Ripple vs. Stellar – A Comprehensive Guide

Competition seems to be an integral part of any industry.

Whether it is between products, services, or the very providers behind them, it seems that the sense of rivalry is ubiquitous among any entities that are vying for the same stature in a respective segment.

Therefore, it is no surprise to read or hear arguments when it comes to cryptocurrency networks.

For instance, when it comes to development, people argue whether Ethereum will be killed by EOS; or when it comes to privacy based cryptocurrency transactions, whether Monero would be able to maintain its superiority over Zcash.

When it comes to payment providers, however, things get complicated.

We get to argue and choose between networks that are not the same by any means in terms of delivering their solutions, but which by one way or another do fall in the same category.

We are, of course, referring to the two most different payment networks which seem similar at the surface: Ripple and Stellar.

So without any delay, let’s go ahead and start learning why exactly they get this description of being differently similar, what makes them stand apart from each other, and the most important question: which one is better?

What is Ripple?

Released in 2012, Ripple is the eponymous network for its parent company, which uses the distributed ledger technology (DLT) to bring its payment solutions to life.

By using DLT’s transparency, security, and accessibility, Ripple focuses on facilitating cross-border payment transactions for entities around the world.

Ripple provides peer-to-peer transactions through its cryptocurrency, XRP, and mainly caters to global banking institutions and financial corporations to process industrial remittances for them.

Originally established as OpenCoin, Ripple was cofounded by MtGox and eDonkey creator Jed McCaleb along with serial entrepreneur Chris Larsen, who was then known for creating lending companies by the names of E-Loan and Prosper.

Based on the initial concept of Ryan Fugger, a Canadian developer, McCaleb and Larsen spearheaded the development of OpenCoin to follow a new payment transaction system dubbed as the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP).

The original manifestation was intended to power economical yet fast payment transactions for cryptocurrencies as well as fiat between transacting parties – a concept which attracted investors such as Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz for the project.

September 26, 2013, seemed to be a fateful day for the project, as it was formally renamed to be Ripple Labs Inc. It was the same day that Ripple went open-source and made its code available publicly while retaining organization control of the network.

Since then, Ripple not only changed its name once again to only be “Ripple” in 2015, but also changed its focus from initially wanting to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions for individuals to providing specialized services to larger institutions, such as central and international banks as well as global payment service providers.

And that is where it gets confusing.

At one hand, you have Ripple (XRP), the cryptocurrency and its network that have the same name, logo, and branding information as the company, Ripple (with the distinction of “Ripple Labs Inc.” gone in 2015).

While on the other hand, you have Ripple, the company, which developed the Ripple cryptocurrency and currently rules over the network with around 60 percent of the total XRP supply held in its name.

To clarify this confusion and to ensure that you understand the clear difference between these two, we are now going to cover both the cryptocurrency network and the company that owns it, along with the company’s corporate solutions that often get mixed with its cryptocurrency offerings.

Ripple the company

At press time, Ripple provides three different solutions through another platform than the one XRP is based upon.

Called Interledger after its ability to connect multiple platforms and blockchains, the solution offers three different products to Ripple’s corporate customers, by the names of xCurrent, xRapid, and xVia.

xCurrent

xCurrent is what you can call Ripple’s bread and butter.

Being the company’s core product that focuses on providing enterprise solutions, xCurrent allows transacting parties to transfer large sums of payment almost instantly while being able to exchange real-time messages and tracking. Here, Ripple connects institutions to facilitate transactions for large sums of payment in fiat.

XVia

XVia is offered to banks and other financial institutions to send payments using a simple interface. This solution is offered in place of XCurrent, in situations where instant settlement is not a priority but simplicity and ease of use takes top billing. One more feature that sets this under-development feature apart is that this could allow institutions to facilitate smaller payments such as remittances.

XRapid

This is the solution by Ripple which allows its corporate partners to use XRP as a source of liquidity to send and receive global transactions. However, unlike xCurrent, this solution is not as widely used by the institutions and is currently being piloted by very few payment providers, with whom Ripple has allied with for corporate solutions.

Ripple the cryptocurrency network

While Ripple as a payment network for corporations has a lot to offer, the other Ripple and XRP do not have as many widely known capabilities when it comes to performing transactions for individuals.

Ripple’s website itself states that XRP is meant to be used by corporations:

Brad Garlinghouse, the Chief Executive Officer of Ripple, states that Ripple it would be faster to carry a bag of money, book a flight and transport it to Europe and directly give it to the recipient than waiting on a financial institution. This lack of efficiency of moving money is what XRP is supposed to solve.

In this process, XRP and Ripple are competing with Swift, a large messaging network used by financial institutions to process transactions and money transfer instructions in a quick, simple and secure manner.

The fact that Ripple and XRP are partnering up with financial institutions (including central banks) and is supposed to compete with this entrenched institution is one of the reasons why people consider it to be potential investment material.

The added benefits that the XRP network is supposed to bring to the table is cost savings, so the idea is, if XRP helps to reduce costs, banks should immediately jump on board.

Yet, as noted above, financial institutions like Moneygram, Western Union, MercuryFx and others are only in testing phases of the only Ripple product (xRapid) that requires the use of XRP.

XRP and Individuals

Individuals can still transact in XRP, but there might not be as much widely known use cases for the individual. The fiat transactions are available to corporations only at this time, but XRP as a cryptocurrency still provides faster transaction times and cheaper transaction costs as compared to some other networks.

The lesser known aspect of XRP for individuals may be the aspect of IOU’s. IOU’s are essentially tokens which are issued through the platform.

These IOU’s can be traded for assets such as GBP, EUR, USD, precious metals and commodities like oil.

All individuals are able to issue IOU’s, but the only catch is trust. The recipient of the IOU must believe that the issuer of the IOU will honor the agreement and will exchange the IOU for the underlying asset at any given time.

XRP and general use cases

XRP acts as a bridge between fiat currencies

The proposed primary use case for XRP is to work with fiat currencies to facilitate the transfer of value across the world in a quick and simple manner. Current solutions that are provided by the marketplace place are slow and inefficient.

XRP is supposed to make it to where there will be no need for an entity to have incurred foreign exchange fees or go through the hassle of account pre-funding. This would contribute to faster and cheaper settlements.

XRP Liquidity

The other important aspect that XRP is that of liquidity.

Liquidity is defined as the simplicity of exchange for an asset or another financial instrument. Liquidity can also be simply defined as the ability to convert a commodity or asset to cold hard cash.

Liquidity is important because it allows for confidence in exchange and transaction. The more liquidity there is on the market, the less fluctuation there should be in the market.

More liquidity can contribute to conditions of less and quicker, streamlined transactions.

Scalable Asset

Furthermore, XRP is a scalable digital asset.

The average transaction fee on the Ripple network is 0.00001 XRP with an average transaction time of 5 seconds. The company states that their XRP ledger handles about 1,500 transactions per second, and can scale to handle the same capacity as a company like Visa or Mastercard.

This is possible for Ripple to achieve due to its own Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm, which does not use mining and instead uses network consensus by Validators to verify transactions in a faster manner.

XRP : Market Cap and more

Trading at $0.68 at press time, XRP has a total supply of a 100 billion where all coins were generated at once without any mining. It has a total market cap of over $26 billion, making it the third-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market cap.

Statistics Provided By CoinMarketCap

Ripple also benefited from the across the board rise in cryptocurrency value between November 2017 – January 2018, but like other cryptocurrencies, could not maintain the value and dropped as soon as the market fell.

That being said, its current value has increased from where it was at the same time last year.

Statistics Provided By CoinMarketCap

The current circulating supply for XRP is over 39 billion, with around 60 billion XRP being held by Ripple itself.

This move of a company owning the larger part of its own cryptocurrency steers Ripple away from its initial claims of decentralization, especially when it is combined with Ripple having its own validators and having sheer control over the Ripple cryptocurrency network.

However, Ripple announced on December 7, 2017 that it is placing 55 Billion of its XRP in an escrow account, where 1 billion XRP will be disbursed to the company each month over a period of 54 months.

According to the company, this was done to ensure that the XRP supply remains intact and users have the assurance of having ample XRP in reserves as they move forward with the increased adaptability of the network.

That being said, the fact remains that Ripple still owns the larger portion of the cryptocurrency that it created by itself – something which does not usually happen in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Since Ripple has been burning some of the XRP to maintain its value over time, the remaining circulating supply – after excluding Ripple’s holdings – comes to be over 39 billion.

Out of this amount, 5.19 billion is owned by Larsen, who is now Ripple’s current Executive Chairman; whereas, McCaleb donated 2 million of his own XRP to a donor-advised fund and has his remaining 5.3 billion XRP held by Ripple, which is released to him on a monthly basis.

This makes Ripple and its current and previous key staff collectively holding more than 70 percent of the XRP – which, when compared with the distribution of other cryptocurrencies, is unprecedented, to say the least.

The distribution mechanism for the rest of the XRP is still not as clearly defined as most of the other cryptocurrencies either. Some of the XRP has been invested by Ripple, distributed among collaboration partners, or been given away to charities, but the exact amount of it through official sources remains unknown.

Investments by Ripple

Ripple is known in the blockchain industry for forming alliances with institutions all over the world.

Sometimes, the partnerships also involve Ripple having to invest with its partners or distribute XRP among them, which is a normal process when it comes to incentivizing a new network’s usage.

Some of the most notable investments that Ripple has made in the past few months remain to be its $25 million investment in Omni along with its two executives. Omni is a U.S. based platform which allows users to provide storage and lending services for their items.

Another investment by Ripple that made the news was its $25 million investment in Blockchain Capital’s venture fund. Ripple made the investment by using XRP and partnering with the oldest venture capital firm in blockchain technology which has Coinbase, Kraken, and Ripple itself on its investment portfolio.

Yet another investment that has garnered some attention was the donation by Ripple, as it gave away 29 million dollars worth of XRP to DonorsChoose.org, essentially clearing all requests that were present on the site at the time.

Ripple and controversies

But by the looks of it, not all of Ripple’s partnerships and investments end up in happiness.

This fact was presented to the world when Ripple was sued by a former collaborator for not holding its end of the bargain.

The lawsuit was filed by R3, a blockchain research and development consortium that has alliances with over 100 institutions, accused Ripple of not paying an agreed sum of 5 billion XRP against their partnership deal.

Ripple has since denied R3’s allegations and continues to maintain that it was R3 that did not hold its end of the agreement, and thus is not eligible to be paid with the said amount.

However, the San Francisco’s appeals court where the initial case was heard thought otherwise and denied Ripple from expediting an appeal.

Ripple is now going to battle it out with R3 in a New York court, and further developments are yet to come.

Then there is the ever-present issue of Ripple not being a real cryptocurrency with almost no use or benefits provided to the everyday user, as XRP is meant to be used by corporations and banks.

Speaking of which, Ripple is also said to have failed to launch XRP for that very purpose, where banks and institutions are keen on using its xCurrent solutions to transfer fiat-based payments, but not many are as interested in using XRP.

The strategy for Ripple seems to be, bring in partners on to Ripplenet, and eventually show them the wonders of XRP.

What is Stellar?

Founded by Joyce Kim and Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb, Stellar was created as a payment solutions network that also doubled as a smart contract platform for blockchain-based entities.

While Stellar was still in the early stages of finding its footing, the platform was actually built on the Ripple protocol (given McCaleb’s involvement in the development of Ripple).

However, soon after that phase of infancy was over, the project evolved and forked itself from Ripple’s code with the Stellar team mentioning that it had found compromising instances in the consensus mechanism for Ripple, and thus wanted to improve upon them (Ripple denied the allegations in a public post of its own).

It is important to note here that while Stellar started off with the Ripple codebase, it then completely changed it as time progressed.

After sharing its decision to develop its own consensus algorithm for the network, the Stellar team came up with the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP), a federated consensus protocol that operated without any mining and through agreements between direct server nodes to allow the verification of performed transactions within seconds.

Stellar uses the method of federated byzantine agreement, in this mechanism there are no predefined set of validators (as it is in Ripple), in this method, the nodes choose who they trust. This is more of a market-based system in the sense that nodes come together and achieve consensus by stating who they trust.

Anyone can set up their node and participate in the process.

The consensus algorithm, while being based on blockchain but not solely depending on it, was completely unique and still remains exclusive to Stellar.

By using this new consensus protocol, Stellar enhanced its operations to provide a truly decentralized yet fast-acting network that was intended to make cross-border payments easier for its users around the world.

The protocol that Stellar uses allows for low costs, a significant increase in scalability and quick transaction times.

It is then no wonder that the project soon attracted a slew of advisors, including WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg; Apache Software Foundation Director Greg Stein, and Stripe CEO Patrick Collison (Stripe also handed over $3 million in 2014 for the purpose of Stellar network’s enhancement).

Stellar’s aim as a payment solution network is not just to facilitate international payments, but to provide these services where traditional banks are not available so people from all over the world.

Stellar caters to a variety of demographics but it has been showing specific emphasis on underprivileged regions.

Being an open-source network, Stellar is also completely decentralized. While the network is backed by a non-profit organization called the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) that works for its updates and future changes, the control of the network does not remain with a single entity. The network remains open to anyone who wants to join and help run its operations.

Stellar also has its own native token by the name of Lumens (XLM), which is used to fuel network operations as well as a means of a transaction if users want to utilize it.

How does Stellar Work?

Based on the notion of decentralized payment solutions that are accessible to anyone who is in need of them, Stellar makes cross-currency and cross-border transactions easier by eradicating the involvement of middlemen from the process.

By using the distributed ledger technology (DLT), Stellar also ensures that the payment and transaction solutions that it is providing remain completely secure, transparent, and free of any kind of tampering from anyone.

To take the notion of providing these services a step further, Stellar has built its own asset exchange system within the network, which processes cross-currency conversions in seconds while also remaining completely secure, and performing these conversions and transactions in a cost that is a mere trifle as compared to the costs levied by the usage of conventional solutions.

By using the system and having its developed payment network in place, Stellar ensures that transfers between borders and conversions between currencies can be done in the fastest time possible while also making sure that the transaction cost is not heavy on its customers’ pockets.

Let’s simplify it a bit further and take it step by step.

The Stellar Network

Stellar runs on a variety of global servers, which verify transactions and are updated every 2-5 seconds. When you place your money into the Stellar system, the distributed ledger records your money as credit, this credit is issued by anchors.

These anchors are important because they serve as “bridges” between a specific currency and the overall network of Stellar.

Who are these anchors? Current financial institutions like banks and even payment processors can serve as anchors.

Note: All anchors will most likely need to be licensed as a money services provider or a mobile money operator.

When you deposit money with these “anchors”, these anchors will then issue this credit to your digital account. The funds are reflected in your account on the Stellar Network.

Note: Why do we need these anchors? Trust and regulatory compliance when dealing with fiat currencies.

Credits

This credit is what serves as the general exchange of value. Once you receive the credit, you are able to send the value to the other people on the network. Due to the fact that Stellar has a distributed exchange system, after the individual receives credit, they can use their USD credit to send EUR credits to a party in Europe.

The Stellar Network processes the transaction and converts it at the least expensive rate. The party on the other side will receive their transaction amount in EUR credit, which they would be able to withdraw via their anchor.

This transaction can take place with participating anchors online or offline.

Let’s walk through an example.

To take advantage of this use case, customers can simply pay a visit to the local Stellar Anchor in their area and hand over physical cash to have it recorded on Stellar’s ledger. In case the Anchor accepts online payments, payments can be processed through that method as well. The Anchor can then have the amount “credited” to the customer’s account on the Stellar network ledger.

Once the funds have been “credited” to the Stellar network’s ledger, customers can access them by using their private keys. They can then use the transferred funds to send money in the same currency or even in another currency to anyone around the world.

The recipient can then similarly visit a Stellar Anchor in their area to withdraw their amount in cash, or convert it to Lumens before having it withdrawn through an exchange.

The Stellar Ledger and Distributed Exchange

The next aspect of Stellar is the idea of distributed exchange (not to be confused with decentralized exchange). In this distributed exchange system the ledger of Stellar, records offers made by people to purchase and sell currencies. These offers are made by individuals who say that are willing to conduct an exchange their respective credit (USD-YEN) at a specific price.

This Stellar Ledger then becomes a thriving international marketplace full of offers. Allowing individuals to exchange different currency pairs (BTC/USD, EUR/USD), whatever it may be, at the rate that they would like.

This decentralized trading that the Stellar Ledger helps to bring about is of great importance. This allows for great potential in traditional currencies and cryptocurrencies. Individuals will be able to trade directly from their wallets.

For instance, individuals can then post their offer to the Stellar Ledger and trade their cryptocurrencies directly, without having to worry about giving up their private keys and trusting an exchange. This leads to much more security due to the fact that hackers are not attacking a centralized point, as is the case on regular exchanges.

Let’s move on.

Multi-Currency conversions

The Stellar Ledger or the distributed exchange mechanism allows for the multi-currency transaction that you witnessed above. Individuals can send and receive value through their demanded credits in whatever currency that they want.

This currency conversion can take place through a variety of means, through an offer, with lumens or through a chain of conversions.

Elaborating a bit further.

When a customer chooses the option of converting USD to GBP, a request is created on the Stellar Ledger or distributed exchange for the conversion.

The distributed exchange then matches the request to other customers’ requests for similar currency conversions. If they are a match, the conversion is processed, and both parties get the currency of their choice.

However, in cases where the exchange does not have a direct match for a currency conversion request, the network can find other requests to act as mediators (chain of conversions) towards the end goal. For instance, USD can be converted to JPY, which can then be converted into EUR before finally meeting the intended conversion to GBP.

The distributed exchange system may also use XLM for these currency conversion transactions, where USD can be converted to XLM, and the XLM can then be converted to GBP.

And all of this takes place without any significant addition to time or costs.

With an average transactions fee of 0.00001 XLM and an average transaction time of fewer than 5 seconds, transactions on Stellar practically cost nothing and take significantly less time as compared to conventional payment transfer methods.

This option provides some of the cheapest conversion rates possible through any payment solutions, and thus makes XLM-powered cross-border transfers an ideal solution for industry-level amounts between multinational corporations and banking institutions.

The Stellar Distributed Network and Assets

Did you know that the Stellar distributed network can be used to “track, hold and transfer any other token of value”?

All non-stellar assets are associated with an issuer and asset type. A holder of an asset on the stellar network is usually holding credit from a specific issuer.

The credit issuer essentially states that it will trade its Stellar Network credit for a specific asset (fiat, diamonds, etc) that is not present in the Stellar Network. So, let’s say that Adam issues apples as a credit on the Stellar Network.

If you hold apple credits, you and Adam have a trust-based agreement, a trustline, you and Adam agree that if you give Adam an apple credit, he will give you an apple (provided that it is a 1:1 ratio, 1 apple for 1 apple credit).

If you hold an asset, you have to trust the individual or entity that issued that credit.

Why?

You have to know for certain that if you are holding apple credits issued by Adam, when you feel like you really need an Apple, Adam will give you an apple for your apple credit.

Entities ranging from individuals to organizations can distribute custom assets or tokens on the Stellar Network.

Which brings us to our next section.

Stellar as a Development Platform

In addition to providing payment solutions, Stellar also provides development solutions through smart contracts and allows the creation of decentralized applications (DApps) on its network.

While the smart contracts that Stellar offers are non-Turing complete and provide limited capabilities to users as compared to development-centric, Turing complete platforms such as Ethereum, it still packs a punch.

Stellar can still be sufficient enough for businesses and individuals who do not need the additional development functionalities for intricate applications, but only require basic functions through their DApps.

The Stellar network also facilities the creation of customized tokens and can thus launch initial coin offerings (ICOs) for its customers to help in their crowdfunding efforts.

While the development options that Stellar offers are less expressive as compared to platforms like Ethereum, it also means that the network is faster as compared to its counterparts, which provide more functionality at the expense of their network speed.

For instance, the median transaction time on Stellar remains to be 5 seconds, while Ethereum has a median transaction time of more than 3 minutes. Hence, Stellar provides fewer development functionalities with faster speeds, while Ethereum offers more development options in exchange for the swiftness exhibited by Stellar.

This makes Stellar a good choice for entities that only want to perform a few simple functions with their DApps or just want to launch an ICO, since the network has no scalability issues like Ethereum does at the moment – which is something that Stellar clearly defined in this post on its official site.

Pretty cool right? Let’s talk about the SDEX.

The Stellar Decentralized Exchange

To fully complete the picture of creating tokens, issuing them and distributing them, Stellar already has an SDEX or the Stellar Decentralized Exchange.

This is interesting because it means that Stellar is acting as the whole package, a fast and efficient payment network while also catering to tokenization through the functionalities of creating, issuing and distributing custom assets.

One can access the Stellar Decentralized Exchange through an open source client like Stellar Term.

A great addition that the Stellar Decentralized Exchange allows for, in addition to completing the picture of creation and issuance of tokens is the fact that it works to make it easy to implement compliance features.

Features like whitelisting token holders, having token lock-up periods, issuer trade approvals and asset recovery can be implemented as part of the issuance process. An important aspect may be the fact that there is no need for scripting.

Furthermore, in a crypto environment that is increasingly necessitating regulation, quick and simple compliance for up and coming ICO’s and credit issuers, in general, will be in demand.

As Stellar makes certain that they are integrating KYC and AML as part of the system, allowing for more simplicity, their solutions will be something to contend with.

What is Stellar Lumens? More About XLM

Being the Stellar network’s native cryptocurrency, Lumens is the life source of the network in the sense where it is not only a part of the network’s payment solutions but also a tool in supplementing the network operations when it comes to additional functionalities.

Stellar Lumens have a total supply of over 103 billion. All XLM coins were minted at the time of creation, leaving no room for mining. For consensus and transaction verification, the XLM utilizes the Stellar Consensus Protocol by leveraging communication between direct servers.

Whereas, the current circulating supply for XLM is over 18 billion.

Trading around $0.32 at press time, XLM’s current market cap comes up to over $6 billion, with it ranking at number 8 in terms of total market cap.

Statistics Provided By CoinMarketCap

The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), the non-profit organization which is in charge of further development of the Stellar ecosystem, is going to look over the process of distributing the initial Lumens around the world.

Instead of distributing or spending all XLMs at one place, the SDF has devised a strategy to distribute them through various segments.

The first one of those methods is the Direct Sign-up Program, where the SDF is going to allocate 50 percent of the initial XLM through different programs.

The second segment is the Partnership program, where 25 percent of the initial XLM is going to be shared among partners who are to use the opportunity to contribute to the Stellar ecosystem.

The third segment is the Bitcoin program, or an “airdrop”, where 19 percent of the initial XLM are to be shared between the holders of Bitcoin and 1 percent among the holders of Ripple. Any unclaimed XLMs from these efforts will instead be shared with the Stellar Build Challenge, which is a program to incentivize the development of DApps by distributing rewards amongst developers.

Lastly, the remaining 5 percent of the initial XLM will be used to support the operations of the SDF itself.

When it comes to market value, the only time XLM saw a consistent increase in its value was during the cryptocurrency boom around the last two months of 2017. It has since been copying market trends and has been fluctuating in terms of value.

Statistics Provided By CoinMarketCap

Stellar vs. Ripple

With both networks providing similar solutions through different means, this is one of those comparisons which can be easier to perform on equal grounds.

The biggest difference that can be spotted between these two networks is how Ripple remains controlled by its company, with it directing every decisive move on the platform, whereas, Stellar is a truly decentralized network where anyone can join in to help run its operations (such as by the action of becoming a payment Anchor).

While Ripple has shared its plans to slowly let go of the control that it maintains over the Ripple network, the efforts have only been announced recently and could very well take years before XRP makes the transition into decentralization.

While this does not affect the technical capabilities for the network, the way that it is controlled by a corporation that is intent on controlling every aspect of it while also presenting it as a public blockchain does not sit well with a vast majority in the cryptocurrency community.

One more aspect that sets them apart is their approach to the market.

While Stellar’s aim is to provide payment solutions to those who are not able to otherwise have access to them in remote areas, and has a focus on enhancing the ease of use for peer-to-peer transactions with corporations being its secondary target, this works the opposite way with Ripple.

Ripple focuses on forging alliances with major institutions all over the world to power mass and industry level transactions using the Ripple platform. Its close partnerships with banking institutions and its focus on providing its services in areas surrounded by banks is a stark contrast to Stellar’s approach to banking the unbanked.

Furthermore, peer-to-peer transactions remain secondary to Ripple at the moment, since its core focus is on the aspect of enhancing corporate level transfers.

What does the future hold for Ripple and Stellar

Judging by the compiled information and the analysis, Stellar remains superior in providing actual use cases for both corporations and individuals alike.

Where Ripple performs little for individuals besides providing a functional cryptocurrency and that too as a secondary use case, Stellar not only provides effective payment solutions but also adds the functionality of smart contracts, DApps and other forms of exchange to its offerings.

While Ripple remains to be forming alliances after alliances with finance industry giants such as the Bank of England, Santander, SBI Group, Western Union and Moneygram, Stellar has plans to expand its offerings even further than forming partnerships for network testing.

It has the Stellar Lightning Network planned for the future, which will work towards the SDEX and cutting down the already low transaction time and fees even more than their current levels, which is saying something.

With major future projects such as Kik’s KIN coin deciding to move parts of its business from Ethereum to Stellar for faster operations, Stellar could also become a good platform for holding ICOs and facilitating custom tokens.

If Stellar could enhance its protocol to supplement more functionality for developers, it could very well be at the top of the list for those developers who are looking for affordable yet fast solutions to launch their ventures.

However, one department where Stellar seems to lack as compared to Ripple is marketing and user awareness. Many people are not even aware of what Stellar could do, whereas Ripple keeps garnering publicity for a platform that does not even do much for the everyday user.

If the Stellar community could raise more awareness, it would certainly help. As for Ripple, great marketing could only take it so far, and so it needs to think of the everyday user before marketing a cryptocurrency (which according to Ripple’s own website) was not even meant to be used by individuals.

Ripple aims to be compliant and courts central banks and various financial institutions. Stellar courts individuals and corporations. Ripple and Stellar are similar in that they both want to provide regulatory compliance from a foundational standpoint.

If the appeal for XRP is that it can serve as a hybrid hedge (a friend to central banks while being a “cryptocurrency”) where does that place Stellar?

A network that is designed to be decentralized, compliant and provides functions like the issuance and distribution of tokens.

If decentralization, freedom, and people first is the promise of the future, will Ripple make a few waves and then disappear?

Many seem to want it to be so. Yet, only time will tell.

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