What is Stellar?Stellar was created in 2014 following a misunderstanding that Jed McCaleb had with the top management of Ripple. Jed McCaleb is Ripple’s co-founder. Between December 3rd and January 5th, the digital currency grew by more than 980%. It just needs to further grow by 60% before it can join the top 5 leading cryptocurrencies. Stellar is like most cryptocurrencies in many aspects, but it tends to resemble Ripple more. However, whereas Ripple focuses on providing solutions to banks by facilitating cross-border transfers, stellar targets cash transfers between people. Despite the ideologies being the same, stellar uses a bottom-up approach whereas Ripple uses a top-down approach. The stellar network uses currencies called stellar lumens (denoted as XLM). During the creation of the network in 2014, 100 billion lumens were created. Stellar has overcome many challenges that bitcoins and earlier cryptocurrencies faced; the scalability issue. For instance, a single stellar transaction costs 0.0001 lumens. This is a very minute amount as compared to what other digital currencies charge. A single transaction is settled in less than 5 seconds. Every year, the supply of lumens grows by 1%. Whereas Ripple has caught the attention of banks, Stellar is seeking adoption by people all over the world as a cheaper and better alternative of making remittances and facilitating smaller transactions for both individuals and retailers. Stellar is set to grow big in 2018 due to its strategic partnerships. For instance, since partnering with Deloitte, the accounting company announced that it had saved more than 40% transaction costs. This digital currency aims to revolutionize the blockchain banking industry by offering an efficient, reliable, faster and cheaper means of transferring money. It is believed that stellar will be traded on the upcoming exchange called FairX which is being created by IBM employees. How Stellar WorksStellar is set to grow big in 2018 because of its partner organizations referred to as anchors. Anchors are entities that offer people lines of credit that gives them the ability to use the stellar network through the use of fiat currencies such as Euros or dollars. For instance, assuming you live in the United States and your friend in France tells you to send him 200 Euros. You can use the stellar network to send the money to your friend by paying an equivalent amount to the stellar anchor in your state. The stellar anchor in your state will then update the balance of the ledger. The stellar anchor in France will them see the updated ledger balance and pay your friend in Euros. This transfer of funds will cost you just a few cents and your friend will be able to receive the money instantly. Decentralized ExchangeWhen making multi-currency conversions, stellar network will try its best to get you the cheapest exchange rate. This is made possible through the use of a decentralized exchange that matches sell and buy offers from the dealers/anchors who are holding the actual currency. The decentralized exchange is the most powerful core feature of the stellar network because it gives people the freedom to trade anything that the stellar anchors hold, including bitcoins, ethereum, litecoins and other digital currencies. At the moment, you can trade Ripple, bitcoins and lumens on the stellar market.