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Ukraine, DeFi, and here’s what’s next for ‘scale-targeting’ Stellar and XLM

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XRP and Stellar’s XLM are both among the market’s top 40 cryptocurrencies – and rival siblings too. The link between them is technologist Jed McCaleb, who founded Ripple and then left to co-found the Stellar Development Foundation [SDF].

Analysts, journalists, and traders admittedly love business rivalries and a dramatic backstory, especially with the SEC v. Ripple Labs lawsuit heating up the courtroom. But, while XRP makes headlines, crypto-watchers shouldn’t lose sight of XLM. Especially since it also has ambitious plans to transform cross-border payments.

To that end, AMBCrypto recently interviewed Stellar Development Foundation spokesperson Carolyn Yi to learn more about Stellar, XLM, and the SDF’s future targets.

“Ukraine” in like a wrecking ball

Ripple appears to reign supreme in the area of CBDCs, having announced digital currency partnerships with Bhutan and Palau. Meanwhile, Stellar is often linked to Ukraine’s electronic hryvnia digital currency. However, there’s a catch. Yi explained,

“It’s important to specify that the electronic hryvnia pilot is not a CBDC. It will be privately issued e-money on blockchain technology, built under Ukraine’s current e-money legislation.”

She added,

“The issuance of a national digital currency would only take place under the authority of the National Bank of Ukraine.”

In that case, when can investors expect Stellar to help develop a true blue CBDC? After all, the company has released a whitepaper on the matter, so surely it must be on the agenda. Yi confirmed that “conversations are ongoing,” but that no more could be shared for the time being.

Coming back to the e-hryvnia, however, AMBCrypto learned that TASCOMBANK is working to build and test a “regulated private electronic hryvnia on Stellar.” Following this, deployment is to take place on Bitt’s Digital Currency Management System (DCMS).

Yi explained,

“This pilot offers TASCOMBANK a suite of controls that they can configure for their asset control needs while maintaining the interoperability and flexibility of the open Stellar blockchain.”

Following that, a potential use case for the electronic hryvnia is a programmable payroll for public employees of the Ukrainian mobile app company Diia.

Can Stellar DeFi expectation?

The SDF is also focusing on DeFi expansion.

In particular, automated market makers [AMMs] that enable DEX activities are key. Stellar has a native protocol feature for the same and recorded more than $40 million in TVL as of 10 January 2022. As of that time period, 30% of swaps were also taking place through AMMs.

Alas, with scalability demands looming, Yi explained that Stellar is also working on Starlight – a Layer 2 payment channel protocol for high transactions-per-second rates – or ideally more than one million payments per second. The SDF exec also encouraged devs to try out the Starlight prototype and share their feedback.

“Next, we want to engage with the ecosystem to see that this technology will provide utility for users down the road.”

The taming of the regulator

Speaking about the regulatory glare on crypto, Yi noted this is “exciting,” while also admitting that there are many misconceptions to address. To that end, the SDF CEO spoke at the U.S. House Financial Services Committee Hearing on Digital Assets.

Furthermore, SDF was also consulted by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets with regard to its stablecoin report.

The SDF also listed the markets in which it plans to focus. These include Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, Ukraine, the United States, and Canada. Scalability and engagement will likely remain top priorities.

Yi concluded by stating,

“Ultimately, Stellar is targeting increased scale while maintaining fast and safe finality. “

Painting a starry night

One can argue that Stellar is poised to make a mark on the crypto-scene in 2022. In early 2021, MoneyGram and Ripple parted ways over the SEC’s lawsuit against the San Francisco-based blockchain company. However, a Stellar official announced in January 2022 that MoneyGram had joined to support crypto-to-cash conversion in around 300,000 international locations.

That being said, Stellar’s XLM was trading at $0.21 at the time of writing. XLM is still a long way from its all-time-high of $0.94, despite seeing some recently bullish trading activity. The coin also had a typical hold time of 31 days, according to Coinbase.

One thing is for certain. While many want to see XRP and XLM fight each other to the death for dominance over the cross-border remittance market, the path of the two cryptos diverged a long time ago.

It is clear that Stellar is now on a voyage of its own.


Sahana is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto. She has a Masters in Journalism and her areas of study include crypto-regulation, digital society, privacy, and intersectionality. Ask her about film photography and philately.
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