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Stellar is a multi-currency payment backend that tens of thousands of people use every day. It’s decentralized, open-source, and developer-friendly, so anyone can issue assets, settle payments, and trade. Stellar is a blockchain, but it works more like cash—Stellar is much faster and cheaper than bitcoin, for example. And it uses far less electricity.
The lumen, often abbreviated XLM, is the protocol token of the Stellar network. One hundred billion lumens were created the instant Stellar went live, as part of the protocol’s design. These tokens play a unique role in the network’s operation.
Anyone that wants to hold or move money on Stellar must also hold lumens. Per the protocol, every account must set aside a small increment of lumens for each type of asset it holds. Similarly, an account must reserve lumens for each open offer against its assets. The total holdback for a typical account is low—a few XLM.
Stellar also imposes a very small fee for each transaction, and that fee can only be paid in lumens. The median fee on the network right now is 0.00001 XLM—about a millionth of a US dollar.
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