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What is Stellar Lumens? How to Buy XLM in New Zealand

What is Stella Lumens (XLM)? Take a closer look at how Stellar is innovating ways to send all sorts of digital assets.

Posted April 3, 2023

Person holding the Stellar Lumens XLM logo on a purple background.
Person holding the Stellar Lumens XLM logo on a purple background.

The term “decentralised payment network” describes most cryptocurrencies and blockchains in general. However, this tends to give new investors the impression that cryptocurrency technology is used to serve the untraceable and anarchic economy of the dark web.

However, Stellar was designed for very specific people in mind — the unbanked, those who unintentionally live outside of the financial institutions; those whose families depend on remittances provided by a working member in some foreign country; those who operate in a predominantly cash economy in developing countries.

In this article, I’ll go over what Stellar is, how it works, and how well it fares as an investment vehicle.

Key takeaways:

  • The Stellar Network, or Stellar, is a blockchain network that facilitates the transfer of value between banks, payment gateways, and people, across the world.
  • The XLM token, also called Lumens, can be used as a medium of exchange, send payments peer-to-peer and more.
  • What makes Stellar unique is its ability to provide a single network where the world’s financial systems can all work together, benefiting all levels of users from banks, institutions, to individuals.

What is Stellar and Lumens (XLM)?

Stellar is a blockchain network, a permissionless decentralised protocol for peer-to-peer transfer of digital currencies or assets, that is not controlled by a single authority, which makes it distinct from an international credit card or banking network. 

Rather than having a company or a single organisation keep track of a debt ledger, the copy of the ledger is distributed across several computers (called nodes) that are owned by volunteers.

Screenshot of Stellar Lumens Homepage.

Anyone can volunteer to become a node. Technically speaking, the ledger-keepers are not volunteers but are incentivised by the Stellar protocol to maintain the network’s integrity

The technology itself is based on the Ripple protocol, but after years of development has mainly developed its own code.

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The great things about Stellar (the network) are:

  • Speed – an average of 2-5 seconds per transaction
  • Cross currency payments – Stellar’s platform enables payments to be sent around the world, between any different currencies.
  • Social conscience – Stellar is a non-profit business and sets aside funding for initiatives that promote financial inclusion

The programming infrastructure behind Stellar’s protocol and transaction records are open-source and available for anyone to audit.

While users can be notified of confirmed payments via an app notification, having been built on top of Stellar, anyone can still view the Stellar transaction ledger to double-check a transaction’s validity.

Lumen (XLM) is the native cryptocurrency of the Stellar network. The original name for the cryptocurrency was exactly the same as its parent network Stellar, but was later changed to Lumens with its own ticker code. Lumens is the plural form of the currency. 

Rope mesh representing network nodes in a blockchain network.
Network nodes strengthen the entire network, much like this rope mesh. Photo by Clint Adair on Unsplash.

To avoid confusion, most exchanges list XLM as “Stellar” since the name is stuck, or “Stellar Lumens”. As of July 2021, the price of Lumen was around  27 US cents per XLM, and it had a rapid growth since November 2020, closely following that of Bitcoin.

What makes Stellar unique?

Stellar was developed as an alternative to what the Ripple network was trying to achieve. Ripple was focusing on the existing financial services industry and signing up companies (banks) as partners. Stellar is aiming more towards the developing world and use from the general population.

The Stellar Development Foundation

In keeping with its objectives, the Stellar team created the Stellar Development Foundation. Through this Foundation an interesting initiative has been implemented aptly named the Stellar Partnership Grant Program.

Creating equitable access to the global financial system
Stellar’s non-profit wing, the Stellar Development Foundation, and its value proposition. Source:

This program offers various forms of grants to an organisation that facilitates the improvement of the global financial landscape and promotes financial inclusion.

What are the main advantages of Stellar Lumens?

Lumens are transacted very quickly across the Stellar network. The speed of a transaction averages from 2 to 5 seconds to complete.

This is achieved due to the process in which the transaction is verified. All the Stellar servers are in sync with each other and all have a copy of the Stellar ledger.

Stellar Lumens Logo.
Stellar’s logo. Source:

When a transaction is sent these servers quickly work to verify and come to consensus (known as the Stellar Consensus Protocol) prior to delivering the lumens to the destination address.

Due to having this protocol Stellar doesn’t require miners like Bitcoin, giving it an advantage in speed.

What can you do with Lumens (XLM)?

The Lumens cryptocurrency is a versatile medium of exchange on the Stellar distributed ledger.

Theoretically, people can pay each other in Lumens, and this can be done quickly regardless of the location of the sender and the recipient.

However, Lumens play a critical role in cross-border payment systems by finding the most efficient foreign exchange rates for all its users. 

A collection of the world’s currencies.
Cross-border payment shouldn’t be so expensive. Photo by Roman Synkevych on Unsplash 

On Stellar, app developers can create a payment app on top of Stellar, and it can deal with various fiat currencies (e.g. US dollars, Filipino pesos, Chinese yuan, etc.). Let’s pretend there’s an app called VenusX, an international payment system owned by VenusX, Ltd.

A person in China, for example, can deposit her Chinese yuan to a bank account owned by VenusX, Ltd. Through Stellar’s protocol, the VenusX app will issue digital tokens that represent the user’s deposited Chinese yuan — let’s call it RMBX.

VenusX, Ltd. also has associates in the United States that can issue US dollar digital tokens (let’s call it USDX) and can redeem USDX for actual US dollars.

Our hypothetical user has a family in the United States that she wants to send her money to, and so she sends RMBX to the address to her family’s wallet, expecting that their USDX balance will increase.

What Stellar does in the background is to take that RMBX and move it through a decentralised exchange. Using an algorithm, Stellar can search for the best exchange rate between the two fiat currencies, with Lumens being an intermediary currency.

This means that the Chinese yuan token could first become converted into other currency tokens (fiat or Lumens) before it is finally converted into the US dollar token. In the process, the best exchange rates are locked in at one instance.


The team behind Stellar

The Stellar network in itself has a solid fundamental strength, because it was founded by Jed McCaleb, one of the co-founders of Ripple Labs. If you have read about the use cases of Ripple’s XRP token, then you might find that XLM seems similar to what Ripple was intended to do.

Physical Stellar Lumens (XLM) coin.

Together with Joyce Kim and Prof. David Mazières, who devised the Stellar Consensus Protocol that sets Stellar apart from Ripple, McCaleb envisioned Stellar to be a more decentralised and flexible version of Ripple. It’s important to note that Stellar is not a fork of Ripple.

From the beginning, Stellar was developed by the Stellar Development Foundation, a non-profit organisation that helps maintain Stellar’s codebase, as well as provide community support to developers, institutes, and businesses in its ecosystem. 

Corporate support 

Although Stellar is a decentralised network, it still relies on financial institutions (known as anchors) to conduct the exchange between fiat currencies and tokenised fiat currencies through the Stellar protocol. 

Google’s headquarters.
Even Google thought this was a cool project. Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash 

The network receives support from well-known players in the tech industry, who also take extra care to ensure that their payment systems are complaint with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism laws, such as complying with KYC protocols.

Some of the earliest supporters of Stellar were Google, FastForward, BlackRock and Stripe, who donated funds to cover the initial operational costs. The network also gained support from IBM, Deloitte, KickEx, Flutterwave, and ICICI Bank. 

Another interesting fact to note is that Stellar had become the first distributed system to be certified to comply with Shariah financial practices.

Market support

Two well-known platforms use Stellar’s network to provide a payment settlement layer that is fast, cost-effective, and easy to use by people in various regions.

Settle Network operates across Latin America. Based in Argentina, the network supports cross-border payments and exchange-related transactions, using anchors that provide Argentinian peso, Brazilian real, and Mexican peso.

Stellar Lumens (XLM) Coin on purple background.

Apart from fiat currencies, Settle Network “bridges the gap between traditional and digital finance”, opening so many possibilities to developing economies.

In contrast, Tempo is a Paris-based money transfer operator that provides an alternative to transacting in and out of the Eurozone that is faster and more cost-effective.

The platform mostly serves users who remit money to economies outside of the Eurozone. By providing an escape from the costly international banking system, Tempo sets the pace for the adoption of the lumens cryptocurrency.

How to buy Stellar (XLM) in New Zealand

The crypto space is maturing, and the technology behind decentralised payment systems are not always built to fight against established traditional financial systems. 

Some people believe that by staying within regulatory frameworks and not completely out of touch from traditional finance, digital currencies like XLM could gain better traction with society as a whole.

Screenshot of Stellar Lumens (XLM) and NZD pairing on Easy Crypto homepage.

Invest in Stellar: Buy XLM with Easy Crypto NZ.

With that said, it’s safe to say that XLM is an excellent addition to any avid crypto investor’s portfolio. As the fundamentals continue to gain traction, so will its value.

You can start investing in XLM easily with our platform at Easy Crypto New Zealand. When you sign-up with us, you’ll have access to a variety of investment instruments such as a portfolio tracker, auto-buy templates to automate your investments, and more.

XLM is just one of hundres of crypto crypto assets that we provide here at Easy Crypto NZ. Our collection also includes:

  • Stablecoins
  • NFT Tokens
  • Metaverse Tokens
  • DEX (Decentralised Exchanges)
  • DeFi (Decentralised Finance)
  • And many more.

Check the rates: Use the crypto converter tool to view the latest rates for XLM.

Screenshot of Easy Crypto converter page showcasing NZD and XLM pairing.

Pro tip: you can preview the conversion rates for Stellar Lumens (XLM) or any other crypto in our collection by going to our complete list of crypto assets.

Check our video guide below on how to buy cryptocurrency with Easy Crypto!

Need a more detailed guide? Follow our step-by-step guide to buy crypto in NZ.

Read more on our learning hub to deepen your knowledge about cryptocurrencies with our library of crypto topics!

Further reading: Learn all about crypto by visiting our learning hub.

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Disclaimer: Information is current as at the date of publication. This is general information only and is not intended to be advice. Crypto is volatile, carries risk and the value can go up and down. Past performance is not an indicator of future returns. Please do your own research.

Last updated April 4, 2023

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