision is an open and affordable financial system where people of all income levels can access simple-to-use, secure, and low cost financial services. SDF also aims to empower developers with useful technology to create financial products and services for their communities.
SDF — also known as Stellar.org — was incorporated in 2014 as a non-stock nonprofit corporation in the U.S. State of Delaware. SDF has no stock, no profits given to individuals, and no private inurement. The Stellar Network and Stellar Protocol, as defined in the Responsibilities section, are hereinafter collectively referred to as “Stellar.”
To promote global financial access, literacy, and inclusion, SDF shall:
- Develop and maintain a secure and low cost global transaction network (“Stellar Network”) and protocol (“Stellar Protocol”) that is high quality, open-source, and publicly accessible to everyone
- Develop and maintain publicly accessible tools and services to support the Stellar Network and its users
- Provide guidance and direction for the Stellar ecosystem
- Promote adoption of Stellar as a worldwide payment standard
- Distribute the native currency of the Stellar ecosystem, lumens, to the world to expand the reach of the network and create a more inclusive digital economy
- Create and support technical and non-technical partnerships and educational initiatives to boost digital financial literacy and development efforts at the institutional and community level
Before you can buy a coin on service, you have to sign up for the exchange.
How to Buy Stellar
On the Binance.com homepage you will see this Create Account｜Already Registered in the top, middle of the screen:
In addition to supporting both bitcoin (BTC), and ether (ETH) trading pairs, Binance also supports Binance Coin (BNB) and Tether (USDT). Before you can purchase lumens (XLM), you first need to hold a balance of BTC, ETH, BNB, or USDT into your account. If you have Ether already and don’t mind the slight dollar cost average difference of ETH and litecoin (LTC), you can buy ETH with the step below instead of LTC.
The cheapest and fastest way to transfer a balance of funds is using LTC from either your Coinbase account or other wallet. The fee’s associated with using LTC are cheaper and the speed you will receive your funds is faster than moving BTC or ETH.
Important Note: You can just also use ETH and avoid selling LTC into BTC, or ETH.
Here to do this below via Coinbase:
Find the ‘Funds’ tab along the top right side of you screen, select ‘Deposits”.
On the proceeding drop down menu find LTC. Your LTC Deposit Address, along with QR Code for easy access can be found here.
The next step is to copy_paste the displayed LTC address into your Coinbase account. From your Coinbase home/dashboard page, select ‘Accounts’ if you already have a balance of LTC in your custodial wallet; otherwise select the ‘Buy/Sell’ option and make a LTC purchase.
Under ‘Accounts’, LTC can be found at the bottom of the four Coinbase custodial wallet options on the left hand side of your screen.
Select the ‘Send’ option with the paper airplane next to it. The copy_paste your Binance deposit address into the LTC send field.
Helpful Tip: If you correctly copy_pasted this address into the recipient field, you will always receive the green checkmark on the left side of the recipient address box. If you do not see this checkmark, the address you put into the field does not exist, you should double check and try again.
Next, press the ‘Continue’ button. A Confirm Send box will pop up after you do.
Select Confirm. You will receive a ‘Send Complete’ message with a big green checkmark indicating that your transaction is on the way to an external address. Since we choice LTC, your transaction should received within about 5 minutes or less. You will receive an email from the Binance team when your LTC has been successfully transferred.
Now that you have a balance of LTC, ETH, or BTC, you can use it to buy XLM.
On the Homepage of your Binance account, you will find the following menu on the right side of your screen:
In the box with the magnify glass icon directly under “Favorites” and enter into the field XLM. All of the other trading pair options will disappear and you will be left with a highlighted pair that includes “XLM/ETH”, the Price, and 24 hour percentage change as soon below.
Next, scroll down to the Buy XLM, Sell XLM box directly under the chart. It will look like this:
In this section you can choose to buy a custom amount or one of the pre-designated 25%/50%/75%/100% available balance amounts options.
Next, enter the amount of XLM you want to buy into the “Amount” field, and press the green Buy XLM button.
As soon as your order is filled by the marketplace you will have XLM added to you Binance custodial wallet account.
To see this balance go to the top right side of the Bianace Homepage the put your mouse arrow over the “Funds” option. A drop down box will appear that looks like this:
Select the “Balances” option. Under the “Deposits & Withdrawals” on the right side of the screen, enter XLM into the field with the magnifying glass as shown below:
All of the other coin options will disappear and only your XLM Stellar Lumens option total balance will appear displaying your Total Balance, Available Balance, Amount in Order, and Total in BTC Value.
And, that’s it. Now you have a complete background of the Stellar Project and how to buy lumens, and a step-by-step guide about how to make your first XLM purchase on Binance.
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- 5% of the initially created lumens on Stellar. We periodically auction these Lumens on various exchanges
- Charitable contributions from companies or individuals
- Foundation membership. For more information on membership in the Stellar Development Foundation, please click here
- In 2014, SDF received a loan of $3,000,000 from Stripe which was subsequently repaid with 2B lumens
At the genesis of the Stellar Network, 100 billion lumens (XLM) were created as specified in the protocol. As part of its custodial mandate, SDF is entrusted to oversee that the vast majority, 95 billion, of the lumens are distributed to the world.
SDF manages the execution of lumen distribution, with oversight and direction provided by SDF’s Expansion Board. The initial lumens held by SDF are required to be distributed to the world in the following manner:
- 50% for distribution via the Direct Sign-up Program
- 25% for distribution via the Partnership Program
- 20% for distribution via the Bitcoin Program
- 5% held by SDF to support operational costs
The Stellar Network has a built-in, fixed, nominal inflation mechanism. New Lumens are added to the network at the rate of 1% each year. Each week, the protocol distributes these lumens to any account that gets over .05% of the “votes” from other accounts in the network.
The processes and structures below are detailed in the SDF bylaws, which outline SDF governance policies.
Members of Stellar.org
All Members of Stellar.org were established at the time of incorporation. Members serve for life and are responsible for electing the Board of Directors.
The SDF Members are Patrick Collison, David Mazieres, and Jed McCaleb. Each Member serves for life or until he or she becomes incapacitated or appoints a successor Member and resigns.
Members of Stellar.org are distinct from Directors (members of the Board of Directors). A Member can also be a Director and vice versa, but the Board and Members are entirely separate bodies with regard to SDF governance.
START-UP COSTS AND INTEGRATION FEES
The Stellar network is free to use.
All of the software necessary for integration is licensed under the Apache License, version 2.0. This license permits commercial use, modification, and/or distribution.
There are no restrictions on any commercial use of the Stellar network.
STELLAR.ORG’S BUSINESS MODEL
Stellar.org operates as a non-stock nonprofit organization. Stellar doesn’t charge people or institutions for use of the Stellar network.
Stellar.org covers operational costs in several ways:
- 5% of the initial lumens are set aside for operational costs.
- Stellar.org accepts tax-deductible donations from the public.
Stellar received initial infusions of funding from the payments startup Stripe.
Their corporate donors include BlackRock, Google.org, and FastForward.
THE STELLAR NETWORK VERSUS STELLAR.ORG
The Stellar network refers to the technology that processes financial transactions. The technology is open source, distributed, and community owned.
Stellar.org is the nonprofit organization that contributes to the development of tools and social good initiatives around the Stellar network and financial inclusion. Employees contribute code to the Stellar network, but the technology is independent of the organization.
STELLAR NETWORK STRUCTURE
Horizon API: An API is simply a set of tools and building blocks for creating software applications. Horizon is a RESTful API that allows you to submit transactions to the network, check the status of accounts, and subscribe to event streams.
The distributed Stellar network is made up of servers running the Stellar Core software. These servers are maintained by different individuals and entities.
Stellar Core maintains a local copy of the network ledger, communicating and staying in sync with other instances of Stellar Core on the network.
A transaction on the network consists of one or more operations. Payments, offers, and fees are all examples of operations that could make up a single transaction. Depending on hardware and network configurations, a conservative estimate of Stellar’s processing rate is 1000 operations per second.
There’s a nominal fee, referred to as a base fee, associated with each operation in a transaction. The base fee functions as a deterrent: Though nominal, it discourages users with malicious intentions from flooding the network with transactions (otherwise known as a DoS attack).
The base fee is currently set to .00001 XLM—a fraction of a fraction of a penny. The sender of the transaction incurs the fee. No one profits from the base fee. The ledger collects the fees and redistributes them in the process of inflation.
RESOLVING DISPUTED TRANSACTIONS
While transactions are irreversible on the Stellar network, it is possible to freeze the assets you issue. Freezing an asset renders the asset valueless to the user, ensuring that it can only be sent back to you.
For example, let’s say you accidentally credited the wrong customer account with ₦200. You can simply freeze those lumens, preventing the customer from spending any mistakenly sent funds. Freezing an asset is a simple operation that takes effect within 3-5 seconds.
RISK AND THE STELLAR NETWORK
The Stellar network mitigates risk through a decentralized and distributed structure.
If Stellar.org were to disappear, the network would continue to confirm transactions, and anchors could still integrate with the network at any time. All Stellar Core validators are run by community members external to Stellar.org.
Stellar.org runs a pair of non-validating read replicas and archives history to their own Amazon S3 buckets.
COMPLIANCE AND REGULATION
Stellar is software—think of it as the middleware that sits between financial products and institutions. As such, Stellar is not a licensed financial institution.
If your organization plans to accept deposits and issue credits on the Stellar network, it is likely you will need to be a licensed money services provider (MSP) or mobile money operator (MMO). All integrators should heed the regulatory environment of their organization.
KYC AND AML
Integrators are responsible for implementing all KYC/AML identity verification requirements. However, Stellar has produced tools to help financial institutions with their integrations. Integrators may find the compliance protocol helpful.
PRIVACY OF TRANSACTIONS
All transactions on the network are public.
With third-party tools like Lightning, private transactions are possible. Consult your technical team on whether such tools would work for your implementation.
SECURITY BEST PRACTICES
Our recommended design is to use at least two Stellar accounts: a base account and an issuing account. Issuing accounts can serve as the intermediary pool between the base account and customer’s accounts. A base account’s credentials should be kept on a computer that is not connected to the Internet and cannot be compromised.
Ensure that all of your assets are marked AUTHORIZATION REVOCABLE so you can freeze them in an erroneous situation. Advise technical teams to follow the configuration recommendations outlined in the developer documentation.
Though transactions require an Internet connection at the moment, tools for low-bandwidth environments are in development.
What are Lumens?
Lumens are the native asset of the Stellar network. Native means that lumens are built into the network. Asset is how the network refers to an item of value that is stored on the ledger.
One lumen is a unit of digital currency, like a bitcoin.
While you can’t hold a lumen in your hand, they are essential to the Stellar network—they contribute to the ability to move money around the world and to conduct transactions between different currencies quickly and securely.
Where did Lumens come from?
In 2014 the Stellar network launched with 100 billion ‘stellar’s’, the original name of the network’s native asset.
In 2015, with the launch of the upgraded network, the name of the native asset changed from Stellar to lumen to distinguish it from 1) the Stellar network itself and 2) Stellar.org, the nonprofit organization that contributes to development of the network.
Why does the Stellar Network Need a Native Asset?
The Stellar network offers all of the innovative features of a shared public ledger on a distributed database—often referred to as blockchain technology. The Stellar network’s built-in currency, the lumen, serves two purposes:
First, lumens play a small anti-spam role.
Lumens work as a security token, mitigating DoS attacks that attempt to generate large numbers of transactions or consume large amounts of space in the ledger.
Similarly, the Stellar network requires all accounts to hold a minimum balance of 1 lumen. This requirement ensures that accounts are authentic, which helps the network maintain a seamless flow of transactions.
Second, lumens may facilitate multi-currency transactions.
Lumens sometimes facilitate trades between pairs of currencies between which there is not a large direct market, acting as a bridge. This function is possible when there is a liquid market between the lumen and each currency involved.
What is XLM?
How does inflation work with Lumens? Why is there inflation?
The Stellar network has a built-in, fixed inflation mechanism. New lumens are added to the network at the rate of 1% each year. The network also collects a base fee for each operation in a transaction. The funds from base fees are added to the inflation pool.
As a balancing measure for the ecosystem, anyone who holds lumens can vote on where the funds in this pool go. Each week, the protocol distributes these lumens to any account that gets over .05% of the votes from other accounts on the network. Read more about inflation.
Why should I buy Lumens if you are giving them away for free?
As an integrator or anchor (an integrator that is trusted to accept deposits and honor withdrawals, usually a licensed money services provider), you may need lumens to cover base fees for transactions on the network.
As a supporter or community member, you may wish to support the work of Stellar.org and invest in our future success.
In the future, after we have given away all the lumens—which will happen over the next 10 years—everyone will need to procure lumens from exchanges.
How many Lumens remain to be given away?
For up-to-date statistics on the number of lumens given away, see the Stellar.org leaderboard.
What is the Lumen auction and how does it work?
The Stellar.org mandate reserves 5% of the original lumens to support the operations of Stellar.org.
Stellar.org covers its own operational costs via its own lumens in the following ways:
Auction: We periodically offer portions of the reserved lumens at auction. We refer to this public process as the lumen auction.
The initial auction launched in March 2015 on Poloniex, Kraken, and Haste. Lumens entered these exchanges at the 30-day trailing average price.
The current auction began December 2015 on the Kraken exchange. Stellar offers lumens in small amounts at the market price on the exchange at time of placement.
As an ethical safeguard, no one formally associated with Stellar.org—e.g., Stellar.org employees, consultants, or board members—will participate in the auction.
Batches. Stellar periodically auction larger batches of the reserved lumens to parties interested in supporting the Stellar.org mission.
If you’re interested in acquiring a larger batch of lumens from the Stellar.org reserve, contact the foundation directly.
How does Stellar Lumens work?
Stellar is a decentralized network. A decentralized network consists of peers that can run independently of each other. The power to transmit information is distributed among a network of servers, instead of being driven from one primary source.
This means that the Stellar network does not depend on any single entity. The idea is to have as many independent servers participate in the Stellar network as possible, so that the network will still run successfully even if some servers fail.
Like a traditional ledger, the Stellar ledger records a list of all the balances and transactions belonging to every single account on the network. A complete copy of the global Stellar ledger is hosted on each server that runs the Stellar software.
Any entity can run a Stellar server.
These servers form a decentralized Stellar network, allowing the ledger to be distributed as widely as possible. The servers sync and validate the ledger by a mechanism known as consensus.
The Stellar servers communicate and sync with each other to ensure that transactions are valid and get applied successfully to the global ledger.
For example, if you want to send $5 to a friend on the network, a list of trusted servers will begin a process to agree on the validity of your $5 payment to your friend. The majority of these servers will have to agree that you do in fact own $5 worth of credit on the network before they will mark the transaction as valid.
This entire process of coming to consensus on the Stellar network occurs approximately every 2-5 seconds.
Anchors are simply entities that people trust to hold their deposits and issue credits into the Stellar network for those deposits. They act as a bridge between different currencies and the Stellar network. All money transactions in the Stellar network (except the native digital currency of lumens) occur in the form of credit issued by anchors.
Anchors do two simple things:
- They take your deposit and issue the corresponding credit to your account address on the Stellar ledger.
- You can make a withdrawal by bringing them credit they issued.
You have to trust the anchor to honor your deposits and withdrawals of credit it has issued.
Anchors exist in the pre-stellar world now.
For example, to use PayPal, you deposit money in from your bank account. PayPal then gives you credit in your PayPal account. You can now send that PayPal credit to anyone that trusts PayPal (anyone with a PayPal account).
Someone that received your PayPal credit can convert it to real money using PayPal by withdrawing it to the bank.
Anchors perform the same function in Stellar. The difference is, all the “PayPals” and other anchors are operating on the same network so they can all transact with each other now – this makes the system way more powerful. People can now easily send and exchange all these different anchor credits with each other.
The Stellar ledger is able to store offers that people have made to buy or sell currencies. Offers are public commitments to exchange one type of credit for another at a pre-determined rate. The ledger becomes a global marketplace for offers.
All these offers form what is called an order-book. There is an order-book for each currency/issuer pair. So if you are wanting to exchange Virgin Bank/EUR for Bit-stamp/BTC you look at that particular order book in the ledger to see what people are buying and selling it for.
This allows people to not only buy and sell currencies in a foreign exchange like manner but also to convert currencies seamlessly during transactions.
Stellar allows you to send any currency you hold to anyone else in a different currency through the built-in distributed exchange. People can receive any currency through an anchor they added.
For example, Amy wants to send Bob euros, using her USD balance. Stellar automatically submits an offer to the distributed exchange selling USD for EUR. The network finds the best exchange rate for the transaction.
Here’s a few possible ways the transaction can happen:
Conversion Through an Offer
Stellar finds an offer on the internal USD/EUR exchange for someone wanting to buy EUR for USD and automatically makes the exchange between the two parties.
Using Lumens as an Intermediary Currency
Stellar looks for offers on the network asking for USD in exchange for lumens (the native — purely digital — currency). It simultaneously looks for an offer asking for lumens in exchange for euros. The network makes those exchanges and sends Bob the resulting euro credit.
Chain of Conversions
If there are no explicit relationship between offers to buy and sell, Stellar tries to find offers from the network that will lead a chain of conversions from EUR to USD. For example, EUR to AUD, AUD to BTC, BTC to XLM, XLM to USD.
Where can I buy Stellar Lumens?
Lumens are available on the following exchanges (In order of highest volume as of the time of this guide):
This is the Stellar 2018 Roadmap; it has two main goals.
Goal #1: SDEX – the Stellar Decentralized Exchange
At the end of 2017 Stellar recruited a veteran team, with a substantial track record of product and marketing success, to build a front-end for Stellar’s inherent decentralized exchange. SDEX is the working name for the project, and internal prototypes are underway. Stellar will reveal further details on SDEX’s specific roadmap, brand, and leadership in the near future.
SDEX will be the world-class front-end that Stellar’s underlying technology has long deserved. It will enable on-chain, protocol-level trades for any Stellar token, and they will create liquidity to minimize spreads and maximize choice of assets. Specific niceties the SDEX implies:
– Day One trading for any Stellar ICO token
– Atomic pathfinding to discover the cheapest rates between any two assets
– Very low trading fees
– End-user control of secret keys
For SDEX to compete with other major exchanges Stellar will need to increase the quality and number of anchors and market-makers on their network. They continue to offer grants of up to $2M for partners in these areas.
The Exchange also promotes Stellar’s vision of moving more real-world assets on the blockchain. ICOs are already coming to Stellar because they’re cheap, scalable, and fast.
See Mobius’s We Did It! announcement, posted just a few days ago, for their impression of our platform.
In 2018, Stellar will put significant energy into bringing a wider variety of financial instruments on to the network. SDEX will be the exchange of first resort for all Stellar tokens, and they foresee a future where, say, carbon credits, oil futures, and the latest digital asset are all traded together—cheaply and quickly.
Secondary Product Objective: Better Ecosystem Support
Stellar recognizes that our platform is only as useful as the tools built on top of it.
As noted earlier, Stellar has been seeing more interest in Stellar than ever before, and they want to make sure it’s easy for anyone to begin building on our network. Stellar will continue to provide a robust and informed community of developers and entrepreneurs alongside us to become a global financial protocol.
In 2018, Stellar plans:
– Better overall brand communication
– More implementation walk-throughs to help people get going
– Better technical documentation, including release notes
– Continued improvement to our Horizon API and the surrounding SDKs
The Stellar team will also continue to award lumens, via the Stellar Build Challenge, to people and businesses who contribute to our ecosystem.
Goal #2: Lightning Network on Stellar
Technology has always been the strongest part of the Stellar story. The Stellar team makes numerous mentions of the market demand for more private channel transactions on Stellar, and to accomplish this they will integrate Lightning in 2018.
For those of you unfamiliar with the tech, this Vicepiece is a decent introduction: WTF is the Lightning Network and Will It Save Bitcoin?
Lightning will have a huge positive effect on Stellar’s long-term scalability and security. The team has been aware of Lightning’s potential for Stellar for a while, and have recently collaborated with Stellar advisor and Bitcoin Core developer Jeremy Rubin to optimize its implementation.
Stellar intends to extend Stellar Core with a Bump Sequence operation; you can see our progress and read the formal spec on github.
Secondary Tech Objectives
Hardening: As the Stellar continues to make performance improvements, the network must remain resilient and secure. The Stellar team will reduce the attack surface at the protocol layer by adding invariant support (with checks performed constantly by the validator). Those checks will reduce the impact of bugs on the ledger state.
Decentralization: One of Stellar’s main goals for 2018 is to make it easier to run a full validator. In order for the network to be as decentralized as possible, the overhead of running nodes should be minimal. By making nodes more reliable and self sufficient, node operators can spend time doing other things. The team also will be making improvements to how they monitor the network’s health, and the way nodes exchange data, by revisiting some characteristics of the peer-to-peer code.
The Stellar team encourages everyone interested in the project to help modify and audit the Core’s protocol implementation. They are rewriting part of the data layer for improved code semantics. Check the Stellar github to get involved:
Alright, now that you have some background information about the XLM token, how do you buy this coin. For this guide, we are going to use the Binance exchange since it has the most trading volume to date.