With the support of Stripe, a team of cryptocurrency developers have announced the launch of Stellar, a new protocol for moving money.
Stellar is said to support the transfer of “transactions in arbitrary currencies—you can use dollars, Euros, bitcoins, or anything else.” It is noted that the project is currently in its experimental phase.
The project is being led by Jed McCaleb and David Mazières, associate professor of computer science at Stanford University, along with a supporting cast of developers.
McCaleb has a rich history with technology and the cryptocurrency development. He created MtGox and then sold it to Mark Karpeles. He is also co-founder of Ripple, but sold his stake and left the enterprise earlier this year. Previously, he reportedly created eDonkey, a Napster-like file sharing platform.
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Stripe disavows owning the actual project, instead indicating that it has contributed $3 million toward development in exchange for a 2% stake in all the stellars developed.
Similar to an earlier assessment of Bitcoin and its potential to revolutionize payment systems, “gateways” are envisioned to support the stellar network. Gateways are trusted network participants on the network, analogous to a trusted financial institution feeding into a global fiat payment network. Stellar is likely the mysterious “new functionality” in development, mentioned at the end of that assessment.
A competitor to Ripple?
The new project bears a striking resemblance to Ripple, which is also designed for the transfer of funds.
McCaleb said he was leaving Ripple to “pursue man-made surf parks”, but also implied that he disagreed with how the company was being managed by CEO Chris Larsen. Jesse Powell also departed as unrest unfolded several months ago and its Ripple currency declined.