This year, there has already been a growing number of projects preferring Stellar to popular Ethereum. For instance, the Canada-based company Kik plans to switch from Ethereum to Stellar. In the meantime, the founders of the Mobius Network had decided to choose Stellar over Ethereum to run its ICO, which ended up raising over $39 million. Experts view the Stellar platform's native digital token—Lumens (or XLM)—as the most promising in 2018.

About project

Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim founded Stellar at the beginning of 2014. It was branched from the Ripple system. Not only did McCaleb want to quit the project but also to create his own payment network that would "kill" the competitor. In 2015, the Stellar project switched to its own open-source protocol and issued its own cryptocurrency—Lumens.

The key differences between the Stellar network and the Ripple network:

 Stellar is a non-profit organization, whereas Ripple is a commercial organization.

 From the very beginning, the Stellar project has been fully transparent. Performance of a non-profit foundation Stellar Development Foundation that was created to maintain the payment network and the platform is open and public. So is the information on salaries and wages, the Stellar Partnership Grant Program recipients, the number of distributed Lumens, and even the number of users who came from Facebook.

 Stellar does not have privileged participants.

 Most Lumens should be distributed free-of-charge (except for 5% needed for covering operating expenses), and 25% of all coins should go to the non-profit organizations.

 There is an agreement according to which major XLM holders are not allowed to sell the coins for five years.

Partners:

Stripe. It was one of the first companies to invest in the project; it develops solutions for accepting and processing electronic payments. Earlier this year, Stripe stated it would cease bitcoin support but might consider Lumens as a payment method.

Praekelt Foundation. It is a non-profit organization that integrated the Stellar protocol into Vumi—an open-source mobile messaging platform.

Oradian. The company develops banking software based on cloud computing; in 2016 it became one of the Stellar's first partners.

Deloitte. The partnership between Stellar and one of the largest consulting networks has started in 2016, and its ultimate goal is to deliver a mobile app for cross-border payments.

IBM. In October 2017, Stellar and one of the world's largest hardware and software producers announced their partnership. IBM is using the Stellar network to create a new bank payment system.

Advantages over the Ethereum blockchain

In December 2017, the Canadian company Kik decided to move onto the Stellar blockchain. According to the company’s CEO Ted Livingston, the scalability issue and problems with gas made Ethereum unsuitable for the messenger application's needs. Moreover, Livingston derided Ethereum as "the dial-up era of blockchain" and referred to the CryptoKitties game that had caused the network's recent congestion.

He also noted that unlike the Ethereum’s blockchain, which is trying to be everything to everybody, Stellar offers solutions focused on client's needs and therefore aims to be fast, secure, and cost-efficient. Kin is supposed to finish its move in spring 2018.

Speaking of the recent ICO project Mobius Network, just like in Kin's case, the Ethereum blockchain initially was a choice. After some time, however, the project's founders realized that Stellar could provide something that Ethereum could not—support for their technologies. The Mobius Network develops and maintains inter-blockchain protocols, which allow users to blockchainize billions of users and their gadgets. That being said, the project needs a network that would support the IoT and be capable of processing a large number of transactions at low transaction fees.

The project's CEO David Gobaud said that at some point, the developers realized there was no way that Ethereum could handle their technology because of being too slow, too expensive, and too insecure. He also highlighted the issues with deploying smart contracts. Although they are Turing complete programs, they are really hard to write, and Solidity is not a language built with security in mind. Gobaud also said that although programming language Stellar is built atop is not Turing complete, Mobius had successfully moved onto this very blockchain.

In this connection, not only was the Mobius Network's ICO run on the Stellar blockchain, but it also accepted just one cryptocurrency—Lumens (XLM). The organizers reported that the token sale had been concluded in two hours. During the ICO, the company managed to attract more than $39 million. The Mobius Network also launched its own decentralized applications store. So far, this has been the most successful ICO this year.

Acquiring and storing Lumens

XLM is not mineable. As of this writing, the cryptocurrency is the sixth-largest by market capitalization, which exceeds $9.8 billion. XLM is now traded at $.53 or 0.00005321 BTC.

Exchanges that allow their clients to purchase Lumens for Bitcoin or Ether are Binance, Bittrex, Poloniex, Kraken, OKEx, Aex, Qryptos, and BTC38.

The cryptocurrency supports a wide range of hardware, online, desktop, and mobile wallets. The full list is available on the project's official website.